At the beginning of the Civil War gunpowder supplies for the Confederate armies were insufficient. In 1861 Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy, charged Colonel George Washington Rains with solving this issue by creating a local supply of gunpowder. Rains chose the flat lands by the Augusta Canal as the most suitable site for making the much needed gunpowder. He named Major Charles Shaler Smith as architect to design the Confederate Powder Works.Work on the plant commenced in 1862 with materials gathered from the southern states including Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina. When completed, the powder works lined the banks of the Augusta Canal for two miles. The plant was organized for manufacturing efficiency. Raw materials entered at the first of 26 buildings and exited as gunpowder at the last. The most prominent of the buildings was the refinery, which resembled the British House of Parliament. Constructed directly in front of it was a tall smokestack in the shape of an obelisk, the only structure remaining today from the powder works. The Confederate Powder Works, the only permanent edifice constructed by the Confederate States of America, was in operation until April 1865. During its lifetime, the facility produced approximately 7,000 pounds of gunpowder per day for a final total of 2,750,000 pounds. The Augusta Powder Works produced enough gunpowder to fully meet the needs of the Confederate armies and still retained a surplus of 70,000 pounds at the end of the war.