Strong Vincent

Last updated
Strong Vincent
Strong Vincent.jpg
Vincent as a colonel
Born(1837-06-17)June 17, 1837
Waterford, Pennsylvania
DiedJuly 7, 1863(1863-07-07) (aged 26)
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
Buried
Erie Cemetery, Erie, Pennsylvania
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Union Army
Years of service18611863
Rank Union Army brigadier general rank insignia.svg Brigadier general [1]
UnitErie Regiment
Commands held 83rd Pennsylvania Infantry
3rd Brigade, 1st Division, V Corps
Battles/wars

Strong Vincent (June 17, 1837 July 7, 1863) was a lawyer who became famous as a U.S. Army officer during the American Civil War. He was mortally wounded while leading his brigade during the fighting at Little Round Top on the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg, and died five days later.

United States Army Land warfare branch of the United States Armed Forces

The United States Army (USA) is the land warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the seven uniformed services of the United States, and is designated as the Army of the United States in the United States Constitution. As the oldest and most senior branch of the U.S. military in order of precedence, the modern U.S. Army has its roots in the Continental Army, which was formed to fight the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783)—before the United States of America was established as a country. After the Revolutionary War, the Congress of the Confederation created the United States Army on 3 June 1784 to replace the disbanded Continental Army. The United States Army considers itself descended from the Continental Army, and dates its institutional inception from the origin of that armed force in 1775.

American Civil War Internal war in the U.S. over slavery

The American Civil War, one of the most studied and written about episodes in U.S. history, was a civil war fought in the United States from 1861 to 1865, between the North and the South. The Civil War began primarily as a result of the long-standing controversy over the enslavement of black people. War broke out in April 1861 when secessionist forces attacked Fort Sumter in South Carolina shortly after Abraham Lincoln had been inaugurated as the President of the United States. The loyalists of the Union in the North, which also included some geographically western and southern states, proclaimed support for the Constitution. They faced secessionists of the Confederate States in the South, who advocated for states' rights to uphold slavery.

Little Round Top Hill fought over during the Battle of Gettysburg

Little Round Top is the smaller of two rocky hills south of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania—the companion to the adjacent, taller hill named Big Round Top. It was the site of an unsuccessful assault by Confederate troops against the Union left flank on July 2, 1863, the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg, in the American Civil War

Contents

Early life and education

Vincent was born in Waterford, Pennsylvania, son of iron foundryman B. B. Vincent and Sarah Ann (née) Strong. He attended Trinity College and Harvard University, graduating in 1859. He practiced law in Erie, Pennsylvania.

Waterford, Pennsylvania Borough in Pennsylvania, United States

Waterford is a borough in Erie County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 1,517 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Erie Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Foundry factory that produces metal castings

A foundry is a factory that produces metal castings. Metals are cast into shapes by melting them into a liquid, pouring the metal into a mold, and removing the mold material after the metal has solidified as it cools. The most common metals processed are aluminium and cast iron. However, other metals, such as bronze, brass, steel, magnesium, and zinc, are also used to produce castings in foundries. In this process, parts of desired shapes and sizes can be formed.

Bethuel Boyd Vincent was a prominent businessman and politician in Erie County, Pennsylvania. He was the son of Judge John Vincent.

American Civil War

At the start of the American Civil War, Vincent joined the Pennsylvania Militia as an adjutant and first lieutenant of the Erie Regiment. On September 14, 1861, he was commissioned lieutenant colonel of the 83rd Pennsylvania Infantry and was promoted to colonel the following June. After the death of his regimental commander in the Seven Days Battles (at the Battle of Gaines's Mill), Vincent assumed command of the regiment. He developed malaria on the Virginia Peninsula and was on medical leave until the Battle of Fredericksburg in December 1862. On May 20, 1863, he assumed command of the 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, V Corps, Army of the Potomac, replacing his brigade commander, who resigned after the Battle of Chancellorsville.

