Colonel Patrick H. O’Rorke (1837-1863), Hero of Gettysburg

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.

The Catholic Encyclopedia (1911)

About Pat McNamara
  • Dale

    He is buried at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Rochester, NY. A ceremony honoring him was held there yesterday.

  • Dale

    Madame Clara O’Rorke, his widow, entered the Society of the Sacred Heart on March 19, 1865. She later served as Mother Superior in convents in Detroit, Michigan, Albany, NY, and lastly Providence, RI.

    She died on Feb 18, 1893 and was buried at the cemetery of the Convent of the Sacred Heart, Elmhurst in Providence, RI.

    A photo of Madame O’Rorke, dressed in her habit, is at the link. There is additional biographical information as well.