COLUMBIA, S.C. – The 30th Division, which got its start in South Carolina, got to the fight late in the First World War, but made up for lost time, becoming one of the two divisions to break the Germans’ Hindenburg Line in late September 1918.
This Friday, Nov. 16, Jim Legg, archaeologist and historian of the 30th Division, will talk about the unit’s role on the war’s Western Front in a free lecture at the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum. The noon lecture, part of the museum’s Lunch and Learn series, is open to the public. Legg is a public archaeologist with the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology.
Made up primarily of men from South and North Carolina and Tennessee, the division trained at Camp Sevier in Greenville before heading to France in late spring 1918. Major operations they participated in included Ypres-Lys and the Somme offensive. They were one of the two American divisions to break the Hindenburg Line in the Battle of St. Quentin Canal.
After hearing the lecture, visitors may also wish to view the museum’s new exhibit on the 30th Division, also known as the “Old Hickory” Division.
Displaying uniforms, weapons and equipment, this exhibition includes the Medal of Honor awarded to Camden native Corporal John C. Villepigue for successfully assaulting two German pill boxes. Visitors can also view uniforms, a German stick grenade and a British Lee Enfield – the rifle carried by soldiers of the 30th, because they were attached to the Second Army of the British Expeditionary Force rather than the main American Expeditionary Force.
About the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum
Founded in 1896, the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum is an accredited museum focusing on South Carolina’s distinguished martial tradition through the Revolutionary War, Mexican War, Civil War, Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, the War on Terror, and other American conflicts. It serves as the state’s military history museum by collecting, preserving, and exhibiting South Carolina’s military heritage from the colonial era to the present, and by providing superior educational experiences and programming. It is located at 301 Gervais St. in Columbia, sharing the Columbia Mills building with the State Museum. For more information, go to https://crr.sc.gov/.