tv Augusta Canal and Old Confederate Powder Works CSPAN August 16, 2015 2:55pm-3:06pm EDT
level, they were extremely violent and extremely bloody and extremely costly to the united states, so to imagine what it is like to be a 16-year-old boy or girl and to be confronted by a mob, that is what the hall of courage is attempting to re-create. and one of the things that we are here to do is to help engage in dialogue about these kinds of issues, because they are ongoing and continuous in our society, and there are groups that are constantly struggling for better access, equal access to civil rights. the mission is to preserve our country's heritage. we do not build museums about subjects that are important. we preserve places that are integral part of our story. we believe preserving them, even if they are difficult stories to
tell, like segregation or integration or japanese internment camps, visitors weather from the u.s. or abroad, whether caucasian or african american you had better understand that story when you're under his -- standing in the place where these things happened. there is something about feeling the history resonating in these places that were an important part of our history. now, a look at the highlights of the c-span cities tour, as we look at cities and towns across america in cooperation with our cable partner. about our stops, visit c-span.org/citiestour.
julie: this is the augusta canal, and they had seen massachusetts and what they had done and how they had built textile mills, and as augustine augusta's economic growth had hit a standstill because people were leaving town to go out west, he said, we have to do something, and he said, we can do that here. we can build a canal and pull that savanna water in and bring it in high so it can run the mills, and that will give economic growth and jobs, so the canal's main purpose was hydropower, and at that point, hydro mechanical
power, but a second point used was for navigation. there were long petersburg boats, these long to canoe-likehese long barges. as the river dropped, there were shoals and rapids to contend with. and very dangerous trip down the river, so they were very pleased. they could have a nice, smooth ride to town. well, as the civil war began, the need for gunpowder was a onemost importance, and colonel was hired to look for a spot to build this gunpowder scouted.d he he rode on trains all throughout all of thescouring different locations, and he chose augustine. he has several things he was looking for.
one was a source of water. one was a source of power. he needed a skilled workforce, which augusta had, because we had started manufacturing before the war, and we were very secure and back behind the fighting life, at least at the time. the augusta powder works was a large group of buildings, 20 eight or more, that were built more or less in a year to supply powder to the confederacy. one of the interesting things about the works is there -- they were separate buildings, and it was a reason for that. that is if there was an explosion at one, you wanted a net between one building and the next so that they would not blow was at the first step the main building called the refinery. that is where the sulfur and saltpeter were purified, and it would move by special wooden at great pains to keep the sparks down, and it went
through a whole series of grinding and pulverizing and refining, and eventually it was sorted into grains of various sizes that were appropriate for different pieces of artillery. number of minor accidents that were reported in the local press that resulted in finally in october of 1864, there was a major explosion. one of the buildings blew up. they say the explosion went up five stories high at least. killed, thewere men, a boy, and a mule. it was quite a tragedy, but because this building was separated from all of the others, it was the only one that was damaged and in very short order, the works were back in business. another interesting thing about thatuter works process is
at a couple points during the war, as sherman's troops were moving closer and closer, it became a real worry that sherman would send the army to a gusto and attacked the powder works. it certainly makes sense to think that would be one of his objectives. so, colonel raines disassembled all of this machinery and put them on it real cars and shipped them all to columbia, south carolina for safekeeping, while they waited to see what sherman would do. sherman had another objective. he bypassed a gust that to savannah, which is where he -- at the end of his march, through georgia. then it was a swing back up through south carolina. augusta is again on the alert that sherman may be coming back the other way. so, once again do symbols all of the powder works machinery, sent
columbia. to it back they did bring from columbia, because that is when sherman went and he burned columbia. it would have been a great loss to the confederate war effort. that point, the war was in its final stages. needless to say, there was no manufactureinue to gunpowder, so manufacturing ceased. land was federalized. eventually the federal andrnment sold the land, the buildings on it, back to the city of augusta in the 1870's. so, a gusto tour many of the buildings down. that theaines asked chimney remain as a war memorial, so it was spared. it was torn down. the bricks were cleaned and
saved. the augustine canal was deepened and widened, and -- the augusta canal was deepened and widen, and those bricks were built back into it. enterprise mill building was built in 1877, and then you have these mills that are very large mill complexes, and they were built in the early 1880's. with industry moving into the area, today as well as yesterday, you are creating a lot of jobs for people, you're creating better ways to make money, more stable careers for people. you have people moving to town. anytime there is economic growth, people are going to look to the city, especially a city in the south where industry was sparse. the building of the of gusto a
augusta factory really gave a gusto and economic boost. it was a five-story building -- really gave augusta and economic boost. a lift to the future. most of the workers were poor white women and children. they did not have a lot of employmentes for security outside domestic labor. they worked for 11 hours a day, six days a week, monday through saturday. not a lot of breaks. not a lot of attention paid to safety. the noise. hereis what you really stories about.
it was deafening. they were used to hard work. even the children were used to hard work. if weildren in the mill, had still been an agricultural society, they would have been working in the farm. working in the mill was not that foreign an idea to them as it is to us when we think of children factories. everyone carries their own weight in a family. everyone works very hard to survive. that mentality, i think, we have lost a little bit over the years. i am sure they had lots of aches and pains. it was hard. but they were thankful to be able to have food on the table for their families. is influenced by geography is a huge element here . without that location we are in and the savannah river, none of this would be