On the January 10 episode of PBS’ “Finding Your Roots” actor Jeff Daniels learned he had an ancestor who not only served during the Civil War, but actually fought at the Battle of Gettysburg. Daniels won acclaim for his role as Joshua Chamberlain in the 1993 movie Gettysburg.
“Your great-great grandfather volunteered to defend the Union,” stated host Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
“Yes!” Daniels responded. “Way to be.”
On the show, Daniels learned that one of his grandfathers, Melvin H. Storms, fought at the Battle of Gettysburg with the famed Iron Brigade.
Storms served in Company D of the 24th Michigan and was captured on July 1, 1863. He was 21 years of age. Both he and his brother, Abram, subsequently survived Andersonville prison.
Author Tom Desjardin served as Daniels’ historical adviser on the 1993 film and shared with HistoryNet his experiences working with Daniels and the friendship they continue to enjoy nearly 30 years later.
Want to learn more about the famed Iron Brigade? Historian Lance Herdegen shares some of the top primary sources on the famous fighting unit here.