Civil War Stories: The man who floated above the Civil War in a balloon.

Slate's audio offerings.
Oct. 27 2011 3:25 PM

The Last Civil War Aeronaut

Thaddeus S.C. Lowe: The man who floated above Union battles in a balloon.

Thaddeus Lowe in an observation balloon during the Civil War.
Thaddeus S.C. Lowe in a balloon during the Civil War

Photograph courtesty of the Library of Congress.

In the third episode of our monthly audio series “Civil War Stories,” radio producer Nate DiMeo tells the story of Thaddeus S.C. Lowe, one of a tiny handful of people who watched (and took part in) the Civil War from a unique vantage point high overhead. Lowe was a Union army balloonist. Listen using the player below:

You can also download this episode, subscribe for free to the Slate Daily Podcast in iTunes or with our RSS feed, or listen to all “Civil War Stories” episodes in the player below:

Click to launch iTunes preview.

“Civil War Stories” is a collaboration between Slate and “The Memory Palace,” DiMeo’s long-running podcast that unearths forgotten historical gems. The series will appear monthly during this sesquicentennial commemoration of the Civil War. Nate DiMeo is a co-author of Pawnee: The Greatest Town in America.


Our email address is

Andy Bowers is the executive producer of Slate’s podcasts. Follow him on Twitter.



More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

What Charles Barkley Gets Wrong About Corporal Punishment and Black Culture

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

Three Talented Actresses in Three Terrible New Shows

Why Do Some People See the Virgin Mary in Grilled Cheese?

The science that explains the human need to find meaning in coincidences.


Happy Constitution Day!

Too bad it’s almost certainly unconstitutional.

Is It Worth Paying Full Price for the iPhone 6 to Keep Your Unlimited Data Plan? We Crunch the Numbers.

What to Do if You Literally Get a Bug in Your Ear

  News & Politics
Sept. 16 2014 7:03 PM Kansas Secretary of State Loses Battle to Protect Senator From Tough Race
Sept. 16 2014 4:16 PM The iPhone 6 Marks a Fresh Chance for Wireless Carriers to Kill Your Unlimited Data
The Eye
Sept. 16 2014 12:20 PM These Outdoor Cat Shelters Have More Style Than the Average Home
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus Video
Sept. 16 2014 2:06 PM A Farewell From Emily Bazelon The former senior editor talks about her very first Slate pitch and says goodbye to the magazine.
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 8:43 PM This 17-Minute Tribute to David Fincher Is the Perfect Preparation for Gone Girl
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 6:40 PM This iPhone 6 Feature Will Change Weather Forecasting
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 16 2014 11:46 PM The Scariest Campfire Story More horrifying than bears, snakes, or hook-handed killers.
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.