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From 1893 to today, Kell Rifle's evolve into 177th Brigade
Bulloch History
roger allen
Roger Allen

Note: The following is one of a series of articles looking at events in the history of Bulloch County.

Part II

"Arriving in Savannah early Wednesday morning, 30 strong, under command of Capt. Everitt, with 1st Sgt. Reese next in command. The Statesboro’s Kell Rifle’s militia detachment was met at the Central depot by Adjt. W.T. Dixon of the 1st Batt."

Dixon "marched (the Kell's) to the armory of the 1st Regiment, where the arms and equipment were laid aside, and then they were marched to the Freid Restaurant and breakfasted at Maj. Karow's (expense)."

In the parade, the Kell's (were) on the left of the 2nd Battalion. After, "our boys" were captured by the Blues, German Volunteers, and Irish Jasper Greens, who feasted them as only Savannah knows how."

When "the company came back, looking as bright as new pins, (they) were conducted by Sgt. Reese to the court house square where they were turned over to Capt. Everitt."

He "called Private M.L. Veal to the front, and delivered to him, in a few appropriate remarks, the medal he had won at Griffin, as a marksman. The company (was) conducted to the armory and dismissed by Sgt. Reese."

Then, on Jan. 21, 1898, the Bulloch Times announced "the Kell Rifles returned yesterday from Savannah, where they had been to participate in the general parade in observance of Lee's birthday."

The Bulloch Times-Statesboro News-Statesboro Eagle issue of March 20, 1930 announced the formation of Statesboro’s newly-organized military company, the 264th Coast Artillery Corps of the Georgia National Guard.

The 264th was commanded by Maj. Leroy Cowart and his subordinate Second Lieutenant James Barney Averitt. Battery A. was named “Parker’s Minute Men” after General Parker.

Battery A was commanded by Capt. Thaddeus J. Morris and his subordinate Second Lt. Charles B. McAllister. Morris was eventually replaced by Capt. Edgar P. Josey.

Capt. Dr. Waldo E. Floyd was in charge of the Medical Detachment, which was named the “Statesboro Volunteers,” named after a military organization which existed from 1902 to 1906.

According to the Official National Guard Register for 1939, published by the Secretary of War, the 264th Coast Artillery Battalion (Harbor Defense) had a HQ Detachment, its Medical Attachment, and Batteries A., B., C., & D.

The 264th's HQ Detachment, the Kell’s Rifles were led by 2nd Lieut. James B. Averitt, 1st Sgt. John 1. Durden, Staff Sgts. Harvey Brannen and Harville C. Ozburn, and Sgts. Homer B. Melton and Denver J. Riggs.

The Medical Detachment, the Statesboro Volunteers, was led by Capt. Floyd, Sgt. Floyd A. Akins, PFC Sydney L. Lanier, and privates John J. Dennis, Joe W. Donaldson and Edward H. Kennedy.

The 264th's Battery "A,” was led by Capt. T.J. Morns, 1st Lieut. E.P. Josey, 2nd Lieut. C.B. McAllister, 1st Sgt. Q.F. Baxter, Sgts. H.J. Ellis, H.B. Gay, D. Howard, C.L Martin, B.B. Morris and R.L. Rigdon.

The 177th BEB was originally constituted in the Georgia Army National Guard in Statesboro as Battery A, 264th Coast Artillery on March 14, 1930. Now, the 177th Engineer Battalion is based in Statesboro Georgia.

Their Companies A through D are based in Glennville, Douglas, Macon and Fort Gillem, respectively.  In WWII, the unit served in the Pacific Theater receiving battle honors for East Indies, Papua, New Guinea and Luzon.

The Statesboro unit was activated for state-side service during the Korean War and underwent a series of conversions. In 1993, Statesboro became the home of the 648th Engineer Battalion which was mobilized to Iraq in 2005.

Then, in 2007, the 648th was reorganized as the 48th BSTB (Brigade Special Troops Battalion) and deployed to Afghanistan from 2009 to 2010. It was designated the 177th BEB (Brigade Engineer Battalion) in 2015.

Roger Allen is a local lover of history who provides a brief look each week at the area's past. Email him at

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