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M1841 Mountain Howitzer

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Subject: University of North Texas, Field artillery in the American Civil War, Twelve-pound cannon
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M1841 Mountain Howitzer

M1841 Mountain Howitzer
OK. Examples of the pack saddles used to carry the barrel are visible in the background.
Type Mountain gun
Place of origin United States
Service history
In service 1841–1865?
Used by  USA
Wars American Indian Wars, Mexican–American War, American Civil War
Weight 220 pounds (100 kg) (barrel weight only), 500 pounds (227 kg) with carriage

Caliber 12 lb (4.62 in)
Carriage pole trail
Effective range 1,005 yards (919 m)

The M1841 Mountain Howitzer was a mountain gun used by the United States Army during the mid-Nineteenth Century, from 1837 to about 1870.

It saw service during the Mexican–American War, the American Indian Wars, and during the American Civil War (primarily in the more rugged western theaters.)

The 1841 Mountain Howitzer is a type of bronze smoothbore 12 pounder, optimized for firing explosive shells as well as spherical case and canister. Its range was 1,005 yards (919 m) at 5° elevation with a charge of 0.5 pounds (0.2 kg) of black powder when firing shell. The original carriage design allowed the piece to be broken down into three loads for pack animal transport: the tube carried on one animal, carriage and wheels by another, and ammunition on the third.

The Mountain Howitzer was designed to be light weight and highly portable. Because of this and its ease of disassembly it did not require roads for transportation making it well suited to Indian fighting and mountain warfare. In addition to the pack carriage, a prairie carriage was also created for traditional draft using only two horses. This versatility permitted their use with mounted forces in areas where roads were little more than paths. These small Howitzers provided artillery support for forces where it would otherwise be unavailable. However, their shorter range made them unsuitable for dueling with other field artillery.


  • Grizzell, Stephen, "Bull Pup: The 1841 Mountain Howitzer."
  • Hazlett, James C., Edwin Olmstead, and M. Hume Parks. Field Artillery Weapons of the American Civil War, rev. ed., Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1983. ISBN 0-252-07210-3.
  • Ripley, Warren. Artillery and Ammunition of the Civil War. 4th ed. Charleston, SC: The Battery Press, 1984. OCLC 12668104.
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