As a battlefield weapon, the mortar has seen consistent use for centuries. In what has come to be termed the first "modern war", the American Civil War (1861-1865) was one that ultimately relied on a bevy of man-killing, property-destroying weapon systems - from the percussion-cap rifle to the rifled cannon and all systems in between. One of the sub-categories of artillery was the mortar and both sides of the war relied heavily on mortar-type weapons for unseating enemies and defending coastlines. The mortar weapon differed from the field howitzer in that it could fire a larger projectile at a higher trajectories - but this value was offset some by the reduced engagement range offered. Nevertheless, such in-direct fire weapons proved utterly useful in siege work - while field guns handled the bulk of line-of-sight actions on the many battlefields of the Civil War.
The Model 1819 was a 10-inch mortar development that, despite its age, still featured in the war and utilized by both parties. Some were emplaced to reinforce the defenses at Fort Sumter where the first shots of the war were fired. Its cast iron form was given a short, stubby appearance which offered the strength to contend with the powder charges in play and a low velocity for its outgoing projectile. Solid arms projected from the sides of the rear section of the barrel and these were used to provide elevation when the mortar was seated in its proper mounting.
Like many of the artillery systems used during the period, the Model 1819 was a muzzle-loaded weapon meaning that both charge and projectile were inserted through the muzzle end (as opposed to the breech end). Able to fire a large, explosive piece reaching out to over 2,200 yards, such weapons were indispensible when attacking fortified structures and warships as their in-direct fire nature allowed munitions to rain down on the enemy. Eventually either the defending structure was reduced to rubble and the enemy vacated the position or the enemy died where they stood.
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