Up and Over at Yorktown
This picture is from the Yorktown Battlefield park and was taken from the American and French lines on the right side of the battlefield, not far from Redoubts 9 and 10.
A couple of things to point out in this photo.
First thing. Notice the path and how it seemingly goes between two huge mounds of dirt off into the distance? That is the result of digging the siege lines. The dirt that was moved was used to create the large berms. So digging down not only made it safer, but provided the material needed to make the fortifications. The American forces during the Revolution were very good at digging these fortifications and many times amazing works like this would be created over night, leaving the British dumbfounded.
Second thing. The cannons closest to us are mortars. During a siege the enemy usually were behind some kind of fortifications. Sometimes stronger than any artillery you may have on hand. Mortars are designed to lob shells over the fortifications and into the enemy or the civilians behind the lines. They can be very effective but were not used in regular field battles.
The cannons in the background would be used for direct fire, aimed at a target and fired at it. During a siege, they would batter the fortifications hoping to break them down so the infantry could take a run at it. In normal field battles these would be used to great effect. We will see many more of these on the site and get into their uses. It was just neat to see bot types of artillery in one picture.