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This biography is from HEROES OF ALBANY, by Rufus W. Clark, D. D.

Capt. Theodore C. Rogers

Theodore Caldwell Rogers was horn at Fairfield, Conn., December 3d, 1839. He was the oldest child of Rev. Ebenezer P. and Elizabeth Rogers. He was educated principally at the High School in Phihidelphia, and at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institnte at Troy, where he fitted himself for the profession of a civil engineer. He was a youth of ardent and generous feelings, of brilliant mind, refined sensibilities and cultivated and winning manners. In person he was tall, well formed and athletic, excelling in all manly exercises, of more than ordinary vigor, and a fine specimen of physical symmetry and strength. His mind was well cultivated; he wrote in an easy and graceful style, was a good speaker, and in all those qualities of person, mind and character which give great promise of excellence and usefulness, was unusually gifted.

After leaving the institution at Troy, he was engaged for some time in civil engineering, with much success. He afterwards received overtures from a prominent commercial house in Albany, where his parents then resided, to become connected with them, which he accepted, and the breaking out of the rebellion found him just admitted to a partnership, with bright prospects of mercantile success.

But the call of President Lincoln for volunteers to defend the insulted flag of his country, awoke in the breast of young Rogers a desire and determination to offer his services to his country in her hour of peril. It was not the mere love of adventure, or the passion for military glory which prompted his resolution. He looked at the whole subject as a Christian as well as a patriot, and having asked direction from God as to his course, he came to the deliberate conviction that it was his duty to volunteer his services to the Government in the struggle for national life and unity which was impending. He gave up at once his business engagements, relinquished all his prospects of fortune, and engaged at once in earnest efforts to enlist men for the service. He received, in May, 1861, from Gov. Morgan, a commission as First Lieutenant in the Eighteenth Regiment New York Volunteers, then under the command of the late lamented Col. William A. Jackson, and entered at once upon the duties of his station.

The course of Mr. Rogers, in thus promptly offering himself upon the altar of his country, called out the warmest approbation of his friends. Kindly offers of aid were tendered him on all sides. The ladies of his father's congregation sent him a handsome sum towards the expenses of his outfit. A number of the most prominent and respected merchants of Albany, members of the Board of Trade, gave him a public reception, and presented him with a purse containing five hundred dollars in gold. The following account of the proceedings appeared in the Albany daily papers of that date.


There was an unusually large attendance at the Rooms of the Board of Trade this morning, and among the attendance a large number of ladies—relatives and friends of Lieut. Rogers, who had been attracted thither to witness the presentation of a purse, containing gold coin to the amount of five hundred dollars to that gentleman, from his friends and members of the Board of Trade.

Just at the close of the business hour, the President of the Board, James N. Ring, Esq., called the meeting to order, and after stating the object introduced Jeremiah Waterman Esq., to Lieut. Theodore C. Rogers, when the former addressed the latter as follows:

"Lieut. Rogers—I have been requested, on the part of your friends, members of the Board of Trade, to present you with a purse of gold as an expression of their regard to you personally, and of their appreciation of the devotion and loyalty which have prompted you to ofler yourself as a soldier in these times of our country's peril.

"For the sake of the land which we love, you have cheerfully sacrificed a position of great promise, which you filled with so much credit to yourself, and in which you have gathered around you the respect and attachment of those who have known you the best.

"You have given up at the call of your country the enjoyments of your home, the society of your kindred and friends, the pleasant intercourse with those of us who have been associated with you in business, and you have laid upon the altar of our beloved land the best and noblest gift which the heart of a patriot could give.

"You go from among us to encounter the privations and perils of the field of battle, and to stand up for the cause which we believe to be the cause of God, and truth, and justice; to preserve from the hand of the traitor, the noblest form of government which ever blest the world. But you go not alone—the prayers and benedictions of your loving and beloved parents, who have not withheld the best gift of their eldest son—the blessings of the church with which you are connected, and our best wishes, which we tender you at this time—these associations, which you cannot and would not forget, will strengthen you in the path of duty which you have chosen.

