• The Rough Riders : A Brief History

    On May 6, 1898, Theodore Roosevelt resigned his post as Assistant Secretary of the Navy and volunteered to head a cavalry unit that would fight in Cuba against Spain in the Spanish-American War of 1898. This cavalry unit eventually came to be known as "Roosevelt's Rough Riders." Volunteers were assembled from Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Indian Territory and included cowboys, hunters, prospectors, Buffalo soldiers, college boys, and Native Americans. The term "Rough Riders" was adapted from Buffalo Bill's famous rodeo show called "Buffalo Bill's Wild West and Congress of Rough Riders of the World".

    The Rough Riders (1060 soldiers and 1258 horses & mules) departed San Antonio on May 29, 1898, via the Southern Pacific Railroad and headed toward Tampa, Florida to await eventual embarkation to Cuba. The unit was bivouacked on the grounds of the Tampa Bay Hotel, currently the site of Plant Hall on the campus of the University of Tampa. On June 8, 1898, the Rough Riders boarded the ship Yucatan and began to disembark at Daiquiri, Cuba on June 22, 1898.

    The Rough Riders fought gallantly throughout the Battle of San Juan Heights, losing 5 officers and 95 enlisted men. After the armistice, the Rough Riders returned to the U.S. and disembarked at Montauk Point, New York, on August 14, 1898. The unit was disbanded on September 15, 1898.