A Very Rare Ames “Mountain Gun” One of Only Two Known to Exist, serial #49
Mountain guns were an essential tool of war used by the Confederates during the Civil War. Even though they were mostly left over from the Mexican War, they took them anywhere, anytime they could get them with many being guns seized at the onset of hostilities like this 6-pounder Ames 1851 model with a 3-inch bore, not a 4.78 bore like other Ames mountain howitzers which fired a 12-pound ball. The 6-pound ball was the easiest shot to find during the war and the Confederates preferred it for just that reason.
Although they were highly portable which matched the Confederate Cavalry’s ’ hit-and-run tactics, they lacked the punch of heavier guns wielded by the Union Army on the battlefield. This was recognized in the head-to-head engagements early on in the war when in 1862 General Robert E. Lee wrote to his Secretary of War “…that,…if metal cannot otherwise be procured, a portion, if not all, of our 6-pounder smooth-bores, and if necessary, a part of our 12-pounder howitzers, be recast into 12-pounder Napoleons.” Indeed that occurred quite frequently making these guns even less likely to survive the war. This is a classic Confederate cannon and can usually only be seen in museums or at battlefield parks. One of only two known to exist, JEB Stuart’s Cavalry used this very type of a gun as they could fast trot into battle with it “ Flying Artillery , and is an extremely rare canon, the barrel is in the shape of a Napoleon Canon, it is 100 times rarer than the common 12pdr Mountain Howizter.