Strong Vincent

Strong Vincent was born in Water-ford, Pennsylvania, on June 17, 1837. He was educated at Erie Academy (Pennsylvania), Trinity College (Hartford, Connecticut), and Harvard College, from which he was graduated in 1859. He then studied law and was admitted to the bar within a year, commencing practice in Erie, where his father owned an iron foundry. With the firing on Fort Sumter in April, 1861, Vincent at once volunteered for service and from April 21, to July 25 was "first lieutenant and adjutant of a regiment of Pennsylvania militia enrolled for three months. He reenlisted for three years and on September 21, 1861, was commissioned lieutenant colonel of the 83rd Pennsylvania. He fought in the siege of Yorktown during the Peninsular campaign, but soon after the engagement at Hanover Court House was stricken with malaria. He became colonel of the 83rd Pennsylvania on June 27, 1862, upon the death of Colonel J. W. McLane at Gaines's Mill, but apparently did not rejoin his command until the battle of Fredericksburg, where his regiment had a casualty list of some two hundred. The 83rd Pennsylvania was only lightly engaged at Chancellorsville, where it was in reserve as part of Meade's V Corps. When the Army of the Potomac was reorganized to oppose Robert E. Lee's second invasion of the North, Vincent was assigned to the command of the 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, V Corps, now under George Sykes. If any one brigade saved George G. Meade's army at Gettysburg, it was Vincent's; and if any one regiment, the honor must go to the left element of the command, Colonel (later Brevet Major General) Joshua L. Chamberlain's 20th Maine. As John B. Hood's sinewy Rebels came up the valley between the Round Tops on the afternoon of July 2, 1863, Vincent's four regiments were diverted by General G. K. Warren to the southern slope of Little Round Top and deployed in the very nick of time to oppose them. Chamberlain's desperate bayonet assault on the left came at the moment that the 16th Michigan on the right caved in. Vincent ran down into the smoke and confusion to rally his men and was shot down. He died on July 7 in a field hospital within sight of the battlefield (a few weeks after his twenty-sixth birthday) and was buried in Erie Cemetery. Probably because the date of his wounding was incorrectly reported in Washington, he was commissioned brigadier general of volunteers on July 3, 1863, to rank from date; however, it is doubtful that he knew of his promotion.

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Reference: Generals in Blue. Lives of the Union Commanders by Ezra J. Warner. Louisiana State University Press. Baton Rouge.