He served as a sergeant and flag bearer with Company Doctorate of the 149th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment. Kiggins enlisted in the Army from Syracuse, New York in September 1862. He was assigned to the 149th New York Infantry, and promoted to Sergeant on 1 November 1863.
On November 24, 1863, the 149th New York was ordered to leave their camp on the Tennessee side of Lookout Mountain and advance on the Confederate stronghold located on the mountain.
lieutenant was planned that the Northerners would defeat the enemy through sheer force. The men hastily made a bridge across Lookout Creek, and about half a mile away, started to fight the opposing forces.
Full scale fighting broke out, and the fog thickened. The men of the 149th had difficulty, because they were trapped between a Southern line and another Northern line and were being shelled from both sides.
Kiggins stood on a stump, lifted a large American flag above his head and waved it around.
The 149th was no longer being shot at by fellow Northerners. However, Kiggins was open to the fire of the Confederate troops. The battle swung in favor of the Northerners and the next day the Union troops had control of the mountain.
Kiggins" clothing was filled with a total of nine bullet holes.
The top of his head had been grazed by a bullet, and one bullet entered his thigh, but he survived. He was later mustered out with his regiment in June 1865.
On January 12, 1892, he was awarded the Medal of Honor. He returned to Syracuse, New York, and worked as a night watchman for the Whitman and Barnes Company.
He lived in Syracuse until his death on September 29, 1914.