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Jacob A. Riis (1849–1914). Theodore Roosevelt, the Citizen. 1904.

Page 181

  The Rough-Riders were not, as many have supposed, a product of the war with Spain. On the contrary, the mounted riflemen were the historic arm of the United States from the earliest days of the Nation. In the War of the Revolution they came out of the West and killed or captured the whole of the British forces at King’s Mountain. A descendant of two of the three colonels who commanded them then fought with Roosevelt at Las Guasimas and on the San Juan hill. They furnished the backbone of Andrew Jackson’s forces in the War of 1812. As the Texas Rangers they became famous in the troubles with Mexico. They conquered the French towns on the Illinois, and won the West from the Indians in a hundred bloody fights. In the Civil War they lost, to a great extent, their identity, but not their place in the van and the thick of the fight. Theodore Roosevelt as a historian knew their record and value; as a hunter and a plainsman he knew where to find the material with which to fill up the long-broken ranks. It came at his summons from the plains and the cattle-ranges of the great West, from the mines of the Rocky Mountains, from the counting-rooms and colleges