Grant descendant among reenactors at Gettysburg

They come in the blue. They come in the gray.

They battle the elements and they battle each other.

But they mostly reenactors at the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg come to feel a connection with the brave soldiers of the Civil War.

But none of them has more of a connection than John Griffiths.

“My middle name is Grant,” he explained.

Giffiths is a direct descendant of Union General Ulysses S. Grant.

“He was my great, great, grandfather,” said Griffiths. 

More specifically, Grant had a son, who had a daughter, who gave birth to John Griffiths. He is reenacting this week at the base of the Pennsylvania Monument.

“I am very interested in the Civil War,” he said. “North…south whatever.”

Griffiths' tent is a popular stop for visitors. He answers questions and asks them too.

“Do you have any ancestors that fought in the Civil War?,” he asked one.

To the folks who perform living history, Griffiths is like a rock star. Afterall, he is living history.

Griffiths will soon be 75-year-old and can't take the overnights in the reenactment camp, so he stayed with friends in Biglerville during the anniversary. And though he's the descendant of a general, Griffiths holds a modest rank.

“I'm an individual, a private,” he said. 

A private who's proud of his lineage and fiercely defends it when asked about Grant's infamous drinking habits.

Griffiths says that was just a brief period in Grant's life when was shipped out West.

“Grant was discouraged, he missed his family, so he turned to the bottle,” said Griffiths. “Grant was a small individual so one drink went a long way with him.”

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