Confederate Aeronautic Corps, John Randolph Bryan, Lee Hall Mansion

1861 – President Abraham Lincoln Commissioned The United States Balloon Corps

Professor Thaddeus Sobieski Constantine Lowe placing heated air in a surveillance balloon in Fair Oaks, Virginia. (May 1862)

During the summer of 1861, President Abraham Lincoln commissioned the United States Balloon Corps. The Union Army utilized the U.S. Balloon Corps in Virginia to observe various Confederate positions from afar.

Painting of Professor Thaddeus Sobieski Constantine Lowe.

Professor Thaddeus Sobieski Constantine Lowe was an aeronautics expert whom was utilized for various surveillance balloon launches. On April 13, 1862, Virginia Military Institute graduate John Randolph Bryan launched the first Confederate Army surveillance balloon by the Lee Hall Mansion of Newport News, Virginia.

Photograph of John Randolph Bryan.

A year after Lincoln established the U.S. Balloon Corps, the Confederate Aeronautic Corps was established. The Confederate Aeronautic Corps operated form 1862 to 1865.

Exhibit on the Confederate Aeronautic Corps and the United States Balloon Corps at the Cold War Musuem in Warrenton, Virginia.

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