Looking at Earth


To Joseph Henry

Professor Joseph Henry
Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution
Washington, D.C.

Dear Sir.

I beg pardon for troubling you with my affairs connected with the Government but in as much as the first operations of Balloons for Military purposes were under your immediate supervision, and you being acquainted with the fact that these experiments were made with my own machinery and subsequently used in the field by order of Captain A. W. Whipple later Gen'l Whipple now dead and from whom I can get no assistance, I hope that you will find it consistent to furnish to the Hon. Secretary of War such a statement as will satisfy him of the truthfulness of my claims. In order that you may know what my claims are and judge of their correctness I enclose them with this letter....

The way I now stand in relation to my employment with the government is this... The amount I have received for service has barely supported my family at home and myself in the field. For want of a proper investigation of the advantages of my branch of science and proper organization of the Department its use has been suspended, which throws me out of employment too late in the season to resume my former enterprise, besides which my health is considerably impaired by hard work and constant exposure in the field - while in the government employ I have managed my Department, with the strictest economy and with the very best of faith and did all that I possibly could for the cause in which we were engaged.

My report shows this and also the great value of my services on several particular occasions in testimony of which I have letters from Major Generals Heintzelman and Stoneman and shall soon have obtained a dozen others from Generals who have used the balloons...

As things now stand, I hope at least to be able to obtain the amount contained in the accompanying accounts and the one already at the War Department for the approval of the Hon. Secretary of War the whole amounting to about three thousand dollars. Should I meet with much delay in getting this amount it will probably defeat the object for which I have been laboring for many years, and will consequently put me to much distress. Again, asking your pardon for troubling you. Knowing as I do, that in addition to your labors at the Smithsonian Institution, that much of your time is occupied in rendering valuable scientific service in the General Government.

I remain with great respect
Your ever obd't servant
T. S. C. Lowe
No 1617 Race St.

From Stoneman

Washington DC
July 10th 1863

My dear Sir

Before we part I beg leave to testify to you in writing as I often have in words, my appreciation of the valuable services you have rendered the Govt during your connection with the Army of the Potomac in the use of your "portable Balloons" in the various operation of that Army.

I have been up in them often and never made an ascent without coming down much better informed in regard to everything in my vicinity than I could possibly have been by any other means...

I trust you will not be discouraged but will persevere in your laudable endeavours to serve the Govt and the cause, feeling assured that in the end you will be able to do away with the prejudices with which you have had to contend, and prove to the world the great utility of Balloons and Balloon Signals in the conduct of a war, and remain

Very truly yours
George Stoneman
Maj Genl
Comdg Cavly Corps