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[ Weapons of Antietam ]

Model 1841 12-pounder howitzer


12 -lb. Howitzer (with limber)
12 -lb. Howitzer (with limber)

Common name:   12-pdr. howitzer

Description:   A bronze smoothbore, the howitzer was designed to fire at higher trajectories to hit targets obscured to guns. It was part of the 1841 US artillery series which also included the 6-lb gun. By the time of the Civil War, these weapons were considered obsolete, and most were replaced with the more effective Napoleons when available. Some iron tubed versions of this piece were in service during the War, but were only common in Confederate units.

Employment at Sharpsburg:   There were 3 12-pdr. howitzers in Federal Service at Antietam and 58 pieces in Confederate batteries. Find units equipped with these.

Ammunition Used:   spherical case, common shell, cannister

Manufacturer:   various Federal Arsenals    Where made:   various    Model:   1841    Year(s) made:   1841-

Maximum Range:   1072 yards     Barrel/Tube Length:   53 inches     Bore:   4.62 inches     Weight:   1688 pounds

Other notes:   Weight figure is for standard gun carriage (900 lb) + tube (788 lb).
Max range is for 1 lb black powder charge behind a 8.9 lb. shell.

More on the Web:   See more about this and other Civil War artillery at the comprehensive Civil War Artillery Page, by Chuck Ten Brink or the very nice Basic Facts page from Jack W. Melton, Jr. The NPS has a fine general introduction to Civil War artillery in a 3-page presentation.

Source Information:   Johnson, Curt & Anderson, Richard C., Artillery Hell: Employment of Artillery at Antietam, College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press, 1995.

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