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Strong Vincent: A Call to Glory

by John Hinman

Many people have heard about Joshua Chamberlain’s famous bayonet charge at Gettysburg; few know about the unsung hero who put him there. The Civil War broke out in 1861, just as Strong Vincent was beginning his career as a Harvard-educated lawyer and was preparing to marry his sweetheart, Elizabeth. Vowing to defend his nation, Vincent volunteered. With no previous military experience, he worked his way from lieutenant to colonel in the Union Army, leading his men through many of the war’s most brutal battles. When a vital part of the defensive line was left unguarded at the Battle of Gettysburg, Colonel Vincent, strategically recognized Little Round Top as the most valuable ground on the battlefield. He led his brigade, which included Chamberlain’s regiment along with three others, there to defend it despite not having orders to do so—a decision that could have resulted in a court-martial. Outnumbered by more than two to one, Vincent and his brigade put up a historic defense that would change the tide of the battle—and the war itself—including the charge that became the stuff of legend. Strong Vincent: A Call to Glory tells the story of Gettysburg’s unheralded hero, a common man trying to navigate life and romance in the midst of war, who achieved the extraordinary.

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