Thursday, April 18, 2019 at 7 PM – 9 PM
Greentown United Methodist Church
3088 State St NW, Greentown, Ohio 44720
Kevin Knapp is a retired Army Officer, former professional hot air balloon pilot, past Board Member of the Balloon Federation of America, and Civil War Balloon Corps enthusiast. He has owned and operated the modern “ARMY” Balloon since 1993 and shares oral and living history as Thaddeus S. C Lowe, Chief Aeronaut, of the Army of the Potomac’s Balloon Corps. In 2006 Kevin was the co-pilot for the winning team of the America’s Challenge Gas Balloon Race flying from Albuquerque, New Mexico to Citra, Florida – 1,478 miles in 60 hours and 45 minutes. Most recently, Kevin operated the Command Center for Jonathan Trappe’s attempt to cross the Atlantic flying a Cluster Balloon System and provided commentary discussing Jonathan’s flight for a segment of “Weather Caught on Camera” for The Weather Channel.
Kevin Knapp’s portrayal of Thaddeus Lowe has been featured at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, the National Civil War Museum, by the US National Park Service Civil War Defense of Washington, Fort Ward, and Gaines Mill Battlefield, as well as the cities of Fairfax, Falls Church, Gloucester, Manassas, Yorktown, Fredericksburg, and Chancellorsville Virginia’s Civil War Sesquicentennial Committees. Civil War Roundtable presentations include: Southern Maryland, Kansas City, National Capitol Area, Montgomery County (MD), New York City, North Shore (Long Island), the Warwick County Historical Society, and the County of Wight Museum. Knapp was also featured in the 2006 History Channel’s “Man, Moment, and Machine’s” segment on Civil War Ballooning called “Lincoln’s Flying Spy Machine.”
Balloons were used for surveillance and reconnaissance during the Civil War by the Union Army from 1861 through 1863 and by Confederate Army in 1862. The North made over 3,000 ascensions with seven balloons and the South made less than 10 ascensions with two. Years after the war the famous Artillery Officer and observer in the Confederate’s second balloon, E.P. Alexander wrote. “I never understood why the enemy abandoned the use of military balloons … Even if the observers never saw anything, they would have been worth all they cost for the annoyance and delays they caused us in trying to keep our movement out of sight.” In this presentation you will learn about the first air to ground telegraph, the first field hydrogen generators, the first air directed artillery fire, the first air craft carrier, the first time two opposing forces had aircraft in the air at the same time, and the beginning of U.S. Military Aviation.