Confederate Flying Machine
March, 1865 – the US Civil War’s Siege of Petersburg has dragged on for nearly a year of vicious trench warfare. Just before dawn, the Confederate soldiers attack, and an odd roaring sound is heard overhead. Astonished soldiers from both sides stare, open-mouthed. A huge smoke-belching bird circles the batteries of Union siege guns and large objects tumble down. They hit the ground and explode. The tide of the battle – and the Civil War – is turned. Few people realize how close this alternate history is to reality. A full 40 years before the Wright brothers made history, a model of what was to be a steam-powered flying machine tethered to a locomotive briefly took flight… Mississippi Doctor Richard Oglesby Davidson was raising money to build a steam-powered flying war machine named the “Artis Avis” that would fly over the battlefield. And now, 150 years later, engineer and inventor Maris Ensing is going to build a steam-powered flying machine based on 19th century wisdom, to see if it will fly.