The ghost town of Hamburg, South Carolina, was once a thriving upriver market located in Edgefield District (now Aiken County) of the Piedmont. It was founded by Henry Shultz in 1821, across the Savannah River from Augusta, Georgia, in direct competition with that city (Cordle 1940:82). In its heyday, 60,000 bales of cotton worth $2,000,000 were brought by wagon to Hamburg each year (Chapman 1897:237). This cotton continued by pole boat or steam boat to the ports of Charleston or Savannah for subsequent shipment to manufacturers in New England or Europe. Hamburg lost business after Augusta completed its canal in 1848.
After the American Civil War, Hamburg was repopulated mostly by freedmen and was within newly organized Aiken County. It became notorious in July 1876 as the site of a massacre of blacks by whites in what was one of a number of violent incidents by Democratic paramilitary groups to suppress black voting in that year's elections. The Democrats regained control of the state government and federal troops were withdrawn the next year from South Carolina and other states, ending the Reconstruction era.