The 2018 Greenville Scottish Games will feature a celebration kickoff honoring the Old Hickory Division, a century after a group of young men trained in Greenville broke the Hindenburg line and helped end World War I.
Saturday, May 26 at 11 a.m., a 48-star American Flag will be parachuted into the game’s grounds at Furman University. Afterward, there will be a special reading of the poem, In Flanders Field, by local actor and historian Brock Koonce. The event also will feature the World War I Centennial Commemorative Team, which is a group of military veterans who serve as reenactors. This group also will be at the kickoff parade Friday night in downtown Greenville.
All of this is part of the Remember the Old Hickory Project, which is a year-long celebration and remembrance of Greenville’s significant impact on ending World War I. The Remember the Old Hickory Project is a grassroots effort to remember Camp Sevier, which was one of the largest Army bases in America during the war.
The 30th Infantry Division, which was known as the Old Hickory Division, trained at Camp Sevier in Greenville and included hundreds of local soldiers as well as men from the rest of South Carolina, North Carolina and Tennessee.
Camp Sevier was one of a nationwide network of 32 camps created in 1917 by President Woodrow Wilson’s declaration of war. Located about six miles from downtown Greenville, the camp covered some 1,900 acres in what is now the Taylors area. From 1917-18, Camp Sevier was the training site for more than 100,000 soldiers.
In May of 1918, the Old Hickory Division shipped out to Europe and the Western Front. Facing immense defenses that pushed back other American divisions, the Old Hickory was the first an sole American division to break the “impenetrable” Hindenburg Line during the Battle of St. Quentin Canal on September 29, 1918 — an action that would lead to the end of the Great War. The success came at a high price. In only three months, from July through October of 1918, the 30th saw more than 1,000 officers and enlisted men killed in action with another 7,178 either injured or declared missing in action.
Scottish Battalions and Highland Regiments fought in Belgium and France with the Old Hickory Division, which is a reason the honoring is occurring during the Scottish Games.
About the Remember the Old Hickory Project
This non-profit organization aims to celebrate and honor the history of Camp Sevier, one of the largest U.S. Army bases during World War I. It was the home of the 30th Infantry Division, better known as the Old Hickory. More than 100,000 soldiers came through the camp. More information can be found at www.remember1918.com.