The Airship Could Have Saved the Confederacy... !

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#21
1548194159719.png




[Q

UOTE="John Hartwell, post: 1971624, member: 5391"]
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[/QUOTE]

There a whole story behind Davidson's Artisavis... a con man he was... maybe he is the inventor of steampunk! Its a short artcle and worth a read and laugh... some snippets to wet your imagination...

http://www.beyondthecrater.com/news...-artis-avis-and-a-nineteenth-century-con-man/

Snippets...

By January 1864, Davidson was reduced to appealing to the Quartermaster General’s Office of the Confederate Army, and to the public at large through newspapers. Attempting to capture the imagination of the masses, Davidson published an article in the Richmond Daily Dispatch that Billy Mitchell would have been proud to claim: “let it be supposed that…1,000 of these Birds of Art were stationed at a point five miles distant from a hostile military camp, fortification, or fleet of war vessels; that each Artisavis was supplied with a fifty pound explosive shell, and being started singly, or two or three abreast, going out and dropping those destructive missiles from a point of elevation beyond the reach of the enemy’s guns, then returning to the place of departure and reloading, and thus continuing the movement at the rate of 100 miles per hour. It will be seen that within the period of twelve hours, one hundred and fifty thousand death dealing bombs, could be thus thrown down upon the foe, a force that no defensive art on land, however solid, could withstand even for a single day; while exposed armies and ships would be almost instantly destroyed, without the least chance of escape.”


Snippet...

Davidson had a history as an “aeronautical engineer,” using the terms loosely, a history that far predated the war, a history he avoided. In 1840, he published a Disclosure of the Discovery and Invention, and a Description of the Plan of Construction and Mode of Operation of the Aerostat: or a New Mode of Aerostation. Davidson’s “Aerostat” invention was a “flapping wing machine,” patterned after the American eagle, with an attached hot air balloon. The balloon would lift a “car,” and an operator, seated in the car, would manually flap the attached wings to manage the contraption’s descent.

Snippet...

In response to Davidson’s “invention,” an anonymous “Member of the L.L.B.B.” (Louisville, Kentucky, Literary Brass Band) published a small book, The Great Steam Duck: Or A Concise Description of a Most Useful and Extraordinary Invention for Aerial Navigation. The Steam Duck opened by pointing out an 1833 publication authored by H. Straight, of New York, describing an invention nearly identical to Davidson’s, whose 1840 publication thus represented neither a “discovery” nor anything “new.” The author panned Straight’s/Davidson’s entire concept as impractical, then proceeded to describe a superior flying machine, a “flying duck,” measuring fifteen feet by six feet. The cabin of the Duck would be constructed of a hickory frame, covered in canvas; the wings of whalebone and silk; a steam engine, located in the craw of the beast, powered the wings; and a “scap pipe” was located under the duck’s tail. After describing the design of the “Steam Duck” in explicit detail, the author disavowed the plan and grouped the whole notion with Davidson’s work as impractical fakes. The author had some idea of the many technical advances required before powered, manned flight could be realized.

Snippet...

Wartime descriptions leave little doubt that “Artis Avis” was merely the “Great Steam Duck,” presented as a farce twenty years earlier, with a few cosmetic changes and a trapdoor. Colonel Coward wasn’t the only skeptic; Simms concluded, “I should as soon look for perpetual motion to be invented as for one of Davidson’s birds to rise and fly…I never gave him anything, he received from the Brigade one hundred and twenty seven dollars – pretty liberal patronage for a humbug.” Another soldier’s reminiscence provides insight into the minds of the hundreds of Confederate soldiers who fell prey to Davidson’s presentations: “I didn’t have any money to give, but I was sure anxious to see that man stampede the Yankee army.”
 

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#22
What if the Confederacy had created an effective airship during the Civil War... It could have happened the first Airships were originally called dirigible balloons flew in 1852 in France... The word "dirigible," in fact, comes from the French word diriger, meaning "to direct or to steer."


Henri Giffard's steam-powered airship flew in 1852.
View attachment 258992

A little history:
The thought:

In 1784, General Jean Baptiste Marie Meusnier designed an elliptical airship that was about 260 feet (79 meters) long. It was to be powered by three hand-cranked propellers, which required the labor of 80 men. Meusnier's design was never built.

