Artillery The Guns of October

Basic Reference - Typology, Projectiles, Crew, Firing, etc.

 

Guns

Designed to batter heavy construction with solid shot at long or short range; destroy fort parapets and, by ricochet fire, dismount cannon; shoot grape, canister, or bombs against massed personnel. Field, garrison and siege designations/carriages. A longer, more flat trajectory, calibers in pounds.

 

 

Howitzers

Designed to hurl larger projectiles (usually bombs) than the field piece, in a high trajectory similar to the mortar, but from a lighter and more mobile weapon. Lightweight field carriages, calibers in inches.

 

 

Mortars

High, arcing trajectory. Mounted on a "bed"—a pair of wooden cheeks held together by transoms. Since a bed had no wheels, the piece was transported on a mortar wagon or sling cart. In the battery, the mortar was generally bedded upon a level wooden platform; aboard ship, it was a revolving platform, so that the piece could be quickly aimed right or left. The mortar's weight, plus the high angle of elevation, kept it pretty well in place when it was fired, although British artillerists took the additional precaution of lashing it down. Traditionally fired bombs, caliber in inches.

 

 

Crew

The gun crew (from John Muller, A Treatise of Artillery), should consist of two gunners and six soldiers to each piece.


 

English

From A History of the Campaigns of 1780 and 1781 in the Southern Provinces of America by Lieutenant-Colonel Tarleton (Dublin: 1787), p. 466

    Return of ordnance and military stores taken at York and Gloucester,... signed by Henry Knox

BRASS ORDNANCE.

Cannon on traveling carriages: 2 amulettes, 12 3-pounders, 1 4-pounder, 12 6-pounders, 1 9-pounder. Garrison Carriages:, 4 12-pounders, 3 4-pounders, 3 9-pounders.

Howitzers, on traveling carriages, 6 of 5 1/5 inches, 3 of 8 inches. Not mounted, 6 of 8 inches

Mortars, Mounted, 11 of 4 2/5 inches, 7 of 5 1/2 inches, 1 of 16 inches. >Not mounted, 1 of 4 2/5 inches, 3 of 13 inches

Total, 75 [76]

IRON ORDNANCE.

Cannon on garrison or ship carriages, 1 1-pounder, 3 3-pounders, 8 4-pounders, 30 6-pounders, 42 9-pounders, 18 12-pounders, 27 18-pounders. On traveling carriages, 1 24-pounder

Cannonades on ship carriages, 4 7-pounders, 27 18-pounders

Swivels 6

Total, 69 [167]

Wikipedia reports a total of 214, Knox's totals 243.

French

From Life and Correspondence of Henry Knox, Major General in the American Army by Francis S. Drake (Boston: 1873, Samuel G. Drake), p. 140:

FRENCH ARTlLLERY AND ENGINEERS AT THE SIEGE OF YORKTOWN.

ARTILLERY.
One battalion of the Royal Corps of Artillery, D’Aboville, Col.; Nadal, Lieut. Col.; 25 officers, 631 men.

ENGINEERS.
Desandrouins, Col.; Gau, Commissary; and ten other officers.

Siege Artillery
20 24-pounders and 16-pounders
4 6 and 8 in. Howitzers
12 8-in. and 12-in. Mortars.

Field Artillery
8 12-pounders
24 2-pounders
4 6-in. Howitzers


This is a total of 72 pieces.

American

From Life and Correspondence of Henry Knox, Major General in the American Army by Francis S. Drake (Boston: 1873, Samuel G. Drake), p. 140:

ORDNANCE FOR THE SIEGE OF YORKTOWN. AN ACCOUNT OF THE ORDNANCE WHICH WILL, BE ATTACHED TO THE AMERICAN ARMY IN THE INTENDED OPERATIONS (SIEGE OF YORKTOWN) TO THE SOUTHWARD.

FIELD ARTILLERY
2 12 -pounders
4 3-pounders
6 6-pounders
3 51/2-pounders

These with implements and carriages complete, and two hundred rounds to each piece, with the proper quantity of small stores.

FOR A SIEGE.

IRON
3 24-pounders
20 18-pounders

BRASS
2 8-inch mortars.
3 8-inch howitzers.
10 10-inch mortars.
6 51/2-inch mortars.

The above complete with carriages, beds, and implements, powder, shot, and shells, sufficient for five hundred rounds to each piece.

H. KNOX
Park of Artillery, 24th August, 1781


This is a total of 59 pieces.