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.
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.
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.