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US Civil War observation balloon. The balloon, near Gaines Mill, Virginia, is being inflated by gas being piped through tubes from the containers at left. This balloon was designed by Professor Thaddeus S. C. Lowe (1831-1913), who is standing to the right of the balloon. Lowe had been designing and building balloons since the 1850s, and established the Union Army Balloon Corps to perform aerial reconnaissance during the US Civil War (1861-1865). Despite some successes, problems led to the Balloon Corps being disbanded in 1863.
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