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Gettysburg - Union Air Force
When Joshua and Tom Chamberlain are talking with eachother, they split up and Tom talks to some P.O.Ws, look when Josh and Tom split up. There's a plane overhead! Did the U.S. secretly build an air force in 1863??
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Special Requirements: Gettysburg part1
Contributed By: Anonymous on 05-12-2000 and Reviewed By: Webmaster
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Knight1192 writes:
In fact the federal government had had an "air force" by the time the battle took place. In fact the war also saw, for the first time in world history, anti-aircraft fire and the first "aircraft carrier". However, none of these were as we know them today. The "air force" was in actuality observation balloons, the first one bought by the military costing $850 and was built by John Wise of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The father of the Union's "air force", however, must be New Hamsphire born Professor Thaddeus S. C. Lowe, who, on June 18, 1861, demonstrated the usefulness of aerial observation. In a demonstration at DC's Columbian Armory, Lowe took the ballon Enterprise to an altitude of 500 feet. via a telegraph line leading to a ground station, Low sent the following message to Lincoln: Sir: This point of observation commands an area of nearly 50 miles in diameter. The city, with it's girdle of encampments, presents a superb scene. I have pleasure in sending you this first dispatch ever telegraphed from an aerial station. . . . T.S.C. Lowe Lowe would go on to outstrip all rivals as far as this "air force" was concerned. For one, he organized the army's balloon corps. In other words, what could be viewed as the Civil War era equivalent of the future Army Air Corps and then the Air Force. He then converted the coal barge USS George Washington Parke Custis into the first "aircraft carrier", making it so observation balloons could make efficient ascensions and landings on the barge. His balloon corps would also provide greater accuracy for artillery fire. Anti-aircraft fire came in the form of cannons, and probably rifled muskets, being fired at the balloons. Sadly, the Army Balloon Corps was disbanded in June of 1863, which means that balloon observation played no part in the Battle of Gettysburg. At it's height, the corps only had seven trained ballonists in the field and a half doven ballons. The only member of the corps known to have died in action was D.D. Lathrop, a telegraph operator who died near Yorktown at the base of a telegraph pole. Of course observation balloons are a far cry from airplanes. And now that that bit of trivia is out of the way, I'd like to turn my attention to the slip-up itself. First, let me state that I own the movie on DVD. So can I ask someone for a little more accuracy as to where the plane is supposed to appear? I mean, is it before Chamberlain's speech to the 2nd Maine or is it after? I was looking through every spot I could think of in that section of the movie and I couldn't find a plane. Perhaps someone edited the plane out using a computer when the movie was being transfered to DVD and appears on video only. Or, which seems more likely, it's there and I just missed it.
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