War of the Rebellion: Serial 124 Page 0291 UNION AUTHORITIES.

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running toward the York River Railroad. Quite a large body of the enemy are visible in the field where General Smith was camped, near the old headquarters. The rebel balloon suddenly disappeared about one hour since.

The enemy in front of here remain silent in and around their earth-works and rifle-pits.

T. S. C. LOWE.

P. S.-Can Major Webb come over and ascend?

T. S. C. L.

Other reports were made at short intervals during the rest of the day, and at 6 o"clock I reported that the enemy on Gaines" Hill were making a desperate advance, while a large column was moving to outflank our forces on the extreme right, and evidently intended to intercept our crossing at Woodbury's Bridge. Soon after this report was made our reserves were sent to protect the crossing and to relieve those troops who had been engaged for two days.

I have no doubt that the information given in the above reports (from what I saw myself and have since learned) saved a large portion of our troops then engaged from being taken prisoners, and also caused a strong guard to be placed at Bottom's Bridge and other crossings below, which prevented the enemy from getting into our rear.

On the evening of the 28th I received orders to pack up everything pertaining to the aeronautic department and to be ready to move. Owing to the want of transportation to carry material for gas, the balloons were not put in use again until we reached Harrison's Landing. Here I was taken very ill with fever, which had been gradually coming on me for two of three weeks, and I was compelled to leave the army, placing the management of the aeronautic operations in charge of Mr. C. Lowe, who kept the balloon in use during the time the army remained at that place. On one occasion Commodore Wilkes had the balloon taken on the river, and while at an elevation of 1,000 feet was towed by steamer, while the banks and country for miles back were examined.

The following order was received from General Humphreys relative to moving from Harrison's Landing:

AUGUST 13, 1862.

Mr. LOWE:

DEAR SIR: The balloon department will, as far as possible, go by water in the Rotary. The barge or flat will be taken also. They will keep near or accompany the steamer carrying the surplus baggage to headquarters. Colonel Ingalls will inform you which that is. The details for the balloon department will march under the orders of the officer commanding them. They will take not less than six days" rations. The wagons, teams, &c., will be turned over to the quartermaster's department.

Perhaps one wagon may be retained to accompany the detachment of enlisted men.

A. A. HUMPHREYS.

All transportation, &c., now being in the hands of the quartermaster's department, it was necessary for me to have an order from the commanding general before I could reorganize the aeronautic department. On the arrival of the Army of the Potomac from the Peninsula I therefore addressed the following note to Colonel Colburn, assistant adjutant-general:

NATIONAL HOTEL,

Washington, D. C., September 5, 1862.

Colonel A. V. COLBURN,

Assistant Adjutant-General:

COLONEL: Having recovered from my late illness, I came to Washington several days since hoping that I might be of service on the present occasion. I beg