Militia generally refers to an army or other fighting force that is composed of non-professional fighters

A militia is generally an army or some other fighting organization of non-professional soldiers, citizens of a nation, or subjects of a state, who can be called upon for military service during a time of need, as opposed to a professional force of regular, full-time military personnel, or historically, members of a warrior nobility class. Generally unable to hold ground against regular forces, it is common for militias to be used for aiding regular troops by skirmishing, holding fortifications, or irregular warfare, instead of being used in offensive campaigns by themselves. Militia are often limited by local civilian laws to serve only in their home region, and to serve only for a limited time; this further reduces their use in long military campaigns.

Adjutant military rank

Adjutant is a military appointment given to an officer who assists the commanding officer with unit administration, mostly the management of human resources in army unit. The term adjudant is used in French-speaking armed forces as a non-commissioned officer rank similar to a staff sergeant or warrant officer but is not equivalent to the role or appointment of an adjutant.

Lieutenant colonel (United States) officer rank of the United States military

In the United States Army, U.S. Marine Corps, and U.S. Air Force, a lieutenant colonel is a field-grade military officer rank just above the rank of major and just below the rank of colonel. It is equivalent to the naval rank of commander in the other uniformed services.

Likeness of Col. Vincent atop the 83rd Pennsylvania Infantry monument, Gettysburg National Military Park near the spot where Vincent was mortally wounded VINCENT 83 PVI.JPG
Likeness of Col. Vincent atop the 83rd Pennsylvania Infantry monument, Gettysburg National Military Park near the spot where Vincent was mortally wounded

At the Battle of Gettysburg, 26-year-old Vincent and his brigade arrived on July 2, 1863. He had started the Gettysburg Campaign knowing that his young wife, Elizabeth H. Carter, whom he had married on the day he enlisted in the army, was pregnant with their first child. He had written her, "If I fall, remember you have given your husband to the most righteous cause that ever widowed a woman."

Battle of Gettysburg Battle of the American Civil War

The Battle of Gettysburg was fought July 1–3, 1863, in and around the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, by Union and Confederate forces during the American Civil War. The battle involved the largest number of casualties of the entire war and is often described as the war's turning point. Union Maj. Gen. George Meade's Army of the Potomac defeated attacks by Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, halting Lee's invasion of the North.

Maj. Gen. Daniel E. Sickles of the III Corps had deviated from his orders, moving his corps to a position that left undefended a significant terrain feature: Little Round Top. The chief engineer of the Army of the Potomac, Brig. Gen. Gouverneur K. Warren, recognized the tactical importance of the hill and urgently sought Union troops to occupy it before the Confederates could. A staff officer sent by Warren encountered Vincent's brigade nearby. Vincent, without consulting his superior officers, decided that his brigade was in the ideal position to defend Little Round Top, saying "I will take the responsibility to take my brigade there." Pvt. Oliver Willcox Norton, Vincent's brigade standard bearer and bugler, later wrote that he and Vincent made a reconnaissance of the Confederate forces as the brigade was moving into position, "While our line was forming on the hill at Gettysburg I came out with him in full view of the rebel lines. They opened two batteries on us instantly, firing at the colors. Colonel Vincent looked to see what was drawing the fire and yelled at me, "Down with the flag, Norton! Damn it, go behind the rocks with it.". [2]

In the United States Army, United States Marine Corps, and United States Air Force, major general is a two-star general officer rank, with the pay grade of O-8. Major general ranks above brigadier general and below lieutenant general. A major general typically commands division-sized units of 10,000 to 15,000 soldiers. Major general is equivalent to the two-star rank of rear admiral in the United States Navy and United States Coast Guard, and is the highest permanent peacetime rank in the uniformed services. Higher ranks are technically temporary and linked to specific positions, although virtually all officers promoted to those ranks are approved to retire at their highest earned rank.

III Corps (Union Army) corps-sized formation of the Union Army

There were four formations in the Union Army designated as III Corps during the American Civil War.

Brigadier general (United States) one-star general officer in the United States Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps

In the United States Armed Forces, brigadier general is a one-star general officer with the pay grade of O-7 in the U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, and U.S. Air Force. Brigadier general ranks above a colonel and below major general. The rank of brigadier general is equivalent to the rank of rear admiral in the other uniformed services. The NATO equivalent is OF-6.

