This 1st United States Volunteer Calvary became known as the Rough Riders. The Rough Riders have become closely associated with Theodore Roosevelt — who was serving as Assistant Secretary of the United States Navy—and would eventually become 26th President of the United States.
A proponent of Cuban independence during the Spanish-American War, Roosevelt became Lieutenant-Colonel of the Rough Riders.
In 1898, over 1,000 Rough Riders traveled in droves to Tampa and, subsequently, Cuba — where the skilled volunteer soldiers would engage in combat, despite inefficient equipment, transportation and manpower.
In American history, there is a great deal of fiction, mystique and glorification that surrounds the Rough Riders—including misconceptions that Roosevelt was the first commander of the unit.
Tampa’s service/social organization, the Rough Riders, Inc
. (named after the cavalry), is devoted to keeping the legacy of the historic infantry intact. The organization—with over 500 members—celebrates the Rough Riders through social service, festivities and educational events.
On June 4, the Tampa Bay History Center
will host Sangria & Stories: Rough Riders in Tampa
. Bill Moline—Brevet Captain of Rough Riders Inc. — will divulge secrets and rare stories about the enigmatic and accomplished unit. A Rough-Rider-themed gallery presentation will also take place, and — in keeping with the historical spirit — sangria will be served by Tampa’s beloved Columbia Restaurant.
Reservations are required, and space is limited to 25, with general admission at $15 and admission for Tampa Bay History Center members at $10. Garage parking is included in admission price. The event will take place from 6-7 p.m.
Left weak following the American Civil War, the United States Army was in need of some serious manpower. The need was met by willing volunteers — primarily (and diversely enough) in the form of farm workers, miners, college athletes, Native Americans and law enforcement officials.