Union Army Balloon Corps - Russell K. Dutcher III. United States Air Force historian, genealogist, and great-great grandson of a Union Army veteran; Russell Dutcher has compiled the Official Report of Professor Thaddeus Sobieski Constantine Lowe and his Union Army Balloon Corps during the Great War of the Rebellion. This is a fascinating look at a man many consider to be the true "Father of the United States Air Force." This book traces Lowe's formation of the balloon corps in July 1861 and provides a detailed account of its operations through the end of December 1863, when the corps virtually ceased to exist as a cohesive unit. This volume also includes a brief biography of Lowe, pages of illustrations, and a listing of the balloons, as well as some detailed observations of the unit's operations through the eyes of third party entities. There are many firsts included in this report such as Lowe's utilization of ground to air communication via telegraph, the first use of mobile field hydrogen gas generators for balloon inflation during field operations, and the first documented aerial accident investigation conducted by a person other than Lowe himself. Also, the concept of real time aerial reconnaissance of enemy positions greatly impacted the Army's ability to deploy forces in a structured and efficient manner. That aside, these records will provide invaluable information to students of the American Civil War, and to those enthusiasts and reenactors fascinated by this most crucial time period in American history. This book examines one of the most important records regarding an inventor, visionary and innovator and his little known, yet extremely important self-contained unit, which paved the way for future experimentations regarding aerial flight and ultimately led to the formation of the world's modern air forces. 2009, 5½x8½, paper, 206 pp.