24 pdr. Howitzer
- Type: Howitzer
- Rarity: Rare
- Years of Manufacture: 1841 to 1863
- Tube Composition: Bronze
- Bore Diameter: 5.82 inches
- Standard Powder Charge: 2 lbs.
- Projectiles: 18.4 lb. spherical case, common shell, cannister
- Muzzle Velocity: 1,060 fps
- Effective Range (at 5°): 1,322 yards
- Tube Length: 65 inches
- Tube Weight: 1,318 lbs.
- Total Weight (Gun & Carriage): 2,443 lbs.
- Carriage Type: No. 2 Field Carriage (1,125 lbs.), 57" wheels
- Horses Required to Pull: 6
- No. in North America: about 65
- Special Notes: The companion to the 12 pdr. Field Gun & 12 pdr. Napoleon, the Model 1841 24 pdr. Howitzer was the heaviest ordnance intended for use in the field.
About the 24 pdr. Howitzer
When positioned in defensive positions and field fortifications, 24-pounder Howitzers were extremely useful pieces of ordnance because of their powerful 5.82 inch shells. Their 1400 pound weight made them a very hard to maneuver in the field, and their 1300 yard effective range put them at a disadvantage to other artillery pieces. Nevertheless, infantrymen could not have relished the idea of charging a battery of 24-pdr howitzers.
In Federal service, nearly all howitzers had been replaced by Napoleons. The Confederates, having a shortage of field pieces, maintained them in their arsenal. Howitzers like the 24-pounder fired solid shot, spherical case, and cannister.
E. Porter Alexander, General Longstreet's Chief of Artillery for much of the war, called them "my favorite guns." On occasion, he even had them mounted on skids and used as mortars.
The 24-pounder Howitzer in the photo above is one of four used by the Confederates at Gettysburg, and are of Austrian manufacture. They are easily distinguished by the twin "handles" on either side of the tube.