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Object Record

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Object Name BALLOON
Title Gazelle
Catalog Number 0985.13.00792
Date 1862
Description Fragment of balloon: Two pieces of dress silk, sewn together. One fabric is a dark blue plaid, and one is a light background printed with clover. Fabric is very faded. Framed in a wooden double-sided frame.
Dimensions W-12 L-10 inches
Owned Thaddeus S. C. Lowe; Langdon Cheves
Owner Regiment Gazelle (balloon)
Event Seven Days Battles (Peninsula Campaign)
Provenance Fragment of Confederate hot air balloon, Gazelle. Constructed in April 1862, and flown for reconnaisance purposes before battle of Gaines Mill in June 1862; captured aboard the CSS Teaser on the James River in July 4, 1862.

The balloon was stitched together by dress silk. Lieutenant-General James Longstreet in his book, The Story of the Civil War, wrote that "the Federals gathered it in and with it the last silk dress in the Confederacy. This capture was the meanest trick of the war and one I have never forgiven."

Section of printed silk balloon fabric from a captured Confederate hot air balloon "Gazelle". Referred to by Confederate general James Longstreet as the "silk dress balloon," the craft was constructed of bolts of dress silk. Constructed by captain Langdon Cheves and aeronaut Charles Cevor, the balloon, dubbed the Gazelle, saw service during the Peninsula campaign of 1862. The balloon was captured on July 3, 1862, while being moved aboard an armed tug. - paraphrased from Smithsonian NASM website

"On the 4th of July we were ordered to go with the balloon down the James River to try and find him (McClellan). We took the balloon on board the tugboat 'Teaser' and started down the river, and went about twenty miles down made ascentions and found his army down between the Chickahominy and James Rivers. But, owing to the obsinacy of the boat's captain, he ran aground, and the enemy got our boat and the balloon. Ourselves and the crew escaped and returned to Richmond..." (statement of Adolphus Morse, in "Reminiscences of the Boys in Grey 1861-1865", Vol. II by Mary Yeary [Dallas: Smith & Lamar, 1912], p. 547)

The balloon
People Lowe, Thaddeus S. C.
Longstreet, James
Cheves, Langdon
Cevor, Charles
Morse, Adolphus E.
Search Terms Air Corps of the Confederacy
Seven Days Battles
Peninsula Campaign
Subjects Aerial warfare
Air forces
Hot air balloons