"We shall miss your presence in the places where we have long and pleasantly been associated; but we shall rejoice that we have so good a representative in other scenes, where the battles of our country are to be fought, and where, we trust, the standard of our country shall wave in triumph.

"We are well enough acquainted with you to know that you will do your whole duty manfully and fearlessly.

"The sacrifices you have made—the devotion to your country which we have witnessed—tell us what we may expect, as we shall follow you wherever your lot shall be cast in these times of conflict.

"Here, as in other places, you will be remembered. We will welcome you with joy and cordial aftection, when, as we trust, you will return again with honor from the field of battle, or if we shall hear the sad tidings that you have fallen in the conflict, rest assured that in our heart of hearts we shall ever cherish the memory of your devotion and loyalty."

During the remarks of Mr. Waterman, quietness pervaded the rooms, and upon concluding, Lieut. Rogers, with apparent feelings of deep emotion, replied:

"Mr. Waterman, and Gentlemen of the Board of Trade:

" It is utterly impossible for me to express to you the feelings which fill my heart on this occasion. That I should have received from the honorable body which you so worthily represent, such a manifestation of regard and approbation, is an honor which is alike unexpected and undeserved. I have never doubted for a moment, that in obeying the call of our country to sustain her government and defend her flag, I was simply discharging my duty. You have been pleased to allude to sacrifices of a pecuniary and social character which this step has involved. Had they been tenfold greater, this expression of approbation from so many of our best citizens, men whom my daily intercourse with them has taught me to love and honor, would amply repay me. The feelings to which you, sir, have given such eloquent expression, are more precious to me than gold. In every danger to which I may be exposed, in every duty to which I may be called, next to the blessing of God, the consciousness of the regard of this Board will be a source of strength and courage. It is my prayer, it shall be my endeavor, that wherever I may go, I may prove myself worthy of their confidence and affection. I thank you, sir. I thank the Board of Trade, who have honored themselves and me in selecting you as their organ, for the sentiments they have expressed, and the substantial deeds of kindness which they have done. I assure you and them of my sincere gratitude, my profound respect, for their integrity, patriotism, and honoral)le character, as merchants and as citizens, my hope that they may all share in the richest benefactions of Heaven, and that we may be permitted to meet again in happier days, to exchange congratulations over the peace, unity, and prosperity of our beloved country."

The Board, thereupon adjourned, when a general mingling took place, and the respective parties were congratulated.

Among the attendants were the Rev. Dr. Rogers and lady—the parents of Lieut. Rogers and a large number of their personal friends and relatives. The affair was highly creditable to all.

A few days since, Lieut. Rogers was the recipient of a sword, belt, sash, epaulettes and revolver, from his warm friend Wm. P. Irwin, Esq., of this city, and his full dress uniform from a portion of the younger members of the Board of Trade—his more intimate social associates.

In June, 1861, the Eighteenth was ordered to Washington, and went into camp near that city. Lieut. Rogers marched with his company to the seat of war, and remained with them for more than thirteen months, with but a single furlough of ten days, in January, 1862, during which he was united in marriage to Miss Anna Victoria DeLong, of Cazenovia, N. Y.

