2nd Manassas - Aug. 1862
The Battle of Gettysburg - Thursday July 2, 1863
Union Colonel Strong Vincent & Little Round Top

Little and Big Round Top

Prior to the assault on the Union left by the 15th Alabama, Colonel Strong Vincent, commanding the 3rd Brigade of the 1st Division of Major General Sykes Fifth Corps, marched on the western side of Cemetery Ridge moving towards General Sickles' thinly stretched 3rd Corps. As one of Brigadier General Gouverneur Warren's staff officers came across the 26 year old Harvard graduate, Vincent demanded to know of the orders he carried. Learning then of General Warren's need of men, Colonel Vincent took personal responsibility for ignoring his previous orders, an offense punishable by court martial, and lead his brigade to the defense of Little Round Top, the almost vacant anchor of the Union line. [H]

General Vincent MarkerVincent directed his men to their positions just minutes before the onslaught by Confederate General John Bell Hood's men, with the 20th Maine, the 83rd Pennsylvania, the 44th New York, and the 16th Michigan running from left to right (east to west) along the southern face of the hill. As the 4th and 5th Texas pushed back the boys in blue on the southwestern edge, Colonel Vincent ran forward to steady his men. Visible to both the men in blue and their southern foes, the young Colonel cried out "Don't give an inch!" Shortly thereafter, he fell victim to a Confederate bullet. The Colonel who had risked his career and his life to come to the support of the Union cause would die a few days later. And yet, it would take further Union reinforcements to hold this vital hill as the Confederates kept coming.

On July 12th, 1863, Colonel James C. Rice, commanding in Vincent's absence, sadly announced the death of the newly promoted Brigadier General.

Monument to the 83rd Pennsylvania and General Strong Vincent"The colonel commanding hereby announces to the brigade the death of Brig. Gen. Strong Vincent. He died near Gettysburg, Pa., July 7, 1863, from the effects of a wound received on the 2d instant, and within sight of that field which his bravery had so greatly assisted to win. A day hallowed with all the glory of success is thus sombered by the sorrow of our loss. Wreaths of victory give way to chaplets of mourning, hearts exultant to feelings of grief. A soldier, a scholar, a friend, has fallen. For his country, struggling for its life, he willingly gave his own. Grateful for his services, the State which proudly claims him as her own will give him an honored grave and a costly monument, but he ever will remain buried in our hearts, and our love for his memory will outlast the stone which shall bear the inscription of his bravery, his virtues, and his patriotism.

While we deplore his death, and remember with sorrow our loss, let us emulate the example of his fidelity and patriotism, feeling that he lives but in vain who lives not for his God and his country.

By command of Col. James C. Rice, commanding Third Brigade:
Geo. B. Herendeen,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General." [9]

Colonel Vincent CarvingToday, as the morning sun first brushes the western slopes of Gettysburg's Little Round Top, it reveals a carving seldom noticed, its inscription slowly and grudgingly fading as with the memory of those fallen. Looking closely, it reads,

"Col. Strong Vincent Fell Here
Com'g 3rd Brig 1st Div 5th Corps
July 2nd 1863"

In his official report for the battle, 5th Corps Commander Major General George Sykes spoke of Colonel Vincent and the others that fell. "Night closed the fight. The key of the battle-field was in our possession intact. Vincent, Weed, and Hazlett, chiefs lamented throughout the corps and army, sealed with their lives the spot entrusted to their keeping, and on which so much depended."