The Action:

In 1850, another Frenchmen, Pierre Jullien of Villejuif, demonstrated a cigar-shaped model airship at the Paris Hippodrome. The airship's rudder, elevator, and gondola were mounted under the front part of the balloon. A clockwork motor that drove two airscrews mounted on either side of a center line propelled the airship. A light wire frame stiffened by a truss maintained the bag's form. Jullien was onto something that another man would leverage.

The moment:

Jules Henri Giffard, a French engineer and inventor, took note of Jullien's design. He built the first full-size airship — a cigar-shaped, non-rigid bag that was 143 feet (44 meters) long and had a capacity of 113,000 cubic feet (3,200 cubic meters). He also built a small 3-horsepower (2.2-kilowatt) steam engine to power a three-bladed propeller. The engine weighed 250 pounds (113 kilograms) and needed a 100-pound (45.4 kilograms) boiler to fire it.

The first flight of Giffard's steam-powered airship took place Sept. 24, 1852 — 51 years before the Wright Brothers’ first flight. Traveling at about 6 miles per hour (10 kilometers/hour), Giffard traveled almost 17 miles (27 kilometers) from the Paris racecourse to Elancourt, near Trappes. The small engine could not overcome the prevailing winds, and Giffard could only manage to turn the airship in slow circles. He did, however, prove that in calm conditions controlled flight was possible.

Here is the kicker the first round trip flight was in 1884 by the French:::

The first flight of La France took place on Aug. 9, 1884. Renard and Krebs landed successfully at the parade ground where they had begun—a flight of 5 miles (8 kilometers) and 23 minutes in which they had been in control throughout. During 1884 and 1885, La France made seven flights. Although the batteries limited its flying range, the airship demonstrated that controlled flight was possible if it had a sufficiently powerful lightweight motor.

https://www.space.com/16623-first-powered-airship.html

As you can see the early creation of airships was before, during and after our Civil war of the 1860's with a little ingenuity the Confederacy could have dominated the air above the battlefields and above the harbors. These Confederate airships could have attacked and bombed from the air shifting the tide of battle and the war in their favor. These Confederate airships could have ended the blockade of the Southern ports allowing commerce to once more flow into and out of the Confederacy. We know from the great wars of the 20th century if you control the air you control the battlefield and the war. The Confederacy should have poured their money and time into airships...

The Confederacy could have been slaved by airpower and steampunk if they had created their own Airship fleet... The technology was there for them. They only had to "seize the day"...
I certainly appreciate the history lesson on very early air travel. I will have to side with my friends that it was a technological " bridge to far".
Leftyhunter
 

jgoodguy

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#23
View attachment 259030



There a whole story behind Davidson's Artisavis... a con man he was... maybe he is the inventor of steampunk! Its a short artcle and worth a read and laugh... some snippets to wet your imagination...

http://www.beyondthecrater.com/news...-artis-avis-and-a-nineteenth-century-con-man/

Snippets...

By January 1864, Davidson was reduced to appealing to the Quartermaster General’s Office of the Confederate Army, and to the public at large through newspapers. Attempting to capture the imagination of the masses, Davidson published an article in the Richmond Daily Dispatch that Billy Mitchell would have been proud to claim: “let it be supposed that…1,000 of these Birds of Art were stationed at a point five miles distant from a hostile military camp, fortification, or fleet of war vessels; that each Artisavis was supplied with a fifty pound explosive shell, and being started singly, or two or three abreast, going out and dropping those destructive missiles from a point of elevation beyond the reach of the enemy’s guns, then returning to the place of departure and reloading, and thus continuing the movement at the rate of 100 miles per hour. It will be seen that within the period of twelve hours, one hundred and fifty thousand death dealing bombs, could be thus thrown down upon the foe, a force that no defensive art on land, however solid, could withstand even for a single day; while exposed armies and ships would be almost instantly destroyed, without the least chance of escape.”


Snippet...

Davidson had a history as an “aeronautical engineer,” using the terms loosely, a history that far predated the war, a history he avoided. In 1840, he published a Disclosure of the Discovery and Invention, and a Description of the Plan of Construction and Mode of Operation of the Aerostat: or a New Mode of Aerostation. Davidson’s “Aerostat” invention was a “flapping wing machine,” patterned after the American eagle, with an attached hot air balloon. The balloon would lift a “car,” and an operator, seated in the car, would manually flap the attached wings to manage the contraption’s descent.

