War of the Rebellion: Serial 124 Page 0279 UNION AUTHORITIES.

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I ascended to a high altitude, and before I descended I had the balloon moved considerably to one side, so that the subsequent firing was out of range, and thus, by changing my location, prevented the enemy from having a good mark to fire at.

MAY 27, 1862.

General A. A. HUMPHREYS:

Ascended at 4.45 p.m. one mile from Mechanicsville and, I should judge, four miles from Richmond, in an air line. At 5 o"clock three batteries opened upon me, firing many shots, some falling short and some passing beyond the balloon and one over it, while it was at an elevation of 300 to 400 feet. A battle is going on about four miles distant; heavy cannonading and musketry. I will go up again and report.

T. S. C. LOWE.

MAY 27, 1862.

Brigadier-General HUMPHREYS,

Chief of Topographical Engineers:

GENERAL: I made my second ascent at 5.30 p.m., and remained up until 6.45 p.m. Richmond and vicinity are much more distinct from this point, and I was able to discover with ease the exact position of the enemy. The heaviest camps seem to be near the banks this side of James River and little to the left of Richmond. The next heaviest are to the right of Richmond on the road from Mechanicsville. There are also several smaller on the first heights opposite Mechanicsville, and several batteries stationed there, some of which I saw put in position while in the balloon, besides those that fired at me.

The heigts opposite New Bridge for two miles each way seem to be entirely unoccupied, except by the enemy's pickets.

No earth-works of any description are visible, although the country is tolerably clear from woods on the Mechanicsville road, and if there are earth-works on this side they are very near the city and behind the last line of woods.

In the northwest from where the balloon is, and about ten miles distant, there was heavy smoke.

To the north, near the Pamunkey River, was the heavy cannonading and musketry, but the distance and heavy woods prevented me from seeing the detail movements. The enemy in and around Richmond are apparently very strong in numbers.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

T. S. C. LOWE,

Chief Aeronaut.


Near Mechanicsville, May 29, 1862-9.30 a.m.

Brigadier General A. A. HUMPHREYS,

Chief of Topographical Engineers, Army of the Potomac:

GENERAL: I ascended at 7.30 o"clock this a.m. near New Bridge; could discover no change in the position of the enemy in that vicinity. I then came to this point to get another view, which I have just obtained, and find the enemy quite opposite Mechanicsville.

A battery consisting of several guns is in position near the road on the opposite heights. There are troops lying in the shade of the woods along the whole line from below New Bridge to some distance above this point, the greatest number, however, opposite this point.

I have now on land material sufficient to keep the two balloons in operation for about one week only.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

T. S. C. LOWE,

Chief Aeronaut, Army of the Potomac.

From 11 o"clock until dark on the 29th of May the enemy commenced to concentrate their forces in front of Fair Oaks, moving on roads entirely out of sight of our picket, and concealing themselves as much as possible in and behind woods, where none of their movements