Rough Riders - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Rough Riders is the name bestowed on the 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry, one of three such regiments raised in 1898 for the Spanish-American War and the only one of the three to see action. The United States Army was weakened and left with little manpower after the American Civil War roughly thirty years prior. As a result, President William McKinley called upon 1,250 volunteers to assist in the war efforts.[1] It was also called "Wood's Weary Walkers" after its first commander, Colonel Leonard Wood, as an acknowledgment of the fact that despite being a cavalry unit they ended up fighting on foot as infantry. Wood's second in command was former assistant secretary of the United States Navy, Theodore Roosevelt, a man who had pushed for American involvement in Cuban independence. When Colonel Wood became commander of the 2nd Cavalry Brigade, the Rough Riders then became "Roosevelt's Rough Riders." That term was familiar in 1898, from Buffalo Bill who called his famous western show "Buffalo Bill's Wild West and Congress of Rough Riders of the World." The Rough Riders were mostly made of native Americans, college athletes, cowboys, and ranchers.

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