While the Civil War raged all across the South and Sherman marched through Georgia, Augusta was relatively untouched by the violence. A major manufacturing center during the war, Augusta provided the Confederacy with cotton, food, munitions and other necessary goods.
Augusta became the centerpiece of the Confederate’s gunpowder production with the construction of the Confederate Powder Works, the only permanent structure commissioned by the Confederate government. It grew to become 26 buildings along two miles of the canal and produced 2.75 million pounds of gunpowder. The chimneys of the Powder Works are the last surviving structures built by the Confederate States of America.
Although Sherman never arrived in Augusta, the city made preparations for battles that never came. Today, visitors can still see the fortifications to the brick walls at Magnolia Cemetery. Soldiers and seven Confederate generals are buried there, including Porter Alexander, Robert E. Lee’s famous artillery commander.
Augusta Presbyterian, whose minister was the father of President Woodrow Wilson, became a hospital. Pews were removed to make way for the wounded from Chickamauga and other inland battles, and the dead were buried in Magnolia Cemetery.