Civil War – Ken Giddens

civil war reenactor ken giddens photographed by adam kuehl


Civil War – Ken Giddens

A look back at South magazine's issue from June/July 2006. In our third issue, we turned our cameras on Civil War re-enactors like Ken Giddens, who already had 15 years on the battlefield when we featured him. Featured in Faces of the South: The Trilogy Edition now on newsstands. Click here to order your copy of Faces today. 


On a foggy November moring at Fort Pulaski, a sea of two men in uniform fill the parade grounds. Two platoons of Union soldiers stand within the brick walls amid the haze, taking orders for drills. A fife and drums can be heard playing in the background while the sergeants shout out orders to their men. The sun is just coming up and everything seems just as it might have been during the Civil War to re-enactor Ken Giddens, who is playing the role of the first sergeant this day.

"It was a very unique moment with the fog and not being able to see anything that wasn't of that period and having the music play while commands were being given," Giddens recalls. "It was a very surreal moment. You don't get those too often but you always remember when you do."

Giddens, 49, has been a Civil War re-enactor for almost 15 years and counts that morning a few years back among his favorite memories. The Jacksonville resident and member of the 48th New York infantry was back at the fort again this April for the 144th commemoration of the siege by Union forces. 

Re-enactments can run the gamut from something like the Fort Pulaski program (known as the fort that was built during the first part of the 1800s in response to the War of 1812) to events known as immersions, Giddens says. "There is no public–no one is there to see us. With those, we're trying to recreate a sense of what it would have been like in the 1860s."



To get a copy of this back issue of South magazine, click here.