Page Links

Narrow Your Results

Filter Your Results

Expeditions Information

Close Browse records and papers documenting scientific and collecting expeditions either affiliated with the Smithsonian, or with which Smithsonian researchers participated. Pre-set filters help narrow searches by geographic regions predominantly represented in expedition records.

Smithsonian Secretaries Information

Close Browse records and papers of the Smithsonian Secretaries, from 1846 until today. Pre-set filters help narrow searches by individuals who have held that office.

Professional Societies Information

Close Browse records of professional societies closely associated with the Smithsonian, that focus on areas of scientific research and museum studies. Pre-set filters help narrow searches by major topics and disciplines.

Thaddeus Lowe's Balloon Ascent

Brady & Co. (Washington, D.C.)
Thaddeus Lowe's Balloon Ascent
Lincoln, Abraham
Data Source:
Smithsonian Archives - History Div
May 31, 1862, Civil War, 1861-1865
Note that this is a composite image, consisting of the May 31, 1862, stereo view photograph showing people on the ground and the basket of the balloon, with the balloon labeled "Intrepid" drawn in above the original image.
Image of Thaddeus Lowe's balloon test of the "Intrepid" at the battle of Fair Oaks, Virginia, during the Peninsular Campaign, May-August 1862. Lowe's balloon was used for reconnaissance for the Union Army during the Civil War. Using a telegraph the driver could send a message about Confederate camps and troop movements to soldiers below who then gave the information to Union generals. The test was supported by Smithsonian Institution Secretary Joseph Henry, who served as President Abraham Lincoln's scientific advisor during the war.
Contained in:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 95, Box 54, Folder: 9D
No restrictions
Ballooning, Telegraph, Hot air balloons, Experiments, Soldiers, Tents, Aeronautics, Fair Oaks, Battle of, Va., 1862, Balloon ascensions, History
Lowe, T. S. C (Thaddeus Sobieski Coulincourt) 1832-1913, Henry, Joseph 1797-1878, Lincoln, Abraham 1809-1865, Intrepid (Hot Air Balloon)
Historic Images of the Smithsonian
United States, Virginia
Event, Photographic print, Group, candid
Local Number:
SIA2011-0961 and A30915H
Physical Description:
Number of Images: 1; Color: Black and White; Size: 10w x 8h; Type of Image: Event; Group, candid; Medium: Photographic print
Full Record:!sichronology&uri=full=3100001~!12871~!0#focus
Thaddeus Lowe's Balloon Ascent

Using the Archives' Collections

The Smithsonian Institution Archives welcomes personal and educational use of its collections unless otherwise noted. Please cite the Smithsonian Institution Archives as the source of the content, and when possible, link to the Smithsonian Archives website ( Please let us know how you are using our collections for your projects. If you would like to see a collection in person, please note that most records and special collections are stored off-site, so researchers should contact the Reference Team at least one week prior to visiting to ensure that records can be made available in the Archives Reading Room. For information on commercial licensing or other uses, visit Rights and Reproductions. More information available within the Smithsonian’s Terms of Use policy.

Note: In order to access PDFs, you must have the Adobe Acrobat Reader software which is available free of charge.