James OíRorke, 92nd Illinois Soldier,

Honored With First Grave Marker

After One Hundred Fifty Years

A graveside dedication service was held recently in honor of one 92nd Illinois soldier who finally received his very own grave marker after one hundred fifty years. Before discussing this solemn, yet heartwarming occasion, however, letís briefly turn back the calendar to September 1864.

The 92nd Illinois Mounted Infantry was currently embroiled in a brutal campaign through Georgia. The Confederate stronghold, Atlanta, had just been captured by Union forces. While members of Co. H, including Private James OíRorke, were detailed on a foraging expedition near Mt. Gilead Church, they came under Confederate fire. Many were captured.

These captives, OíRorke included, soon found themselves confined to notorious Andersonville Prison. For months, they endured horrific squalor, heat, disease and starvation. Thousands died.

Finally, five months later, OíRorke was paroled and placed aboard the steamship General Lyon. Sadly, this vessel, burdened with hundreds of paroled Union soldiers, burned at sea off Cape Hatteras in late March 1865. Hundreds were presumed drowned, and among them, James OíRorke.

Now, letís fast-forward one hundred fifty years, to September 2014.

The setting: Saint Patrick Catholic Cemetery, Rochelle, Illinois. (In 1862, this community and surrounding area generously contributed hundreds of their finest young men in response to President Abraham Lincolnís appeal.)

The event: James OíRorkeís graveside dedication service. Thanks to some diligent detective work by descendants of Private OíRorke, Jamesí heroic story came to light, resulting in the first-ever grave marker placed in his memory. At last, James was about to gain recognition for his supreme sacrifice.

The attendees: a large gathering of family and friends, all eager to witness something very special.

It was a nearly perfect autumn morning. A gentle breeze wafted over the burial grounds. The sun shone brightly, warming the hearts of all who attended. The descendants who had contributed so much to making this day possible offered some appropriate remarks. Then, a fully-costumed Sons of Union Veterans group from nearby Rockford presented an authentic Grand Army of the Republic dedication ceremony.

A memorial service such as this honoring a Civil War soldierís first gravestone is so rarely witnessed in the twenty-first century. Surely everyone in attendance recognized and cherished its significance. There we all stood with heads bowed, four generations and a century and a half removed. Yet, for one brief moment, we were transported back to an earlier time in American history, a time in which our Boys in Blue received and so richly deserved reverence and deep respect.

Indeed, James OíRorke richly deserved this day. His life was tragically cut short, depriving him any chance of enjoying accolades of family and friends upon returning home. Yet, even after all these years, his family still cared enough to acknowledge his contribution to the Union cause.

From this day forward, anyone who visits Saint Patrick Catholic Cemetery and gazes upon Jamesí beautiful new grave marker will read the following inscription:

In Memory Of

James OíRorke

Born October 1842 in Ireland

Member of 92nd Illinois Infantry

perished at sea

aboard steamer General Lyon

on or about 3-31-1865 after release

from andersonville prison.

And in an even larger sense, we honored not only Private James OíRorkeís life, but also that of each and every Union soldier who perished at sea on that fateful day in March 1865. So very much was sacrificed for the sake of Rochelle, for the sake of Illinois, and for the sake of our nation.

On a personal note, I would like to thank James OíRorkeís descendants for researching his military career, installing the headstone, and inviting everyone to share in this dedication service. Hopefully their marvelous efforts will provide inspiration to others curious about their own familyís Civil War heritage.

                                                                                                 Respectfully,

                                                                                                 Rob

 

Anyone out there interested in attending a 92nd Illinois Descendantsí Reunion???

Since Iíve had such an overwhelming response to this website, I think itís time to consider organizing a relaxed, informal get-together of descendants of the 92nd Illinois Mounted Infantry.  

We could share artifacts from the Civil War in general, and, even more importantly, share items pertaining specifically to the 92nd, such as letters, journals, uniforms, weapons, discharge papers, reunion ribbons, GAR items, or whatever else you might have nestled in your closets and attics. Photos would be especially welcome. And even if you have no items to share, thatís fine, too. Just being a descendant from such a respected Union regiment is exciting enough! And yes, spouses and children would be very welcome. After all, your children are also descendants.  What a great way to expose your children to your familyís Civil War history!

