Site of the Confederate Powderworks/Augusta Powderworks now the site of the closed down Sibley textile mill and future site of the CapeAugusta Digital Properties’s “Digital Fortress”
Towering 150 feet tall the chimney is the only original standing remnant of the Confederate Powderworks that once stretched along the Augusta Canal for two miles. Construction began in September of 1861 under the guidance of Colonel George Rains, West Point graduate and chemistry teacher, by March 1862 work had been completed on the powderworks the second largest such facility at the time and was producing 3.5 tons of powder a day and over the course of the war produced 2,750,000 pounds of powder. The facility produced the majority of the powder used by the Confederate Armies and it is claimed that because of this the Confederacy never lost a battle for want of powder.
By 1872 the facility was dismantled all that was left were piles of bricks and the chimney, as requested by Colonel Rains to stand as a reminder the chimney bears an inscription on the marble tablet reading,
“ 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”.
Between 1880 and 1882 the Sibley Textile Mill was built in its place using around 13,000 bricks from the original Powderworks the mill operated for 124 years and operations finishing denim ended in 2006 when the mill was shut down and the looms sold.
Starting in 2015 planning was put in place to refurbish the Mill for use by CapeAugusta Digital Properties a cyber security firm and will see the site initial deployment of a 7MW facility which will be expanded to 20MW in the future. The site runs on hydroelectric power from the mill’s turbines and plans are in place to use the water to cool the facility.
From war fought with lead and blackpowder to the war for data security fought with fiber optics and silicon the site is steeped in regional and even national history.