September 09, 2005

Repercussive Civil War Posting

In response to my post celebrating Joshua Chamberlain's birthday yesterday, blogger GroovyVic from Fiddle Dee Dee sent in this comment:

Alright, where to start. We, my husband and I, just happened to be extras in the prequel to Gettysburg, Gods and Generals. Husband met Jeff Daniels, if you look close you can even see my husband charging up the hill at Fredericksburg right behind Daniels...and Jeff Daniels, to all accounts, is a conceited snot. Stephen Lang aka Stonewall Jackson, was really nice, in fact, we have a picture of my husband shaking hands with him. I didn't get to meet anyone, but was at VMI for filiming.

Chamberlain...well, thanks to the movie "Gettysburg" no one even
remembers Strong Vincent of the 83rd PA. (The unit we portrayed, we are CW
reenactors!) "Hold the line at all costs!" Yes, that was our fearless
leader, who took over because his CO was drunk. (Coincidentally,
Vincent was born in my hometown of Waterford, PA, moved up to Erie, and the
rest is history. Look it up.)

My gripe is that all the attention is on Chamberlain! Yeah, that
bayonet charge, uh-huh, but the 83rd was a big part too. Strong Vincent's
statue is tucked down Little Round Top, it can hardly be seen!

Sorry, I'm too passionate about this stuff.

No need to be sorry. And indeed, the trouble with singling out one individual for praise is the danger of overshadowing the amazing achievements of so many others. The story of the Union defense at Gettysburg is crammed with such heroes. In any event, here ya' go:


From A Tribute to Colonel Vincent:

He passed his 26th birthday on the march to Gettysburg. It was then he uttered the words the moonlit night of July 1... what more gallant death could a Pennsylvanian desire?

At the extreme left of the Union line was Little Round Top, a rocky, mostly bald eminence on one side that rose 650 feet. General Gouvernoor K. Warren, chief engineer of the Army, saw the vital position uncovered and sent for help, sending couriers scrambling for anyone to hold the hill. One of his couriers ran into Colonel Vincent, halted at the front of the First Division.

"Where is General Barnes?" the courier asked.

"What are your orders!" was Vincent's terse reply.

"General Warren wants someone to occupy yonder hill."

"I will do so and take the responsibility."

Bypassing the protocol of command in not waiting for formal orders, Vincent gave command of the brigade to senior colonel James C. Rice of the 44th New York, and rushed to the hill accompanied by his flag bearer. Scouting out the ground, he chose for his brigade to occupy a spur in the hill that now bears his name. From right to left, his regiments were the 16th Michigan, 44th New York, 83rd Pennsylvania, and 20th Maine.

"Don't Give An Inch!"

Vincent spent most of his time on the right of his line. As the fighting escalated, the tiny 16th Michigan got into trouble. Vincent, on top of a large boulder, brandished his wife's riding crop and cried out to his men: "Don't give an inch!" (the statue of Vincent which surmounts the 83rd Pennsylvania's regimental marker by the way, shows him pulling out his sword, not holding a riding whip) As he uttered the words or soon after, a bullet tore through his thigh and groin and he fell from the rock. It fractured the thigh bone and lodged somewhere inside his body.

With reinforcements in the form of the 140th New York sent in by Warren, Vincent's line held. He was carried from the hill and placed at the Bushman farm. He expressed the wish to return home, which of course could not be done with the severity of his wound. He lingered for five days. On the evening of July 2, General Meade reccomended him promoted to brigadier general. It came down dated July 3, 1863, but it is unknown whether he ever saw it. On July 7, 1863, his soul departed this world.

So there you have it.

Posted by Robert at September 9, 2005 02:46 PM | TrackBack

Oh my god. Oh my. Oh dear.

Posted by: GroovyVic at September 9, 2005 03:17 PM

Thank you!

Posted by: GroovyVic at September 9, 2005 03:18 PM
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