Lt.Arty 12 pdr. "Napoleon" Light Field Gun

The Model 1857 12-Pounder "Napoleon" Light Field Gun, officially called the “light 12-pounder gun” by the United States Army, was the most popular smoothbore cannon used during the American Civil War. The cannon was named after French president and emperor, Napoleon III, nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte.

ARTILLERY PROFILE
  • In Service With:
    • French Army
    • United States Army
    • Confederate States Army
  • Type: Muzzleloading Smoothbore gun-howitzer
  • Purpose: Support the infantry and cavalry forces in the field
  • Invented By: French Army in 1853
  • Patent: N/A
  • Years of Manufacture: In the U.S. - 1857 to 1863
  • Tube Composition: Bronze or cast iron
  • Bore Diameter: 4.62 inches
  • Rarity: Common
PERFORMANCE
  • Rate of Fire: 3 to 4 rounds per minute
  • Standard Powder Charge:
    • 2.0 lbs. Cannon Grade Black Powder (Shell & Canister)
    • 2.5 lbs. Cannon Grade Black Powder (Solid Shot & Case Shot)
  • Muzzle Velocity: 1,485 ft/sec.
  • Solid Shot Effective Range (at 5°): up to 1,619 yards (0.91 miles)
  • Common Shell Projectile Effective Range (at 5°): up to 1,300 yards (0.73 miles)
  • Common Shell Projectile Flight Time (at 5°): 5 seconds
  • Projectiles: 12.3 lbs. solid round balls, 11.0 lbs. spherical case, common shell, & 13.5 lbs. canister
WEIGHTS & MEASURES
  • Typical Number of Projectiles Per Gun: 128 - Loaded in 4 - 32 Round / Mixed Ammo Chests
    • 2 Limbers, each carrying a Chest; 1 to pull the Cannon, and 1 to pull the Caisson, which carried 2 additional Chests
  • Typical US Napoleon Limber Chest Load-out:
    • 12 solid shot
    • 4 common shell
    • 12 spherical case shot
    • 4 canister rounds
  • Tube Length: 66 inches
  • Bore Length: 13.76 calibers, or 63.6 inches
  • Tube Weight: Bronze - 1,227 lbs.; Iron - 1,249 lbs.
  • Carriage Type: No. 2 Field Carriage (1,125 lbs.), 57" wheels
  • Total Weight (Gun & Carriage): 2,350 lbs.
  • Horses Required to Pull: 6
  • No. of Crew to Serve: Typical - 9, 1 Gunner, 8 Numbered Crew Positions
    • Could operate at a reduced rate with as few as 3 Crew
  • No. in North America from 1861 to 1865: approx. 1100 in the North and 600 in the South.
    • No. of Original Pieces You Can See in the Field Today: ???
  • Cost in 1862 Dollars: $ 490 (US); $ 565 (CS)
  • Cost in 1865 Dollars: $ 614 (US); $1840 (CS)
MANUFACTURING
  • US Casting Foundries:
    • Ames Manufacturing Co., Chicopee, MA (103 copies produced)
    • Cyrus Alger & Co., Boston, MA (170 copies produced)
    • The Revere Copper Co., Boston, MA (461 copies produced)
    • Henry N. Hooper & Co., Boston, MA (370 copies produced)
    • Miles Greenwood & Co., Cincinnati, OH (52 copies produced)
  • CS Casting Foundries:
    • J. R. Anderson Co. of Tredegar Iron Works in Richmond, VA (226 copies produced)
    • Leeds & Co. in New Orleans, LA (12 copies produced)
    • Quinby & Robinson, Memphis, TN (6 copies produced)
    • Augusta Arsenal, Augusta, GA (130 copies produced)
    • Macon Arsenal, Macon, GA (53 copies produced)
    • Columbus Arsenal, Columbus, GA (52 copies produced)
    • Charleston Arsenal, Charleston, SC (20 copies produced)
  • Variants: 3 main versions
    • The first two U.S. prototypes in 1857 had "Dolphin" style handles above the trunnions, as per the original French design. That would be eliminated to save weight.
    • The second variant is the "Classic" M1857 Napoleon of the U.S. Army, with a slight swell at the muzzle.
    • The third is the Confederate copy, with a tapered look and no muzzle swell.
  • Special Notes: The French Army officially called this gun, "Canon obusier de campagne de 12 livres, modèle 1853" and named it after French Emperor Louis Napoleon III, who was in power as this piece entered service, and saw extensive service during the Crimean War.

