Scale Model 24 PDR Field Howitzer
Howitzers were short-barreled guns that were optimized for firing explosive shells in a high trajectory, but also for spherical case shot and canister, over a shorter range than the guns. While field use alluded to firing at targets consisting of enemy forces arrayed in the open, howitzers were considered the weapon of choice if the opposing forces were concealed behind terrain features or fortifications. Howitzers used lower powder charges than guns of corresponding caliber.
Field howitzer calibers used in the Civil War were 12-pounder (4.62 inch bore), 24-pounder (5.82 inch bore) shown here, and 32-pounder (6.41 inch bore). Most of the howitzers used in the war were bronze, with notable exceptions of some of Confederate manufacture. Coupled to the 6-pounder field gun in allocations of the pre-war Army, the 12-pounder field howitzer was represented by Models of 1838 and 1841. With a light weight and respectable projectile payload, the 12-pounder was only cycled out of the main field army inventories as production and availability of the 12-pounder "Napoleon" rose, and would see action in the Confederate armies up to the very end.
As with the corresponding heavy field guns, the heavier howitzers were available in limited quantities early in the war. Both Federal and Confederate contracts list examples of 24-pounders delivered during the war, and surviving examples exist of imported Austrian types of this caliber used by the Confederates.
These 24-pounder howitzers found use in the "reserve" batteries of the respective armies, but were gradually replaced over time with heavy rifled guns. Both the 24- and 32-pounders were more widely used in fixed fortifications, but at least one of the later large weapons was with the 1st Connecticut Artillery as late as 1864