Mortar Practice - Rear View

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“Mortar practice- rear view of 13-inch mortar, with its usual complement of seven gunners. The mortar is one of the most ancient forms of cannon, being used as early as 1495 by Charles VIII at the siege of Naples. In 1478 the first attempt was made to project hollow shot filled with powder; but owing to their clumsy make the accidents were so frequent as to cause their discontinuance. In 1634 a French mechanic overcame the difficulty, and mortars were revived in the French service. Our illustrations represent a 13-inch mortar, the largest in general practice, weight 17,000 pounds, exclusive of the carriage. The number of men required to work one of these guns is seven, for all of whom there is distinct and adequate occupation. Mortars are not used in hand-to-hand encounters, their value consisting in pitching shells into camps and towns, or shelling fortifications erected on elevations, against which cannons are of no avail.” —Leslie, 1896


Frank Leslie Famous Leaders and Battle Scenes of the Civil War (New York, NY: Mrs. Frank Leslie, 1896)


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