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Gettysburg, Pennsylvania: Lucky Nose of Col. O'Rorke

Col. O'Rorke was killed at Gettysburg, honored at the spot with a big bronze head, and people rub his nose for luck.

Gettysburg National Military Park

Sykes Ave., Gettysburg, PA
At the Little Round Top battlefield inside Gettysburg National Military Park.
Park open dawn-dusk. Local health policies may affect hours and access.
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Visitor Tips and News About Lucky Nose of Col. O'Rorke

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O'Rorke lucky nose.

O'Rorke Memorial

I saw some debate about the O'Rorke and Chamberlain monuments under your "Heroes of Gettysburg" section. Photos of the memorials would seem to settle the dispute (and confirm the correct rank and spelling for Col. O'Rorke). All of Gettysburg is one giant memorial, with thousands of smaller memorials within, and to put them all on this site would be nigh impossible and not really my idea of Roadside America, but I love this site.

[Katherine Zander, 07/21/2014]
Heroes of Gettysburg

Both of your Gettysburg tip entries are correct. Colonels O'Rorke (sic) and Chamberlain both acted to save the Union on Little Round Top. Chamberlain is the more famous in history, though, partly because his action was longer, and because he lived to write his memoirs and become Governor of Maine. O'Rorke's charge (which resulted in his demise) occurred shortly before Chamberlain's, and the two locations are not in sight of each other. The monument to the 140th New York features O'Rorke's likeness in bronze, with the nose rubbed bright by those wishing to draw on his courage. The monument to Colonel Chamberlain's 20th Maine has no portraiture, and is all stone.

[Rob D., 08/12/2000]
General Rourke's Nose - Wrong?

The statue rubbing in Gettysburg of Gen. Rourke is wrong. At least the story behind it is. I don't know if anyone rubs the nose on the plaque or not. It wasn't General Rourke, it was Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain. He didn't almost single handedly win the battle. He did save the unions left flank which was important. And they used bayonets not because they didn't have time to reload their rifles.... they ran out of ammunition. Little Round Top as the location is right.

[Deb, 07/18/1998]
General Rourke's Nose

I read your article on statue rubbing. In Gettysburg, PA, there is a plaque of a very brave General that along with his troops almost single- handedly saved the war for the North. General Rourke and his men arrived and did not even have time to load their rifles... bayonettes in hand they held off the Confederate troops that were within a short time of taking Little Round Top. Legend has it that by rubbing General Rourke's rather large nose it brings one courage and valor. By the looks of the plaque, there are many believers of the legend.

[Corey Roberts, 08/09/1997]

Nearby Offbeat Places

Last Survivor MonumentLast Survivor Monument, Gettysburg, PA - 2 mi.
Lincoln Train MuseumLincoln Train Museum, Gettysburg, PA - 2 mi.
Gettysburg - Sit with Abe LincolnGettysburg - Sit with Abe Lincoln, Gettysburg, PA - 2 mi.
In the region:
PA National Fire Museum, Harrisburg, PA - 38 mi.

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