“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Downieville in Sierra County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)

Mountain Howitzers

Mountain Howitzers Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Major William Downie Chapter 1849 E Clampus Vitus
1. Mountain Howitzers Marker
Inscription.  The Mountain Howitzer is a short barreled, large caliber cannon designed on such a small scale that the entire piece can be taken apart and carried on pack animals. Mountain Howitzers were mostly used on small skirmishes, scouting expeditions and cavalry raids. Serving with distinction in Civil War battles. Much used in the East, they were more important out West where there were fewer roads, rougher country, and few large cannons shooting back. They were devastating weapons when used against an opponent. They are designed to throw shells at a higher trajectory as compared to regular field guns, making them useful against enemies behind fortifications or concealed in rugged terrain.

The mobility of the Mountain Howitzer was its chief asset. The 220 pound cannon would be placed on one pack animal, the carriage towed by a second, and ammunition on a third. It was easily assembled and fired by a its battery of six men. They fired spherical shape shot, canister or grape shot, and the cannon was capable of lofting a 12 pounder its intended range of 1070 yards.

The cannon to the north was manufactured in 1863 at Ames Foundry
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Of Chicopee, Massachusetts for the Civil War. At war's end it was sent West for use against hostilities. It was called into action in 1873 Modoc War when Captain Jack and the Modoc Indians resisted relocation to the Klamath Reservation, taking refuge in the Lava Beds. During this conflict General Canby was killed under a flag of truce. Captain Jack and three Modoc Warriors were hung at Fort Klamath.

The cannon to the south was manufactured in 1853 at Cyrus Alger & Company of Boston, Massachusetts. During the 1860 Paiute War, It was dispatched from Ft. Alcatraz to the skirmishes near Pyramid Lake where settlers were losing battles. Major Daniel E. Hungerford of Downieville's Sierra Guard commanded the Infantry Mountain Force with arms and ammunition from Downieville, Forest City and Goodyear Bar National Guard to engage the Indians thus ending the conflict.
Erected 2013 by Major William Downie Chapter 1849 E Clampus Vitus.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: MilitaryWars, US Indian. In addition, it is included in the E Clampus Vitus series list. A significant historical date for this entry is August 24, 2013.
Location. 39° 33.54′ N, 120° 49.809′ W. Marker is in Downieville, California, in Sierra County. Marker is on Galloway Street. The marker
Mountain Howitzers Marker image. Click for full size.
2. Mountain Howitzers Marker
Sierra County Courthouse
The cannons are placed to the right and left of the columns.
and cannons are located on the entrance landing of the Sierra County Courthouse. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 100 Courthouse Square, Downieville CA 95936, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Sierra County, California (here, next to this marker); Sierra County Sheriff’s Gallows (within shouting distance of this marker); Henness Pass Road - Downieville (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Hirshfeldter Building (about 600 feet away); Downieville Veterans Memorial (about 700 feet away); Masonic Building (about 700 feet away); In Memory of Juanita (about 700 feet away); Craycroft Building (about 800 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Downieville.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Markers regarding Captain Jack and the Modoc War
Mountain Howitzers image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Frank Gunshow Sanchez, August 25, 2017
3. Mountain Howitzers
Mountain Howitzers image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Frank Gunshow Sanchez, August 25, 2017
4. Mountain Howitzers
Credits. This page was last revised on August 29, 2017. It was originally submitted on February 17, 2017, by Frank Gunshow Sanchez of Hollister, California. This page has been viewed 581 times since then and 19 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on February 17, 2017.   3, 4. submitted on August 28, 2017, by Frank Gunshow Sanchez of Hollister, California. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.
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Apr. 17, 2024