Augusta Arsenal: Spring 1861 to end of the war

First established as a U.S. Arsenal in 1819, it was not until 1827 that the present site was located and the first buildings constructed. Augusta was used as a training and storage facility for supplying the troops in the Seminole and Mexican Wars. In 1844, it was also home for six months to Lt. William T. Sherman, later of “make Georgia howl” fame.
On January 19, 1861 Georgia seceded from the Union and the Augusta Arsenal was quietly surrendered to Governor Brown of Georgia. Although the arsenal was an established U.S. arsenal at the time of the war, it was the Confederates who greatly enlarged its facilities and capacity. By the summer of 1861 Confederate Chief of Ordnance, Josiah Gorgas had decided to make it a “great arsenal”. At first it was largely a storage facility, but with the ascension of post commander Col. G.W. Rains it expanded dramatically and quickly grew to became a major arsenal and the central gun powder making plant in the South. In fact, its powder production facilities was unparalleled such that after the war comparative tests proved its quality rivaled if not surpassed that made anywhere in the world.
Threatened by Sherman in his “March to the Sea”,  Augusta Arsenal production fell dramatically in the late fall and winter of 1864. Although never destroyed, by early spring 1865, it had become largely ineffective due to the crumbling Southern infrastructure, labor and material shortages. Throughout the war Augusta was a prolific supplier of every kind of arms and equipment including horse equipment.
In the years immediately after the war, the arsenal was reactivated by the Federal government while the Confederacy’s great Powder Works was almost entirely dismantled. For fifty years it remained a quite place. Then during World War One and World War Two the arsenal once again became an integral part of wartime manufacturing and supply efforts with construction of some 50 new buildings and employing over 2,100 people. After the Second World War it once again grew quiet until 1955 when its now antiquated facilities, small size and encroaching development rendered it obsolete for a modern arsenal. In February 1957 the Richmond County Board Education purchased the majority of the site and that September the Junior College of Augusta, now the Augusta State University, moved into its new campus. Today, many of the old buildings including at least three from the pre-Civil War era are still standing.
During the four years of the Confederate period, the Augusta Arsenal routinely issued horse equipment in “sets”, consisting of mostly the Jenifer saddle until the fall 1863, then the McClellan. The complete set included a bridle, halter, saddle bags and probably a saddle blanket, although it did not always have a full compliment of every item. Additional equipment like the nose bag, curry comb and brush were often issued separately and usually in mass to various commands. Descriptions in arsenal records are vague but those of commercial contractors supplying equipment to the arsenal are more revealing.

Horse Equipment:  During the war period, the Augusta Arsenal routinely issued horse equipment in “sets”, consisting of mostly the Jenifer saddle until the fall 1863, then the McClellan. The complete set included a bridle, halter, saddle bags and probably a saddle blanket, although it did not always have a full compliment of every item. Additional equipment like the nose bag, curry comb and brush were often issued separately and usually in mass to various commands. In fact, Augusta was the Confederacy’s single largest producer of curry combs and brushes. Descriptions in arsenal records of Augusta’s horse equipment are vague but those of commercial contractors supplying equipment to the arsenal are more revealing.

One thought on “Augusta Arsenal: Spring 1861 to end of the war

  1. Excellent goods from you, man. I’ve understand your stuff privoeus to and you are just too fantastic. I really like what you’ve acquired here, really like what you are saying and the way in which you say it.You make it enjoyable and you still take care of to keep it smart.I can’t wait to read far more from you. This is really a great web site. Woo love content comfortable to read

Comments are closed.