Many know that the American Civil War was a defining moment; just over 120+ years from the inception of The Declaration of Independence.
What many don’t realize, nor do history books teach, is the broader understanding of the cultural conflict that was occurring amongst the people.
I was born and raised in eastern Pennsylvania and had the fortunate opportunity to be exposed to so much of the local history which of course led to the understanding of national history and this “broader understanding” that I am speaking of.
So please allow me to drop us into the period surrounding the Battle of Gettysburg, a defining moment in America’s Civil War.
There was a man, although by today’s standards we would most likely still refer to him as a “kid” considering he was only 24 when this Attorney from Erie got married and enlisted in Pennsylvania’s 83rd brigade.
His name is Strong Vincent. He was born on June 17, 1837 in Waterford, PA.
Did I mention that he was wedded to his childhood love, Elizabeth and enlistment into the Union Army both within the same year? That was 1861.
Here’s the the thing. Regardless of the amazing and downright heroic leadership that he exhibited by taking strategic control of Little Round Top at Gettysburg on that fateful day of July 2, 1863, he had written what one could consider to be the most defining of true “American sentiment” , to his wife, on the day he departed, just 2 years prior.
I say defining because his sentiment was one that had been naturally imbedded into the hearts of humanity, far before the actual “birth” of the United States of America.
What sentiment am I referring to? The most defining, as fought for by the “Founding Fathers” who signed and proclaimed The Declaration of Independence.
“ALL men are created equal…”
They meant that. This Declaration was the beginning to end slavery and oppression for all people. It was not just to be free from tyrannical England but rather to carry that torch of freedom to a broader level.
Strong Vincent was born and raised with this very same sentiment.
When he stepped away from his newly wedded wife, to go fight those within this fairly young nation, those who some, may not have agreed that the Declaration in fact applied to ALL men, he wrote this to her:
“If I fall, remember you have given your husband to the most righteous cause that ever widowed a woman.”
That, right there should ring out and shed light amongst the people that racial division was not as wide spread and propagated as we have been led to believe. The primary goal of The Declaration of Independence was to overcome the oppression of ALL people.
During his heroic, spontaneous leadership to capture and hold Little Round Top at Gettysburg, Strong Vincent was mortally wounded. He died five days later but not before being promoted to General.
Rest In Peace General Vincent; not many know that your sacrifice actually turned the tide of the entire Civil War, and what had ultimately led to the perpetuation of Freedom for all nations of people.
There have always been those, throughout history who have fought and died for this freedom. Let us always remember them and please, let freedom ring and unify all of humanity.