War of the Rebellion: Serial 124 Page 0278 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

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unnoticed, whereby he might surprise the enemy at that point, which he effectually accomplished by the aid of the balloon. He often availed himself of it by ascending personally, instead of trusting to some inferior officer who had no interest or reputation at state. I had always noticed, moreover, that the general invariably pitched his tent where he could see the enemy himself.

On the occasion above alluded to the enemy were so concealed behind woods and hills that it was impossible to ascertain their position in any other way than be ascending to a great elevation, and the artillery might have been fired a whole day without doing any injury, unless the proper range had been obtained.

A Richmond paper of May 26 contained the following item:

The enemy are fast making their appearance on the banks of the Chickahominy. Yesterday they had a balloon in the air the whole day, it being witnessed by many of our citizens from the streets and house tops. They evidently discovered something of importance to them, for at about 4 p.m. a brisk cannonading was heard at Mechanicsville and the Yankee now occupy that place.

On several other occasions the Richmond papers correctly described the various ornaments painted on the balloons, as seen with telescopes from the city.

On the 26th and 27th I received the following orders:

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,

INSPECTOR-GENERAL'S DEPARTMENT,

May 26, 1862.

Professor LOWE:

SIR: I am instructed by Brigadier-General Marcy, chief of staff, to direct you to move your balloons, &c., with as little delay as possible, to Brigadier-General Stoneman's headquarters, at Mechanicsville.

You are directed after each ascent to make a written report to the headquarters of the result of your observation.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

D. B. SACKET,

Inspector-General, U. S. Army.

HDQRS. TOPOGRAPHICAL ENGINEERS, ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,

May 26, 1862.

Prof. T. S. C. LOWE,

Chief Aeronaut, Army of the Potomac:

SIR: The balloon department has been placed under my direction by Special Orders, No. 157, May 25. Understanding that there are several balloons in your charge, you will immediately establish them in the following positions, viz, near Mechanicsville, General Stoneman commanding; near the Seven Pines, on the road from Bottom's Bridge to Richmond, about six miles from the bridge, General Keyes commanding, and in the vicinity of New Bridge, near the general headquarters.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

A. A. HUMPHREYS,

Brigadier General and Chief Topographical Engineers.

HDQRS. TOPOGRAPHICAL ENGINEERS, ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,

May 27, 1862.

Prof. T. S. C. LOWE,

Chief Aeronaut, Army of the Potomac:

DEAR SIR: The general commanding desires, first, that balloon ascensions be made as frequently as is practicable at each balloon station and that full reports of the results of the observations be transmitted at once to these headquarters; second, that no persons be permitted to ascend in the balloon with the exception of the general in command at the position which the balloon occupies, and those authorized by him; third that newspaper correspondents and reporters be in no case permitted to ascend.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

A. A. HUMPHREYS,

Brigadier General Chief of Topographical Engineers, Army of the Potomac.

It will be seen from the following dispatches that the enemy improved every opportunity to fire at the balloon. On this occasion