Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Patrick Henry O'Rorke

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Catholic Encyclopedia (1913), Volume 11
Patrick Henry O'Rorke

by Thomas Francis Meehan


Soldier, b. in County Cavan, Ireland, 25 March, 1837; killed at the battle of Gettysburg, Penn., U.S.A., July 1863. He was a year old when his parents emigrated to the United States. They settled in Rochester, N.Y., where he attended the public schools, and in 1853 went to work as a marble-cutter. Shortly after he was appointed a cadet in the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, graduating with highest honours in June, 1861. Commissioned a lieutenant in the regular army, he distinguished himself in the Civil War as a staff-officer in the engineer corps, was made colonel of the 140th regiment of New York Volunteers, with which command he participated in the battles of Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville. At Gettysburg while leading his men in defence of Little Round Top, in the very crisis of the battle he caught up the colours, and, mounting a rock to urge on his men, was struck 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. His widow became a Religious of the Sacred Heart and one of the successful educators in their New York convents.

Cullum, Biog. Register of Officers and Graduates of the U.S. Military Academy (Boston, 1891); O'Hanlon, Irish American History of the U.S., II (New York, 1906), 500; Fitzgerald, Ireland and Her People, II (Chicago, 1910); Nat. Cyclopedia Am. Biog., s.v.

THOMAS MEEHAN