Lt. Patrick H. O’Rorke, ADC to Brig. Gen. Daniel Tyler, On the Aftermath, With Biographical Sketch

9 05 2020

Letter from Lieut. P. H. O’Rourke.

Washington City. July 23, ‘61

* * * I have passed safely through the battle of Bull Run. I have not seen your brother Tom,* but I heard this morning that he was safe. Charley Buckley was very severely wounded, but will recover. He has had his arm broken and has a shot through his neck. My horse was shot dead under me, as were those of two others of our staff. So yo can judge of how hot a place we were in. I will wrote you more as soon as I have time. Good bye.

Yours affectionately,
Patrick.

– During Mt. Tracy’s visit to the field of operations at Bull Run, he had frequent opportunity of seeing Lieut. O’Rourke, and hearing the freely expressed opinions in reference to the young officer, current in the Division. HE was a leading aid on the staff of General Tyler, and his praise was on all lips. He was in the first battle of Bull’s Run, on Thursday, and in a letter since, he says he had always felt a curiosity as to the sensations he should experience upon being brought under fire for the first time. The test proved that he felt perfectly cool and collected.

Lieut. O’Rourke’s family came to this city during his infancy, and settled near where they still reside, in the northeast part of the city. His father met with an untimely death when Patrick was quite young, and the care of his widowed mother and fatherless sisters devolved principally upon him. He pursued the business of marble-cutting for several years, and performed all his duties with unflinching fidelity. This quality in his character – faithfulness to duty, combined with the most scrupulous truthfulness, modesty of demeanor, and no common degree of talent, will, if no accident befal him, yet earn for him the highest distinctions.

He received his education in our Public School; and having attended No. 9, and been promoted through all its grades to the High School, he was finally graduated by that Institution with distinguished honors, and was one of those selected to become free students at the Rochester University.

The career of Lieut. O’Rourke is a fine example of the beneficence of the Free Public School system of Rochester. He reflects honor on the schools and on the city of his boyhood.

His appointment to a cadetship at West Point was made by Hon. John Williams, upon the recommendation of Hon. Samuel G. Andrews. He was graduated in June at the head of his class, four years from the time he entered, and one year sooner than is the rule at the institution.

———-

* The letter was written to Miss Bishop, and the reference is to Thomas E. Bishop, here brother, son of Mr. Edward Bishop, of No. 15 Ward street. Charles C. Buckley is a son of Mr. James Buckley, residing at No. 5 Hand street. Both of the young men are members of Co. A, Captain Putnam.

Rochester (NY) Evening Express, 7/26/1861

Clipping Image

Contributed by John Hennessy

Patrick O’Rorke at Wikipedia

Patrick O’Rorke at Ancestry.com

Patrick O’Rorke at Fold3

Patrick O’Rorke at FindAGrave





Bull Runnings at West Point

6 11 2017

On Friday, October 20, my family toured the grounds of the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY. Thanks to our mutual friend Dr. Carol Reardon, we were given a guided tour of the post cemetery by military history instructor Lt. Col. David Siry (Dave’s efforts bring us the wonderful West Point Center for Oral History features, which you can also follow on its Facebook page). It was all a little overwhelming – in such a small plot of land, you’re pretty much tripping over U. S. Army history with every step. Cemeteries have the most significant emotional impact of any historic sites for me – not only are they the resting places of the mortal remains of the people I’ve read so much about, but the gravesites were often the last place where loved ones gathered with them, where they were remembered and “sent off” to, well, wherever we think they go. I could have spent a week in the West Point Cemetery. But, of course, I couldn’t. Now, we only had the one day, and it was a football weekend (Army beat Temple on a pass play the next day…A COMPLETED PASS!!!), so before you say “Oh, you should have seen X, Y, or Z” we saw as much as we could see in the time we had. Below, I’ll recap the day via photos of First Bull Run related items. (I took about 275 photos, and they’re not all BR1 related, but this is a First Bull Run site. I’ll post other Civil War related shots on the Bull Runnings Facebook page if you’re interested.)

First thing, if you want to visit the Academy, you’ll need to get clearance and an ID at the off post visitor’s center, where the museum is (we didn’t get back there until after 4:00, when the museum closed.) It’s not too bad – you need your driver’s license and your social security number. Our process took a little longer because it was a football weekend, and alumni and cadet parents get preference. The photo ID is good for up to a year, and it makes a cool souvenir too. Just be patient and don’t try to make too much small talk with the processors.

