General Strong Vincent Honored at Erie Cemetery - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather and Events

General Strong Vincent Honored at Erie Cemetery

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There's a lot of attention being paid to Oliver Hazard Perry this year, but another local- born military hero won some recognition on Saturday.

Civil War General Strong Vincent was honored at his grave site on the 150th anniversary of his burial.

"He just did what he had to do to save the day and he didn't care if his life was lost or not." Corry native Tom Hansen speaks with great admiration about his alter- ego, General Strong Vincent.

He and several other reenactors in authentic Civil War era garb brought Erie back to the 1800's on a sunny July afternoon.

General Strong Vincent was laid in his final resting place in the Erie cemetery, and 150 years later we still celebrate a man whose orders changed the tide of the Civil War.

Reenactors explained to the modest crowd that Strong Vincent disobeyed orders and made his own, to change position of his troops in the Battle of Gettysburg.

It was a move that lost him his life, but helped win the battle.

"His actions really saved that part of the battlefield," said Mike Sterbank of Erie, who attended the ceremony. "Had it been overrun by the Confederates it might've been a different history that were talking about today." Sterbank's own great- grandfather fought in the Civil War near Vincent's troops.

"Without his intuitiveness to move our men to where they had to be we would've lost Gettysburg and we might be two different countries at this time instead of just one," said reenactor Vincent Jarzynka. He took on the role of Civil War veteran Captain Smith of the 155th Pennsylvania volunteer infantry.

Jarzynka admitted that for many years, he himself knew nothing of Vincent's great feat.

"I didn't know who Strong Vincent was, I knew there was a high school but I didn't know the significance of what he actually did," said Jarzynka. "I got into the hobby, I found out he's from Erie, he's from Waterford, and he was my hero from that point on."

For reenactors, the hobby is helping to uphold General Vincent's place in local and national history, especially at a time when a certain admiral is taking center stage.

"Perry certainly deserves the recognition he's getting on the anniversary of the Battle of Lake Erie, but I feel that Strong Vincent, more should be done in Erie commemorating him and his actions," said Becky Sterbank. "He was an Erie and Waterford native."

Her husband Mike agrees. "We are paying homage to a man who I believe should receive the Medal of Honor and is a hero to this country, and to this county."

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