Today in Texas History – May 16

From the Annals of Jingoism – In 1898, Teddy Roosevelt arrived in San Antonio to recruit and train the First Volunteer Cavalry at the Menger Hotel.  The FVC known to history as the “Rough Riders” was comprised primarily of college athletes, cowboys, ranchers, miners, and other outdoorsmen who could ride and shoot.  Roosevelt recruited men from Texas and Oklahoma and the New Mexico and Arizona Territories thinking that they would be accustomed to the climate and terrain in parts of Cuba.   Although technically a cavalry unit, the RRs were unable to bring transport most of their horses and mule train to Cuba due to a shortage of transport ships.  All of their fighting in Cuba was done on foot. 

The unit is of course most famous for the charge up San Juan Hill initiated and led by Roosevelt.  The battle made TR a national figure and propelled the former Secretary of the Navy to become Governor of New York and ultimately President upon McKinley’s assassination.

 

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