Ballons hostiles

The Times, p. 4, vendredi 7 octobre 1870
s1Theo Paijmans, Magonia Exchange, 14 mars 2007
L'article d'origine
L'article d'origine

La déclaration extraordinaire suivante paraît dans les Nouvelles du Jour, un journal belge. Le renseignement fut transmis dans une note à ce journal de l'un de leurs correspondants au the seat of war, note qui fut transmise à Bruxelles par un pigeon-voyageur ?

"Paris, 1er octobre.

"Nadar est revenu hier à Paris. Son retour ne fut pas, cependant, sans grand trouble, malgré que son ballon ait été dirigé par un bon vent et des courants favorables depuis son départ de Tours. Mais laissez-moi vous relater les particulars de son voyage par ordre chronologique. Il quitta Tours à 06:00 du matin, et l'aéronaute bold arriva en vue de Paris à 11:00, flottant à environ 3000 m au-dessus du fort de Charenton. Au même où moment l'Intrépide, le nom du ballon de M. Nadar, apparût en vue, un 2nd ballon fut observé à l'horizon. M. Nadar fut vu to display a long streamer with the French national colours. Immediately afterwards a national flag floated from the car of the other ballon. Vigorous hurrahs and cries of 'C'est Durouff,' from the garrison of the fort, greeted the appearance of the two aeronauts, whose balloons gradually approached. Suddenly, and when at a short distance from each other, a loud report was heard in the air, which report was followed by a series of explosions. These were at first supposed to be victorious signals or demonstrations, until M. Nadar was seen to fling himself into the netting of his balloon, and to cling to its sides. During this time the other aeronaut continued discharching shots at M. Nadar and his balloon. The Intrépide was descending rapidly, and it appeared evident to the spectators below that some incomprehensible event had happened above. But mark what the French flag of the neighbouring balloon came to. It was withdrawn, and a black and yellow standard was observed to be floating in its place. All was explained. 'Treason !' 'It is a Prussian ballon !' 'He has fired on the Intrépide !' were the cries that burst simultanenously from the French people. Nadar was supposed to have been lost. He was seen to descend rapidly in his car, and his balloon had once more nearly reached the earth. He, however, casts out his ballast, and he again ascends. M. Nadar again clambers up the network of this balloon, and, by a marvellous effort, he succeeds in stopping the hole made in his balloon by the shot of this adversary. The Intrépide the becomes the assailant, and several shots were fired from the car into the Prussian balloon, which suddenly whirled about and fell to the ground with giddy velocity. As soon as it reached the earth a detachment of Ublans, who were on the plain, and who had been following the aerial combatants throughout this exciting struggle, rushed forth and, surrounding the balloon, received their champion?God knows in what condition. They then hastened off at full speed to the Prussian advanced posts. In the meantime M. Nadar descended safely at Charenton where he still is at this moment."

The Echo du Parlement, commenting on this recital, observes :? "While the Nouvelles du Jour was publishing that extraordinary account of an aerial combat, we read in the correspondence addressed from Versailles to The Times of the 30th of September the following paragraph :?'An inexplicable phenomenon has just been witnessed at Versailles. Two balloons attached to each other were seen hovering over Paris, moved by a strong east wind in the direction of the forest of St. Germain. While the gentleman who narrated these facts to me was gazing at the aeronauts, his little daughter asked him to let her view the balloons through his spyglass. Scarcely had she distinguished the objects in the air when she exclaimed, 'They have fallen.' The balloons had disappeared suddenly behind the trees." The Brussels journal also states that a smaller balloon was perceived about the same time above Neffe, near Bastogne, near which place it seemd to have slowly descended. It was supposed to have ascended from the garrison of Metz.