Gods and Generals

If moviegoers knew how much delight they could be experiencing, they would be very interested in discovering their own personal family ties to the characters in Gods and Generals (and its sister film, Gettysburg), so they can add a new and exciting dimension to their own movie experiences.

We’ve been busy connecting a number of the key characters in both movies into the Family Forest. Here’s a sampling of some of the interesting connections so far.

General Robert E. Lee’s (portrayed by Robert Duvall in Gods and Generals, and by Martin Sheen in Gettysburg) family ties is a story by itself. Just through his early 1600’s ancestors, tens of millions of moviegoers share ancestors with him. For instance,

Start with one of General Robert E. Lee 1600’s ancestors, Captain Robert Higginson, and look at his descendants. Two of them are Lieutenant-General James Longstreet (portrayed by Bruce Boxleitner in Gods and Generals, and by Tom Berenger in Gettysburg) and General Lewis A. Armistead (portrayed by John Prosky in Gods and Generals, and by Richard Jordan in Gettysburg).

Other people who show up on Captain Robert Higginson’s descendant chart include both Presidents Harrison, Martha Dandridge (America’s first First Lady), General George S. Patton, the founders of Pillsbury, Irving Berlin, and people who are the ancestors of hundreds of thousands of people.

Or start with just one more of General Robert E. Lee’s many 1600’s ancestors, Colonel Augustine Warner, and look at his descendants. People who show up on his descendant chart include Lee Marvin, VP Stevenson, Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman, Meriwether “The Explorer” Lewis, General George S. Patton, President Washington, the British Royal Family, and again, people who are the ancestors of hundreds of thousands of people.

Back to Confederate General Longstreet, he also shares 1600’s ancestor Captain Adam Thorogood with the wife of Union General (later President) U.S. Grant, as well as with F. Scott Fitzgerald, and again, people who are the ancestors of hundreds of thousands of people.

Lieutenant-General Ambrose Powell “A. P.” Hill (portrayed by William Sanderson in Gods and Generals, and by Patrick Falci in Gettysburg), through his wife Kitty Morgan, is the brother-in-law of Brigadier-General John Hunt Morgan, the famous Confederate raider.

People who show up on the Morgan descendant chart from the 1600’s include, in addition to the two generals just named, Humphrey Bogart, Katharine Hepburn, Princess Diana, Tennessee Williams, VP Fairbanks, Julia Child, J. P. Morgan, President Harding, and Major-General George Brinton McClellan (portrayed by James Parkes in Gods and Generals).

General McClellan also shares a 1600’s ancestor, Mayflower Pilgrim Elder William Brewster, with Katharine Hepburn, Julia Child, VP Hannibal Hamlin, Bing Crosby, President Hoover, Buffalo Bill Cody, President Taylor, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Alan Shepard the astronaut.

A descendant chart of Thomas Early & Elizabeth Johnson who came to VA from England shows some of their descendents being Lieutenant-General Jubal Anderson Early (portrayed by MacIntyre Dixon in Gettysburg) and Major-General John Buford, Jr. (portrayed by Sam Elliott in Gettysburg), as well as one other Union general and one other Confederate general.

Some of the other people in the Family Forest who are also in one or both of these movies are General Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson (portrayed by Stephen Lang in Gods and Generals), Major-General Isaac R. Trimble (portrayed by William Morgan Sheppard in both Gods and Generals, and Gettysburg), Major-General James Lawson Kemper (portrayed by Royce D. Applegate in both Gods and Generals, and Gettysburg), General Edward Porter Alexander (portrayed by James Patrick Stuart in Gods and Generals), Major-General George Edward Pickett (portrayed by Bill Campbell in Gods and Generals, and by Stephen Lang in Gettysburg), and Colonel Waller Tazewell Patton (portrayed by Ted Turner in Gettysburg).