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O'Leary sketch, Pocket Book Weekly, May 6, 1950 - 109 years of age

Patrick O'Leary was born on August 8, 1840 at 28 James Street in Dublin, Ireland. He was the son of Patrick John and Nancy (nee) Taylor O’Leary. After migrating to the United States he is said to have resided with his family in Lomesville, Kentucky, located near the city of Louisville, where his father owned a distillery. It was also in Lomesville, Kentucky that Patrick O'Leary is said to have enlisted as a Private into the 47th Georgia Infantry and was mustered into Company “A”; of the Confederate States Army under commanding General Robert E. Lee. There is a question as to whither his birthplace was in “Lomesville”, Louisville or another city. Lomesville came from a article written on him in 1950 and the interviewer may have gotten the name wrong. There was a Lowmansville in Lawarence and Johnson county, Kentucky which would be about the same pronunciation, and a Lindseyville and a Limeville in Kentucky; and though one sources confirms there was once a Lomesville, Kentucky, there is no record of a Lomesville today. Much of his information comes from a personal interview with him, at the age of 109, by John Laffin for the ‘Pocket Book Weekly”; dated May 6, 1950.

Patrick’s home state of Kentucky was one of the divided states that had both Confederate and Union sentiments; and remained neutral for the first six months of the war. In an interview for “Pocket Book Weekly” Magazine on May 4, 1950, at 109 years of age, Patrick stated that Kentucky finally declared for the north, but that many Kentuckians fought for the south; and that he was “---with General Robert E. Lee’s Army all the time”. A Private at that time was paid the sum of $13 a month, plus $100 for three years of service.

Patrick served as a Private in Company A, with the Chatham County men of Mitchell’s Volunteer Guards, 47th Georgia Infantry Regiment under Capt. Michael J. Doyle and Capt. Bryan Comer. The Georgia Rosters show Patrick O’Learcy enlisted for Confederate service on March 4, 1862, then transferred into Company A, 47th Georgia on May 12, 1862, and left military service from the Regimental Hospital at Savannah, Georgia; being on the roll for February 28, 1863.

Georgia Battalions usually consisted of from three to five companies. The 11th Battalion. of Infantry consisted of nine companies. On May 12, 1862, Co. K, Ga. Inf. was added to the 11th Battn. Ga. Inf. (composed of Companies A to L) and the organization was designated as the 47th Regiment Ga. Inf., C.S.A. Towards the end of the war the 47th was consolidated with the 28th Battalion Ga. Siege Artillery and the 1st Regiment Ga. Regulars (consolidated.)

The 47th Infantry Regiment was organized during the winter of 1861-1862 from the Eleventh Infantry Battalion which had previously served on the Georgia coast; from the counties of Mitchell, Randolph, Bullock, Chatham, Screven, Tattnell, Appling, Bryan, Liberty, and Dodge.

Its field officers were Colonels A.C. Edwards and G.W.M. Williams, Lieutenant Colonels Joseph S. Cone and William S. Phillips, and Major James G. Cone.

The Forty-Seventh Georgia Infantry was frequently know by alternative names:

· Joseph S. Cone’s Infantry
· A. C. Edwards’ Infantry
· Joseph G. Cone’s Infantry
· G. W. M. Williams’ Infantry
· William S. Phillips’ Infantry
· J. J. Harper’s Infantry
· E. W. Hazard’s Infantry
· Bryan Conner’s Infantry
· J. C. Thompson’s Infantry

The 47th was originally deployed in the Charleston, South Carolina area and were engaged on James Island, Morris Island and Proctor's Point in South Carolina and were then assigned to Savannah in late 1862.

In May it was ordered to the Charleston area and later moved on to Mississippi and fought at Jackson, Mississippi. The 47th was then assigned to General Stovall's and J.K. Jackson's Brigade and fought with the Army of Tennessee at Chickamauga, Chattanooga and in the Atlanta, Georgia Campaign. It then returned to Charleston, South Carolina where it participated in the battles of James Island, Waynesborough and Honey Hill.  Later transferred to G.P. Harrison's command, it participated in the defense of Savannah, Georgia and the North Carolina Campaign. In December, 1863, his unit totaled 187 men and 124 arms; surrendering on April 26, 1865.

The battle flag that flew at Rivers Bridge in February 1865 was made from materials Mrs. Esther Cohen Williams, wife of Col. Gilbert William Martin Williams of the 47th Georgia,  had on hand -- two red shawls, some white silk, pieces of furniture upholstery and fringe from her owncurtains. When Gen. William T. Sherman's Union troops took Rivers Bridge and the Confederates who survived the battle surrendered a few months later, Capt. Benjamin S. Williams hid the colors between his saddle blankets and took it to his South Carolina home.

