Join us on Friday, November 13 at 12 p.m. for a virtual lecture with author and historian John V. Quarstein, director emeritus of the USS Monitor Center. Quarstein will give a 30-minute presentation live from his home in Hampton, Virginia, about the use of balloons for reconnaissance during the Civil War.
About the lecture:
Gas and hot air balloons were first used for military purposes in America during the Civil War. The first launching of an observation balloon was made on July 31, 1861, by aeronaut John LaMountain who had traveled to Fort Monroe, Virginia. LaMountain wanted to get a closer look at Confederate fortifications defending Norfolk. He turned USS Fanny into the first aircraft carrier when he lifted from the ship’s deck on August 3, 1861. Professor Thaddeus S. C. Lowe created the US Balloon Corps and supported the Army of the Potomac during the 1862 Peninsula Campaign. Although cumbersome to move and challenging to operate, these balloons were effective intelligence tools when properly used.