Battle of Aiken draws residents despite weather
The 18th annual Battle of Aiken started Saturday, and the rain didn’t put too much of a damper on the scheduled events.
“The weather has not cooperated completely but we still have people coming out and enjoying it,” said Wayne Jones, Sons of Confederate Veterans Brigadier General Barnard E. Bee Camp commander. “History is being taught at the Battle of Aiken.”
The event marks the 148th anniversary of this Civil War battle that took place in Aiken in early February of 1865.
A class from Bob Jones Academy in Greenville attended the event for some extra credit after completing a lesson about the Civil War. Student Heather Bright said this was a fun way to learn what life was like back then.
“It’s pretty cool,” said Bright. “It’s better than just sitting in class.”
The weather didn’t affect a father-son tradition of six years. Todd Tharpe of North Augusta and his son, Bronson, didn’t mind the cool temperatures and drizzling rain.
“My son and I do this every year,” Tharpe said. “We look forward to it like Christmas.”
The re-enactors were not too bothered by the weather either as many huddled around fires and kept warm in their heavy period attire.
“We’re just a little wet, a little cool,” said civilian re-enactor Ericha Floyd of Manning.
Floyd and her husband Gene have participated in the Battle of Aiken for about five years and said they wouldn’t let something like a little rain keep them from coming. Ericha Floyd said that they’ve developed some strong friendships and it’s nice to get away from hustle of the 21st century for a while.
For the Youngs, historic re-enacting is a family affair. Amanda Young, her husband Joey, who is a chaplain for the event, and their two children Hannah and Isaac, have been camping out since Thursday but were all in good spirits.
“We’re damp but we’re good,” said Amanda Young. “We have a fire going and hopefully the sun will come out tomorrow.”
The forecast is a bit brighter for today with the temperatures in the mid to high 60s.
The Battle continues today and the gates will open at 8:30 a.m. Part two of the battle will start at 2:30 p.m.
Tickets can only be purchased at the gate and are $10 for those 13 and older; $5 for those between the ages of 6 and 12 and no admission charge for children 5 and younger. Pets and coolers are not allowed at the event. Parking is first come, first serve. The Battle of Aiken site is located at 1210 Powell Pond Road in Aiken.