Lt.Arty Model 1841 12-pdr. "Heavy" Smoothbore Field Gun



ARTILLERY PROFILE
  • Model: Model 1841 12-pdr. "Heavy" Smoothbore Field Gun
  • Type: Muzleloading Smoothbore Gun
  • In Service With:
    • United States Army (Pre-War)
    • Confederate States Army
  • Purpose: Support the infantry and cavalry forces in the field
  • Invented By: U.S. Army Ordnance Board
  • Rarity: Rare
MANUFACTURING
  • US Casting Foundries:
    • N.P. Ames, Chicopee, Massachusetts
    • Cyrus Alger & Company, Boston, Massachusetts
  • CS Casting Foundry:
    • Tredegar Iron Works, Richmond, Virginia
  • Years of Manufacture: 1841-1861
  • Tube Composition: Bronze
  • Variants: Some 12-pdr. Heavy Field Guns were rifled to extend their useful life at the beginning of the war, using 12 or 18 groove right-hand twist rifling
  • No. Purchased Prior to, and During the Civil War: 63
  • No. of Surviving Pieces Today: 28
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WEIGHTS & MEASURES
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  • Bore Diameter: 4.62 inches
  • Bore Length: 74 inches
  • Rifling Type: no grooves
  • Trunnion Diameter: 4.62 inches
  • Barrel Thickness: at Muzzle Swell - 2.86 inches; at Vent - 3.64 inches
  • Tube Length: 85 inches
  • Tube Weight: 1,757 lbs.
  • Carriage Type: No. 3 Field Carriage (1,175 lbs.), 57" wheels
  • Total Weight (Gun & Carriage): 2,975 lbs.
  • Horses Required to Pull: 8
  • No. of Crew to Serve: 8


AMMUNITION
  • Standard Powder Charge: 2.5 lbs. Cannon Grade Black Powder
  • Projectiles Types: 20 round balls, 8 case shot, 4 canister
  • Projectiles Weights: 12 lb. round balls
  • Weight of each Limber Chest: 499.8 lbs.
  • Typical Number of Projectiles Per Gun: 128 - Loaded in 4 - 32 Round / Mixed Ammo Chests

PERFORMANCE
  • Rate of Fire: 2 rounds per minute
  • Muzzle Velocity: 1,486 ft/sec.
  • Effective Range (at 5°): 1,663 yards (0.94 miles)
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Notes about the Model 1841 12-pdr. "Heavy" Smoothbore


A foreruner to the 12-pdr. Napoleon, and veteran of the Mexican War era, this weapon was one of the most widely used cannon in the United States during the 1840s and '50s.

Packing a solid punch and having a respectable 1600-1700 yard effective range, the 12-pdr was a much better weapon than its little brother, the M1841 6-pdr. But its weight of 1800 lbs was a liability, just about at the top limit for the requirements of mobility in the field.

With the easy to transport 12-pdr. Napoleon entering service, and the advent of lighter weight and longer range rifled iron guns, most of these heavy pieces were quickly retired or melted down.

Some of these smoothbore guns were rifled with 18-grooves at the beginning of the Civil War. Alger and Ames each made one as 4.62-inch rifles with 12 grooves in 1861. The Tredegar Foundry produced at least eight of these guns for the Confederate army.

FOR FURTHER READING
ASSOCIATED LINKS
 
Last edited:

Seduzal

Major
Retired Moderator
Joined
Jun 19, 2013
Location
Canton, North Carolina
Thanks for sharing this awesome article. It was stated above that there were 63 that were purchased prior to and during the war, with 28 surviving pieces today. What happened to the other 35?
 

Belfoured

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 3, 2019


ARTILLERY PROFILE
  • Model: Model 1841 12-pdr. "Heavy" Smoothbore Field Gun
  • Type: Muzleloading Smoothbore Gun
  • In Service With:
    • United States Army (Pre-War)
    • Confederate States Army
  • Purpose: Support the infantry and cavalry forces in the field
  • Invented By: U.S. Army Ordnance Board
  • Rarity: Rare
MANUFACTURING
  • US Casting Foundries:
    • N.P. Ames, Chicopee, Massachusetts
    • Cyrus Alger & Company, Boston, Massachusetts
  • CS Casting Foundry:
    • Tredegar Iron Works, Richmond, Virginia
  • Years of Manufacture: 1841-1861
  • Tube Composition: Bronze
  • Variants: Some 12-pdr. Heavy Field Guns were rifled to extend their useful life at the beginning of the war, using 12 or 18 groove right-hand twist rifling
  • No. Purchased Prior to, and During the Civil War: 63
  • No. of Surviving Pieces Today: 28

WEIGHTS & MEASURESView attachment 362306
  • Bore Diameter: 4.62 inches
  • Bore Length: 74 inches
  • Rifling Type: no grooves
  • Trunnion Diameter: 4.62 inches
  • Barrel Thickness: at Muzzle Swell - 2.86 inches; at Vent - 3.64 inches
  • Tube Length: 85 inches
  • Tube Weight: 1,757 lbs.
  • Carriage Type: No. 3 Field Carriage (1,175 lbs.), 57" wheels
  • Total Weight (Gun & Carriage): 2,975 lbs.
  • Horses Required to Pull: 8
  • No. of Crew to Serve: 8


AMMUNITION
  • Standard Powder Charge: 2.5 lbs. Cannon Grade Black Powder
  • Projectiles Types: 20 round balls, 8 case shot, 4 canister
  • Projectiles Weights: 12 lb. round balls
  • Weight of each Limber Chest: 499.8 lbs.
  • Typical Number of Projectiles Per Gun: 128 - Loaded in 4 - 32 Round / Mixed Ammo Chests

PERFORMANCE
  • Rate of Fire: 2 rounds per minute
  • Muzzle Velocity: 1,486 ft/sec.
  • Effective Range (at 5°): 1,663 yards (0.94 miles)

Notes about the Model 1841 12-pdr. "Heavy" Smoothbore


A foreruner to the 12-pdr. Napoleon, and veteran of the Mexican War era, this weapon was one of the most widely used cannon in the United States during the 1840s and '50s.

Packing a solid punch and having a respectable 1600-1700 yard effective range, the 12-pdr was a much better weapon than its little brother, the M1841 6-pdr. But its weight of 1800 lbs was a liability, just about at the top limit for the requirements of mobility in the field.

With the easy to transport 12-pdr. Napoleon entering service, and the advent of lighter weight and longer range rifled iron guns, most of these heavy pieces were quickly retired or melted down.

Some of these smoothbore guns were rifled with 18-grooves at the beginning of the Civil War. Alger and Ames each made one as 4.62-inch rifles with 12 grooves in 1861. The Tredegar Foundry produced at least eight of these guns for the Confederate army.

FOR FURTHER READING
ASSOCIATED LINKS
Thanks for yet another excellent post. The M1841 was in a sense "obsolete" within a few years of its introduction. The evolution of "flying artillery" tactics, primarily by Ringgold c. 1845, meant that in the War with Mexico those companies/batteries used the M1841 6 lb gun because of its much lighter weight. Then in 1857 along came the Napoleon with c. 2/3 the tube weight and shortly thereafter, as you point out, the rifled guns which were half the tube weight.
 
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