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Colonel Joseph Sumner Rogers, U.S.V.

Colonel Joseph Sumner Rogers, superintendent of the Michigan Military Academy at Orchard Lake, Oakland County, was born at Orrington, Maine, on the 5th day of July, 1844. His father, Joseph Rogers, was a native of that State, and a lineal descendant of Thomas Rogers, who came over to America in the " Mayflower." Colonel Rogers attended the public schools in the neighborhood of his home until sixteen years of age, when in April, 1861, he enlisted as a private in the Second Regiment Maine Volunteers, and participated in the first battle of Bull Run, all of the battles of the Peninsula campaign under General McClellan, and in the second battle of Bull Run, where he was severely wounded in the face.

Mustered out June, 1863, at the expiration of his term of service. Rendered service September, 1864, as lieutenant Thirty-first Maine Volunteers. Promoted to captain October, 1864; major by brevet March, 1865, for gallant and meritorious services during the war; served in the Army of the Potomac before Petersburg and at the surrender of Lee; mustered out July 15, 1865. Appointed second lieutenant U. S. Army October 1, 1867, and assigned to the First Infantry.

While on duty at Fort Wayne in 1872, Colonel Rogers was elected major of the Detroit Cadets, and commanded that corps until the fall of 1876. He visited, with his command, the Centennial Exposition at Philadelphia. He resigned from the army in 1877, for the purpose of organizing the Michigan Military Academy at Orchard Lake, and since that time his work has been connected with that institution, a history of which shows the successful accomplishment on the part of Colonel Rogers of an aim at once a credit to his efforts, perseverance, and industry, and an institution of which the State may well feel proud.

" The Michigan Military Academy is by far the best school of the kind I have ever had the pleasure of inspecting, and I doubt very much whether there is another school in the country (outside of West Point) that can compare with it.

" Colonel Rogers, the superintendent of the academy, is a thoroughly practical man, and deserves great credit for the success and high standing to which he has brought his school in so short a time.

" Very respectfully your obedient servant,

(Signed) " E. M. HEYL,

" Colonel, Inspector-General, U.S.A."

The academy was incorporated September 4, 1877, and in its organization Colonel Rogers was fortunate in receiving advice from such a wise counsellor as General W. T. Sherman, who wrote him

" You may always quote me as favoring military education in connection with the civil instruction of our country.

" The nearer you can model your academy after that of West Point the nearer you will be to the true standard; but, of course, I know that an approximation is all that you should attempt.

" Wishing you all success, I am, truly your friend,


" General."

General Sherman continued a warm friend of the school until his death. General Schofield, now in command of the army, wrote

" I can only in the briefest manner express my hearty sympathy with the enterprise you have undertaken in the cause of education. The experience at West Point and Annapolis has demonstrated beyond question the value of systematic military discipline in the process of education, as well as in after-life. Success in all the affairs of life has ever depended upon system, which is a marked characteristic of the result of discipline, and the tendency in all the successful affairs of life is toward such a system as military discipline inculcates."

And the veteran General W. F. Barry wrote

" I think that you have undertaken a most important and responsible work. There is an argument for the maintenance of State Military Schools which seems to me to be of such importance as to demand the most mature consideration."

The undertaking has been a success from the start; the attendance has steadily and constantly increased, the roll numbering one hundred and eighty-four names for the term of 1888-89, and the institution now stands at the head of military academies of its class in the United States. At the National Encampment, held in the city of Washington in May, 1888, a company from this academy had the distinction and honor of winning first prize, as being the best drilled company there.

Source: Officers of the Volunteer Army and Navy who served in the Civil War, published by L.R. Hamersly & Co., 1893, 419 pgs.

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