Truly Southern – Eddie Cockman

civil war reenactor eddie cockman – photo: adam kuehl

 

Truly Southern – Eddie Cockman

A look back at South magazine's issue from June/July 2006. There are some re-enactors who will play both Union and Confederate soldiers. Eddie Cockman is not one of them. "Never cross the line," he told South.

The re-enactments create strong camaraderie among the participants – whether they wear a blue or grey uniform. A rivalry between the North and the South isn't really there, according to re-enactor Ken Giddens. "As far as overall attitude, a lot of guys go both ways. They have both uniforms," he says.

Re-enactor Eddie Cockman agrees the two groups get along, but he won't portray a Union solider, even when there aren't enough of them for a battle. Four of his great-great-uncles fought for the Confederacy, he explains. "I have a joke I tell everyone about that. I tell them that I put on a Union suit one time and went to the relatives' graves and there was dirt turned up. It was from them rolling in their graves," Cockman says. 

For Fort Pulaski, bringing in re-enactors – in both blue and grey uniforms – helps tell the story. "We don't want to recreate the terrible event. We want to commemorate it and educate people on what took place," says park ranger Mike Ryan.

"It's about bringing these stories alive, bringing the resources to life. The groups show pretty much what it was like during the Civil War. The only way to demonstrate is through taste, touch and smell," says superintendent at Fort Pulaski Charles Fenwick. For both the re-enactors and the fort, the goal is to bring history to life and keep it alive. 

Featured in Faces of the South: The Trilogy Edition now on newsstands. 

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