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Civil War Balloon Corps re-enactors to land in Yorktown and Gloucester

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On Memorial Day, Monday, May 28, the Gloucester Sesquicentennial Civil War Committee will present “The Birth of Military Aviation” from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Gloucester Main Street Library. This re-enactment will feature a 45-foot in diameter replica of the Union Forces’ hot air balloon “Intrepid” (above).

On Saturday, May 26, the Civil War Balloon Observation Exhibit will be featured at the Yorktown Battlefield from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Kevin Knapp, a retired Army officer, professional balloon pilot and Civil War Balloon Corps enthusiast, will share presentations on how balloons were used for observation and surveillance by both the North and the South. His presentation will include the complete history of balloon operations from their first appearance in 1861 to the end of the Balloon Corps in 1863. Special emphasis will focus on balloon operations during the Peninsula Campaign in 1862. For Yorktown event information contact 757-890-3500 or http://www.visityorktown.org.

On Memorial Day Monday, May 28, the Gloucester County Parks, Recreation & Tourism Department and the Gloucester Sesquicentennial Civil War Committee will present “The Birth of Military Aviation” from Civil War aeronauts to modern flight. These events will take place at the Gloucester Main Street Library at 6920 Main Street from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For more information about the Gloucester event contact the Gloucester Parks, Recreation & Tourism office at 804-693-0014 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday or visit http://www.visitgloucesterva.org.

This Civil War re-enactment will feature a 45-foot in diameter replica of the Union Forces’ hot air balloon “Intrepid.” Re-enactors will portray Union balloonist Thaddeus Lowe and Gloucester’s own Confederate balloonist John Randolph Bryan.

Other activities in Gloucester will include authors providing presentations and booksignings. Special guests will include Richard C. Kirkland, a retired pilot who flew 103 combat missions in WWII and whose 69 helicopter rescues in Korea provided the material for the movie and television series M*A*S*H. 

Another featured guest in Gloucester will be John V. Quarstein, award-winning historian, preservationist, lecturer and author who served as director of the Virginia War Museum for over 30 years. Quarstein will be making a presentation from his new book about the Battle of the Ironclads titled “CSS Virginia Sink before Surrender.”

posted 05.16.2012

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