War of the Rebellion: Serial 124 Page 0275 UNION AUTHORITIES.

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the location of the balloon. I would ascend myself did not General B. wish and General McClellan wish him to go. General McClellan's camp is along the telegraph wire. Send the messenger to me if you do not know. I beg of you to give him a good and safe ascension.

Yours, truly,


P. S.-Send one of our men to rouse General B. at daylight, and wait to take him to your balloon. I think the best place is down the hollow where you were camped.

On the following morning I called in person on General Barnard at daybreak and accompanied him to the balloon, when he ascended to an elevation of 1,000 feet and remained two hours. After breakfast he made two more ascents at different points, and expressed himself highly gratified with the information thus gained. From this time until the evacuation of Yorktown the balloons were kept in constant use, and reports were made by myself and many officers who ascended daily.

I regret that I have not more copies of reports, but as I had my camp at headquarters I usually made my reports verbally, assisted in my explanations by reference to maps. Almost daily whenever the balloon ascended the enemy opened upon it with their heavy siege guns or rifled field pieces, until it had attained an altitude to be out of reach, and repeated this fire when the balloon descended, until it was concealed by the woods.


April 29, 1862.

Captain McKEEVER:

Please say to Professor Lowe, or his assistant, I would like to make an ascension as soon as the wearther will permit, if they will notify me.




Near Yorktown, Va., April 29, 1862.

Brigadier General S. VAN VLIET,

Chief Quartermaster, Army of the Potomac:

GENERAL: The commanding general directs that you cause to be issued to Professor Lowe, chief of balloon department of this army, such means of transportation and quartermaster's supplies as may be necessary to enable him to perform the duties with which he is charged.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Assistant Adjutant-General.

On the 3rd of May I made a reconnaissance near Warwick Court- House and again before sundown before Yorktown, General McClellan and staff being on the spot; General Porter and myself ascended. No sooner had the balloon risen above the tops of the trees than the enemy opened all of their batteries commanding it, and the whole atmosphere was literally filled with bursting shell and shot, one, passing through the cordage that connects the car with the balloon, struck near to the place where General McClellan stood. Another 64-pounder struck between two soldiers lying in a tent, but without injury. Fearing that by keeping the balloon up the enemy's shots would do injury to the troops that were thickly camped there, General Porter ordered the balloon down. While making preparations to ascend again I received the following order:

YORKTOWN, May 3, 1862.

Professor LOWE:

The general says the balloon must not ascend from the place it now is any more.