No matter what the weather brings to the CSRA, the Battle of Aiken will go on this weekend.
According to the National Weather Service, rain will likely move into the area Thursday night with a 60 percent chance for precipitation. There is a 70 percent chance for rain to continue Friday with a high near the mid-40s. On Saturday, there is a 50 percent chance for rain and temperatures reaching the high 60s. Sunday is forecasted to be mostly sunny with a high near 66.
The forecast for most of this weekend is looking a bit dreary, but Wayne Jones, Sons of Confederate Veterans Brigadier General Barnard E. Bee Camp commander, said he doesn’t want that to keep anyone from coming to this annual re-enactment event.
“Rain or shine, we will present the Battle of Aiken, and we only ask that the good Lord grants us good weather to play in,” Jones said.
The 18th Annual Battle of Aiken event marks the 148th anniversary of this Civil War battle that took place in Aiken in early February of 1865. Union forces, led by Brig. Gen. Hugh Judson Kilpatrick, were pushed back from Aiken to Montmorenci by Gen. Joseph Wheeler and his Confederate troops. The Union troops never made it back to Aiken’s borders before the war ended later that same year.
This will also be the second year the revival will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. on Saturday. Anyone coming in after 3 p.m. that day is admitted for free. The revival will be conducted just like it was from 1862 to 1865, except it won’t go as long as it did back then. Jones said those revivals sometimes lasted for days.
Jones said this event is an exciting, educational one that appeals to all five senses. He said attendees will hear the cannon fire, feel the ground rumble, smell the smoke, almost taste the gun powder and see an action-packed battle. Jones said this year, they will have about the same amount of re-enactors as they did in 2012 which was about 500 participants.
Jones added that these re-enactors work hard to represent true history and present that to those who attend the event. “There’s nothing they love more than hearing that crowd roar. They do it for the love for the community, and they do it because they love their history and their heritage – both blue and gray. It’s not about anything but history and heritage.”
The event will also include a variety of vendors offering foods and other goods.
WJBF will serve as the Battle’s notification point if any severe weather moves in and impacts the event, Jones said.
The 18th Annual Battle of Aiken will be held from Friday through Saturday. Friday is the event’s School Day in which local students can experience history firsthand starting at 9 a.m.
The gates open to the public on Saturday at 8:30 a.m., with part one, the Battle of White Pond, starting at 2:30 p.m. Gates will open on Sunday at 8:30 a.m., and 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.
For more information, visit the Battle of Aiken website at www.battleofaiken.org.