Home  »  Theodore Roosevelt, the Citizen  »  Page 197

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

Page 197

home! We will fight for the flag to the last man, if need be. But now our fighting is done, we will not be left here to die.” It was significant that the duty of making the unwelcome disclosure fell to the Colonel of the Rough-Riders. Of all the officers who signed it he was probably the youngest; but from no one could the warning have come with greater force.
  The Colonel of the Rough-Riders at the head of his men on San Juan hill, much as I like the picture, is not half so heroic a figure to me as Roosevelt in this hour of danger and doubt, shouldering the blame for the step he knew to be right. Perhaps it is because I know him better and love him so. Here was this man who had left an office of dignity and great importance in the Administration to go to the war he had championed as just and right; who had left a family of little children to expose his life daily and hourly in the very forefront of battle; whose every friend in political life had blamed him hotly, warning him that he was wrecking a promising career in a quixotic enterprise—apparently justifying their predictions at a critical moment by deliberately shouldering