Before I go any further in my planning, however, I need to first find out if there is any interest in such an event. Holding it in the Freeport, Illinois vicinity makes the most sense to me. Summertime also makes sense. At least that way, we would avoid icy roads.

Provided I get a positive response, I would suggest we plan for sometime no sooner than 2015 or 2016. This would give everyone ample time to find this message, think it over, and respond.

So, if you have any interest in attending such an event, please let me know by sending a quick email to 92ndillinoisguy@92ndillinoisinfantry.com.

It probably wonít happen, though, unless I get enough positive response.

As always, your obedient servant,

Rob

P.S. I realize there are a few of you who have contacted me but have not received a reply from me. I have tried repeatedly to reply via email, but my attempts keep getting rejected.

So, to those of you who have not received a response from me, I sincerely apologize. I make every effort to respond in a timely manner to each message I receive.

 

My purpose in creating this website is two-fold:

  1. I hope to share my research on the 92nd Illinois with others who are equally as passionate about the Civil War and this regiment.

  1. I am appealing for information on the 92nd Illinois, so together we can expand our knowledge and develop this site into a clearinghouse for research on the 92nd Illinois.

My name is Rob and I am a descendant of a soldier in the 92nd Illinois. You may contact me at 92ndillinoisguy@92ndillinoisinfantry.com.

First of all, I wish to express my appreciation to Gary, a descendant of the 92nd Illinois and local historian living in the heart of 92nd Illinois country. He has assisted in much of the research found on this website. It has been a pleasure sharing insight into this regiment with him over the years. Thank you, Gary.

A special appeal is extended to descendants of the 92nd Illinois. There were nearly one thousand members in this unit. There must be thousands of descendants. I invite you to share your 92nd Illinois ancestors' experiences, letters, journals, biographies and obituaries by sending them to me via email. (See address above.)

Adjutant General reports, detailed histories, company and regimental rosters, muster rolls, and various other lengthy listings regarding the 92nd Illinois are readily available on numerous other websites. I see no need for duplication here. Instead, I hope to focus upon sacrifices, statistics and lore of the 92nd Illinois - those human interest stories that made our ancestorsí wartime and postwar experiences so intriguing. What do you know about any soldier in this regiment not included on this website? Please share your knowledge and help fill in the gaps. These brave men deserve at least as much!

I have included the following categories:

I.        A few snippets to pique your interest 

II.      A brief history of the 92nd Illinois 

III.     Find Your Ancestor

IV.     Stephenson County Soldiers' Monument

V.      Triennial Reunions of the 92nd Illinois Mounted Infantry

VI.     Up Close and Personal 

VII.    Attachments within the Union army 

VIII.   A list of nearly fifty engagements and battles involving the 92nd Illinois 

IX.     Monthly breakdown of deaths within the regiment 

X.      Statistical summary of deaths 

XI.     Database 

A:    Chronological list of deaths during war 

B:    Chronological list of deaths immediately after war 

C:    List of deaths which had occurred by 1875 

D:    Chronological list of deaths after 1875 

XII.     List of Soldiers who were prisoners-of-war     

XIII     Relatives within 92nd Illinois Infantry

XIV.    References

 

I hope to provide additional categories of interest in the future. Please visit often Ė and contribute often!

But letís not get too battle-weary! The soldiering experience wasnít all fighting and dying. There must be some light-hearted mischief in the form of stories passed down by your 92nd ancestors. What can you offer? Letís include any humor you might have that broke the monotony, tempered the emotion and colored the experience of the 92nd Illinois soldier.

 

 

Welcome to the website dedicated to the memory of the 92nd Illinois Volunteer Mounted Infantry in America's Civil War.
 

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DB: Deaths 1865 - 1875

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Prisoner-of-War

Where Have All The Soldiers Gone?

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