We picked up Dave near his office in Thayer Hall, and it was off to the cemetery, with our guide describing points of interest along the way. One thing’s for sure: the Academy is very, very gray. Gray, stone, imposing buildings predominate. This stood out in stark contrast to the amazing Fall colors of the Hudson Valley. And we had a beautiful, clear day. (Click on any image for a great-big-giant one.)

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Gray – I think that is Thayer Hall to the right.

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Not gray – The Hudson Valley from Trophy Point

Here are the Fist Bull Runners as we came across them in the cemetery:

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Alonzo Cushing, who was with Co. G, 2nd U. S. Artillery. He was awarded the Medal of Honor in June, 2014

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Erasmus Keyes, Brigade Commander, Tyler’s Division

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Keyes rear

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George Sykes, commanded the U. S. Regular Battalion

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General-in-Chief Winfield Scott

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Mrs. Scott

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Sylvanus Thayer – 5th Superintendent and “Father” of the U. S. Military Academy

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Joseph Audenried – ADC to Brig. Gen. Daniel Tyler

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George Armstrong Custer – 2nd U. S. Cavalry

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George Armstrong Custer – 2nd U. S. Cavalry

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George Armstrong Custer – 2nd U. S. Cavalry

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George Armstrong Custer – 2nd U. S. Cavalry

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Elizabeth Bacon Custer

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Lt. Col. Siry and I discuss the history of the Custer memorial as my son listens in

Dennis Hart Mahan and his ideas on engineering and military theory had perhaps the greatest influence on the cadets at West Point. In 1871, after the Board of Visitors recommended he retire, he leapt into the paddlewheel of a Hudson River steamboat.

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The Old Cadet Chapel served as the Academy’s place of worship from 1836 until it was replaced by the current Cadet Chapel and moved to the cemetery from its original location, brick by brick through the efforts of alumni, in 1910. It was in this building that cadets gathered in 1861, in the wake of resignations of cadets from southern states, to take a new Oath of Allegiance to the United States and its constitution. Mounted on the walls inside are war trophies and plaques to various individuals, including past superintendents, the first graduating class (2 cadets), and one plaque that lists no name, in non-recognition of former post commander Major General Benedict Arnold (the day before, in Tarrytown, NY, I visited a couple of sites pertaining to the capture of the treacherous Arnold’s British contact, Major John Andre).

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Winfield Scott’s pew used in his retirement. He sat next to a column at the far end, which obscured his often dozing form from the view of the officiant.

The new (107-year-old) Cadet Chapel is adorned with representative flags of various Civil War regular units, some of which were present at First Bull Run. It’s also home to the world’s largest chapel pipe organ, with 23,511 pipes. Despite having played – in church, no less – as a youth, I was not going to embarrass myself…

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This pew is not used, and the candle remains lit in remembrance of those cadets who did not return home (per an overheard tour guide)

Trophy Point overlooks the Hudson Valley and offers one of the most scenic views in the nation. For many years it was the site of graduation ceremonies, and now is home to a large artillery display (many prizes of war, hence “Trophy Point”) and one of the tallest polished granite columns (46 feet tall, 5 feet in diameter) in the world, the Battle Monument. Designed by architect Stanford White, the Battle Monument displays the names of regular army officers and men who perished in the Civil War. The column is topped by the figure of “Fame.” The names of fallen Regular officers encircle the column, first those on staff, then those in the regular regiments and batteries. Enlisted men’s names are inscribed around eight globes placed around the column.  There are over 2,200 names in all. Each of the eight globes is adorned with two cannons, each muzzle inscribed with the name of a Civil War battle. Here are a few shots of the monument, with particular attention to First Bull Run related items.

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Capt. Otis H. Tillinghast, Acting Assistant Quartermaster, McDowell’s Staff, mortally wounded at First Bull Run

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Lt. Patrick H. O’Rorke, ADC to B. G. Daniel Tyler; Cadet John R. Meigs, attached to staff of Maj. Henry Hunt, 2nd U. S. Artillery

I’m sure there are names I missed, but again, this was on the fly. Maybe next time.

All-in-all, a great trip. We saw a great deal in addition to what I included above, yet I can’t imagine leaving this place, particularly on such a beautiful fall day, without wishing I had more time. Thanks so much to Lt. Col. David Siry for his fine tour of the cemetery. If you get the chance to visit the U. S. Military Academy at West Point, definitely do it. And give it as much time as possible. It’s an informative and even moving experience.

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Lt. Col. David Siry at the grave of Capt. Ronald Zinn, Class of 1962, whose unusual gait led him to race walking and the 1960 & 1964 U. S. Olympic teams