PROFESSOR THADDEUS LOWE

THE CIVIL WAR YEARS

Second Meeting with President Abraham Lincoln - June 18, 1861

Memoirs of Thaddeus Lowe, pages 68-71.

   I had then begun to make some demonstrations at my own expense and I gave Professor Henry all the rehearsals he desired, sending up the balloon under many conditions. On the Smithsonian grounds, on the grounds of the White House, and in the environs of Washington, and satisfied the distinguished scientist as to its practical value.

    In these experiments I had taken up a wire to show the President that, when at a high altitude, and over-looking the enemy, I could telegraph to the headquarters of the army or to the White House, giving practically a map of the enemy's position. This was the first time such a thing had been accomplished.

    Upon receipt of this, President Lincoln sent for me and insisted that I spend the night in the White House where we could thoroughly discuss the important question.

    The President was intensely interested in my outline of the proposed Aeronautic Corps and after the departure of his secretaries and assistants, we discussed the possibilities of the service and the details of operation. He was especially interested in my plan for directing the fire of artillery on an enemy that the gunners themselves could not see.

    We talked till late into the night, and then retired, he wearied with the cares of State, and I almost too excited to sleep, so enthused was I at the prospect of being directed to form a new branch of the military service.

    After breakfast the following morning, the President directed his Secretary to give me a letter of introduction to Lieutenant General Scott, stating the object of my visit, and that the plans proposed had the President's endorsement.

    General Scott was the head of the army, then a very old man with half a century of distinguished service behind him. He was the country's "Grand Old Man" and greatly esteemed by everyone, but he was now very infirm, pompous, and with many of the affectations which sometimes go with extreme age and it was extremely difficult to engage his attention. His mind was centered on the make-up of an army as he had always known it and he did not care for innovations. It was evident that the General of the Army had no interest in a Aeronautic Corps.

INDEX PAGE

BEFORE THE WAR

CIVIL WAR YEARS

INVENTIONS AND INDUSTRY

NORRISTOWN PENNSYLVANIA YEARS

PASADENA CALIFORNIA YEARS

MOUNT LOWE RAILWAY

AFTER THE RAILWAY

LOWE FAMILY

BOOKS ABOUT LOWE

NEWSPAPER ARTICLES

EVENTS AND REUNIONS

ARTIFACTS AND HISTORY

ENCYCLOPEDIA BIOGRAPHY

ACCLAMATIONS AND AWARDS

LINKS TO OTHER THADDEUS LOWE WEBSITES