FOR FURTHER READING
ASSOCIATED LINKS
https://markerhunter.wordpress.com/2010/04/26/12pdr-napoleon-alger/https://markerhunter.wordpress.com/2008/12/10/the-western-napoleon/https://markerhunter.wordpress.com/2009/01/09/henry-n-hooper-napoleons/https://markerhunter.wordpress.com/2011/02/21/revere-napoleons/https://markerhunter.wordpress.com/2011/09/06/ames-napoleons/https://markerhunter.wordpress.com/2012/04/24/cs-light-12-pdr-field-guns/
 
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CivilWarTalk

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Location
Martinsburg, WV
12-PDR. NAPOLEON BORE MARKINGS

IMG_0480.JPG

12-pdr. Bronze Napoleon, Model of 1857
Made by Cyrus Alger & Co. of Boston, Massachusetts
No. 39, Cast in 1862, Foundry #982, Weight 1222 lbs.
Inspected by J.P.F. (Joseph Pearson Farley)
At the Visitors' Center Antietam NB. ©Michael Kendra, Nov 2019

IMG_0491.JPG

12-pdr. Bronze Napoleon, Model of 1857
Made by Revere Copper Co. of Boston, Massachusetts
No. 79, Cast in 1862, Foundry #74, Weight 1210 lbs.
Inspected by T.J.R. (Thomas Jefferson Rodman)
At the Visitors' Center Antietam NB. ©Michael Kendra, Nov 2019

IMG_0500.JPG

12-pdr. Bronze Napoleon, Model of 1857
Made by Revere Copper Co. of Boston, Massachusetts
No. 33, Cast in 1862, Foundry #39, Weight 1224 lbs.
Inspected by T.J.R. (Thomas Jefferson Rodman)
Antietam NB. ©Michael Kendra, Nov 2019

IMG_0506.JPG

12-pdr. Bronze Napoleon, Model of 1857
Made by Henry N. Hooper and Co. of Boston, Massachusetts
No. 213, Cast in 1863, Foundry #233, Weight 1223 lbs.
Inspected by T.J.R. (Thomas Jefferson Rodman)
Antietam NB. ©Michael Kendra, Nov 2019
12-PDR. NAPOLEON MARKINGS ON TOP OF BARREL

IMG_0493.JPG

12-pdr. Bronze Napoleon, Model of 1857
Made by Revere Copper Co. of Boston, Massachusetts
No. 79, Cast in 1862, Foundry #74, Weight 1210 lbs.
Inspected by T.J.R. (Thomas Jefferson Rodman)
At the Visitors' Center Antietam NB. ©Michael Kendra, Nov 2019

IMG_0501.JPG

12-pdr. Bronze Napoleon, Model of 1857
Made by Revere Copper Co. of Boston, Massachusetts
No. 33, Cast in 1862, Foundry #39, Weight 1224 lbs.
Inspected by T.J.R. (Thomas Jefferson Rodman)
Antietam NB. ©Michael Kendra, Nov 2019

IMG_0507.JPG

12-pdr. Bronze Napoleon, Model of 1857
Made by Henry N. Hooper and Co. of Boston, Massachusetts
No. 213, Cast in 1863, Foundry #233, Weight 1223 lbs.
Inspected by T.J.R. (Thomas Jefferson Rodman)
Antietam NB. ©Michael Kendra, Nov 2019
12-PDR. NAPOLEON RIMBASE MARKINGS

IMG_0502.JPG

12-pdr. Bronze Napoleon, Model of 1857
Made by Revere Copper Co. of Boston, Massachusetts
No. 33, Cast in 1862, Foundry #39, Weight 1224 lbs.
Inspected by T.J.R. (Thomas Jefferson Rodman)
Antietam NB. ©Michael Kendra, Nov 2019

IMG_0508.JPG

12-pdr. Bronze Napoleon, Model of 1857
Made by Henry N. Hooper and Co. of Boston, Massachusetts
No. 213, Cast in 1863, Foundry #233, Weight 1223 lbs.
Inspected by T.J.R. (Thomas Jefferson Rodman)
Antietam NB. ©Michael Kendra, Nov 2019
 
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ucvrelics

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As you can see from the # produced by both side its was a main stay for the South with double the production.
 

redbob

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The 12# Napoleon Gun Howitzer was the most produced gun tube of the Civil War, for example there were twice as many smoothbores (of all types) at Vicksburg than rifled guns.
 

