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.
Vincent 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.
"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."
Today, 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