b. 21/01/1842 Calais, Maine. d. 01/11/1902 St Louis, Missouri.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 02/07/1863 Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
Civil War Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient. He entered the Union army in Minnesota and by the time of the battle of Gettysburg, O'Brien was a corporal in Company E, 1st Minnesota Infantry. O'Brien was among the remnant of the 1st Minnesota which found itself defending against "Pickett's Charge." As the Confederated neared the Union lines, O'Brien's regiment, attacked the Confederate flank. The 1st Minnesota's color bearer was shot down, the Flagstaff broken in two by the gunfire. O'Brien picked up the flag by its remaining staff and with characteristic bravery and impetuosity led his regiment into hand-to-hand combat with the 28th Virginia Infantry. O'Brien, now severely wounded, yielded the colors to another member of the 1st Minnesota. For his bravery, he was awarded the Medal of Honor on April 9, 1890. He was promoted to lieutenant after Gettysburg and was wounded in the chest at Petersburg. His wound forced his withdrawal form active service. After the war, he became a government pension agent in St. Louis.
Taking up the colors where they had fallen, he rushed ahead of his regiment, close to the muzzles of the enemy's guns, and engaged in the desperate struggle in which the enemy was defeated, and though severely wounded, he held the colors until wounded a second time.
BURIAL LOCATION: BELLEFONTAINE CEMETERY, ST LOUIS, MISSOURI.
Block 292, Lot 4482
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