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Visitors to Erie Cemetery paid their final respects to a Civil War hero from Erie this week.

July 1 and 3 mark the 161st anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, and on July 2, Col. Strong Vincent was shot and wounded at Little Round Top. He died five days later, on July 7, 1863.

More: The book by Erie native Hans G. Myers is intended to pay due tribute to Civil War hero Strong Vincent

Strong Vincent is one of Erie County’s most famous citizens. A middle school is named after him, a statue stands in front of the Blasco Library, and a bridge over the Bayfront Parkway is dedicated to him.

People pay their last respects to his memory by leaving Lincoln pennies on his headstone at Erie Cemetery, 2116 Chestnut St. Vincent is buried in Section 1, Lot 6, Grave 11.

The tradition of leaving a penny on a war veteran’s gravestone is a way to show respect and honor and to signal that someone has visited the grave. However, different coins have different meanings.

Pennies and quarters decorated the grave of Gen. Strong Vincent at Erie Cemetery on Tuesday. Visitors often leave pennies on the headstone to honor his connection to Civil War President Abraham Lincoln, who posthumously promoted Vincent to colonel.Pennies and quarters decorated the grave of Gen. Strong Vincent at Erie Cemetery on Tuesday. Visitors often leave pennies on the headstone to honor his connection to Civil War President Abraham Lincoln, who posthumously promoted Vincent to colonel.

Pennies and quarters decorated the grave of Gen. Strong Vincent at Erie Cemetery on Tuesday. Visitors often leave pennies on the headstone to honor his connection to Civil War President Abraham Lincoln, who posthumously promoted Vincent to colonel.

Coins on gravestones

According to the US Department of Defense’s guide “Coins on Gravestones”, the individual coins have the following meaning:

  • Pennies: Means that a person has visited the grave of the fallen veteran.

  • Nickel: Refers to the person who visited the grave of the fallen veteran and trained with the deceased in boot camp.

  • Ten cent pieces: Means that the person who visited the grave of the fallen veteran rendered some service to the deceased in some capacity.

  • Quarters: Means that the person who visited the grave of the fallen veteran was present at the death of the deceased.

Col. Strong Vincent, one of the Union Army's heroes at the Battle of Gettysburg in the American Civil War. He was later promoted to brigadier general.Col. Strong Vincent, one of the Union Army's heroes at the Battle of Gettysburg in the American Civil War. He was later promoted to brigadier general.

Col. Strong Vincent, one of the Union Army’s heroes at the Battle of Gettysburg in the American Civil War. He was later promoted to brigadier general.

In Waterford, a stone monument is dedicated to Strong Vincent on the property where he was born, at the corner of East First and Cherry Streets. Vincent’s grandfather, Judge John Vincent, lived on the property in a house that burned down in the 1990s.

This article originally appeared in the Erie Times-News: Civil War: Commemoration of death of Col. Strong Vincent at Gettysburg