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Arizona Rough Riders

Overview

Arizonans in the First United States Volunteer Cavalry recorded a dramatic involvement in the Spanish-American War. Joined by men from New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Indian Territory, they were molded into a regiment of fighting men destined to become famous as the Rough Riders.

Inflamed by the press in 1898 at the mysterious explosion of the USS Maine in Havana harbor, a great many people in the United States favored an immediate declaration of ...

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Overview

Arizonans in the First United States Volunteer Cavalry recorded a dramatic involvement in the Spanish-American War. Joined by men from New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Indian Territory, they were molded into a regiment of fighting men destined to become famous as the Rough Riders.

Inflamed by the press in 1898 at the mysterious explosion of the USS Maine in Havana harbor, a great many people in the United States favored an immediate declaration of war. Young men from all over the country began clamoring to enlist. None had more enthusiasm than an exuberant group of horsemen and riflemen from the Territory of Arizona. From the cattle ranges of the frontier West, from Arizona's mines and railroads, its town and hamlets, they came: cowboys and miners, executives, laborers, and clerks-all answering a call to arms against the Spanish.

Charles Herner has aptly and authentically set down the Rough Rider story. Against a political backdrop unfold the frenzied aspects of the crash training program in San Antonio, the emotional public reaction of the times to the situation in Cuba, and its effect on those who lived in the Territory. Memoirs, personal letters, official records, and interviews with the last survivors of the regiment provide an intimate story of those

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Editorial Reviews

Allan Ashcraft
"Here we have a somewhat unusual contribution-a new book about American military mobilization and operations in Cuba during the Spanish-American War. . . .The perceptive author decided to take one contingent of troops, those two volunteer troops of cavalry from Arizona, and to trace their brief war time career as members of the Rough Riders. . . Despite the fact that The Arizona Rough Riders tends, because of the very nature of its approach, to deal extensively with local characters and the experiences of a tiny portion of the men participating in the action, it nevertheless offers both color and facts for any reader with an interest in the Spanish-American War of American military history." Allan C. Ashcraft, Journal of the West
Virgil Carrington Jones

"The author is aided in compiling information for it by interviews in the early 1960s with several of the few surviving Rough Riders. . . .As a result, several corrections in details concerning individual members have been possible. At the same time, the author . . .knock[s] down some of the legends descended from the Rough Riders. . .

Mr. Herner never varies from telling his story as though he were looking over the shoulders of his subjects. . . His description of battle action is particularly good. And aside from the intimate details he supplies on the individual members of the Arizona contingent, his most valuable contribution [is]. . .what went on at the camp at Tampa, Florida, during the weeks the fighting units were in Cuba." Virgil Carrington Jones, Journal of Arizona History, Spring 1971.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780927579117
  • Publisher: Hall, Sharlot Museum Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/1998
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 292
  • Product dimensions: 6.04 (w) x 8.99 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Read an Excerpt

"The cavalry division was one of the first to be affected by this decision [to relocate the troops at higher elevations and preclude an epidemic]. The Rough Riders began moving in the heat of the day and the men, already weakened by fever and lack of food, reached their destination in a state of exhaustion. A lack of transportation was the biggest problem. Chief Packer Tom Horn, a fellow Arizonan who had come to the territory in 1875 as an employee of the Overland Mail company and who had packed for Lawton and Wood during the pursuit of Geronimo in 1867, provided a mule train, but it proved to be inadequate and much equipment had to be left in the trenches. Some of the squads in B Troop had rounded up a few stray mules on their own. They were able to make the march with comparative ease. Other groups, less fortunate in their ability to locate stray animals, had to carry their possessions in their own packs.

Upon arrival at their new location, named Camp Hamilton in honor of the commander of the Ninth Cavalry who had fallen at San Juan, the Volunteers made it as comfortable as possible. They quickly removed the brush that covered much of the hill on which they were to bivouac, laid out neat company streets, and pitched their tents-all in conformity with Roosevelt's instructions. In nearby Spanish blockhouses they found wood for tent floors, over which green boughs were laid for beds. A clear stream below the hill provided fresh drinking water and also the first opportunity to bathe in two weeks. In time field kitchens were established along its banks. With a shortage of dry firewood making cooking difficult, some enterprising foragers from A Troop broke into the nearby summer home of a French consul and removed the mahogany stairs. The wood made a hot but expensive fire-as the United States Government later paid for damages. In spite of the healthier location at Camp Hamilton away from the stinking, sodden trenches, the Arizonans, disheartened by their tropical environment, expressed dissatisfaction with their surroundings. "It rains every day here," Webb wrote, "and we are wet all the time. It is a devil of a country to live out doors in."

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Table of Contents

Foreward

Prologue

1 To Tender Our Services

2 Training at San Antonio

3 On to Cuba

4 A Smell of Powder

5 The Crowded Hour

6 A Devil of a Country

7 Awaiting Orders at Tampa

8 Back to Arizona

Epilogue

Appendices

Notes

Selected Bibliography

Index

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