Built in 1881-82, the 67-mile Augusta & Knoxville connected Augusta and Greenwood, SC. In Georgia, the railroad ran north from Augusta through eastern Columbia County, crossing the Savannah River upstream of Furys Ferry Road.
A portion of the rail bed was constructed by forced labor under South Carolina's convict leasing system established after the Civil War. An 1881 financial report of the state penitentiary reported $10,398.05 owed by the Augusta & Knoxville Railroad Company to the State, in a listing under "Amount due by Lessees for Convict Hire, October 31st, 1881." (Reports and Resolutions, South Carolina General Assembly, 1882).
The A&K was leased to the Port Royal & Augusta Railway in 1883, but after that lease was cancelled the A&K was combined with three upstate South Carolina railroads to form the Port Royal & Western Carolina Railway.
In 1896, the PR&WC and the PR&A were incorporated into the new Charleston & Western Carolina Railway.