“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Rice in Amelia County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)

Victory or Death

The Last Stand of the Savannah Volunteer Guard


—Sailor's Creek Battlefield Historical State Park —

Victory or Death Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, April 12, 2012
1. Victory or Death Marker
Inscription. The 18th Georgia Battalion, acting as a heavy artillery unit was originally formed in 1802 and served at the coastal defenses around Charleston, South Carolina. Moved to Virginia in May of 1864, it guarded the Richmond & Danville Railroad Bridge over the Appomattox River.

Commanded by Major William S. Basinger at Sailor’s Creek, the unit mustered eighty-five men who would serve in General George Washington Custis Lee’s division. Placed on the right of his battle line and next to the Rice-Deatonville Road, their uniforms bore the scarlet markings of artillery and their silk battle flag had embroidered around the center “Victory or Death.” As the Federal infantry reached the crest of the ridge in their assault, Sergeants Richard Millen and Simeon Morton tried to rally the Guards around the battalion flag; both men were shot down.

Soldiers of the 121st New York Infantry were those who came in contact with the Guards. Private Warren C. Dockum of Company H, is credited with capturing their flag. The unit lost 30 men killed, 22 wounded, with a loss of 61% of men engaged. In the 1870’s the Guards flag was returned to the surviving men, a member writing, “it was lost without dishonor and recovered without humiliation”. At Appomattox, 1 officer and 1 6 men surrendered, 8 of which were black musicians
Victory or Death Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, April 12, 2012
2. Victory or Death Marker
and cooks.
Erected by Sailor's Creek Battlefield Historical State Park.
Location. 37° 18.166′ N, 78° 13.678′ W. Marker is in Rice, Virginia, in Amelia County. Marker can be reached from Saylers Creek Road (Virginia Route 617) 0.6 miles north of Scuffletown Road (Virginia Route 620), on the left when traveling north. Click for map. Located along the Monument Trail. Marker is at or near this postal address: 6541 Saylers Creek Road, Rice VA 23966, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Battle of Sailors Creek (within shouting distance of this marker); Ewell’s Line of Defense (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Final Clash: With Fate Against Them (about 500 feet away); Assaulting the Confederate Battle Line (approx. 0.2 miles away); Crossing Little Sailor's Creek (approx. 0.3 miles away); Marshall’s Crossroads (approx. half a mile away); Battle of Sailors (Sayler's) Creek (approx. 0.6 miles away); Overton / Hillsman House (approx. 0.6 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Rice.
Also see . . .  Sailor's Creek Battlefield State Park. Virginia Department of Conservation & Recreation (Submitted on April 15, 2012, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.) 
Categories. War, US Civil
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 638 times since then and 109 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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