The Savannah Volunteer Guards, Organized 1802

After tootling around South Carolina for the Lawton and Allied Families Association family reunion, Sugar was nostalgic for a trip to Savannah, GA, to admire some more family history.  His Lawton grandmother was a Lawton by marriage and a Basinger (BASS-sin-jer) by birth.  Mary Leslie Basinger Lawton’s father William Starr Basinger was a Savannah attorney who served in the Civil War in the Savannah Volunteer Guards.

This is a cannon. No. Really.

To the left of the entrance.

Poetter Hall

Paula and Richard Rowan, along with May and Paul Poetter,

founded the Savannah College of Art and Design in 1978.  In

March 1979, the college purchased its first building, this former

Savannah Volunteer Guard Armory, built in 1892.   The college

named the building Preston Hall after its architect, William

Gibbons Preston, and it has become the flagship building of an

expanding campus throughout the Historic and Victorian districts

of Savannah.  The college’s restoration, rehabilitation and adaptive

reuse of this and numerous other historically significant structures

have been recognized by the Historic Savannah Foundation, the

Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation, and the National Trust for

Historic Preservation.  Preston Hall was renamed Poetter Hall to

honor the invaluable contributions of May Poetter, who served as

Vice President for Admission, and Paul Poetter, who served as

Comptroller, from 1978 to 1997 when both were elected to the

Board of Trustees.

Dedicated on Founders’ Day, October 11, 1997


Major William Starr Basinger was affiliated with the Savannah Volunteer Guards.


Organized 1802

As infantry the Corps fought in the War of

1812, Indian Wars and as a battalion in 1861,

serving with distinction in defense of

Savannah and Charleston.  In the spring of 1864

joined Lee’s Army at Petersburg.  On April 3,

1865 serving in the rear guard on the retreat

to Appomattox having been reduced to 85 men,

23 were killed, 35 wounded and remainder

Captured.  Reorganized in 1872.  Served as infan-

try battalion in the Spanish-American War, as

a battalion on the 61 C. A. C. in WW-I, and as

118th F. A. Battalion in WW-II where they were

awarded 5 Battle Stars.  Reorganized after

WW-II and is now an active unit in the Georgia

National Guard.  This armory erected in 1892.



It’s been a lot of history for 3 days…


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One Response to “The Savannah Volunteer Guards, Organized 1802”

  1. January, 1884, From The Diary Of Sarah Alexander Lawton, Or, A Mention Of William Garrard | Ruthrawls's Blog Says:

    […] the Savannah Volunteer Guards?  Sugar’s g-grandfather William Starr Basinger served with the Guards during the Civil […]


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