Col. O'Rorke memorial marks
150th anniversary of his death
On the second day of the Civil War battle of Gettysburg – July 2, 1863 – a Union regiment led by Rochester’s Col. Patrick O’Rorke played a crucial role in stemming a Confederate advance, and O’Rorke was killed leading his men into battle.
In honor of that, a special memorial to O’Rorke was held on July 2, 2013, the 150th anniversary of his death. It took place at his grave in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery on Lake Avenue in Rochester at around the time he died, which was shortly after 6 p.m.
The memorial started with a welcome and presentation in the cemetery’s Holy Angels Chapel, which featured State Court Judge Rick Dollinger displaying several of O’Rorke’s possessions that are now owned by the Rochester Historical Society. They included a dress uniform, a telescope, and a compass he was carrying when he died.
The chapel ceremony was followed by a procession to O’Rorke’s grave about 200 yards away. It included a color guard of Civil War re-enactors that take as their namesake O'Rorke's unit: the 140th NY. Also on hand were bagpipers, civilian re-enactors and representatives of several Rochester area Irish organizations including the Col. O’Rorke Memorial Society and Ancient Order of Hibernians.
At O’Rorke’s grave, the story of his unit – the 140th NY Regiment, comprised mostly of Irish immigrant and Irish-American troops from Rochester – was told by O’Rorke Society President Tom O’Connell.
Also, a wreath was laid, re-enactors fired musket and artillery salutes, and School 9 student Michael Corboran read President Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. The event ended with all in attendance singing The Battle Hymn of the Republic.
Dollinger, the O’Rorke Memorial Society and other local groups are leading a petition drive to have O’Rorke posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, the highest award a soldier can earn for service and valor. For information visit the society’s web page at www.ororkesociety.com, or go to the online petition site.
Help Col. Patrick O’Rorke posthumously earn the Medal of Honor, the highest award a soldier can earn for service and valor.
Visit this online petition site to add your name to the list of people calling for the U.S. government to award him this honor
Video of some of the day's events
Col. Patrick O'Rorke.