Cotton to Charleston

Augusta existed to collect cotton, and get the cotton to a seaport. The most available seaport for Augusta was Savannah, 231 river miles away. Hamburg existed to collect cotton, Augusta’s cotton if possible, and get the cotton to a South Carolina seaport. That was Hamburg’s drumbeat, to keep South Carolina commerce at home, which was part of the deal for support from the state legislature. So Hamburg boats routinely sailed right past Savannah, and beat their way another 101 miles behind the sea islands to Charleston.


Steamboat and Rail routes from Hamburg to Savannah. The sea islands route from Savannah to Charleston is only my guess. From 1833 Tanner Map of SC, Library of Congress rr002990

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The South Carolina Canal and Rail Road Company

There is no reason to believe that the breed of horses will be materially improved, but the present breed of locomotives will furnish a power of which no one knows the limit.
-Horatio Allen, Chief Engineer, SCCRR Co

The SCRR came to Hamburg in 1833, following pretty closely the path of present day US 78. Its route though the old railroad towns such as Aiken, Williston, and Blackville is revealed by the esplanades in the main streets, frequently with elevated causeways. The main line was in service until about 2005. Continue reading