The pennant of the 3rd Brigade Flag of the 5th Corps 1st Division 3rd Brigade.svg
The pennant of the 3rd Brigade

One of Vincent's regiments, the 20th Maine, led by Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, has received most of the fame for the defense of Little Round Top, but there is little doubt that the efforts and bravery of Vincent were instrumental in the eventual Union victory. Vincent impressed upon Chamberlain the importance of his position on the brigade's left flank and then he left to attend to the brigade's right flank. There, the 16th Michigan Infantry was starting to yield to enemy pressure. Mounting a large boulder, Vincent brandished a riding crop given to him by his wife and shouted to his men "Don't give an inch!" A bullet struck him through the thigh and the groin and he fell. Due to the determination of the 20th Maine, the 44th New York, the 83rd Pennsylvania and the 16th Michigan Infantry, the Union line held against the Confederate onslaught. Vincent was carried from the hill to a nearby farm, where he lay dying for the next five days, unable to be transported home due to the severity of his injury.

20th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment

The 20th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment was a volunteer regiment of the United States Army during the American Civil War (1861-1865), most famous for its defense of Little Round Top at the Battle of Gettysburg in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, July 1-3, 1863. The 133rd Engineer Battalion of the Maine Army National Guard and the United States Army today carries on the lineage and traditions of the 20th Maine.

44th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment

The 44th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment was a regiment of the Union Army during the American Civil War which was formed up in mid-1861, and mustered in on August 30, 1861. The regiment wore an americanized zouave uniform which consisted of a dark blue zouave jacket with red piping on the cuffs, dark blue trousers with a red stripe, a red zouave shirt, a dark blue forage cap, and a pair of leather gaiters. The jacket had buttons down the front of it which was not part of the original French zouave uniform.

The 16th Regiment Michigan Volunteer Infantry was an infantry regiment that served in the Union Army during the American Civil War.

The commander of the Army of the Potomac, Maj. Gen. George G. Meade, recommended Vincent for promotion to brigadier general on the evening of July 2. The promotion was dated July 3, 1863, but it is doubtful that Vincent knew about the honor before he died [3] (although Pvt. Oliver Willcox Norton in Army Letters 1861-1865 writes "His commission as Brigadier General was read to him on his deathbed.") [4] Vincent's wife gave birth to a baby girl two months later, who died before reaching the age of one and is buried next to her father.

His corps commander, Maj. Gen. George Sykes, described Vincent's actions in his official report from the battle:

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 intrusted to their keeping, and on which so much depended.... General Weed and Colonel Vincent, officers of rare promise, gave their lives to their country.

George Sykes, report on the Battle of Gettysburg

Legacy

Statue at Blasco Library in Erie, Pennsylvania Vincentstatue.JPG
Statue at Blasco Library in Erie, Pennsylvania

Vincent is buried in Erie Cemetery in Erie. He is memorialized by a statue on the 83rd Pennsylvania monument on Little Round Top, by a statue erected in 1997 at Blasco Memorial Library, Erie, and by Strong Vincent High School (now a middle school) in Erie. The portion of Little Round Top to the southeast of Sykes Avenue on the Gettysburg Battlefield is known as "Vincent's Spur". The 1-112 Infantry of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard stationed in Cambridge Springs uses the call sign "STRONG" in recognition of Vincent's courage, determination and sacrifice.

See also

Notes

  1. Eicher, p. 614.
  2. Norton, p. 167. Norton was a member of the 83rd Pennsylvania, which Vincent commanded before becoming its brigade commander.
  3. Warner, p. 528. Eicher, p. 614, states that this promotion was not confirmed by the United States Senate, and therefore does not list him as a general.
  4. Norton, p. 162.

