140th New York Infantry Living History Organization

Patrick O'Rorke

Patrick O'Rorke

March 28, 1836 - July 2, 1863

"I have been trying to make my men believe that there is no reason why they should not be at least equal, if not superior to the regular troops"

Natives of County Cavan, Ireland, the O'Rorke family emigrated to Rochester, New York when Patrick was between the ages of two and four. After completing an education in the city's public schools, he was appointed to the US Military Academy at West Point, from which he graduated first in his class (Second Class of 1861) and subsequently accepted a commission in the Engineers.

O'Rorke was assigned to duty on the staff of Brigadier General Daniel Tyler. He saw action at the First Battle of Bull Run where a horse was killed under him and a bullet passed through his coat. Following Bull Run, O'Rorke took up engineering duties in the defenses of Washington. During the Fall of 1861, O'Rorke found himself assigned to the engineering staff of the Port Royal Expedition. In March of 1862, he was breveted to Captain. In September of the same year, bored with the slow paced duties of an engineering officer, he accepted command of the 140th New York Volunteer Infantry. Patrick O'Rorke was 26 years old.

At Gettysburg, O'Rorke sacrificed himself and his men to save the Union right on Little Round Top. Summoned to Little Round Top by Gouverneur K. Warren and seeing that the 4th and 5th Texas were breaking through the right flank of the 16th Michigan, O'Rorke threw his men into the breech. O'Rorke was killed in one of the first volleys. A bullet cut through his neck, ending a promising carrer; but, the men he had trained were able to secure the flank and very possibly the battle.

For further information see also The Supreme Event in its Existence, The 140th New York on Little Round Top and Addendum. Also, The Beau Ideal of a Soldier and a Gentleman: The Life of Col. Patrick Henry O'Rorke From Ireland to Gettysburg. All written by Brian A. Bennett.

Cornafean Online, Famous Natives Patrick Henry O'Rorke - Drumbess Native & Gettysburg War Hero.

The Saviors of Little Round Top written by Bill Cameron and hosted by The Gettysburg Discussion Group.

Other Information Relating to Patrick O'Rorke

To contact the Patrick O'Rorke Memorial Society, please address correspondence to:

Tom O'Connell
1642 Plank Rd.
Webster, NY 14580
phone: 872-4507
fax: 588-7263 e-mail: thomas.oconnell@kodak.com