Snippet...

In response to Davidson’s “invention,” an anonymous “Member of the L.L.B.B.” (Louisville, Kentucky, Literary Brass Band) published a small book, The Great Steam Duck: Or A Concise Description of a Most Useful and Extraordinary Invention for Aerial Navigation. The Steam Duck opened by pointing out an 1833 publication authored by H. Straight, of New York, describing an invention nearly identical to Davidson’s, whose 1840 publication thus represented neither a “discovery” nor anything “new.” The author panned Straight’s/Davidson’s entire concept as impractical, then proceeded to describe a superior flying machine, a “flying duck,” measuring fifteen feet by six feet. The cabin of the Duck would be constructed of a hickory frame, covered in canvas; the wings of whalebone and silk; a steam engine, located in the craw of the beast, powered the wings; and a “scap pipe” was located under the duck’s tail. After describing the design of the “Steam Duck” in explicit detail, the author disavowed the plan and grouped the whole notion with Davidson’s work as impractical fakes. The author had some idea of the many technical advances required before powered, manned flight could be realized.

Snippet...

Wartime descriptions leave little doubt that “Artis Avis” was merely the “Great Steam Duck,” presented as a farce twenty years earlier, with a few cosmetic changes and a trapdoor. Colonel Coward wasn’t the only skeptic; Simms concluded, “I should as soon look for perpetual motion to be invented as for one of Davidson’s birds to rise and fly…I never gave him anything, he received from the Brigade one hundred and twenty seven dollars – pretty liberal patronage for a humbug.” Another soldier’s reminiscence provides insight into the minds of the hundreds of Confederate soldiers who fell prey to Davidson’s presentations: “I didn’t have any money to give, but I was sure anxious to see that man stampede the Yankee army.”
Whole new meaning to bird droppings.
 
Last edited:
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#24
I certainly appreciate the history lesson on very early air travel. I will have to side with my friends that it was a technological " bridge to far".
Leftyhunter
You know many scientist and engineers say if you give them enough money, resources and time they can achieve most any goal...
 

USS ALASKA

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#26
The simplest thing is artillery to shot them down or bombard the support base/party.
If they were useful enough to be seen as a creditable threat, a reaction would have been taken to counter them. During the 1870 Franco-Prussian war, weapons with a high enough angle-of-attack were quickly brought into field use...

"The earliest known use of weapons specifically made for the anti-aircraft role occurred during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. After the disaster at Sedan, Paris was besieged and French troops outside the city started an attempt at communication via balloon. Gustav Krupp mounted a modified 1-pounder (37mm) gun — the Ballonabwehrkanone (Balloon defence cannon) or BaK — on top of a horse-drawn carriage for the purpose of shooting down these balloons."

'Essential Militaria: Facts, Legends, and Curiosities About Warfare Through the Ages' by Nicholas Hobbs

'The Arms of Krupp' by William Manchester

1548199291494.png

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-aircraft_warfare#/media/File:Canon_antiballons.JPG

1548199324887.png

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-aircraft_warfare#/media/File:Ballonkanone.JPG

Action - reaction...
99

Cheers,
USS ALASKA
 

USS ALASKA

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#29
The technology just wasn't there in reality.
The technology was there to use them in a tethered battlefield recon role, it wasn't exploited to it's fullest extent. Early naval radar intel, as demonstrated in WWII, was ignored / not believed by commanders who thought it was little more than witchcraft. A trusted field officer in a basket high above the terrain with a telegraph line to the ground could have provided useful info - if believed. And requiring minimal resources compared to say, a troop of Cavalry.
136

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USS ALASKA
 

jgoodguy

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#30
If they were useful enough to be seen as a creditable threat, a reaction would have been taken to counter them. During the 1870 Franco-Prussian war, weapons with a high enough angle-of-attack were quickly brought into field use...

"The earliest known use of weapons specifically made for the anti-aircraft role occurred during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. After the disaster at Sedan, Paris was besieged and French troops outside the city started an attempt at communication via balloon. Gustav Krupp mounted a modified 1-pounder (37mm) gun — the Ballonabwehrkanone (Balloon defence cannon) or BaK — on top of a horse-drawn carriage for the purpose of shooting down these balloons."

