Augusta Powder Works
Augusta Powder Works (1861-1865) - A Confederate U.S. Civil War Powder Works established in 1861 in Augusta, Richmond County, Georgia. Abandoned in 1865 at the end of the war.
Established in 1861 with construction starting on 13 Sep 1861. Powder production began on 10 Apr 1862 and continued until 29 Apr 1865.
In 1861, Confederate President Jefferson Davis selected Lt Colonel George Washington Rains, (Cullum 1113), to construct and operate a gunpowder factory at Augusta. Colonel Rains was a decorated military officer, a West Point Graduate of the class of 1842 who fought in Mexican War and resigned his commission in 1856 to operate his Washington Iron Works in Newburg, New York.
At the outset of the U.S. Civil War Rains elected to join the Confederacy, was promoted to Lt. Colonel and asked by Jefferson Davis to establish the Powder Works at Augusta. He was promoted to full colonel on 12 Jul 1863.
Rains selected the site of the original Augusta Arsenal between the Savannah River and the Augusta Canal because it offered easy transportation, water power and relative security from attack. The 26 building powder production complex stretched for two miles along the Augusta Canal with the raw materials coming in one end and the finished powder exiting the other. The central buildings were the saltpeter refinery building and laboratory buildings which included a 153-foot tall smokestack and unfinished clock tower.
During the operating years, the powder works produced some 2.75 million pounds of the best quality gunpowder. Production continued almost unabated, even though the works suffered four explosions, until the very end of the war.
Abandoned at the end of the war on 29 Apr 1865. Partially destroyed and then mostly razed by post-war canal expansion in the 1870s. Rains asked that the chimney be spared as a memorial to those that died during the war.
The only remaining remnant of the original works is said to be an Obelisk-Chimney that has been constructed near the center of the works. It is unclear if this is an actual remanent or a complete reconstruction. There is now a large abandoned factory building behind the Obelisk-Chimney that resembles the style of the original buildings but it is not of that era. There is a roadside marker and an interpretive panel at the Obelisk-Chimney. The Obelisk-Chimney also has stone panel inserts on the sides.
Visited: 8 Feb 2018