Belfoured

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
ARTILLERY PROFILE
  • In Service With:
    • French Army
    • United States Army
    • Confederate States Army
  • Type: Smoothbore gun-howitzer
  • Invented By: French Army in 1853
  • Patent: N/A
  • Years of Manufacture: In the U.S. - 1857 to 1863
  • Tube Composition: Bronze or cast iron
  • Bore Diameter: 4.62 inches
  • Rarity: Common
PERFORMANCE
  • View attachment 333662Rate of Fire: 3 to 4 rounds per minute
  • Standard Powder Charge:
    • 2.0 lbs. Cannon Grade Black Powder (Shell & Canister)
    • 2.5 lbs. Cannon Grade Black Powder (Solid Shot & Case Shot)
  • Muzzle Velocity: 1,485 ft/sec.
  • Solid Shot Effective Range (at 5°): up to 1,619 yards (0.91 miles)
  • Common Shell Projectile Effective Range (at 5°): up to 1,300 yards (0.73 miles)
  • Common Shell Projectile Flight Time (at 5°): 5 seconds
  • Projectiles: 12 lb. balls - solid shot, spherical case, common shell, & canister
WEIGHTS & MEASURES
  • Typical Number of Projectiles Per Gun: 128 - Loaded in 4 - 32 Round / Mixed Ammo Chests
    • 2 Limbers, each carrying a Chest; 1 to pull the Cannon, and 1 to pull the Caisson, which carried 2 additional Chests
  • Typical US Napoleon Limber Chest Load-out:
    • 12 solid shot
    • 4 common shell
    • 12 spherical case shot
    • 4 canister rounds
  • Tube Length: 66 inches
  • Tube Weight: Bronze - 1,227 lbs.; Iron - 1,249 lbs.
  • Carriage Type: No. 2 Field Carriage (1,125 lbs.), 57" wheels
  • Total Weight (Gun & Carriage): 2,350 lbs.
  • Horses Required to Pull: 6
  • No. of Crew to Serve: Typical - 9, 1 Gunner, 8 Numbered Crew Positions
    • Could operate at a reduced rate with as few as 3 Crew
  • No. in North America from 1861 to 1865: approx. 1100 in the North and 600 in the South.
    • No. of Original Pieces You Can See in the Field Today: ???
  • Cost in 1862 Dollars: $ 490 (US); $ 565 (CS)
  • Cost in 1865 Dollars: $ 614 (US); $1840 (CS)
MANUFACTURING
  • US Casting Foundries:
    • Ames Manufacturing Co., Chicopee, MA (103 copies produced)
    • Cyrus Alger & Co., Boston, MA (170 copies produced)
    • The Revere Copper Co., Boston, MA (461 copies produced)
    • Henry N. Hooper & Co., Boston, MA (370 copies produced)
    • Miles Greenwood & Co., Cincinnati, OH (52 copies produced)
  • CS Casting Foundries:
    • J. R. Anderson Co. of Tredegar Iron Works in Richmond, VA (226 copies produced)
    • Leeds & Co. in New Orleans, LA (12 copies produced)
    • Quinby & Robinson, Memphis, TN (6 copies produced)
    • Augusta Arsenal, Augusta, GA (130 copies produced)
    • Macon Arsenal, Macon, GA (53 copies produced)
    • Columbus Arsenal, Columbus, GA (52 copies produced)
    • Charleston Arsenal, Charleston, SC (20 copies produced)
  • Variants: 3 main versions
    • The first two U.S. prototypes in 1857 had "Dolphin" style handles above the trunnions, as per the original French design. That would be eliminated to save weight.
    • The second variant is the "Classic" M1857 Napoleon of the U.S. Army, with a slight swell at the muzzle.
    • The third is the Confederate copy, with a tapered look and no muzzle swell.
  • Special Notes: The French Army officially called this gun, "Canon obusier de campagne de 12 livres, modèle 1853" and named it after French Emperor Louis Napoleon III, who was in power as this piece entered service, and saw extensive service during the Crimean War.

