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Civil War Blog

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Monuments at Gettysburg – 83rd Pennsylvania Infantry

Posted By on December 29, 2014

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The 83rd Pennsylvania Infantry Monument at Gettysburg is located south of the town of Gettysburg south of Little Round Top close to Sykes Avenue.  It was dedicated in 1889 by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  The above drawing of the monument appeared in an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer on 11 September 1889.

See Steven Recker’s Virtual Gettysburg Web Site which has more information about the monument and the  83rd Pennsylvania Infantry.

A full description of the monument, its GPS coordinates, a photograph, and some of the history of the  83rd Pennsylvania Infantry also can be found on the Stone Sentinels Web Site.

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The Philadelphia Inquirer article of 11 September 1889 gave some basic information about the regiment:

 

Where Colonel Vincent Fell.

On the 2nd, the 83rd and its corps were ordered forward to the relief of Sickles’s line, which had begun to give way on Little Round Top.  Each rock was a fortress, behind which the advancing soldiers took shelter.  Scarcely had they established a line when a body of Longstreet’s corps, under Hood, came upon a double quick with bayonets fixed and uttering unearthly yells, intent upon carrying this coveted position.  They struck the centre, directly against the 83rd, whose rapid, deadly volleys checked the onset.  The enemy then attacked further to the left.  While Lieutenant Strong Vincent, of the 83rd, was reforming his line he was shot, and, as he fell, exclaimed: “This is the fourth or fifth time they have shot at me, and they have struck me at last.”  Colonel Rice, of the 44th [44th Pennsylvania Infantry], succeeded to the command.  As the enemy passed on along to the left the 83rd gave him a telling volley, but he pushed on until his line lapped around the left, and the 83rd began to receive shots in the rear.  By this time, however, the rebels were so weakened that a charge drove them into confusion, and the skirmishers of the 83rd brought in 74 prisoners and 300 stands of arms.  The 83rd will dedicate with appropriate ceremonies.

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Strong Vincent

The commander of the brigade to which the 83rd Pennsylvania Infantry was attached was Colonel Strong Vincent, a 26 year old native of Erie, Erie County, Pennsylvania.  Colonel Vincent was mortally wounded at Gettysburg and was taken to a farm house where he died on 7 July 1863.  He was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General on 3 July 1863, but it is not known whether he was aware of this fact.  More information about him can be found at his Findagrave Memorial.

Orpheus S. Woodward

The actual commander of the 83rd Pennsylvania Infantry at Gettysburg was Colonel Orpheus S. Woodward, a 28 year old native of Erie, Pennsylvania.  At Gettysburg, he was cited for heroic action at Little Round Top.  Afterward, while fighting in the Wilderness, he was wounded resulting in the amputation of his right leg.  On 20 September 1864 he was discharged on a Surgeon’s Certificate of Disability and as a result qualified for a pension for which he applied on 21 June 1865.

His post-war career included serving two terms in the Pennsylvania Legislature, after which he moved to Kansas where he worked as a farmer, rancher and in the hardware business.  He spent his last days in the Soldiers’ Home in Leavenworth, where he died on 26 June 1919.  He is buried at Cedarville Cemetery, Neosho Falls, Woodson County, Kansas.

Further information on his life and career can be found at his Findagrave Memorial.

 

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Around the base of the Pennsylvania Memorial at Gettysburg are a series of plaques which, by regiment and company, note the names of every soldier who was present at the Battle of Gettysburg.  The plaque for the 83rd Pennsylvania Infantry is pictured below.  By clicking on the plaque it should enlarge so the names can be more clearly read.  If a name does not appear, it could be that the soldier did serve in the 83rd Pennsylvania Infantry, but was not part of the regiment during its days in Gettysburg.  There could also be errors on the plaque.

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