In 1938, the family of Benjamin Williams presented the 47th Georgia flag to the Rivers Bridge Memorial Association, and it remained at the state park until it was stolen in the 1980s. The flag was eventually recovered, about a year later, and given to the State Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism in Columbia.

On a Friday in May 2000, the flag was finally returned to its home state in a special ceremony by the Rivers Bridge Confederate Memorial Association. Nearly 300 Confederate descendants cheered and cried as speakers, including Lt. Gov. Bob Peeler, talked of honor, heritage, courage, valor and sacrifice. In exchange for the original, the Rivers Bridge association received a replica made by Mary Adelle O'Grady, the great-great-granddaughter of the woman who made the original flag.

"My heart is very full today," O'Grady said, recalling the first time she saw the flag during a visit to Columbia in 1997. "I have to tell you, it's still an emotional experience for me when I see the battle scars, when I see the stitches, when I think about all the men that served under that relic."

It is the understanding, however, of Mr. Faron Sparkman, former Kentucky SCV Commander that the 47th Georgia was not in Kentucky, did not take on Kentucky soldiers and the 47th GA. did not fight at Gettysburg; so he feels enlistment there would be highly unlikely Patrick O’Leary was living in Kentucky. Patrick O'Leary in Australia obviously had some knowledge of what he spoke, and likely spent some time in Lomsville, Kentucky.  But other parts of his story including his tales of Gettsyburg and such, due to his age, could have embellished or exaggerated. Because so many Confederate records were lost without question, Mr. Sparkman feels one can't discount his story, but says nor can it be conclusively proven. He is not registered on the Civil War Research and Genealogical Database, but he is shown on the U.S. National Parks Civil War Soldiers and Sailor System database; microfilm M226 roll 46.

Battles of the 47th Georgia included:

Secessionville, South Carolina (6/16/62)

Siege of Jackson, Mississippi (7/11/63)

Siege of Chattanooga, Tennessee (9/63 - 11/63)

Chickamauga, Georgia (9/19/63 - 9/20/63) in John C. Breckinridge's division

Chattanooga, Tennessee (11/23/63 - 11/25/63)

Atlanta Campaign, Georgia (5/64 - 9/64) in William H. T. Walker's division

Savannah Campaign, Georgia (11/64 - 12/64)

Tullifiny Station, South Carolina (12/9/64)

Carolinas Campaign (2/65 - 4/30/65)

We do know that there were two individuals in Australia named Patrick O’Leary; the other, born in Tipperary, Ireland in 1834, who died in Ondit, Victoria, Australia in 1914.   The Patrick O’Leary in question, after arriving in Australia, worked as a miner until his health deteriorated to the point he could no longer work; and his ultimate death. At the age of 109 Patrick was often seen walking, with the aid of two walking sticks, to the Railway Hotel for daily drink of beer. Patrick also stated repeatedly that he had also fought in the Zulu and Boer Wars.

Our Patrick O’Leary died in the Liverpool State Hospital and Home, in Sydney, Australia, while under the care of Dr. O’Brian, of Senile Myocarditia, on August 29, 1952, making him 112 years of age; registration number 353, profession, a miner. His death was certified to by attendant J.L. McDonald and he was buried on September 1, 1952 in the Roman Catholic Cemetery in Liverpool; Grave location section, Area Select, Block M, Grave 229. Services were conducted by Roman Catholic Bishop Roth Delaney and witnessed by P. Nugent and D. Kinsela.

Patrick O’Leary’s Liverpool cemetery headstone transcription reads "In memory of Patrick O'Leary native of Dublin Ireland Died 28th august 1952 aged 112 years RIP" Also, apparently in the same grave at the other end, a stone reads, "In living memory of my dear mother Mary Hilda Brown passed away 28 February 1952 age 71 years". I have researched her but can find no connection. She was Hylda Mary Bennison born to Frank Bennison and Gertrude Ann Kartzmann (m.1881). She was perhaps a daughter or other relative.


Annette Gleave, Campbelltown City Library

“Battle-scarred flag goes home to Georgia”, The Associated Press

Betty Lou Albright, Researcher

Registry of Birth, Deaths and Marriages, 1952/01738

Dr. Arnold M. Huskins, Sumter, S.C., SCV

Faron Sparkman, Former SCV commander, Kentucky

Gary Davis, Louisville KY, SCV

Liverpool Cemetery Records, Liverpool, NSW

Mark Hiland, Webmaster, John Hunt Morgan Camp, SCV

Mary Pattengill, Kentucky Dept. for Libraries and Archives

Maynard Poythress, Genealogist

National Archives, microfilm M226 roll 46

Peter Mayberry, New South Wales
“Pocket Book Weekly” Magazine, May 4, 1950

Ron Mills, New South Wales

SCV Dispatch, May 6, 2000

State Library of Victoria

U.S. National Parks Civil War Soldiers and Sailor System database


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