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File:Confederate Powder Works by Sir Mildred Pierce.jpg

The obelisk chimney on the grounds of Sibley Mill is the only remaining structure from the original Confederate Powderworks.

The Confederate Powderworks was a gunpowder factory during the American Civil War, the only permanent structures completed by the Confederate States of America. Colonel G.W. Rains chose the old United States Arsenal site between the Canal and Savannah River in Augusta, Georgia for its rail, river, canal and railroad connections(citation needed).


Construction began in September 1861, a steam engine was purchased from the Atlanta Flour Mill owned by Richard Peters[1] and the Powderworks was producing gunpowder in just 7 months in 1862. The Confederate Powderworks was the 2nd largest gunpowder factory in the world at that time during the 19th century. More than 2,750,000 pounds of first-quality gunpowder (a majority of the powder used by the Confederacy), was produced here before its closure on April 18, 1865. [2] It has been said the Confederacy never lost a battle for lack of powder.

Although the massive works were dismantled after the war ended, the commandant and officer responsible for their construction, Colonel G.W. Rains, asked in 1872, that the Obelisk Chimney be spared as he had designed it to "...remain a monument to the Confederacy should the Powderworks pass away". On June 2, 1879 the city of Augusta gave custody of the Chimney to the Confederate Survivors Association of Augusta to "beautify it and protect it from injury as a Confederate Memorial". The CSA of Augusta repaired the square castellated base, protected the corners and in the face, looking towards the canal inserted a large tablet of Italian marble, bearing this inscription: "This Obelisk Chimney-sole remnant of the extensive Powder Works here erected under the auspices of the Confederate Government-is by the Confederate Survivors' Association of Augusta, with the consent of the City Council, conserved in Honor of a fallen Nation, and inscribed to the memory of those who died in the Southern Armies during the War Between the States".

This Obelisk Chimney was ordered built by President Jefferson Davis, designed to remain a Monument by Confederate Officers and funded by the Confederate Government. The Confederate Obelisk Chimney is the first Confederate erected. The first and oldest, the Augusta National Confederate Monument.


The 150 foot Powderworks chimney still stands today on the Augusta Canal and is one of the more recognizable features of the Augusta skyline. The chimney and a historical marker about the Powderworks are located in Sibley Mill at 1717 Goodrich Street in Augusta.


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