The monument to the 83rd PA Infantry on the south slope of Little Round Top was dedicated on September 12, 1889. The statue "unofficially" depicts Col. Strong Vincent, the once regimental commander and then brigade commander. Due to early battlefield regulations, the veterans of the 83rd were not really given official permission to have the likeness of Vincent on their monument. Instead, they had sculpted this "Union Soldier" to represent their fight. Hmm. Looks a bit like their commander, wouldn't you say?
It's always very cool to see how visitors honor their ancestors who fought in the battle. These flowers and note were left at the base of the 83rd PA monument. This one is left for Private Philip Grine.
Strong Vincent was 26 years old at the time of the battle. He was from Erie, PA and was a law graduate of Harvard. He had left for the war the day after he was married. Right before Gettysburg, Vincent had learned that his wife was expecting their first child. When the colonel went into battle on July 2, 1863, he was wielding not his sword, but a riding crop his wife gave him as a parting gift.
Near the summit of the hill, Vincent mounted a boulder, waving his wife's gift at the enemy and yelling, "Don't give an inch!" He was mortally wounded seconds later.
So, was Vincent wounded in this designated location? This image is courtesy of Stone Sentinels.
...Or is this the spot? We may never know. This boulder is beside the 44th NY castle on Little Round Top. This image is courtesy of the Battle of Gettysburg Resource Center and J.D. Petruzzi. You can learn more about rock carvings like these in JD's new book.
Some history of the regiment...
This is my favorite print of Strong Vincent. This one is entitled Hold the Ground at All Hazards, by Keith Rocco. Joshua Chamberlain is to the left and Lt. Holman Melcher is above Chamberlain. Vincent's brigade was summoned to the top of Little Round Top only ten minutes before the enemy assault. Vincent's initiative to move his men there ultimately saved the hill from immediate capture.
This one is entitled Don't Give an Inch! by Don Troiani. Notice the ridding crop in both paintings. Vincent was struck in the groin after yelling this to the men of the 16th Michigan, who were on the verge of breaking.
This statue of Vincent was dedicated in 1997 in front of the Erie, PA library. A fitting memorial to a local hero. Strong Vincent High School also stands in his memory in Erie. It is most appropriate that a school be named after a brave scholar such as Vincent.