The outbreak of World War I in Europe in 1914 at first did not seem to involve Americans. President Woodrow Wilson, who had spent part of his boyhood in Columbia, promised to keep the U.S. out of the war. But, by 1917, Americans were no longer able to remain neutral on their own terms. When Congress declared war on Germany in April 1917, little preparation had been made for the mobilization of troops or citizens for a war effort. At Camp Jackson, the first need was to build facilities to train recruits into the army. This postcard records both aspects of the enormous buildup at the camp. The caption for the photograph reports that, at the employment office at Camp Jackson, "More than 1,000 men have been employed in a single day" to build the new barracks. 

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Battery Jasper | History of SC Slide Collection
Battery Jasper | History of SC Slide Collection

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Although this photograph of Battery Jasper, located several hundred yards east of Fort Moultrie, was taken in the late 1890s, it shows the construction of the coastal defense system around the fort...
Camp Sevier | History of SC Slide Collection
Camp Sevier | History of SC Slide Collection

Photo

Many young men recruited into the army were trained at Camp Sevier, near Greenville. Motor Truck Companies 101 and 218 lived in this tent city. Courtesy of the South Caroliniana Library.