Never For Want Of Powder: The Confederate Powder Works in Augusta, Georgia, by C. L. Bragg
Lavishly illustrated with seventy-four colour plates and fifty black-and-white photographs and drawings, Never for Want of Powder tells the story of a world-class munitions factory constructed by the Confederacy in 1861, the only large-scale permanent building project undertaken by a government often characterized as lacking modern industrial values. In this comprehensive examination of the powder works, five scholars--a historian, physicist, curator, architectural historian, and biographer--bring their combined expertise to the task of chronicling gunpowder production during the Civil War. In doing so, they make a major contribution to understanding the history of wartime technology and Confederate ingenuity.
Early in the war, President Jefferson Davis realized the Confederacy's need to supply its own gunpowder. Accordingly, Davis selected Col. George Washington Rains to build a gunpowder factory. An engineer and West Point graduate, Rains relied primarily on a written pamphlet rather than on practical experience in building the powder mill, yet he succeeded in designing a model of efficiency and safety. He sited the facilities at Augusta, Georgia, because of the city's central location, canal transportation, access to water power, railroad facilities, and relative security from attack.
As much a story of people as of machinery, Never for Want of Powder recounts the ingenuity of the individuals involved with the project. A cadre of talented subordinates--including Frederick Wright, C. Shaler Smith, William Pendleton, and Isadore P. Girardey--assisted Rains to a degree not previously appreciated by historians. This volume also documents the coordinated outflow of gunpowder and ammunition, and Rains's difficulty in preparing for the defence of Augusta.
Today a lone chimney along the Savannah River stands as the only reminder of the munitions facility that once occupied that site. With its detailed reproductions of architectural and mechanical schematics and its expansive vista on the Confederacy, Never for Want of Powder restores the Augusta Powder Works to its rightful place in American lore