149th Battle of Aiken returns this weekend
Relive the 1865 Battle of Aiken this weekend as Union and Confederate reenactors come together on Feb. 22 and Feb. 23 to commemorate the 149th anniversary of the historic battle.
Battle of Aiken schedule:
Battle of Aiken schedule (subject to change):
Friday, Feb. 21 – School Day – Limited Activities
• 9 a.m. – School presentations start/Officers Call
• 9:30 a.m. – Camp tours (self guided)
• 10 a.m. – Battle field presentation for students (artillery, cavalry)
• 11:30 a.m. – Skirmish on battlefield
• Noon – Medical, engineer and period presentations
• 12:30 p.m. – Tour guides (self guided)
• 3 p.m. – School program ends
• 8 p.m. – Officers and Unit rep call (TBA)
Saturday, Feb. 22 – Camp open to public
• 8:30 a.m. – Gates open to public
• 9 a.m. – Mandatory parade and drill for military
• 9:30 a.m. – Tactical for reenactors
• 10 a.m. – Camp tours (self guided) / tactical
• 11 a.m. – Visit medical and engineer (self guided)
• 11:30 a.m. – Visit Citadel cadets (self guided)
• Noon – Visit civilian campus (self guided)
• 2:30 p.m. – Battle of Aiken – Part One – White Pond
• 3:30 p.m. – Soldier's salute of appreciation
• 4 to 7 p.m. – Commemoration of the Great Revival
• 8 p.m. – Unreconstructed will play for the Dance
Sunday, Feb. 23 – Camp open to public
• 8:30 a.m. – Gates open
• 9 a.m. – Camps open
• 10 a.m. – Camp tours (self guided)
• 10:30 a.m. – Church service
• Noon – Camp tours (self guided)
• 1:30 p.m. – Soldiers Grand March in review
• 2:30 p.m. – Battle of Aiken – Part Two
• 3:30 p.m. – Soldier's Salute of Appreciation
• 4 p.m. – Camps close
So far, about 2,000 school students will visit on Friday for School Day. Depending on whether the weather looks good for the weekend, between 3,000 and 4,000 visitors will visit the Battle of Aiken site, located at 1210 Powell Pond Road in Aiken.
The gates open to the public on Saturday, Feb. 22, at 8:30 a.m., with part one of the battle, the Battle of White Pond, beginning at 2 p.m. Gates open on Sunday, Feb. 23, at 8:30 a.m., and part two of the battle will start at 2 p.m.
The re-enactment commemorates Feb. 11, 1865 when Union forces, under the command of Maj. Gen. Hugh Judson Kilpatrick, clashed with Confederate troops under the command of Maj. Gen. Joseph Wheeler.
Visitors will have the opportunity to be a part of the Battle of Aiken's Great Revival Service. Chaplain Alan Farley will lead the service on Saturday afternoon from 4 to 7 p.m. Admission for the service is free if attendees arrive after 3 p.m.
Attendees can also visit more than a dozen sutler tents with Civil War era merchandise including jewelry, dresses and blacksmiths. The battle will feature both old time and modern foods from french fries, funnel cakes and candy to bottled root beer.
“We really hope everyone comes out and joins us, because it is going to be a great battle this year,” Wayne Jones, Sons of Confederate Veterans Brigadier General Barnard E. Bee Camp Commander, said. “It's the 149th anniversary, and it's just going to build us up for the one next year when we celebrate 150 years.”
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 there is no admission charge for children 5 and younger.
Coolers and pets are not allowed at the event. Parking is first come, first served.
For more information, visit the Battle of Aiken website at www.battleofaiken.org.
Maayan Schechter is the city beat reporter with Aiken Standard. An Atlanta native, she has a mass communications-journalism degree from the University of North Carolina Asheville.