Historic Markers Across Georgia

The Augusta Canal - Powder Works and Mills

Marker ID:  
Location: Eve Street near Pearl Street, Augusta, GA
County: Richmond
Coordinates: N 33° 29.223    W 081° 59.679
  33.48705    -81.99465
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: None
The Augusta Canal - Powder Works and Mills Marker
Photo by Mike Stroud


The tall chimney in front of the Sibley Mill is the only surviving structure built by the Confederacy, and stands as a memorial to war dead.

Augusta and its canal played a prominent role in the War between the States as the site of the Confederate Powder Works. The 168 foot high ornate brick chimney was preserved in 1872 in memory of those who died in the war. The Canal was an important factor in the selection of Augusta as the Powder Works site, as it offered water power and a means to transport materials. Railroad service to Augusta and the city's inland location, protecting it from northern attacks, were also siting factors.
In 1862, Colonel George Washington Rains (Picture included) was responsible for building the Powder Works, which was a complex of twenty-six buildings, widely spaced as a precaution against the danger of explosion, and extending two miles on both sides of the canal. Boatman delivered charcoal, saltpeter, and sulfur to the Powder Works by canal. In addition to producing almost 3 million pounds of gunpowder, other parts of the Augusta complex made a wide range of munitions for use in the war. Colonel Rains, justly proud of his accomplishments, boasted that no battle was lost for want of gunpowder.

The Sibley Mill stands adjacent to the Powder Works chimney. It remains a prominent symbol of the post war industrial success of Augusta. Built in 1880, and incorporating architectural elements similar to those used in the Powder Works, it is one of the finest national examples of eclectic 19th century industrial architecture.

The King Mill, named after one of the founders of the Augusta Canal, John Pendleton King, was built in 1882 to manufacture textiles. By 1900, 1812 looms were operated by hydropower from the canal.

Both Sibley and King Mills still use water power from the canal to generate electricity, producing cotton denim and textiles for hospital use, respectively.

Throughout the Harrisburg neighborhood are excellent examples of housing which mills built for their workers (Picture included). Most were single and double wooden houses in a simple vernacular style, although a few brick row houses were built, emulating styles more typically found in the North. Following the example of their New England counterparts, the mills also built churches, recreation halls, stores and kindergartens for their workers.

Erected by Augusta Canal Authority Funding by Searle Augusta.

The Augusta Canal with Confederate Chimney and Mills
The Augusta Canal - Powder Works and Mills
Photo by Mike Stroud


  • Construction began in September 1861.

  • 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.

  • The Confederate Powderworks produced 3.5 tons a day.

  • Closed on April 18, 1865.

More Information: Wikipedia - Confederate Powderworks