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30th Division - The Old Hickory Division

Established on July 18, 1917, the 30th Infantry Division brought together National Guard units from North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Many of these units had recently served in Mexico. The division nicknamed itself “Old Hickory” to honor president and military hero Andrew Jackson, who was born on the border of North and South Carolina and resided in Tennessee. After called into Federal service the Division organized and trained at Camp Sevier, South Carolina beginning in August of 1917, where selective service men acquired though the draft joined its ranks.

On May 11, 1918 “Old Hickory” began departing for England. Upon arrival it continued on to France, where it was assigned to the British 39th Division for training. Subsequently, it was assigned to the defense of the East Poperinghe trench system in the Dickebush Lake and Scherpenburg sectors near Ypres. Fresh troops were desperately needed there to reinforce Allied lines that had sustained repeated German offensives. In preparation for the Ypres-Lys Offensive, the Division underwent more training in the front lines and the rear before returning to duty on the front line on August 16 and taking control of the Canal Sector. After reports that the Germans were withdrawing, the offensive began on August 31. With the 27th Division on their right and the British 14th Division on their left, “Old Hickory” pressed forward and captured key terrain in its sector.

Troops of the 30th Division passing through St. Martin au Laert, on the way to the Belgian front. July 29, 1918. (National Archives)

After their success at Ypres, the 30th Division entered the Somme Offensive in France as part of the Second American Corps within the British Fourth Army. On September 24, they relieved the Australian First Division near Bellicourt, where they were stationed between the British 46th Division and their previous partner, the U.S. 27th Division.  On September 26 they launched a successful attack to move the front line forward in preparation for the main offensive against the German Hindenburg Line on September 29. The 30th Division had been assigned an extraordinary section of the Hindenburg Line to capture. Here, the Germans had commandeered the St. Quentin Canal and its tunnel to strengthen the Hindenburg Line and provide strong defensive positions. Despite this challenge and bad visibility the morning of the attack, the 30th Division broke through the Hindenburg Line, crossed the Canal, and captured the villages of Bellicourt and Nauroy. Their perseverance moved the line forward a remarkable twenty miles, a success paid for with 7,299 casualties. After several days of rest, the 30th returned to the battle on October 5, joining the British Fourth Army to take Brancourt le Grand, Brancoucourt, and Prémont. They advanced again on October 17 when they relieved the 27th Division, crossed the Selle River and pushed beyond Ribeville. Here they were relieved by the British 1st Division. The 30th Division was in the midst of rehabilitation near Amiens, France at the time of the Armistice, and began its departure for Charleston, South Carolina on March 6, 1919.

Infantryman of the 30th Division, Montfaucon, Meuse, France. October 2, 1918. (National Archives)

Although successful on the battlefield, the 30th Division suffered 8,415 casualties. A total of 530 men from the 30th Division are buried or memorialized in ABMC cemeteries: 447 in Somme American Cemetery, 28 in Flanders Field, 22 in Oise-Aisne, 14 in St. Mihiel, 10 in Brookwood, six in Meuse-Argonne, two in Suresnes, and one in Aisne-Marne.

King George V at the graves of men of the American II Corps. December 2, 1918. (National Archives)

59thInfantry Brigade

  • 117thInfantry Regiment
  • 118thInfantry Regiment
  • 114thMachine-Gun Battalion

60thInfantry Brigade

  • 119thInfantry Regiment
  • 120thInfantry Regiment
  • 115thMachine-Gun Battalion

55thField Artillery Brigade

  • 113thField Artillery Regiment
  • 114thField Artillery Regiment
  • 115thField Artillery Regiment
  • 105thTrench Mortar Battery

Divisional Troops

  • 113thMachine-Gun Battalion
  • 105thEngineer Regiment
  • 105thField Signal Battalion
  • Headquarters Troop Trains