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The Augusta, Georgia Confederate Powder Works
#1
Even Today, if you ride on the expressway through Augusta, Georgia at one point, you can glance out the window of your car and see a lone, industrial chimmney standing besides the old Augusta Canal.<br><br>This is all that remains of the old Confederate Powder Works. The gunpowder produced there was some of the finest gunpowder ever produced and so good, that if Yankee soldiers had a chance to use captured Confederate cartridges, they would often do so in lieu of their regular U.S. issue ammo!<br><br>The history of the Confederate Powder Works is the subject of a new, coffee table size book entitled:<br><br>"Never For Want of Powder-The Confederate Powder Works in Augusta, Georgia" by C.L. Bragg,Charles D. Ross, Gordon A. Blaker, Stepanie Jacobe and Theodore Savas. published by the University of South Carolina Press (http://www.sc.edu/uscpress) 2007<br><br>When the War Between the States broke out in 1861, the Southern States did not have any major facilities for the production of gunpowder. One of the first acts of the Confederate government was the erection of the powder works in Augusta, Ga.<br><br>Fortunately for the Southern Cause, a very talented officer by the name of George Washington Rains was selected to oversee the erection of the powder works and then the production of gun powder.<br><br>Rains was a West Point graduate and former U.S. Army officer. He had a strong background in the sciences and military engineering but no background in the manufacture of gunpowder.<br><br>Fortunately for Raines and the Confederacy, Rains acquired a very detailed trestie on the<br>manufacture of gunpowder at the Royal Powder<br>Mills at Waltham Abbey written by Major Fraser Baddeley of the Royal Artillery. Baddeley's work was so complete, that it not only described each and every process that took place in the manufacture of high quality gunpowder, but Baddeley also described the machinery used in powder production.<br><br>In addition, Rains had the assistance of an Englishman by the name of Frederick Wright who had detailed knowledge of how the powder at Waltham Abbey was manufactured.<br><br>The story of the powder works at Augusta is one of the great success stories of the Confederacy. Because of the works, the Confederate armies in the field never suffered from the lack of ammunition, even during the last days of the war.<br>I can highly recommend this book-it is fascinating reading.<br><br>
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#2
These works were also the subject of a treatise by William S. Curtis - "Unorthodox British Technology at the Confederate Gunpowder Works, Augusta, Georgia, 1862-1865" - which was published in a larger work edited by Brenda J Buchanan - "Gunpowder, Explosives and the State; A Technological History". (Ashgate Publishing 2006. ISBN 0-7546-5259-9).<br><br>David
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Muzzle Loaders Association of Great Britain - http://www.mlagb.com
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#3
"The gunpowder produced there was some of the finest gunpowder ever produced and so good, that if Yankee soldiers had a chance to use captured Confederate cartridges, they would often do so in lieu of their regular U.S. issue ammo! "<br><br>If you read my Treatise you will find that this boasted superiority is regarded by some authorities as being no more than taking the words of George Washington Rains at face value.  Rains wrote up his experiences many years later.  However, the whole point about Rains's achievement was that he created a new industry, kept it going despite appalling difficulties, and maintained an adequate supply of powder right up to the end of hostilities.<br><br>The powder quality was not particularly important in the context of small arms ammunition in the fighting at the time but in the area of Artillery it becomes vital.  Range Tables and fuse quality and setting times were dependent on powder standards.  As SAA manufacture by the CSA was being switched to the Enfield pattern cartridge with its ease of loading, could this have been a reason for Federals liking to use them ?<br><br>If anyone would like to read the text of my Treatise, e-mail me privately and I will supply a Word File of the text.<br><br>Bill Curtis<br>
W. S. (Bill) Curtis
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#4
I have never read of union troops swapping their ammo for Confederate rounds.  The Confederate forces suffered from a lack of artillery and kept with the 6 pounder for the balance of the conflict.  Union forces used 12 pounders and outreached the Rebels.  In addition the Confederate forces kept using muzzle loading cavalry carbines when the Yankees were being issued Spencers, Sharps's, Smiths, Burnsides, Jenks, Evans's and others.

Firepower, therefore; during the Civil War comes down in the favor of the North. The quality of elan usually leans to the South, but that's not so.  Both sides fought like the hard nosed Americans that they were.  General-ship on the South, early on, was excellent, but not always.  However, when Grant, Sheridan, Sherman, Chamberlin and Custer hit the battlefield the South may as well have tossed in the towel.  When Jackson was killed by his men in the rain after Chancelorsville the war for Southern Independence was lost.  It is a shame they didn't recognize this fact.  A lot of lives would have been saved.

My great great uncle died in Andersonville.  He lived in that hell hole for over a year.  He died of scurvy in November, 1864.  I have walked out in that place and sat on the little rise that runs along the Sweet water creek that divides the 26 acre compound. The water than runs in that creek wasn't so "sweet" then. Sitting on the sandy ground there I considered what my uncle must have gone through.  His grave is there.  His brother was my great-great grandfather who knew my father. 
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