Professor Thaddeus Lowe, balloonist-leader of the Union’s Aeronautics Corps, ascended from Stafford Heights to provide intelligence on the battle.
“…General Burnside…desired the balloon should not be shown to the enemy till he was ready to cross the river. On the 12th of December I received orders to get the balloon ready, and the following morning (being the day of the battle of Fredericksburg) ascensions were commenced…
“…during the day many staff officers ascended, and much valuable information was furnished the commanding general, whose headquarters being directly under the balloon, verbal communications only were given, and no written reports are therefore inserted.
“Several shots were fired at the balloon during the day, one striking about two miles beyond the balloon, passing close to it, and going in all about three miles and three-quarters from where it was fired….”
Via Professor Thaddeus Lowe’s Official Report Part II. O.R. Series III Volume III (SH#124).