Federal battery with 13-inch seacoast mortars, Model 1861, during the Siege of Yorktown, Virginia (1862).

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It takes a lot of pressure to launch a 200lbs shell. Pressure needs to be contained by thinker materials. Metallurgy wasn’t efficient enough to make longer barrels that were thick enough, at a reasonable cost. The mortars also didn’t need long barrels. “We know the enemy is in that direction. Shoot over there” was pretty much all they needed. For more accurate artillery needs they had cannons that could be moved and targeted easier. These mortars were for sieges.

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