His deportment as an officer and a gentleman always won for him the respect of his brother officers, and he was a general favorite in the regiment. In the fall of 1861, he was promoted to a Captaincy. His regiment was attached to the Army of the Potomac, and participated in the varied fortunes of that army. It was a part of the reserve at the first battle of Bull Run, and was engaged in the battles of Williamsburg and West Point. In every field Capt. Rogers maintained an unblemished reputation for bravery and coolness, was always at his post, and faithful to his duty. His letters home during his entire term of service breathe an exalted spirit of Christian patriotism and heroic devotion to his country's cause. In the bloody and unequal fight at Gaines' Mills, on the 27th of June, 1862, after three hours of desperate fighting, as he was rallying his men for a final stand against the advance of fresh troops, he was pierced with a bullet in the groin, and fell still gallantly cheering his men. His wound was mortal, and he survived but a few moments. It was at the close of the day; the battle was lost, and his men were obliged to retreat, leaving his body on the bloody field. It was months before his family and friends could learn any particulars as to his death, except the bare fact. But most unexpectedly a friend, spending the winter at the island of Nassan, became acquainted with a Colonel of the Confederate army, who was at the island on his way to London, who was at the battle of Gaines' Mills, and gave her the particulars of Capt. Rogers' death and burial. She communicated these to his father, then residing in New York, who at once addressed a letter to this Confederate officer, then at London, requesting him to communicate directly with him. The following is an exact copy of the reply received nearly a year after the event occurred which it describes:

London, May 9th, 1863.
Rev. Dr. Rogers:
Sir—Your letter of February 25th, addressed to me at Nassau, has just reached me at this place. I know of no prohibition of duty to prevent my responding to the inquiries you address to me, relating to the death of your son, Capt. Theodore C. Rogers, who fell at the battle of Gaines' Mill, on the 27th of June last. And, although your son was engaged, at the time of his death, in that invasion which has brought desolation to our homes and affliction to all our families, I am not unmindful of the legitimate claims of the widow and mother, and my heart does not refuse its sympathy to a fallen foe, whose conduct was brave and heroic. Late in the afternoon of the 27th of June, on the extreme left of our line, in front of the extreme right of the Federal forces, and in the last charge of our lines, I was in command of a portion of Gen. Garland's Brigade. The Federal force had already commenced to retire, and our advance was rapid and impetuous. At a point about one or two hundred yards in our front, a young man, who was recognized to be the Captain of a company, made an effort to rally his command, which was retiring. He had his sword drawn, and could be distinctly seen by us to appeal to his men to make a stand. He partially succeeded, and when his company halted, and faced to our lines, he was in the front some ten or twenty paces, and was thus thrown between the two fires. Our firing was very heavy, and it was plain to us that his fate was inevitable, and in a moment he fell. We were rapidly pursuing, but, as we passed by, I caused this young officer, whose gallantry had attracted my attention, to be borne a few paces, and hid under a small tree, supposing him to be wounded. I learned afterwards, from the two men who carried him, that he died before reaching the spot I had indicated.

Capt. Young, who resides at Henderson, Granville county, N. C., was commanding the regiment in front of which he fell, and he assumed the task of examining the body, to ascertain such articles of value as might be saved from the seizure of the soldiery. I can not be precise as to all the articles found, as so many like events have occurred since, but I remember a watch was among them, and three letters, one from yourself, one from his mother, and one from his wife. Those letters were read by Gen. Garland and myself, with a view to ascertain to whom his valuables might be sent, and all the articles, with the letters, were entrusted to Capt. Young, who charged himself with their transmission to the relatives of the deceased. About daybreak the body of your son was buried, under my supervision, in the same manner in which our own officers were interred. I did not examine the body, which was covered when I saw it, and am therefore not able to inform you of the nature and locality of his wound. Nor do I know whether he ever spoke after receiving it. * * * * I have thus endeavored, sir, to respond to your inquiries, and if there be any consolation derived by you from the testimony of those who, by his position, were made his enemies, this testimony to the brave and gallant conduct of your son is readily accorded by,

Yours, sir, very respectfully,
D. N. McRAE.

The watch spoken of in the above was conveyed to his parents, after the close of the war, by Capt. Young. His naked sword was carried from the field by one of his men, and forwarded to his father. These are all that is left to them, except the precious memory of a noble son, who was to them all that a son could be to his parents, and over whose heroic death as a Christian patriot they "sorrow not, even as those which have no hope."

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