The 17th Battle of Aiken re-enactment takes place on the outskirts of Aiken, but the real skirmish it depicts happened within the heart of town. While the Feb. 11 fight is just a footnote in Union Gen. William T. Sherman’s march to Columbia, it was also one in a string of battles between Union Gen. Judson “Kill-Cavalry” Kilpatrick and Augusta native Gen. Joseph “Fighting Joe” Wheeler.
Looking to settle a grudge between the generals that traveled all the way from the ruins of Atlanta, Kilpatrick pleaded with Sherman to ransack Aiken and eliminate any chance Wheeler and his calvary could harass Sherman’s flank. With Sherman’s reluctant consent, Kilpatrick charged into Aiken, only to be quickly boxed in and routed by Wheeler’s troops.
The Battle of Aiken re-enactment includes extra elements of that battle, including cannons. Gates open at 8:30 a.m. Saturday to the public wishing to tour the grounds and talk with re-enactors, with part one of the battle scheduled to commence at 2:30 p.m. The same schedule holds for Sunday. Entrance to the battlegrounds at 1210 Powell Pond Road, Aiken, costs $10 per adult and $5 for children ages 6 to 12.