'Essential Militaria: Facts, Legends, and Curiosities About Warfare Through the Ages' by Nicholas Hobbs

'The Arms of Krupp' by William Manchester

View attachment 259038
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-aircraft_warfare#/media/File:Canon_antiballons.JPG

View attachment 259039
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-aircraft_warfare#/media/File:Ballonkanone.JPG

Action - reaction...
99

Cheers,
USS ALASKA
An account of one trip

Bullets and Balloons.

n his memoir, Gaston Tissandier described flying over the Prussians and hearing bullets “hiss and whirl” below his basket (Gaston Tissandier, Souvenirs et récits d’un aérostier militaire de l’armée de la Loire, 1870-1871, Paris: M. Dreyfous, 1891/Colorized by Vertis).
Balloon_sm.jpg


 

USS ALASKA

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#31
In his memoir, Gaston Tissandier described flying over the Prussians and hearing bullets “hiss and whirl” below his basket
...and he lived to tell the tale. Shooting down an airborne object isn't the easiest of endeavors... :smile:

The French also brought in Carrier Pigeons...to which the Prussians responded to with trained hawks...action / reaction...

Source - 'The Arms of Krupp' by William Manchester

Cheers,
USS ALASKA
 
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#33
You know many scientist and engineers say if you give them enough money, resources and time they can achieve most any goal...
Yes but as others have pointed out the Confederacy simply lacked time and money to
You know many scientist and engineers say if you give them enough money, resources and time they can achieve most any goal...
Yes but as others have pointed out the Confederacy had neither the time nor resources to develop military aviation.
Even in nations at peace with heavy military spending such has France, and Germany it wasn't until 1914 that military aviation could even play a very limited military role.
As in the case of submersible craft certain technologies of the mid nineteenth century were just not ready for prime time.
Leftyhunter
 

Patrick H

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#34
I am not going to take any of this too seriously...except to say that I have often had fantasies of what an aircraft (with an internal combustion engine) and a machine gun or two (including a Vulcan cannon) might have done to trenches or rifle pits or just troop concentrations on either side. Wow! Sci Fi Channel, here I come!
 

major bill

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#35
The union balloon crops had hydrogen so I am guessing the South could have found a source.

The point is if the Confederacy had put it's money and brains into development of airship. They would have created the soills, and technology for an airships...
Real Confederate Civil War balloons did not use hydrogen and it is not clear they ever tried to produce it for balloon use. You believe the Confedercy could have produced hydrogen if they wanted to, has not been proven. To me it seems very unlikely a Confederate airship could be developed that could carry a meaningful payload to bomb Union positions and return to home base. The ability of an airship in the 1860s that could hit a ship at sea with a bomb seems unlikely.

An airship was tested in the Union, but not adopted.
 
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#37
Regarding a potential Confederate Air Force, during my research for a project, I discovered an original Confederate States patent document with illustrations of a potential Confederate helicopter. I will share those images here in an additional posting when I access my other computer files.==AC
 
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#38
Real Confederate Civil War balloons did not use hydrogen and it is not clear they ever tried to produce it for balloon use. You believe the Confedercy could have produced hydrogen if they wanted to, has not been proven. To me it seems very unlikely a Confederate airship could be developed that could carry a meaningful payload to bomb Union positions and return to home base. The ability of an airship in the 1860s that could hit a ship at sea with a bomb seems unlikely.

An airship was tested in the Union, but not adopted.
The balloons deployed by the Confederacy used gas generated by the gas works in Richmond. A gas generator provided the lifting medium employed by Professor Lowe for the Union army. I believe it was coal gas.==AC
 
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#39
Explosive shells became their Achilles heel... in WWone...

At first, as these documents show, British defenses were totally inadequate to deal with the Zeppelin threat. However, by 1916 a range of anti-airship defense measures was introduced. Many more guns were deployed, and searchlights. Fighter aircraft were also sent against them. British defenses learned to pick up their radio messages, so had warned of their approach, and a central communications headquarters was set up. It was realized that Zeppelins were extremely vulnerable to explosive shells, which set light to the hydrogen, often in spectacular fashion. Zeppelin raids were called off in 1917, by which time 77 out of the 115 German Zeppelins had been shot down or totally disabled. Raids by heavier than air bombers continued, however. By the end of the war over 1500 British citizens had been killed in air raids.

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/education/resources/zeppelin-raids/

If you read of Zeppelins in WWone the Germans tried their best to make them effective war machines but they were at their best as observation platforms...
 



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