Managing Member & Webmaster
- Apr 1, 1999
- Martinsburg, WV
The 6-pounder Smoothbore Field Gun was a lightweight, mobile piece that was a favorite of the field artillery in the first half of the nineteenth century. This popular workhorse of the Mexican War era was regarded as obsolete by the Union army, but was still employed by a Confederate army that could not afford to pass on functional ordnance with it's shortage of available guns and resources.
FOR FURTHER READING
- In Service With:
- United States Army
- Confederate States Army
- 1841 Cadet Version: Virginia Military Institute, Arkansas Military Institute, Georgia Military Institute
- Type: Muzzleloading Smoothbore Field Gun
- Purpose: Support the infantry and cavalry forces in the field
- Invented By: Various Cannon Manufacturers at the request and specification of the US Army Ordnance Board in 1835
- Years of Manufacture: 1841 to 1863
- Tube Composition: Bronze
- Bore Diameter: 3.67 inches
- Rarity: Common to Uncommon
- Rate of Fire: 2 rounds per minute
- Rifling Type: None
- Standard Powder Charge: 1.25 lbs. Cannon Grade Black Powder
- Muzzle Velocity: 1,439 ft/s
- Effective Range (at 5°): using solid shot, up to 1,523 yards or 0.86 miles
- Effective Range (at 4°): using spherical case, 1,200 yards or 0.68 miles
- Projectile Flight Time (at 4°): using spherical case, 5 seconds
- Projectiles: 6.15 lbs. solid round balls, 5.5 lbs. case shot, 6.8 lbs. canister
- As of 1850: 35 solid shot, 5 spherical case, and 10 canister rounds per limber box
- As of 1862: 25 solid shot, 20 spherical case, and 5 canister rounds per limber box
- Typical Number of Projectiles Per Gun: 200 rounds in 4 Limber boxes
- Tube Length: 60 inches
- Bore Length: 15.7 calibers, or 57.5 inches
- Tube Weight: 884 lbs.
- Carriage Type: No. 1 Field Carriage (900 lbs.), 57" wheels
- Total Weight (Gun & Carriage): 1784 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. 700
- No. of Original Pieces That Are Known to have Survived Until Today: approx. 300
- Cost in 1861 Dollars: $400.00 (US)
- US Casting Foundry: Cyrus Alger & Company (Boston), Ames Manufacturing Company (Boston), Henry N. Hooper (Boston), Revere Copper (Boston), Eagle Foundry (Cincinnati), Western Foundry (St. Louis), Benjamin Lemmon (Indianapolis)
- CS Casting Foundries: Tredegar (Richmond), John Clarke (New Orleans), Leeds & Company (New Orleans), Quinby & Robinson (Memphis), A.M. Paxton (Vicksburg), A.B. Reading & Brother (Vicksburg)
- Model 1835, 58 Accepted, Bore Length (Cal) 15.7, Weight 743 Lbs.
- Model 1838 Light or Cavalry Model, 98 Accepted, Bore Length (Cal) 14.0, Weight 690 Lbs.
- Model 1840, 27 Accepted, Bore Length (Cal) 14.0, Weight 812 Lbs.
- Standard Model 1841, 854+ Accepted, Bore Length (Cal) 15.7, Weight 880 Lbs.
- Model 1841 Cadet, 10 Accepted, Bore Length (Cal) 11.7, Weight 570 Lbs.
- Rifled 6 pounder Guns, some are cast with rifling, others were rifled after casting in the James Type I. system.
- Special Notes: Workhorse of Mexican War, but considered obsolete by Civil War
FOR FURTHER READING
- Civil War Artillery at Gettysburg, Cole, Philip M, Da Capo Press, New York, N.Y., 2002.
- Field Artillery Weapons of the Civil War, by Olmstead, Hazlett, & Parks, Univ of Delaware Press, 1988.
- Artillery and Ammunition of the Civil War, by Warren Ripley, Battery Press, 1984.
In the discussion of the 6-pdr field guns, I’ve built up to the Model 1841 with much justification. The type represented the ultimate reversion from iron to bronze for field pieces, the find…
The last post covered the design and performance of the Model 1841 6-pdr Field Gun. Now we’ll turn to the production figures for this weapon. At the eve of the Civil War this model of field…
Closing off the last post on 6-pdr field guns, I noted the Army was not completely satisfied with the Model 1835 6-pdrs. The issue was field handling. As the chart of 6-pdr bronze field guns demo…
Thus far in the discussion of the Model 1841 6-pdr, I’ve offered some photos of the guns. But assuming most Civil War students are at least familiar with the guns, I’ve saved a “…
When discussing the long production run of the Model 1841 6-pdr, I mentioned Confederate manufacture of the type. At least six vendors produced 6-pdrs using the Model 1841 pattern for Confederate …
In American service the 6-pdr field gun, as a class of weapon, progressed from an “iron age” to a series of bronze guns (Model 1835, Models 1838 and 1840), evolving into the definitive …