In 1775, thirteen colonies began a fight for their independence from Britain’s rule. Without formal training in artillery tactics or a proper armament of artillery pieces, early units had to overcome adversity and hardship. But with courage and dedication the artillery and its leadership were able to play a vital role in the success on the battlefields, and ultimately the victory resulting in America earning its freedom.
During the Revolutionary War, the Artillery assets that were available were a combination of cannons, mortars and howitzers. There were two types of cannons used at this time. The Field Guns, which were lightweight and easier to move, and the Siege Guns, which were much heavier and less mobile. The cannons utilized three different types of rounds. The rounds were solid shot, grapeshot, and canister. The solid shot rounds were used for structures, buildings, and ships. The grapeshot, which was a canvas bag of lead or iron balls, was ideal for long range personnel. The canister shot was a wooden cartridge carrying iron balls and when fired would explode like a shotgun for shorter range personnel. The cannons were mostly low trajectory as opposed the mortars which were high trajectory and fire bomb shells. The mortar was based on a wooden platform and a wedge of wood was used to incline the front of the barrel. There were land service mortars and sea service mortars. The land service being more mobile and the sea service much heavier and were permanently positioned on ships. By the time of the Revolutionary War there were nine types of land service mortar and four types of sea service mortar. They ranged from 4.4 to 13 inches. The rounds fired out of mortars were designed to fire at a high trajecto...
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...ctory at Monmouth as saying, “It is with peculiar pleasure … that the Commander-in-Chief can inform General Knox and the other officers of the artillery, that the enemy has done them the justice to acknowledge that no artillery could be better served than ours”. At its onset, the war seemed a futile effort, but with combination of brute strength and precision the artillery was able to help carry our young nation on to victory.
1. Washington, George. George Washington’s General Orders. From the Library of Congress, 1778. http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=mgw3&fileName=mgw3 g/gwpage003.db&recNum (accessed November 9, 2013)
2. Alden, John. A History of the American Revolution. New York: Da Capo Press, 1969. (accessed November 7, 2013).
3. Davis, Burke.The campaign that won America. New York: Harper Collins, 2007. (accessed October 15, 2013).
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