Chief Aeronaut Thaddeus Lowe

The Civil War saw warfare brought to the air.  Perhaps the foremost American balloonist prior to the War, Thaddeus Lowe, with the title of Chief Aeronaut, was placed in charge of the Union Army Balloon Corps.  Despite the title, the Army command was skeptical of the military use of balloons, and the Balloon Corps was a civilian organization, with the balloonists having no military rank.  Lowe rendered valuable reconnaissance service in the Peninsula Campaign, with aerial observations during the Battle of Seven Pines.

Lowe also saw service at Antietam and Fredericksburg.  In early 1863 the Balloon Corps was placed under the Engineer Corps.  Lowe’s pay was cut by 2/3s and his authority undercut.  Lowe resigned and by August 1863 the Balloon Corps had ceased to exist.  After the War Lowe prospered as an inventor.  He lived until 1913, long enough to see heavier than air flight.

Published in: on August 18, 2021 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Chief Aeronaut Thaddeus Lowe  
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