Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Civil War's "Kitty Hawk" Moment-- Part 2

Mike Boehme, director of the Virginia Aviation Museum said, "This was the first time that opposing air forces were facing each other."

Today, the Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT), a nonprofit group devoted to saving battlefields, is seeking to save the ground where the Union balloons were launched. Little of the original Gaines Mill Battlefield has been preserved, but the 285-acre slice of it the group wants to save includes the ravine that shielded the balloons from Confederate fire.

Gaines Mill was one of the biggest and bloodiest battles where Confederate General Robert E. Lee recorded his first victory on June 27, 1862, which led to the Seven Days battles which turned away Union forces trying to capture Richmond.

The CWPT's Rob Shenk was attending a Civil War ballooning presentation when he realized that the launch site was part of the land the group was about to save.

Until the war, balloons were mostly a fair attraction. Come the war, New Englander Thaddeus Lowe became the Father of military aerial reconnaissance by dazzling President Lincoln with the balloon possibilities.

There Is No Place Like Home. --Old B-R'er

No comments: