Lt.Arty 24-pdr. Field Howitzer

When positioned in defensive positions and field fortifications, 24-pounder Field Howitzers were extremely useful pieces of ordnance because of their powerful 5.82 inch shells. Their 1400 pound weight made them a very hard to maneuver in the field, and their 1300 yard effective range put them at a disadvantage to other artillery pieces. Nevertheless, infantrymen could not have relished the idea of charging a battery of 24-pdr howitzers.

ARTILLERY PROFILE
  • Model: 24-pdr. Field Howitzer
  • Type: Muzzleloading Field Howitzer
  • In Service With:
    • United States Army
    • Confederate States Army
  • Purpose: To fire heavy explosive shells in a high trajectory over terrain & enemy fortifications for plunging and ricochet fire, and also for short range defense using canister.
  • Invented By: Various Cannon Manufacturers at the request and specification of the U.S. Army Ordnance Board in 1831
  • Years of Manufacture: 1841 to 1863
  • Tube Composition: Bronze
  • Rarity: Rare
MANUFACTURING
  • US Casting Foundry:
    • N.P. Ames, Chicopee, Massachusetts
    • Cyrus Alger & Company, Boston, Massachusetts
  • CS Casting Foundries:
    • Quinby & Robinson, of Memphis, Tennessee
  • Variants:
    • Pre-1841 U.S. Iron 24 pdr. Flank Howitzer
    • Confederate Iron 24 pdr. Flank Howitzer
    • Austrian 7-pdr. Field Howitzer (5.87" bore, 7 pdr. by Austrian weighting system of 1850's.)
  • No. Purchased During the Civil War: about 65
    • No. of Surviving Pieces Today: ?
WEIGHTS & MEASURES
  • Bore Diameter: 5.82 inches
    • Inner Chamber Diameter: 4.62 inches
  • Tube Length: 61 inches
  • Bore Length: 10.48 cal, or 61 inches
  • Rifling Type: None
  • Trunnion Diameter: 4.2 inches
  • Tube Length: 71 inches
  • Tube Weight: 1,318 lbs.
  • Carriage Type: No. 3 Field Carriage (1,175 lbs.), 57" wheels
  • Total Weight (Gun & Carriage): 2,493 lbs.
  • Horses Required to Pull: 8
  • No. of Crew to Serve: 8
AMMUNITION
  • Typical Number of Projectiles Per Gun:
    • 12 shells, 8 case, and 3 canister; 23 projectiles per chest
    • Each gun had 4 limber chests
    • A total of 94 projectiles per gun
  • Projectiles: 18.4 lb. spherical case, common shell, canister
  • Standard Powder Charge: 2 to 2.5 lbs. Cannon Grade Black Powder
PERFORMANCE
  • Rate of Fire: 1 rounds per minute
  • Muzzle Velocity: 1,060 ft/sec.
  • Effective Range (at 5°): Using Shell & 2 lbs. Powder... 1,322 yards (0.75 miles)
  • Effective Range (at 3° 30'): Using Spherical Case & 2.5 lbs. Powder... 1,200 yards (0.68 miles)
  • Projectile Flight Time (at 3° 30'): Using Spherical Case & 2.5 lbs. Powder... 4¾ seconds
NOTES ON THE 24-PDR. FIELD HOWITZER

The companion to the 12 pdr. Field Gun & 12 pdr. Napoleon, the Model 1841 24 pdr. Howitzer was the heaviest ordnance intended for use in the field.

In Federal service, nearly all howitzers had been replaced by Napoleons. The Confederates, having a shortage of field pieces, maintained them in their arsenal. Howitzers like the 24-pounder fired solid shot, spherical case, and canister.

E. Porter Alexander, General Longstreet's Chief of Artillery for much of the war, called them "my favorite guns." On occasion, he even had them mounted on skids and used as mortars.

The 24-pounder Field Howitzer in the photo above is one of four used by the Confederates at Gettysburg, and are of Austrian manufacture. They are easily distinguished by the twin "handles" on either side of the tube. Because the bores of this weapon was 5.87 inches instead of the normal 5.82 inches, these guns have the complication of having additional unwanted windage when using standard shells, which were 5.68 inches in diameter by U.S. and C.S. ordnance regulations. With a 0.19 inch windage to overcome, gunners were directed to wrap standard ammunition in canvas bags help alleviate the gap issue.

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Last edited:

CivilWarTalk

Lieutenant General
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Managing Member & Webmaster
Joined
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Location
Martinsburg, WV
DETAIL PHOTOS OF TWO
24 PDR. AUSTRIAN FIELD HOWITZERS

At Gettysburg NMP, December 2019

1575914623160.png

At Vent: No 1CC.
Base Ring: Nro. 15 652 lb. - WIEN 1858.
Breech Face: 7.H. 6.B. - S.
(*Notes on Weight: 652 Austrian lbs * 1.23 = 801 English lbs.
WIEN is Vienna in German, as in Vienna, Austria)
Photo ©Michael Kendra, December 2019


1575914643601.png

At Vent: No 1CC.
Base Ring: Nro. 15 652 lb. - WIEN 1858.
Breech Face: 7.H. 6.B. - S.
(*Note on Weight: 652 Austrian lbs * 1.23 = 801 English lbs.
WIEN is Vienna in German, as in Vienna, Austria)
Photo ©Michael Kendra, December 2019