Related Research Articles

Gouverneur K. Warren general in the Union Army during the American Civil War

Gouverneur Kemble Warren was a civil engineer and Union Army general during the American Civil War. He is best remembered for arranging the last-minute defense of Little Round Top during the Battle of Gettysburg and is often referred to as the "Hero of Little Round Top." His subsequent service as a corps commander and his remaining military career were ruined during the Battle of Five Forks, when he was relieved of command of the V Corps by Philip Sheridan, who claimed that Warren had moved too slowly.

George Sykes Union General during the American Civil War

George Sykes was a career United States Army officer and a Union General during the American Civil War.

David McMurtrie Gregg Union Army general

David McMurtrie Gregg was a farmer, diplomat, and a Union cavalry general in the American Civil War.

The V Corps was a unit of the Union Army of the Potomac during the American Civil War.

Samuel W. Crawford United States Army surgeon and Union general (1829-1892)

Samuel Wylie Crawford was a United States Army surgeon and a Union general in the American Civil War.

John C. Caldwell United States Army general

John Curtis Caldwell was a teacher, a Union general in the American Civil War, and an American diplomat.

J. H. Hobart Ward Union Army general

John Henry Hobart Ward, most commonly referred to as J.H. Hobart Ward, was a career United States Army soldier who fought in the Mexican–American War and served in the New York state militia. He also served as a Union general during the American Civil War.

Romeyn B. Ayres Union Army general

Romeyn Beck Ayres was a Union Army general in the American Civil War.

James J. Archer Confederate Army general

James Jay Archer was a lawyer and an officer in the United States Army during the Mexican–American War. He later served as a Brigadier General in the Confederate States Army (CSA) during the American Civil War.

Thomas Algeo Rowley United States Army general in American Civil War.

Thomas Algeo Rowley was a Union Army general in the American Civil War. Following charges about the conduct of his officers at Gettysburg, Rowley was tried by a court martial that was later declared biased, and he was reinstated.

Kenner Garrard Union Army general

Kenner Garrard was a brigadier general in the Union Army during the American Civil War. A member of one of Ohio's most prominent military families, he performed well at the Battle of Gettysburg, and then led a cavalry division in the army of Major General William T. Sherman during the Atlanta Campaign. He developed a reputation for personal bravery and was cited for gallantry at the Battle of Nashville as an infantry division commander.

George A. Cobham Jr. Union Army General

George Ashworth Cobham Jr. commanded a regiment in the American Civil War and rose to brigade command before being killed in battle.

Charles Candy was a career soldier in the United States Army who served as an officer in the volunteer Union Army during the American Civil War. He commanded an Ohio regiment and, frequently, a brigade, during the war, and played a role in the defense of Culp's Hill during the July 1863 Battle of Gettysburg.

John Baillie McIntosh American officer

John Baillie McIntosh, although born in Florida, served as a Union Army brigadier general in the American Civil War. His brother, James M. McIntosh, served as a Confederate general until he was killed in the Battle of Pea Ridge.

Sidney Burbank served as an officer in the regular army before and during the American Civil War. For a time he led a brigade in the Army of the Potomac.

Thomas H. Neill American officer

Thomas Hewson Neill, a native of Pennsylvania, became a general in the American Civil War, serving in the Army of the Potomac in some of its most important campaigns.

Joseph W. Fisher Union Army officer

Joseph Washington Fisher was a Pennsylvania politician and soldier who commanded a brigade of the Pennsylvania Reserves in some of the most important battles of the Army of the Potomac during the American Civil War.

Jacob B. Sweitzer Union Army officer

Jacob Bowman Sweitzer was a Pennsylvania lawyer and soldier who commanded a regiment and then a brigade in the Army of the Potomac in the American Civil War. He and his men were significantly engaged at the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg, where they reinforced and helped temporarily stabilize the Union defensive line on the second day of fighting.

William Root Brewster was an officer in the Union Army during the American Civil War who commanded a regiment in the famed Excelsior Brigade of the Army of the Potomac. He later commanded the brigade, including at the Battle of Gettysburg where Brewster and his men were overrun by Confederates while defending the Emmitsburg Road position of the III Corps not far from the Peach Orchard.

References

Further reading