FOR FURTHER READING
  • TBD
ASSOCIATED LINKS
  • TBD
Thanks for posting. I've always been intrigued by the fact that Ames and Alger tend to be the names that come up when discussing the Napoleon but they were far out-produced by Revere and Hooper. There's a great head-on shot of a Revere at one of the captured Atlanta fortifications in Steve Davis's new book about Barnard's Atlanta photos (the photo is reproduced in the current issue of ACW).
 

CivilWarTalk

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Location
Martinsburg, WV
I posted in another forum...but here's the amazing line of artillery at Raymond. Just boggles the mind what they've been able to do! View attachment 333751

That appears to be 12 Howitzers (Reproductions) I suppose? 32 Pdrs or 24 Pdrs, it's hard to tell because they look a little odd at this angle, and dolphins might be throwing me off. If they were going for (Early) Napoleons, they made them a bit too short and boxy or something. I don't know, something is out of proportion on those barrels.

Great photo and Awesome display regardless.
 

Belfoured

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
i thin
That appears to be 12 Howitzers (Reproductions) I suppose? 32 Pdrs or 24 Pdrs, it's hard to tell because they look a little odd at this angle, and dolphins might be throwing me off. If they were going for (Early) Napoleons, they made them a bit too short and boxy or something. I don't know, something is out of proportion on those barrels.

Great photo and Awesome display regardless.
They look most like replica M1841 12 lb Howitzers, although as you note something seems "off" from that angle . If I recall correctly, they were deemed surplus at Vicksburg NMP and they were gratefully accepted by the folks operating Raymond.
 

CivilWarTalk

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i thin

They look most like replica M1841 12 lb Howitzers, although as you note something seems "off" from that angle . If I recall correctly, they were deemed surplus at Vicksburg NMP and they were gratefully accepted by the folks operating Raymond.
Somehow they look big for 12 pounders, that's why I was guessing bigger. That's ok. If howitzers are accurate for that battle, then it's fine by me. Even if they aren't, it's not like Gettysburg has the perfect selection everywhere on it's field either.
 

Belfoured

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
Somehow they look big for 12 pounders, that's why I was guessing bigger. That's ok. If howitzers are accurate for that battle, then it's fine by me. Even if they aren't, it's not like Gettysburg has the perfect selection everywhere on it's field either.
I doubt (but don't know) that that number of howitzers was actually used at Raymond - but as you point out, even Gettysburg with its large no. of pieces is all over the place with gun types at a given battery location. It's complicated by the fact that at any given time several may be in for rehab.
 

James N.

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DSC06825.JPG

That appears to be 12 Howitzers (Reproductions) I suppose? 32 Pdrs or 24 Pdrs, it's hard to tell because they look a little odd at this angle, and dolphins might be throwing me off. If they were going for (Early) Napoleons, they made them a bit too short and boxy or something. I don't know, something is out of proportion on those barrels.

Great photo and Awesome display regardless.
They look most like replica M1841 12 lb Howitzers, although as you note something seems "off" from that angle . If I recall correctly, they were deemed surplus at Vicksburg NMP and they were gratefully accepted by the folks operating Raymond.
These were specially cast for the incipient park at Raymond and we heard the full story of their genesis from retired Brig. Gen. J. Parker Hills who contracted for them. They are primarily 12-pounder howitzers, six-pounders, and a single Whitworth which was used by Bledsoe's Missouri Battery until it blew up! This line represents a full battalion of three six-gun Union batteries. It's the carriages that were surplus from Vicksburg and required a good deal of restoration work to make them serviceable again. The guns are all steel, the smoothbores painted to resemble bronze. The Whitworth seen above beside Gen. Hills (holding a replica Whitworth bolt) looks funky but has a functional breech, here standing open.

DSC06827.JPG
 
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James N.

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DSC06836.JPG


Here's additional photos showing the line of Federal batteries at Raymond; these in the foreground may be replicas of 24-pounders. Interestingly, Gen. Hills told us the plan is to eventually donate or merge these Raymond holdings with Vicksburg NMP as a satellite unit of the park, so they made every effort to replicate the style of NPS battlefield signage seen here.

DSC06837.JPG
 

Belfoured

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View attachment 336118

Here's additional photos showing the line of Federal batteries at Raymond; these in the foreground may be replicas of 24-pounders. Interestingly, Gen. Hills told us the plan is to eventually donate or merge these Raymond holdings with Vicksburg NMP as a satellite unit of the park, so they made every effort to replicate the style of NPS battlefield signage seen here.

View attachment 336119
Thanks for that information.
 
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