1575914711591.png

At Vent: No 1CC.
Base Ring: Nro. 15 652 lb. - WIEN 1858.
Breech Face: 7.H. 6.B. - S.
(*Note on Weight: 652 Austrian lbs * 1.23 = 801 English lbs.
WIEN is Vienna in German, as in Vienna, Austria)
Photo ©Michael Kendra, December 2019


1575914735260.png

At Vent: No 1CC.
Base Ring: Nro. 15 652 lb. - WIEN 1858.
Breech Face: 7.H. 6.B. - S.
(*Note on Weight: 652 Austrian lbs * 1.23 = 801 English lbs.
WIEN is Vienna in German, as in Vienna, Austria)
Photo ©Michael Kendra, December 2019


1575914763932.png

At Vent: No 1CC.
Base Ring: Nro. 15 652 lb. - WIEN 1858.
Breech Face: 7.H. 6.B. - S.
(*Note on Weight: 652 Austrian lbs * 1.23 = 801 English lbs.
WIEN is Vienna in German, as in Vienna, Austria)
Photo ©Michael Kendra, December 2019


1575914804156.png

At Vent: No 1CC.
Base Ring: Nro. 15 652 lb. - WIEN 1858.
Breech Face: 7.H. 6.B. - S.
(*Note on Weight: 652 Austrian lbs * 1.23 = 801 English lbs.
WIEN is Vienna in German, as in Vienna, Austria)
Photo ©Michael Kendra, December 2019


1575914822066.png

At Vent: No 1CC.
Base Ring: Nro. 15 652 lb. - WIEN 1858.
Breech Face: 7.H. 6.B. - S.
(*Note on Weight: 652 Austrian lbs * 1.23 = 801 English lbs.
WIEN is Vienna in German, as in Vienna, Austria)
Photo ©Michael Kendra, December 2019




1575917538645.png

2" by 6" Bookmark for Bore Scale
At Vent: No 1CC.
Base Ring: Nro. 35 665 lb. - WIEN 1859.
Breech Face: 7.H. 6.B. - S.
(*Note on Weight: 665 Austrian lbs * 1.23 = 818 English lbs.
WIEN is Vienna in German, as in Vienna, Austria)
Photo ©Michael Kendra, December 2019


1575917447142.png

At Vent: No 1CC.
Base Ring: Nro. 35 665 lb. - WIEN 1859.
Breech Face: 7.H. 6.B. - S.
(*Note on Weight: 665 Austrian lbs * 1.23 = 818 English lbs.
WIEN is Vienna in German, as in Vienna, Austria)
Photo ©Michael Kendra, December 2019


1575917487309.png

At Vent: No 1CC.
Base Ring: Nro. 35 665 lb. - WIEN 1859.
Breech Face: 7.H. 6.B. - S.
(*Note on Weight: 665 Austrian lbs * 1.23 = 818 English lbs.
WIEN is Vienna in German, as in Vienna, Austria)
Photo ©Michael Kendra, December 2019


1575917424471.png

At Vent: No 1CC.
Base Ring: Nro. 35 665 lb. - WIEN 1859.
Breech Face: 7.H. 6.B. - S.
(*Note on Weight: 665 Austrian lbs * 1.23 = 818 English lbs.
WIEN is Vienna in German, as in Vienna, Austria)
Photo ©Michael Kendra, December 2019


1575917407890.png

At Vent: No 1CC.
Base Ring: Nro. 35 665 lb. - WIEN 1859.
Breech Face: 7.H. 6.B. - S.
(*Note on Weight: 665 Austrian lbs * 1.23 = 818 English lbs.
WIEN is Vienna in German, as in Vienna, Austria)
Photo ©Michael Kendra, December 2019


1575917394594.png

At Vent: No 1CC.
Base Ring: Nro. 35 665 lb. - WIEN 1859.
Breech Face: 7.H. 6.B. - S.
(*Note on Weight: 665 Austrian lbs * 1.23 = 818 English lbs.
WIEN is Vienna in German, as in Vienna, Austria)
Photo ©Michael Kendra, December 2019


1575917379048.png

At Vent: No 1CC.
Base Ring: Nro. 35 665 lb. - WIEN 1859.
Breech Face: 7.H. 6.B. - S.
(*Note on Weight: 665 Austrian lbs * 1.23 = 818 English lbs.
WIEN is Vienna in German, as in Vienna, Austria)
Photo ©Michael Kendra, December 2019

 
Last edited:

Wallyfish

Sergeant Major
Honored Fallen Comrade
Joined
Nov 26, 2015
Location
Greensburg, Pa
Great detail Mike.

Anyone visiting Gettysburg should stop and see these beasts. If you look at Mike's photo, you will see the State of Mississippi Monument in the background. Just south of that Mississippi Monument are these 2 howitzers. They are on West Confederate Avenue just before the intersection with Millerstown road.
 
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TomP

Sergeant
Joined
Sep 29, 2015
Location
Corinth, MS
There are six 24lb howitzers in the collection at Shiloh National Military Park. Three Alger's, like those pictured here, two Confederate Quinby & Robinson's, and a Dalhgren Boat Howitzer from the Ames Manufacturing Company. McAllister's Battery (D, 1st Illinois Light Artillery) used four of the big Alger's during the battle. They are real beasts and, like @CivilWarTalk pointed out, much too heavy for field use. Despite this, the battery kept the four big guns throughout the war.
 
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