War of the Rebellion: Serial 124 Page 0302 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

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SPECIAL ORDERS,

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, Numbers 95.

Camp near Falmouth, April 7, 1863.

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12. Captain C. B. Comstock, Corps of Engineers, is assigned to the immediate charge of the balloon establishment, and hereafter no issues or expenditure will be made on account of the same, except upon requisitions and accounts approved by that officer.

By command of Major-General Hooker:

S. WILLIAMS,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

Professor LOWE.

ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,

Near Falmouth, April 9, 1863.

Captain C. B. COMSTOCK,

Corps, of Engineers, Army of the Potomac:

CAPTAIN: I am notified by a copy of Special Orders, Numbers 95, of April 7, 1863, that the balloon establishment is placed in your charge. Will you therefore please inform me of what duties I am expected to perform under your direction, that I may know how to proceed without conflicting with your arrangements.

I remain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

T. S. C. LOWE.

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,

April 10, 1863.

Honorable P. H. WATSON,

Assistant Secretary of War:

SIR: In view of the present situation of our forces in the vicinity of Charleston and Baton Rouge, I would respectfully beg leave to submit the following statement:

I have a faithful person (aeronaut) who has been operating under my direction in this department for over a year; therefore, inasmuch as I have another assistant and some soldiers whom I have instructed sufficiently to help manage the balloon here, Mr. Allen - the person alluded to - could be spared for one of the other places. A complete set of apparatus is ready and can be shipped at short notice if required. The balloons here are constantly ready, and are used nearly every day more or less, and I have made preparation to render the utmost service at the next battle. The report that you requested from me is in progress and will soon be completed. It required more time than I at first supposed.

I remain, with great respect, your most obedient servant,

T. S. C. LOWE,

Chief of Aeronautics, Army of the Potomac.

CAMP NEAR FALMOUTH, VA., April 12, 1863.

Captain C. B. COMSTOCK,

Corps of Engineers:

CAPTAIN: Between 5 and 7 o"clock this p. m. I made two ascents with the balloon near White Oak Church, and obtained a very good view of the enemy's camps for a distance of about five miles. Beyond that distance the atmosphere was quite smoky. Along the ridge for a distance of about seven miles the enemy's camps are quite numerous, the heaviest being southwest, south, and southeast from where the balloon is anchored. From appearances I should judge they are fully as strong as ever. A clearer atmosphere, however, will enable me to form a better idea of their relative strength, &c.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

T. S. C. LOWE.

On the 12th of April I received the following order and instructions, which, considering the services I had rendered for two years and the experience I had acquired, I respectfully submit to the Honorable Secretary were as unnecessary as they were unexpected. I would call especial attention to the following communications up to May 7, 1863 (at which time I left the Army of the Potomac), that the Honorable