Based upon a French design, the Model of 1857 "Napoleon" was a bronze gun capable of firing a 12 pound shot nearly one mile. Although few were produced prior to 1861, large numbers of the Napoleons were ultimately employed by both sides during the Civil War. An extremely accurate and reliable weapon, the Napoleon may represent the most successful Smoothbore gun ever designed. Standard ammunition was a mix of shot, shell, spherical case and canister rounds. The gun was capable of both direct and indirect fire, and when using canister it was extremely effective against infantry at close range. Between 1856 and 1864 the Union Army received 1.157 Napoleons, many of which continue to serve today as monuments on the nation's battlefields.
The upper half of this image, published by Harper's Weekly in 1879, represents the "Artillery School for Militiamen at Fort Hamilton". On October 20, 1879, the Brooklyn Eagle reported on the activities of National Guard artillery units at Fort Hamilton, noting that artillery drill "will begin this afternoon, and will be repeated throughout the week... and blank charge only will be used." The gun line concerned would have stood approximately 100 yards to your left. (HDM)