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.
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.
· 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
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
Siege of Jackson,
Siege of Chattanooga,
Tennessee (9/63 - 11/63)
(9/19/63 - 9/20/63) in
John C. Breckinridge's division
(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 -
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
Annette Gleave, Campbelltown City Library
“Battle-scarred flag goes home to Georgia”, The
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
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