Help support TMP

"12 Pound Napoleon Guns Service Life" Topic

18 Posts

All members in good standing are free to post here. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the posters, and have not been cleared with nor are they endorsed by The Miniatures Page.

Please remember that some of our members are children, and act appropriately.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.

Back to the Early 20th Century Discussion Message Board

Back to the 19th Century Discussion Message Board

Back to the ACW Discussion Message Board

Areas of Interest

American Civil War
19th Century
World War One

Featured Hobby News Article

Featured Link

Featured Showcase Article

More 15mm Boxers from Cellmate

Tod gives us another look at his "old school" Boxer Rebellion figures.

Featured Profile Article

First Look: Barrage's 28mm Streets & Sidewalks

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian looks at some new terrain products, which use space age technology!

690 hits since 24 Apr 2022
©1994-2022 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

TMP logo


Please sign in to your membership account, or, if you are not yet a member, please sign up for your free membership account.
Bunkermeister Supporting Member of TMP24 Apr 2022 11:33 p.m. PST

When did the last 12 pound Napoleon guns go out of US service?

The regular Army?
The National Guard?
The State Militia?
Local Militia?
Long Term deep storage in a warehouse somewhere?

When was the last ones sent off for scrap or museums or to be mounted in front of the public library?

The last possible moment that one could be called up for service in the Martian Invasion, Japanese landing on the West Coast, or whatever cataclysmic disaster?

Mike Bunkermeister Creek
Bunker Talk blog

35thOVI Supporting Member of TMP25 Apr 2022 5:12 a.m. PST

Bunk, can't answer a lot of your questions, but barrels are still around. Every tube on the guns at Gettysburg are original Civil War tubes. One was actually in the battle. It sits over on the 1st day field, close to I30. A lot, like guns today went to private organizations. There are 2 original tube 12lb Howitzers on metal carriages in front of Memorial Hall in Dayton. I saw at least 2 reenactment units with original 12lb Napoleon barrels on their guns. Obviously the wooden carriages are probably all gone, but that might not be true. Just I have never seen one. Maybe one is in a museum.

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP25 Apr 2022 6:28 a.m. PST

The M1857 Napoleon was supposed to be phased out of service in 1865 but I believe was still being used up to about 1970 by the Regular Army – as noted astutely by 35th OVI, the actual tube was very resiliant and could have been around in local militia units for a very long time – especially to be trotted out once a year on the 4th to fire a salute – so then could have been called out to shoot those pesky grey eyed Martians even at a late date!

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP25 Apr 2022 7:14 a.m. PST

A single M1857 was used in the Nez Perce campaign of 1877.

Personal logo KimRYoung Supporting Member of TMP25 Apr 2022 8:38 a.m. PST

There are 2 original tube 12lb Howitzers on metal carriages in front of Memorial Hall in Dayton.


One is a 12lb howitzer, the other is a 24lb howitzer.


35thOVI Supporting Member of TMP25 Apr 2022 9:39 a.m. PST

Thanks Kim. I admit to not looking that closely as I drove by.

Personal logo KimRYoung Supporting Member of TMP25 Apr 2022 10:05 a.m. PST


After the war, both 12lb Napoleons and 3" Ordinance rifles remained in the army service as their primary field pieces (though much reduced in numbers) until the mid 1880's when the M1885 3.2" breechloading rifle (followed by the M1890 and M1897) replaced them

Here is a good link for post war artillery, particularly in the west.



Personal logo KimRYoung Supporting Member of TMP25 Apr 2022 10:10 a.m. PST


Well, I used to work right next to the Hall so have been up close many times!


35thOVI Supporting Member of TMP25 Apr 2022 10:33 a.m. PST

You see the barrel dates?

Blutarski25 Apr 2022 2:49 p.m. PST

There are several pieces of ACW field artillery on display in the Rhode Island state-house, including a Napoleon disabled at Gettysburg by an incoming Confederate artillery projectile that struck its muzzle and lodged itself in the bore.

The town squares and cemeteries of New England are awash in ACW memorial ordnance – Napoleons, Ordnance rifles plus assorted siege artillery and naval ordnance.


Bunkermeister Supporting Member of TMP25 Apr 2022 7:22 p.m. PST

KimRYoung that is a great document.
Thanks for that.

Thank you all for your help. Good stuff.

Mike Bunkermeister Creek
Bunker Talk blog

Personal logo KimRYoung Supporting Member of TMP26 Apr 2022 7:52 a.m. PST


It was MANY years ago that I was working near the Hall and while I knew enough to differentiate gun types, looking for foundry cast dates was not on my radar yet.

Here are some pics I found of those two guns:





35thOVI Supporting Member of TMP26 Apr 2022 8:21 a.m. PST

Thanks again

Bunkermeister Supporting Member of TMP27 Apr 2022 12:00 a.m. PST

It seems the last of them were replaced in the Active Army in 1892. So I would think they may have likely stayed in storage depots until the end of WWI when they would have had to make new space for the surplus WWI stuff.

Mike Bunkermeister Creek

Tricorne197127 Apr 2022 4:51 a.m. PST

I believe the wood carriage for a Napoleon stored in the old QM shed at historic Fort Kearny, Nebraska, is an original. I'll ask the staff.

Dn Jackson Supporting Member of TMP28 Apr 2022 12:56 p.m. PST

A lot were scrapped during WWII. They even went through the national parks culling their collections for scrap.

Blutarski29 Apr 2022 6:46 a.m. PST

There is a Union artillery re-enactment group in RI that has an original ACW James rifle. A rare gun. Amazing that this bronze gun survived more than a century.


ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP01 May 2022 3:34 p.m. PST

At the 135th anniversary Gettysburg reenactment my battalion was posted in support of a battery of Napoleons. The battery commander told me that two of the tubes in the battery were originals. Obviously the carriages were reproductions. It was quite a thrill when they opened fire.

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.