Rogers, Robert (DNB00)

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ROGERS, ROBERT (1727–1800), colonel, was born in 1727 at Dunbarton, New Hampshire, where his father, James Rogers, was one of the first settlers. He gained great celebrity as commander of ‘Rogers's rangers’ in the war with the French in North America, 1755–60, and a precipice near Lake George is named ‘Rogers's Slide,’ after his escape down the precipice from the Indians. On 13 March 1758, with one hundred and seventy men, he fought one hundred French and six hundred Indians, and retreated after losing one hundred men and killing one hundred and fifty. In 1759 he was sent by Sir Jeffery Amherst from Crown Point to destroy the Indian village of St. Francis, near St. Lawrence River, and in 1760 he was ordered to take possession of Detroit and other western posts ceded by the French after the fall of Quebec, a mission which he accomplished with success. He soon afterwards visited England, where he suffered from neglect and poverty; but in 1765 he found means to print his ‘Journals,’ which attracted George III's favourable notice. In 1765 the king appointed him governor of Mackinaw, Michigan. On an accusation of intriguing with the Spaniards, he was sent in irons to Montreal and tried by court-martial. Having been acquitted, he in 1769 revisited England, where he was soon imprisoned for debt. Subsequently he became a colonel in the British army in America, and raised the ‘queen's rangers.’ His printed circular to recruits promised them ‘their proportion of all rebel lands.’ On 21 Oct. 1776 he escaped being taken prisoner by Lord Stirling at Mamaroneck. Soon after he went to England, and in 1778 he was proscribed and banished by the provincial congress of New Hampshire. He died in London in 1800. Among his works are: ‘A Concise Account of North America,’ and ‘Journals,’ giving a graphic account of his early adventures as a ranger, London, 1765, 8vo, and edited by Franklin B. Hough, Albany, 1883. (The ‘Journals’ are also condensed in Stark's ‘Reminiscences of the French War,’ 1831, and in the ‘Memoir of John Stark,’ 1860). ‘Ponteach, or the Savages of America: a Tragedy,’ by Rogers in verse, appeared in 1766, 8vo; only two copies are known to exist, one in the possession of Mr. Francis Parkman, and the other in the British Museum Library. Rogers's ‘Diary of the Siege of Detroit’ was first edited by F. B. Hough at Albany in 1860.

[Sabine's Amer. Loyalists; Ryerson's Amer. Loyalists; Appleton's Cycl. vol. v.; Brit. Mus. Cat.; Parkman's Works, passim; Duyckinck's Cycl. vol. i.; Allibone's Dict. vol. ii.]

B. H. S.