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Exhibition Not an Ostrich: & Other Images from America's Library

William Dinwiddie. [Colonel Roosevelt and his Rough Riders at the top of the hill which they captured, Battle of San Juan], 1898. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (40.00.00)
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WILLIAM DINWIDDIE. Colonel Roosevelt and his Rough Riders after victory in the Battle of San Juan. Cuba, 1898

On July 1, 1898, U.S. forces, including future President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt and his Rough Riders, defeated the substantially larger Spanish forces at San Juan Hill and Kettle Hill near the Spanish stronghold of Santiago de Cuba. The victory allowed the United States to begin a siege of Santiago, which led to Spanish surrender and the end of the Spanish-American War. No regiment was celebrated more than the 1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry, better known as the Rough Riders, which included western cowboys, college students, and Native Americans, aided by Black cavalrymen. Mr. Roosevelt had resigned as Assistant Secretary of the Navy at the outbreak of the war to form the regiment and take part in the fighting. Roosevelt later recalled the “charge itself was great fun” and “we had a bully fight.”