Though weighing over 1,200 pounds, the 12-pounder Napoleon field guns or "gun-howitzers" were considered light artillery and were the most widely used artillery pieces of the Civil War. Approximately 1,157 of these U.S. Model 1857s were manufactured in the North on Federal contract by six different makers during the war, and Henry N. Hooper & Co. manufactured 370 of them (see page 91 of "Field Artillery Weapons of the Civil War" by Hazlett). 36% of the Union artillery pieces at Gettysburg were Napoleons, and 130 Napoleons were used by the Union forces at Antietam. The Napoleon 12-pounders could fire solid shot or explosive shells nearly a mile (max range of 1,600+ yards) as well as shot for closer range engagements. They are also historically significant as the last cast bronze cannons used by the U.S. military. Post front sight and holder for a floating ladder rear sight, which is absent. The muzzle is marked "No. 207 H.N.H. Co. 1233 lbs./T.J.R. 1863" indicating this is the 207th gun made by Henry N. Hooper on contract, it weighs 1233 lbs., inspection initials of Ordnance Officer Thomas Jefferson Rodman, and dated 1863. The tube has "U.S." in ornate letters on top in between the trunnions, and marked "227" at the top edge of the right trunnion. Two cannon balls are currently wedged in the breech end of the barrel. Includes a later extensively restored carriage with a circular brass makers plaque that reads "PHELPS PARKE & CO./PITTSBURGH PA." around the date "1863", accoutrements, and caisson with wood chest and an extended pole at the front of the caisson for attaching to livestock painted "F. BANNERMAN/NEW YORK" in stencil. The copper lid of the chest contains a period paper label on the underside titled "TABLE OF FIRE. LIGHT 12-POUNDER GUN. MODEL 1857." and illustrating the different capabilities of ranges in yards with shell or shot at specified elevations.
Fine with attractive aged golden patina on the brass, a repaired vent hole, sharp US marking, and mostly legible muzzle markings with some period muzzle wear. Two cannon balls are currently lodged inside the breech end as noted above. Carriage and caisson are both fine with light occasional paint chips, and attractive aged patina on the copper lid and chest with a nice paper label inside. A fantastic piece of artillery that would make an excellent addition to any U.S. Martial or Civil War collection!
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