The American Civil War between the northern and southern sections of the United States began in April 1861 and came to an end in the last days of April 1865. The sweeping struggle encompassed thousands of miles and employed vast numbers of men.

Cannon were made of steel, bronze, or iron. This artillery could be categorized as either smoothbore or rifled. The weight of the projectile (12-pounder, 24-pounder, 32-pounder), the caliber or size of the bore diameter (3-inch, 8-inch, 10-inch), the method of loading (breech or muzzle), the trajectory, and the inventor or manufacturing factory (Dahlgren, Napoleon, Rodman, Parrott, Whitworth) further distinguished cannon.
Both the Union and the Confederacy favored the Napoleon, a smoothbore, muzzle-loading, 12-pounder “gun-howitzer.”