An hour with General Hood

Today I received this month’s copy of Civil War News, and was pleasantly surprised to see a picture of actor Patrick Gorman on the cover.  You’ll recall that Gorman portrayed Gen. John Bell Hood in the movies Gettysburg and God and Generals.  He was in full Hood uniform (with only a moustache and sans beard ala Hood), and the caption on the photo explained that Gorman was recently at the Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation’s first Wayside Soiree in Middletown Va.  It was nice to see that Gorman still does appearances in the Hood persona and takes such an active interest in today’s events.

The picture made me recall my one and only meeting with Gorman.  Back in September 2001, right after the horrid day of 9-11, I was doing living history in Sharpsburg Md near the Antietam Battlefield over the anniversary of the battle.  There was a lot of folks in town for the anniversary festival, and there were about 20 or so of us in camp, with several reenactors missing due to being called up to their respective reserve units.  God and Generals was doing some filming in Harper’s Ferry WVa at the time, and several of the actors took a break by coming up to Sharpsburg for the festivities.  I saw Pat Falci (A.P. Hill) and a few others walking around and talking with the folks.  I was hungry and decided to get a sausage sandwich at one of the street vendors.  As I walked up to it, Gorman came up beside me.  I was in full uniform in the person of Col. Thomas Devin (Federal cavalry officer) and Gorman, dressed in jeans and a shirt, complimented me on the uniform.  We struck up a little conversation about the movies and such, and I offered to buy his sausage sandwich for him.  He readily accepted, although that’s probably the first and last time I’ll have the opportunity to buy a millionaire celebrity lunch!  Unless, of course, I run into Donald Trump on a New York City street and he needs to bum a couple bucks for a hotdog…

Anyway, Gorman was by himself and we continued talking.  We parked ourselves on a step or porch along Main Street and ate our sandwiches as we talked about the filming, Civil War history, reenacting, our families, and all sorts of stuff.  We spent about an hour eating and talking, with folks constantly coming up and saying hello to Gorman.  Although he lived in California, he explained to me that he constantly comes east and has had a life-long interest in American history.

I needed to get back to the encampment, so we shook hands and parted ways.  Gorman was extremely personable and very enjoyable to talk with.  I noticed that in spite of his age, his eyes constantly lit up like a kid’s, and that made him appear very young.  And despite his status, he’s a regular guy who’s terrific to just sit and talk with.

And as I mentioned, it’s great to see that he still keeps up his interest in the Civil War, and portraying Hood at events.  He’ll always be one of my favorite celebrities that I’ve met through Civil War connections.

Next I’ll have to tell about the time friend Steve Basic and I “ran into” actor James Earl Jones on Little Round Top at Gettysburg…

Published in: on April 28, 2007 at 1:58 pm  Comments (6)  

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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. J.D.,

    🙂 You forgot to include the part when we ran into Mr. Gorman later that weekend and I called him General Hill. 🙂 As you know that was a surreal weekend for me, as I had to get out of the NYC area after witnessing the events of 9/11/01.

    Hope all is well.


  2. So J.D., when will we see you making your Hollywood debut? I mean, with a contact like that (and the corresponding fame as an author), I would think the movie bidness would be the next logical step! Just remember all us little people when you’re accepting that Oscar.


  3. Ha ha, Steve – I forgot about that part. You ruined all my good work with him 🙂

    Rob – already done. I’ve been in two Civil War movies, and my promised fan club and adoring legions never materialized. So, it’s back to being plain ol’ me 🙂


  4. J.D.,

    🙂 Gee what a surprise?? Me screwing up. 😉 LOL.

    And Rob, Don’t know if you know this, but ex VP Candidate Lloyd Bentsen actually said this to J.D. about his performance of General John Newton in one of his movie roles….”I knew John Newton, and you are no John Newton” 😉

    BTW J.D., not even sure you know this, but you are actually listed on Thankfully it lists your role as Colonel Devin and not General Newton. 🙂

    Unreal, and quite funny. 🙂 Hope all is well my friend.


  5. Yep, Steve, I saw myself on – and Mike Nugent is on there too, as Col. Gamble.

    No legion of adoring fans, no fan club newsletter, or dinners with Donald Trump. Nothing.

    Ah well 🙂


  6. J.D.,

    🙂 Noticed the good Colonel was listed as well. As to having dinner with Trump, I would think you’d rather have dinner with Ivanka than the Donald. 🙂

    Hope all is well.


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