War of the Rebellion: Serial 124 Page 0292 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

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of you to remind the general that I am anxiously awaiting orders, and, as ever, ready and willing to serve him. Some baloon observation at this time might be of great advantage. I have everything ready to operate at a moment's notice.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

T. S. C. LOWE,


I was answered by Colonel Colburn that my services would probably soon be required, but to remain in Washington until I received orders, as the general did not yet know when he would want to use the balloons.

I received no orders until the morning, after the battle of Antietam, when a dispatch came from General Marcy to come to Sharpsburg with the balloons without delay. I started immediately, and on the third day from Washington I arrived with the train at Sharpsburg. The delay was occasioned by General A. A. Humphreys being ordered to take command of a division, and the aeronautic department having been left without the proper authority being vested in me to act independently, I was unable to accompany the army as formerly.

During the battle of Antietam General McClellan remarked on several occasions that the balloon would be invaluable to him, and he repeated this to me when I arrived, assuring me that better facilities should be afforded me in future. It was evident that he was extremely anxious to obtain information of movements at certain points which could be furnished only by the aeronaut, which if he had obtained might have resulted in the complete defeat and utter rout of the enemy while trying to effect his escape across the Potomac. On this occasion he greatly felt the need of reports from the balloons, which, having been on so many previous occasions furnished without even being called for, were perhaps not sufficiently valued.

On the night of my arrival the balloons were made ready, and the next morning I pointed out the enemy, who were in force near Martinsburg, Va. The balloons were kept in use at this point until the rebel army left for Winchester, and one was also employed at Bolivar Heights. The observations made here in the vicinity of mountains 1,200 feet high, were mainly of use is enabling us to change our position and approach nearer to the enemy.

When the army took up its march intmmanded by the mountains, and as it was not thought that balloon observations along this route were needed, I was ordered to proceed to Washington, to move out on the railroad, where better facilities for transportation, &c., could be had.

On the 1st of November I received the following:


November 1, 1862.

Professor LOWE:

Under all the circumstances General McClellan thinks it best that you should return to Washington with everything pertaining to the balloon department, and hold that department in readiness to take the field at any very short notice.

Acknowledge this.


Assistant Adjutant-General.

There seemed to be no further use for balloons now until the army reached Fredericksburg.

In order that the new commander of the Army of the Potomac,