The Mountain Howitzer is a short barreled, large caliber cannon designed on such a small scale that the entire piece can be taken apart and carried on pack animals. Mountain Howitzers were mostly used on small skirmishes, scouting expeditions and cavalry raids. Serving with distinction in 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 devastating 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 a its battery of six men. They fired spherical shape 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. Captain 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 Mountain Force with arms and ammunition from Downieville, Forest City and Goodyear Bar National Guard to engage the Indians thus ending the conflict.