O’Rourkes in The American Civil War

Last Update 2012-05-14 07:16:30 | Posted On 2012-05-14 06:44:05 | Read 6212 times | 0 Comments


O’Rourkes in The American Civil War

One couldn’t mention the contribution of the O’Rourkes to the American Civil war without first mentioning the American Civil war fort named after them – Fort O’Rourke.

The Wikipedia entry to Fort O’Rourke describes the fort as follows:

“Fort O'Rourke is a former Union Army installation now located in the Belle Haven area of Fairfax County in the U.S. state of Virginia. It was the southernmost fort built to defend Washington, D.C. in the American Civil War.”

As for individuals who served during the war few stand out as much as Colonel Patrick O’Rourke who died in the Battle of Gettysburg.

The Wikipedia entry for Colonel O’Rourke has the following:

“In July of 1861, O'Rorke served at the Battle of Blackburn's Ford and the First Battle of Bull Run, where his horse was killed from under him, and then as assistant engineer in preparing the defenses of Washington, D.C. He sailed with the Port Royal Expedition in October 1861 and provided vital reconnaissanc] and engineering in constructing the batteries on Jones, Bird, and Tybee Islands for the bombardment and siege of Fort Pulaski, on Cockspur Island near Savannah, Georgia. Following the capture of the fort on April 11, 1862, O'Rorke was selected as one of the officers to receive the surrender.

“Following the battle, O'Rorke returned to Rochester where he was married on July 9 to Clara Bishop.

In September of 1862, O'Rorke was appointed colonel of the 140th New York Infantry which was composed mostly of volunteers from his hometown of Rochester and heavily of fellow Irish-Americans. He led the 140th New York in the Battle of Fredericksburg in December At Chancellorsville in May of 1863, he temporarily commanded the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Division, V Corps which included the 140th New York, as well as the 5th New York and the 146th New York.

At Gettysburg, O'Rorke was back in command of his regiment while Brig. Gen. Stephen H. Weed commanded the 3rd Brigade. The 140th New York arrived in time for the second day of fighting (July 2, 2011). Brig. Gen. Gouverneur K. Warren was desperately searching for units to defend Little Round Top, and he encountered O'Rorke's New Yorkers, the rearmost regiment in Weed's brigade, on their way to reinforce the III Corps. O'Rorke initially declined Warren's request for assistance because he was under orders to follow his brigade. Warren told him, "Never mind that, Paddy. Bring them up on the double-quick and don't stop for aligning. I'll take the responsibility." O'Rorke rushed his men to the crest of the hill and plunged down its western face without pause, driving the attacking Confederates back down the slope. During the counterattack, O'Rorke caught up his regimental colors and, mounting a rock to urge on his men, was struck in the neck and fell dead. The Comte de Paris in his Histoire de la guerre civile en Amérique (VI, iv, 379) says this was one of the most striking and dramatic episodes of the battle.””


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