Rowlesburg in Preston County, West Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
The 1841 Mountain Howitzer
A howitzer (as illustrated above by Peter W. Gaut) is a short-barreled, large-caliber cannon designed to throw shells at a higher trajectory than regular field guns. This makes them useful against enemy troops behind fortifications or concealed in rugged terrain. The mountain howitzer was a special gun, designed on such a small scale that the entire piece could be taken apart and carried on pack animals. Although its 4.62-inch bore could handle the same 12-pounder ammunition as regular 12-pounder gun, a complete mountain howitzer, including the carriage, wheels and barrel, weighed less than the barrel alone of a larger 12-pounder field gun.
Mountain howitzers generally fired spherical case shot, canister or grapeshot. All of these types of ammunition, which scattered small shot and shell fragments, were effective within the shortened range of the mountain howitzer. Case shot for mountain howitzers carried a load of 82 lead musket balls. The shell was exploded above enemy positions by a fuse. Case shot was usually fired at enemy positions several hundred yards away. Canister consisted of tin-plated iron cylinders loaded with round shot packed in sawdust. Most Civil War canister contained iron shot, but canister rounds for the
Because mules were nearly always used to carry mountain howitzers by packsaddle, companies with these little guns were sometimes called "jackass batteries." If the terrain permitted, the mountain howitzer could be mounted on its carriage and drawn by means of a pair of shafts by one of the mules. A few units did away with the packsaddles altogether and used a pair of horses to draw the gun.
This article was excerpted from: Norris, David A. "Confederate Gunners Affectionately Called Their Hard Working Little Mountain Howitzers 'Bull Pups'." (America's Civil War, September 1995), 10, 12, 14, 16, 20, & 90
Location. 39° 20.775′ N, 79° 40.18′ W. Marker is in Rowlesburg, West Virginia, in Preston County. Marker is at the intersection of Poplar Street and Buffalo Street (West Virginia Highway 72), on the right Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Rowlesburg WV 26425, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 8 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Battle of Rowlesburg (a few steps from this marker); Rowlesburg Veterans Memorial (a few steps from this marker); Cannon Hill (approx. 0.2 miles away); B&O Viaducts (approx. 1½ miles away); Battle of Rowlesburg: "The River Road" (approx. 1.9 miles away); Aurora (approx. 6.2 miles away); Gantz Sand (approx. 6.3 miles away); Old Stone Tavern (approx. 7½ miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Rowlesburg.
Categories. • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 4, 2010, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,747 times since then and 80 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on August 4, 2010, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.