US Model 1841 (1835) 12-Pdr. Mountain Howitzer

Caliber:                          4.62" bore w/ a 3.3" powder chamber

Tube:                               Bronze, approx. 220 lbs.  First U.S. model produced in 1835, standardized in 1841

Range:                            (Shell) 1000 yards @ 5 degrees of elevation (shells bound out to 1200 yards throwing fragments an additional 300 yards)

Ammunition:                SHELL - (hollowed cannonball filled with black powder)

                                               SPHERICAL CASE SHOT - (same as shell w/ added .69 cal. lead balls)

                                               CANISTER - (tin cylinder filled w/ 148 .69 cal. lead balls)

 (All ammunition was "FIXED," meaning the powder charge of 1/2 pound of cannon grade black  powder was attached directly to the round via wooden sabot.)

Application:           Small, lightweight cannon used where larger field pieces were unable to pass due to narrow or no roads and rough terrain. Originally     designed for mountain use with the "Pack Carriage," adapted to the "Prairie Carriage" for field use.  Documented as occasionally being used in mixed batteries of larger field rifles (cannon) for anti-personnel (canister) against opposing infantry and cavalry.  Often independently detached to cavalry or infantry units for extra firepower and were not listed on standard ordnance reports.

Carriages:                                           *1835-1860 - original "PACK CARRIAGE"    

                              Small, narrow, lightweight carriage with a 38" wheel designed to be taken apart and carried in four parts on special saddles for mules over mountain terrain.  No limber was used, the ammunition boxes being carried in like manner on mules.  Had a tendency to flip over when fired.

                                                                        *1851 - 1865 - First Model "PRAIRIE CARRIAGE"

                        Larger, more transportable carriage pulled with a special limber.  Built with a similar pattern as the standard field gun, but smaller.  42" wheel and a wider wheel base than the Pack Carriage prevented the piece from flipping over when fired or pulled.  Step-down in trail had a tendency to crack when fired at high elevations. Most commonly used as a fast moving field piece.

                                                                   *1860 - 1870 - Second Model "PRAIRIE CARRIAGE"

                        Improved version of the first Prairie Carriage, incorporating the same 42" wheel and same axle width, but with a one-piece, heavier stock as in the original Pack Carriage.


During the Civil War the 12-pounder Mountain Howitzer, mounted on either model Prairie Carriage, was referred to as a "Prairie Howitzer" in both Union & Confederate military ordnance manuals.