Balloon used for scout duty. From the times-dispatch, September 20th, 1905.Terrible experiences of a Confederate officer who saw the enemy from Dizzy Heights.
Rope cut as he ascended.An ascent that completely Unnerved the Aeronaut, but he finally came down safely.
During the war between the North and the South many events of absorbing interest occurred, and it has been the object of the Times-Dispatch to record as many as possible of these in the Confederate column of this paper. The following account of Capt. John Randolph Bryan's trips in a war balloon, while attached to General J. B. Magruder's headquarter's before Yorktown, we consider as well deserving publication, as it was (so far as known to us) the first time a balloon was used by the Confederates in order to ascertain the position and strength of the Union forces. It will add to the interest of this narrative to know that at the time Capt. Bryan was making his ascensions from the Confederate lines General Fitz John Porter was performing the same service for the Union army which lay facing the Confederates. His experience was similar to that of Captain Bryan's, in that his balloon rope broke and his balloon also drifted aimlessly in the air. General Porter's balloon was a much more expensive affair than the one the Confederates could afford, and was attached to the ground by a silken rope. Although General Porter escaped without injury in this adventure, the exploit is now recorded in bronze upon a monument to him. Capt. Randolph Bryan at present resides in Birmingham, Ala. He is the eldest brother of Mr. Joseph Bryan of this city, of Mr. St. George T. C. Bryan, and of the Rev. Braxton Bryan, of Petersburg.