General Joseph Martin Chapter

Cumberland Gap, TN


Cumberland Gap Patriot

Benjamin Rogers

Benjamin Rogers was born January 27, 1756. He was the brother of the famous John” The powder maker” Rogers who would later move to Claiborne county near Speedwell TN.  At his age of 18, Rogers joined the VA militia and participated in his first Indian Battle at the Battle of Point Pleasant located In West Virginia.
 The Battle of Point Pleasant was fought on October10, 1774. The Battle of Point Pleasant is considered the first Battle of the Revolutionary war because the Shawnee were coerced by the British to attack settlements along the Virginia Frontier Col. Andrew Lewis fearing possible attack of the Shawnee developed a two pronged Invasion into Shawnee territory. Corn Stalk, Shawnee Indian Chief attacked Lewis to prevent him from combining his forces with Lord Dunmore, hoping to trap him along a bluff beside the Ohio River.
 The Virginians were able to defeat Cornstalk and his Shawnee tribe, but at a very high cost of human life. 75 Virginians were killed with 150 wounded. The Shawnee suffered 48 killed and over 100 wounded. It was the deadliest Indian battle fought in Colonial America up until this date.
 The Shawnee defeat at Point Pleasant forced the Shawnee to cede all lands south of the Ohio River to Virginia in the Treaty of Camp Charlotte. This land would later become the state of Kentucky.
 From July 1776- October 1776, Rogers would participate in the first Cherokee war. During this war, the VA militia burned several Cherokee Indian Villages. After the Cherokee were defeated they were forced to cede over 5 million acres of land to the State of NC at the Treaty of Long Island signed at present day Kingsport TN.
 Rogers would not fight again for the next 5 years. His next battle would be the battle of Whitzell mills on March 6, 1781 located about 10 miles north of Greensboro NC at present day Haw River State Park.
  The British ambushed the Maryland Continentals along with the VA and NC Militia at Whitzell Mills NC. The NC militia fired twice and then fled the field. Rogers along with his Virginia militia fought under heavy fire but were soon forced to flee the field when the British attacked from the rear.  The Maryland Continentals fought bravely beating back a British charge during the battle but were soon forced to flee the field after the British were reinforced by more troops. The Americans lost 3 cannons and two supply wagons full of ammunition and gun powder. On May 8, 1782, Rogers appeared in Court asking for reimbursement for the powder and ammunition lost that he and his brother John supplied to the Continentals during that battle. The Court awarded Rogers a judgment of 30 dollars for his supplies lost in the battle.
 On March 15, 1781, Rogers fought in the battle of Guilford Courthouse along with other members of the VA militia.  He was soon forced to flee the field under heavy cannon fire when the British brought their cannons to the field and started firing continuously for nearly an hour. This would be the last battle Rogers would participate in.
 From 1782-1788, Rogers fought Cherokee and Shawnee Indians in Virginia. In 1788, Rogers was transferred to Fort Chiswell in Fincastle County. Fort Chiswell had been constructed in 1758 to protect the settlers from Indian attacks. It also protected the lead mines in Fincastle County during the Revolutionary war. The lead mines provided lead for ammunition and it was where the Fincastle Resolutions were signed and read in 1775. The Fincastle Resolutions were Southwest Virginia’s Declaration of Independence. In March 1788, Rogers married Martha Brawley and had several children from this union.
 In 1796, Rogers moved to Blount county TN. In 1822, Rogers moved to Campbell County TN and applied for his pension in 1832. On June 27, 1834, Rogers died in Campbell County. Today most of his descendents live in the Campbell and Claiborne County TN area.   

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