Engineer, scientist and pioneer of ballooning. Appointed Captain in France’s Company of Aeronauts.

At Fleurus on 26 June, the balloon L’Entreprenant, captained by Jean-Marie-Joseph Coutelle, provided aerial reconnaissance of the battlefield to the French commanders on the ground.

Coutelle had worked on the balloon with Antoine Lavoisier, guillotined just months earlier.

Later he accompanied Napoleon Bonaparte’s invasion of Egypt, and even drew up plans to invade Great Britain from the air, but the balloon corps was disbanded in 1799.

Another technological innovation from the Revolutionary Wars had a more lasting effect – the telegraph invented by Claude Chappe.

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