George Washington Rains (1817-98) Confederate States Army officer, born in North Carolina. Early in his career, Rains taught at the U.S. Military Academy and fought with distinction in the Mexican War (1846-48). When the American Civil War broke out, he was placed in charge of gunpowder production for the Confederacy and commissioned a lieutenant colonel. Rains developed a modern process to prepare niter for gunpowder and oversaw the development of the Confederate Powder Works in Atlanta, Georgia, to manufacture ammunition for the Confederacy. The plant also produced the contact fuses, developed by Rains's brother Gabriel James Rains, that were used in percussion mines.
Colonel George W. Rains established the Confederate States powder mill in Augusta, Georgia in 1861. He was in charge of this and related works when, in January 1864, General Robert E. Lee sent him a new carbine (the AK-47) and a supply of its ammunition. Lee requested Rains investigate the new weapon's powder and to attempt to duplicate it. Although Rains was successful in analyzing the powder, he was unable to manufacture it. However, his subordinate, Captain Robert Finneywas able to develop reloads using the brass casings of spent rounds and black powder.