The history of the first balloons to be used during the american civil war

Kongming lantern[ edit ] Kongming lanterns were used as military signalling. Zhuge Liang used paper made "lanterns", or hot air balloons, to signal the rescue forces. The Kongming lantern become a common military signal in Chinaand it was inherited by the Mongolian troops, seen in the Battle of Legnica. Flying the Kongming lantern is now a civilian festival of memorizing chancellor Zhuge Liang in the Lantern Festival.

The history of the first balloons to be used during the american civil war

Pipestem,WV Both the Union and Confederate armies used balloons for reconnaissance during the American Civil War, marking the first time that balloons were used in the United States for reconnaissance.

The professional aeronaut John Wise was the first to receive orders to build a balloon for the Union army. However, the balloon never was used because it escaped its tethers and was shot down to prevent it from falling into Confederate hands.

Thaddeus Lowe and John LaMountain both carried out reconnaissance activities for the Union army during the war. Lowe had foreseen the usefulness of balloon observations when he had accidentally landed in South Carolina on a flight from Cincinnati, Ohio, to the Atlantic Ocean in April Treasury Secretary Salmon P.

This corps would provide aerial reconnaissance for the Union armies. On July 17,Lowe demonstrated his ideas for balloon reconnaissance and also for sending telegrams from the balloon to the commanders below. He used the Enterprise, attached to tethers and floating feet meters above Washington, D.

President Lincoln was duly impressed. Lowe received funds to build a balloon on August 2, Because he was forced to inflate the balloon with gas from municipal lines in Washington, D.

C he had not received his funds yet for a portable gas generatorthe balloon could not be moved far, which limited operations to the Washington, DC, area. On September 24,Lowe ascended to more than 1, feet meters near Arlington, Virginia, across the Potomac River from Washington, DC, and began telegraphing intelligence on the Confederate troops located at Falls Church, Virginia, more than three miles 4.

Union guns were aimed and fired accurately at the Confederate troops without actually being able to see them—a first in the history of warfare.

This triumph led the Secretary of War Simon Cameron to direct Lowe to build four additional balloons. Two more followed shortly. The balloons ranged in size from 32, cubic feet cubic meters down to 15, cubic feet cubic meters.

Each had enough cable to climb 5, feet meters. At the same time, fellow aeronaut John LaMountain was also attempting to provide balloon services for the Union. He wrote to Secretary Cameron inbut, because he had no influential backers, LaMountain did not receive a reply.

The North’s Air Force During the American Civil War

Butler, contacted him and asked for a demonstration. Using the Atlantic, which he had used to attempt to reach the Atlantic Ocean earlier, he made two successful ascents at Fort Monroe in July LaMountain had actually made the first aerial reconnaissance of the Civil War and also was the first to gather intelligence by free balloon flight rather than from a tethered balloon.

LaMountain, however, did not have the Union Army behind him, and he had difficulty obtaining equipment. He managed to obtain another balloon, the Saratoga.

That balloon, however, was lost on November 16, Each man found supporters, and the rivalry between the two grew.

History of military ballooning - Wikipedia

Finally, after accusations and hostilities on both sides, on February 19,General McClellan dismissed LaMountain from any further service to the military. Lowe continued providing tactical reports to the Union troops. He provided information during the siege of Yorktown, Virginia, and in late Aprilat Fredericksburg, he transmitted hourly reports on Confederate movements.

The history of the first balloons to be used during the american civil war

During the battle of Fair Oaks, Virginia, Lowe continually transmitted information on enemy troop positions. Observations made during this battle proved to be crucial to the Union victory.

The presence of the balloons forced the Confederates to conceal their forces. To avoid detection, they blacked out their camps after dark and also created dummy encampments and gun emplacements, all of which took valuable time and personnel.

However, the balloon corps did not last until the end of the war.Were balloons used by world militaries before the American Civil War? The French Committee of Public Safety created a Corp d’Aerostiers in Intended to conduct aerial reconnaissance, the balloons first went into action during the battles of Charleroi and Fleurus later that year.

The first major-scale use of balloons in the military occurred during the American Civil War with the Union Army Balloon Corps established and organized by Prof.

Civil War Background

Thaddeus S. C. Lowe in the summer of During the American Civil War, the Union troops used hot air balloons to spy on Confederate troops.

The idea to use balloons was the brainchild of Salmon P. Chase, the Secretary of the Treasury, and Joseph Henry, the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. These Civil War Hot Air Balloons Were Basically the First Reconnaissance Drones.

The Drones of the Civil War. It produced casualty figures never before seen in American history. Sep 19,  · I was looking into Hot Air Balloons used during the Civil war and came across some interesting facts.

Like the balloons used by the union were Hydrogen Filled Balloons not hot air and they had gas generators that produce the Hydrogen. The most amazing fact I learned was the first Aircraft Carrier. Union balloons were employed around Washington DC and Manassas in , used extensively during the Peninsula Campaign, and employed during the Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville campaigns.

In the western theater, balloons were used to support the campaign against Island Number 10 in the Mississippi River.

If you thought that air warfare was reserved for a time after airplanes were invented, you thought wrong. The idea to use balloons was the brainchild of Salmon P.
Civil War Ballooning | American Battlefield Trust Visit Website Did you know?
The North's Air Force During the American Civil War Please Rate Both the Union and Confederate armies used balloons for reconnaissance during the American Civil War, marking the first time that balloons were used in the United States for reconnaissance. The professional aeronaut John Wise was the first to receive orders to build a balloon for the Union army.
Union Army Balloon Corps - Wikipedia President Abraham Lincoln became interested in an air-war mechanism for reconnaissance purposes.
Balloons in The Civil War | American Civil War Forums