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Texas hero falls at Battery Robinett

October
04
1862

On this day in 1862, on the second day of the battle of Corinth, Mississippi, Confederate general Earl Van Dorn called for a series of headlong frontal attacks against a heavily fortified federal position. Col. William Peleg Rogers of the Second Texas Infantry was ordered to lead the vanguard of the assault on Battery Robinett, a small fort anchoring the center of the Union line. After one bloody repulse, Rogers led a second desperate charge. Remaining on horseback in the face of a barrage of cannon and musket fire, and finally carrying the regimental colors himself, Rogers reached the deep trench fronting Battery Robinett, dismounted, and led several hundred Texans and Alabamans down into the trench, up the steep embankment, and into the fort. Suddenly federal reinforcements closed in from both flanks. Rogers shouted, "Men, save yourselves or sell your lives as dearly as possible." A few seconds later he was struck by multiple rifle shots and died instantly. Scores of others fell with him, and the battle soon ended. The Second Texas Infantry had lost more than half its numbers in casualties. The failure of Rogers's attack sealed Van Dorn's defeat at Corinth. In a remarkable tribute to Rogers's personal bravery, Union general William S. Rosecrans ordered his burial attended with full military honors, a ceremony normally reserved only for Confederate general officers.

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