The Field Glasses
In 1862, as part of a new Union strategy to use hot air balloons both for surveillance and possible battle, it is Porter who first scrambles into a balloon basket invented by New Hampshire native, Thaddeus Lowe. Porter makes aerial drawings of Confederate camps at Yorktown using these field glasses. He made use of the surveying and drafting skills he learned at West Point. Note that the field glasses are well used, dented and bent, no doubt due to incidents such as the one on 2 April 1862, which are discussed in previous blog posts. The glasses were put on deposit at Manassas Battlefield by Porter’s daughter Eva in 1947.
General Fitz John Porter’s field glasses, used c. 1862.
Courtesy, National Park Service: Manassas Battlefield Park.
Photograph, courtesy Brain Smestad, 2011.