Downieville, California




MOUNTAIN HOWITZER

THE MOUNTAIN HOWITZER IS A SHORT BARRELED, LARGE CALIBER CANNON DESIGNED ON
SUCH A SMALL SCALE THAT THE ENTIRE PIECE COULD BE TAKEN APART AND CARRIED ON PACK
ANIMALS. mOUNTAIN HOWITERS WERE MOSTLY USED IN SMALL SKIRMISHES, SCOUTING
EXPEDITIONS AND CAVALRY RAIDS. SERVING WITH DISTICTION IN THE CIVIL WAR BATTLES. MUCH
USED IN THE EAST, THEY WERE MORE IMPORTANT OUT WEST WHERE THERE WERE FEWER
ROADS, ROUGHER COUNTRY, AND FEW LARGE CANNONS SHOOTING BACK. THEY WERE
DEVASTING WEAPONS WHEN USED AGAINST AN OPPONENT. THEY ARE DESIGNED TO THROW
SHELLS AT A HIGHER TRAJECTORY AS COMPARED TO REGULAR FIELD GUNS, MAKING THEM
USEFUL AGAINST ENEMIES BEHIND FORTIFICATIONS OR CONCEALED IN RUGGED TERRAIN.

THE MOBILITY OF THE MOUNTAIN HOWITZER WAS ITS CHIEF ASSET. THE 220 POUND CANNON
WOULD BE PLACED ON ONE PACK ANIMAL, THE CARRIAGE TOWED BY A SECOND, AND
AMMUNITION ON A THIRD. IT WAS EASILY ASSEMBLED AND FIRED BY ITS BATTERY OF SIX MEN.
THEY FIRED SPHERICAL CASE SHOT, CANISTER OR GRAPE SHOT, AND THE CANNON WAS
CAPABLE OF LOFTING A 12 POUNDER ITS INTENDED RANGE OF 1070 YARDS.

THE CANNON TO THE NORTH WAS MANUFACTURED IN 1863 AT AMES FOUNDRY OF CHICOPEE,
MASSACHUSETTS FOR THE CIVIL WAR. AT WAR'S END IT WAS SENT WEST FOR USE AGAINST
HOSTILITIES. IT WAS CALLED INTO ACTION IN 1873 MODOC WAR WHEN CAPTAIN JACK AND THE
MODOC INDIANS RESISTED RELOCATION TO THE KLAMATH RESERVATION, TAKING REFUGE IN
THE LAVA BEDS. DURING THIS CONFLICT GENERAL CANBY WAS KILLED UNDER A FLAG OF
TRUCE. CAPTIAN JACK AND THREE MODOC WARRIORS WERE HUNG AT FORT KLAMATH.

THE CANNON TO THE SOUTH WAS MANUFACTURED IN 1853 AT CYRUS ALGER & COMPANY OF BOSTON
MASSACHUSETTS. DURING THE 1860 PAIUTE WAR, IT WAS DISPATCHED FROM FT. ALCATRAZ TO
THE SKIRMISHES NEAR PYRAMID LAKE WHERE SETTLERS WERE LOSING BATTLES. MAJOR
DANIEL E. HUNGERFORD OF DOWNIEVILLE'S SIERRA GUARD COMMANDED THE INFANTRY
MOUNTED FORCE WITH ARMS AND AMMUNITION FROM DOWNIEVILLE, FOREST CITY AND
GOODYEARS BAR NATIONAL GUARD TO ENGAGE THE INDIANS THUS ENDING THE CONFLICT.

DEDICATED AUGUST 24, 2013
MAJOR WILLIAM DOWNIE CHAPTER 1849
E CLAMPUS VITUS
CREDO QUIA ABSURDUM

Howitzer Dedication Downieville Court House
complete with a firing of a black powder mortar

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