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Lot 1172    

US Civil War Commemorative Plaque Named to Col. Patrick O'Rorke
4/30/2014 - Firearms and Militaria: Live Salesroom Auction
10" x 6" silver-plated plaque with raised scroll border, engraved "Col. Patrick O'Rorke / 140th. N. Y. Vol. / July 1 1863."  Pierced for mounting.

Patrick Henry "Paddy" O'Rorke (O'Rourke) (1837-1863) was born in County Cavan, Ireland, but the family emigrated to the US when he was only a year old. The family settled in Rochester, NY, where he attended public schools. He was awarded a scholarship to the Univ. of Rochester, but when his father died, he went to work to support the family.

In 1857 he was appointed to the USMA, graduating in June 1861 (1st in his class), just in time for the Civil War. He was commissioned to the Corps of Engineers. He fought at Blackburn's Ford and First Manassas before applying his engineering skills to the defenses of Washington. He also was part of the Port Royal Expedition, constructing the batteries for the siege of Fort Pulaski, for which he received a Captain's commission.

He went home after the battle and married Clara Bishop. He was then appointed Colonel of the 140th NY Infy, composed mainly of Irish-Americans from Rochester. This unit fought at Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville among other engagements. O'Rorke received Major and Lt. Col. brevets for these two battles respectively.

The 140th was with the 3rd Brigade of the 5th Corps by the time July rolled around. Brig. Gen. Gouverneur Warren needed troops to defend Little Round top at Gettysburg, and ordered O'Rorke's men to that point. O'Rorke was under orders to reinforce Gen. Stephen Weed's brigade, but Warren countermanded O'Rorke's orders and the 140th joined the fray on the hillock, initially driving the Confederate forces back down the hill. As the Confederates regrouped to attack, O'Rorke grabbed the regimental colors, jumped on a rock and urged his men on. He was struck in the neck and killed instantly. (Prince Philippe d'Orleans, Count of Paris, who served as AAG during the first year of the war, wrote in his history of the conflict that this was one of the most dramatic episodes of the battle.) He was originally buried with other fallen of the 140th at Gettysburg, but the following year his widow had him moved back to Rochester. He was moved at a later date from one Rochester cemetery to another. GAR Post 1 in the Rochester area was also named for him. This plaque could be associated with any number of items or locations.


Condition:  
Age toned.
Sold: $300.00
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