The 1841 Mountain Howitzer is a type of bronze smoothbore12 pounder, optimized for firing explosive shells as well as spherical case and canister. Its range was 1,005 yards (919 m) at 5° elevation with a charge of 0.5 pounds (0.2 kg) of black powder when firing shell. The original carriage design allowed the piece to be broken down into three loads for pack animal transport: the tube carried on one animal, carriage and wheels by another, and ammunition on the third.
The Mountain Howitzer was designed to be light weight and highly portable. Because of this and its ease of disassembly it did not require roads for transportation making it well suited to Indian fighting and mountain warfare. In addition to the pack carriage, a prairie carriage was also created for traditional draft using only two horses. This versatility permitted their use with mounted forces in areas where roads were little more than paths. These small Howitzers provided artillery support for forces where it would otherwise be unavailable. However, their shorter range made them unsuitable for dueling with other field artillery.