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In July 1861, Professor Thaddeus Lowe was appointed Chief Aeronaut of the Union Army Balloon Corps, charged with making reconnaissance ascensions. The use of the reconnaissance balloon was, “one of the innovative techniques the North used to its advantage during the Civil War…. The balloon’s weaknesses were its slow maneuverability and vulnerability to ground fire,” noted artist Tom Lovell, whose painting here depicts Confederate soldiers attempting to shoot down Lowe’s hydrogen observation balloon “Intrepid” at Yorktown, Virginia.  

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