Thursday, March 17, 2011

Union Balloons-- Part 2

The last two balloons were 60 feet tall and made of silk with a heavy linen cord casing covered with layers of shellac to keep gas from escaping.

No balloon was ever hit by Confederate fire because they were kept far behind lines, out of range.

At Budd's ferry in Maryland, balloons were launched from a barge in the middle of the river, hence, the first aircraft carrier.

Balloon pilots received $10 a day, the same as a colonel got.

However, in April 1863, the use of balloons stopped.

In 1891, Confederate General E.P. Alexander related, "I have never understood why the enemy abandoned the use of military balloons early in 1863, after using then extensively up to that time. Even if the observer never saw anything they would have been worth all they cost for the annoyance and delays they caused us in trying to keep our movements out of their sight."

Thaddeas Lowe made and lost several fortunes before dying penniless in 1913.

A Little-Known Aspect of the War. --Old B-R'er

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