Chapter VII -- "Sell Your Lives as Dear as Possible"

Although the Shiloh - Corinth campaign was closed, the bloodiest battle to be fought around Corinth was yet to be fought. General Earl Van Dorn commanding the Confederates in Mississippi combined his forces with those of General Sterling Price at Ripley, Mississippi, thirty miles southwest of Corinth. On the 29th of September he marched his army to attack Corinth, and on October 3rd he attacked Corinth with about 20,000 men and carried most of the outer works. Rosecrans was now in command of Corinth and that night was reinforced from Burnsville and Iuka.

October 4, 1862 dawned bright and still and intensely hot. Rosecrans had not been appraised of Van Dorn's intended attack and was not fully prepared to meet it.

The main works defending the town were close to it and consisted of a series of heavily armed redoubts connected by strong breastworks. All of the outer works had carried but the inside line, their strongest line, the Confederates failed to carry and by 3:00 P.M. the Confederates withdrew from one of the bloodiest battles of the war. That night General Van Dorn camped his army at Chewalla, six miles away.

The next day the battle of Hatchie Bridge was fought and Van Dorn moved from there to Ripley.

General Price's command was composed mostly of men from Texas, Arkansas and Missouri.

Fort Robinett, one of the strongest forts at, and overlooking Corinth from a hill on the west of the town, was thought by the Federals to be impregnable. Colonel William F. Rogers, Colonel and Commander of the 2nd Texas Infantry, was ordered to storm this fort, and after losing most of his men, gained entrance to the fort, after which the Federals were reinforced from nearby and Rogers fell in a hand-to-hand struggle.

When Rogers saw that all was lost he called out: "Men, save yourselves, or sell your lives as dear as possible." Few of Rogers' men, however, escaped from this fort, and General Rosecrans' order was to bury him where he fell with honors of war.

Less than a year ago when I visited the place that was once old Fort Robinett, I found a granite monument twenty feet high and five feet square at base standing over the spot where Rogers fell. The funds for erecting this monument were raised principally by ladies in Texas and collected by Mrs. Hal Greer of Beaumont, Texas, Mrs. Kate Bronson of Victoria, Texas and Mrs. Rogers Bolton of Wharton, Texas, the latter being the daughter of Colonel Rogers. This monument was unveiled August 15, 1912. The ladies present at the unveiling of this monument were: Mrs. Hal Greer, State President U.D.C. of Texas, Beaumont, Mrs. Rogers Bolton, daughter of Colonel Rogers, Wharton; Mrs. Sanders and Mrs. Butler, granddaughters of Colonel Rogers, both of Wharton and three great granddaughters of Colonel Rogers who unveiled the monument.

The south side of this monument bears this inscription: "Erected by the Texas Division United Daughters of the Confederacy, the surviving members of the family and admiring friends, August 15, A.D. 1912." Below this in raised letters: R O G E R S.

On the west side of the monument is this inscription: "Fell Leading Moor's Brigade, Fort Robinett, October 4, 1862. He was one of the bravest men that ever led a charge, bury him with military honors, Major General W.S. Rosecrans, Commanding Army of the Cumberland, U.S.A."

On the north side: "William P. Rogers, a native of Alabama, December 17, A.D. 1817; Captain of Mississippi Rifles, 1845 - 1847; First man to mount walls at Monterey; U.S. Consul to Mexico, 1849; Signed ordinance of secession of Texas, Feb. 1, 1861; Colonel 2nd. Texas Infantry; Brevet Brigade Commander."

On the east side: "The gallantry which attracted the enemy at Corinth was in keeping with the character he acquired in the former service - Jefferson Davis." "Men save yourselves or sell your lives as dearly as possible."

By the side of this monument lies a slab of granite 30 inches wide, 12 inches thick and 72 inches long, bearing the inscription: "A Tribute from Corinth Chapter U.D.C. 333 to the memory and valor of Colonel W.P. Rogers."

On the opposite side of the monument stands a heavy mounted field gun as though guarding the hallowedness of the sacred spot, while nearby the monument to the unknown, bearing this inscription: "Unknown, we care not whence they come, dear in their lifeless clay; whether unknown or known to fame, their cause and country still the same, they died and wore the gray." Underneath - "Confederate Dead."

On the north side: "Remember the unknown heroes, they that are equal to the same thing are equal to each other."

The walls of this old fort are levelled down, but the ladies of Corinth have enclosed the ground where the old fort once stood. This place is just outside the town on a hill overlooking the town.

It has been just fifty two years of storm and sunshine since this bloody battle was fought (written May 15, 1915) and those brave men and boys were buried in graves of the unknown. Some sister wept when they went away; some mother's heart broke in bidding her boy goodbye. But gentle mother, no matter where you be, your darling boy is still remembered by those noble ladies of Corinth, for on the public square in the city of Corinth is a tall square granite monument, surrounded by a life size bronze statue of a Confederate soldier standing with his gun at parade rest and facing his far away home in the west, and beneath him on the south side is this inscription:

"Erected as a tribute to the memory of the Confederate patriots who fell at the battle of Corinth October 1862.

On fame's eternal camping ground,
Their Silent tents are spread,
And glory guards each solemn round,
The bivouac of the dead."

On the west side: "Confederate dead, Colonel W.P. Rogers, 2nd Texas regiment, killed at Ft. Robinett October 4, 1862. As long as courage, manliness and patriotism exists, the name of Rogers will be honored among men. He fell in front of battle in the center of the enemies' stronghold, he sleeps, and glory is his sentinel."
--- Citizens of Corinth

On the east side of this monument the following inscription is engraved: "They were the knightliest of the race, who since the days of old have kept the lamps of chivalry alight in hearts of gold."

Should any of the old Confederate soldiers who camped at Corinth during the years of '61 and '62 chance to visit Corinth at this late day, they would scarce believe it was the same Corinth of fifty-one and fifty-two years ago. It will be remembered in the spring of 1862 as a small country town, with the muddiest streets, the worst water and more fatal sickness than any place this army ever camped. Now it has beautiful streets shaded with Magnolia and other trees, with more beautiful flowers than any other little city that this writer has ever had the pleasure to visit, and might well be called the city of roses. But the most noticeable feature of this beautiful little city is that most of the inhabitants are of the old Southern families that know so well how to dispense the famous Southern Hospitality.

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