Historically the 118th NY did not have an Artillery Battery attached directly to it, however as a Historical Reenacting Organization, having artillery for demonstrations, local events & even educational programs has made our unit much more versatile & much more adept as a unit. Therefore, it was decided to venture into obtaining & forming an artillery section for the 118th NY. Our artillery pieces are ONLY used at local events and do not partake in National events. “Burnett’s Battery” is named after the artillery’s owner & commander (Ord. Sgt. Stuart Burnett), as was customary for artillery units of the time to do so. To safely load & fire these pieces, re-enactors must be trained on all 7 firing positions of each piece.
“Burnett’s Battery” consists of 3 total pieces of artillery.
1- 3 lb. Mountain Howitzer/Limber
2- 3 lb. Co-horn Siege Mortars
All 3 pieces are fairly mobile on the field and were used in support of infantry units during engagements.
The Mountain Howitzer/Limber
Mountain Howitzers were used primarily in support of advancing or defending infantry positions. They were customarily placed on flanks of an infantry position, protecting it from being flanked by enemy troops. The piece was able to fire various types of projectiles such as canister (shot-gun effect type load) and solid shot. It could be easily disassembled & placed on pack mules to transport over mountainous or rough terrain, along with an infantry unit. The piece itself weighed approximately 750 lbs., plus limber. The limber was a separate attachable 2 wheeled wagon which carried the supplies & driver, to operate the gun. Attaching the piece to a limber, thus utilizing 4 – wheels rather than 2 made it easier to move the piece on the field or over flat terrain. By using the limber, the piece could be pulled by an infantry detail or by a couple of horses/mules. The usual compliment of men for a mountain Howitzer was 8 – 10 men. There are 7 positions on this piece to fire it safely & effectively.
Small Infantry Co-horn Siege Mortar
Small Mortars were used primarily to dislodge fortified enemy positions & trenches. The projectile would be fired & exploded over or behind an enemy’s fortified position. Shrapnel from the exploding shell would ravage infantry personnel from above and behind the fortifications
weakening the enemy’s position for an upcoming infantry assault. It would also tend to soften up or destroy parts of the enemy’s fortifications to aid in an upcoming infantry assault. The Infantry mortars weighed approximately 150 lbs. – 250 lbs. & were moved about the field by an infantry detail or by mules for longer distances when the army was on the march. The infantry detail would consist of about 6 – 8 men per piece.