Confederate Powder Works Chimney, 1862, Augusta

This historic chimney, standing 150 feet tall, is all that remains of the Confederate Powder Works, which was the only major industrial facility built by the Confederate States. Augusta was chosen as the site of the powder works for the ready power source provided by the adjacent canal and good railroad infrastructure. Lieutenant Colonel George Washington Rains oversaw the construction of the project and Major Charles Shaler Smith was the chief architect and engineer. Construction began in 1862 and when complete consisted of 26 well-spaced buildings stretching two miles along the Augusta Canal. It was soon the second largest powder works in the world. Around 2.75 million pounds of gunpowder were produced here until operations ended in April 1865, though production was slowed by a massive explosion in August 1864. When the Powder Works was demolished during a widening of the canal between 1872-1875, the chimney was saved as a monument at the request of Colonel Rains, who remained in Augusta and later became dean of the Medical College of Georgia. The adjacent Sibley Mill was not part of the Confederate Powder Works but was constructed with bricks leftover from the ruins of the complex.

Augusta Canal Industrial District, National Register of Historic Places + National Historic Landmark + Augusta Canal National Heritage Area

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