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Civil War 'Idol' Contestant -- A Real 'Musket' Man

2/1/2011 8:50 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF

The Civil War reenactor from last week's episode of "American Idol" wasn't joking -- the guy actually pretends to be a soldier from the 1860s in his spare time ... and TMZ has obtained a photo to prove it.

Nathaniel Jones

Sources in Nathaniel Jones' Civil War reenactment group -- called "Muskets and Memories" -- tell TMZ, the 22-year-old from Wisconsin has attended the historical dramatizations for years with his family.

Our sources had no comment on Nathaniel's singing ability (or lack thereof) -- but said they were excited he was reppin' for their pretend regiment.

0131_ai_civil_launch As for Nate's fake soldiering ... we're told he usually sports a Union uni -- and is "always serious, but very polite."

It was a civil war, after all.


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I would have to agree with Jenny. Reenacting is not anything like what was shown on American Idol. A true reenactor would have never made a joke out of the hobby. Many of us put hours upon hours doing research so we can recreate what happend then to the best of our abilities. Much money and time is spent to pull together a season on reenactments...If you want correct information on Civil War reenacting I recommend talking to people who truely care about the hobby!

1326 days ago


Do a real write up. This guy is a "FARB" haha! Interview one of us Authentic reenactors"HARDCORES!" To bad this guy had to ruin our image. Sad thing is I have to see him at the next reenactment. I hope he stays home. TMZ do a real write up, no joke.

1326 days ago


I tell ya what people, This kid made an ass of himself and all of us reenactors across teh country. I know the personally and I hope he doesn't show his face around another reenactment. If you wanna see a real reenactor go check out all the authentic "hardcore" guys out there! WE strive to do our best! Not go on TV and make a god damn joke of it. There needs to be show on TV! Showing how us authentic reenactors really do it! That would be the best show ever! Not all this reality TV! Screw that ****! TMZ Why don't you do a writing on how we actually preserve our history!

1326 days ago


It IS called Muskets and Memories Civil War Era Reenactment and it is held here where we live EVERY year. My daughters, as well as many in the community look forward to the Civil War Ball held that weekend and wear period authentic attire. The battle reenactments are witnessed by many and it truly makes our youth ask questions and gain knowledge. It amazes me to read some of the comments here. I know Nate personally and he is nothing like you are saying. Let's remember that Networks edit takes and only allow you to see what they want you to see!

1326 days ago


At least he's on the right side of the war.

1326 days ago

Anastacia Jones    

Well u know what all u F*** Wads who think ur better than everyone, all u do is a hole sh!* lot of nuthing!!!! U sit on ur A$$ an watch TV, plav video games, call ur wife/girlfriend in 2 get u a nuther beer an do nuthin in return 4 them, or just critize ppl, FU** OFF!!! AN FU** U!!! What good r u doin???? OK so i may not b the best speller but @ least im doin stuff with my life an gettin an education @ the same College as my "BROTHER"!!!! My "BROTHER" dident go there 2 b made fun of, he went there because he is good, but u all "WOULDENT" know that caust they aired his worse song "AN U DONT KNOW HIM"!!!! AN BTW leave my "FATHER" out of ur pitty arguments!!!! Also my "BROTHER" an "FATHER" an "MY SELF" were some of the best recrutes 4 the "reanactment"!!!! BUT I was only with "The 25 Wisconsin" for a littel wile because of our "Curnal"! He enforsed a rule that any "MAN" or "BOY" could join if they wanted but a "GIRL" had 2 have a "PARRENT" with her in order to b able 2 join!!! HE is the biggest problem 4 that group!! SO LEAVE MY "BROTHER" OUT OF THAT!!!! An b4 u go an critize ppl take a good look @ ur own life, "WOULD U B ABLE 2 GO UP ON STAGE AN EVEN B ABLE TO SAY ANYTHING KNOWING THAT THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE WILL B WATCHING WHAT U ARE DOING"????? LET ME KNOW THAT??? So stop trin 2 b all that, cause all u r is a PU$$IE!!!! SO GO FU** UR SELFE AN LEAVE HIM ALONE!!!! He is better than everyone thinks, an better than what everyone saw!!!


1326 days ago



If you are really his sister you really aren't helping his or your case with that post. Your post makes you sound like an idiot.

1326 days ago

Classic Belle    

I and my son are reenactors. We preserve the true history. It's our passion. My son takes great pride in the accuracy of his impression. Down to then the last stitch. He takes it very seriously. He has been doing this since he was 13, he now 18.
I agree with the statement above that this is a whole lot better then sitting and watching tv or playing video games. He does this in the cold of winter and in the 90 degree weather in the summer. He uses no tent, just a bed roll that he lays on the ground and sleeps under the stars. He never watches mtv or any other tv. He studies do***ents, speeches and letters from history.
Not much to make fun of huh? I'm very proud of my son.

1326 days ago

Nathaniel Jones    

Hey everyone, this is Nathaniel Jones, the guy you've all been talking about. I just want to say here that what happened in Milwaukee was a lot better than what was shown on tv. They recorded over 4 hours worth of tapes of me and my father explaining varoius things about the Civil War. The day I auditioned in front of the celebrity judges, they had me on for a full hour interview where I explained why the southern states decided to leave the union, why the northern states wanted to preserve the union, and other things. I described on camera how there was a plan made by the king of England during the war that once the southern states won, English troops would come over and force all the states to be English colonies again.
Multiple times on camera I stated what the different parts of the uniform were, what they were for, what they did, etc. I even spent about a half-hour simply showing the cameramen different facing movements and different at-arms positions.
I love to re-enact, and it is a huge part of my life. I wanted the people to see that, and I wanted to act as a living historian on camera. But when all those tapes were cut for time's sake, they chose to edit in the parts that looked bad.
Furthermore, I actually sang a period song for the judges. Before I sang "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" I sang "Battle Hymn Of The Republic." They edited that part out as well.
I realize that "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" is not a period song, and I realize that some of the things I did and said on camera weren't period correct. But when things happen, I try to respond in what I think is the best way. During the time I was performing facing movements and showing at-arms positions, Ryan Seacrest came up to the top of the hill near where I was at and started saying things like "we can work this out; there's no need to be upset!" I wanted to do a funny ad-lib so I raised the musket up in the air and said what I said. I wish I had used language like "You stole the lady I was a-courtin'!" or something, but I was on the spot and had to come up with something fast, and I messed up. (By the way, I NEVER POINT A GUN AT ANY PERSON! Loaded or unloaded, real or toy, I never do that, even on the field. When using black powder muskets, you never know if the powder might have somehow clumped together, and if you point the musket at someone, you might shoot a fireball at them, so it's a very bad idea to level the weapon.)
Here's the reason I sang "The Lion Sleeps Tonight." Every contestant who makes it to the celebrity judge round has to choose from a provided list of songs. Many artists don't want their songs sung by anyone but themselves, and copyright laws allow them to make that restriction. I had to choose a song off the list. I wanted to sing "The Gambler" by Kenny Rodgers, (It was on the list, it has a good moral lesson, and it has a sound that is similar to period.) but when I said I was going to sing it, I was prevented from doing so. (I was tricked by Randy.) I was told to sing "Lion" because I had done well with it in a previous round, and I reluctantly obeyed. As my dad says, "such is life in the fast lane", I guess.

1297 days ago
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