Theodore Roosevelt

When the shrapnel burst among us on the hill-side we made up our minds that we had better settle down to solid siege work. All of the men who were not in the trenches I took off to the right, back of the Gatling guns, where there was a valley, and dispersed them by troops in sheltered parts.

Two or three days after the surrender the cavalry division was marched back to the foothills west of El Caney, and there went into camp, together with the artillery. It was a most beautiful spot beside a stream of clear water, but it was not healthy. In fact no ground in the neighborhood was healthy.

[Owing to the circumstances of the regiment's service, the paperwork was very difficult to perform. This muster-out roll is very defective in certain points, notably in the enumeration of the wounded who had been able to return to duty. Some of the dead are also undoubtedly passed over. Thus I have put in Race Smith, Sanders, and Tiffany as dead, correcting the rolls; but there are doubtless a number of similar corrections which should be made but have not been, as the regiment is now scattered far and wide.

[Before it was sent, this letter was read to and approved by every officer of the regiment who had served through the Santiago campaign.]

[Copy.]

CAMP WIKOFF, September 10, 1898.

TO THE SECRETARY OF WAR.

SIR: In answer to the circular issued by command of Major-General Shafter under date of September 8, 1898, containing a request for information by the Adjutant-General of September 7th, I have the honor to report as follows:

[The following is the report of the Associated Press correspondent of the "round-robin" incident. It is literally true in every detail. I was present when he was handed both letters; he was present while they were being written.]

It has been suggested to me that when Bucky O'Neill spoke of the vultures tearing our dead, he was thinking of no modern poet, but of the words of the prophet Ezekiel: "Speak unto every feathered fowl . . . . . ye shall eat the flesh of the mighty and drink the blood of the princes of the earth."

During the year preceding the outbreak of the Spanish War I was Assistant Secretary of the Navy. While my party was in opposition, I had preached, with all the fervor and zeal I possessed, our duty to intervene in Cuba, and to take this opportunity of driving the Spaniard from the Western World. Now that my party had come to power, I felt it incumbent on me, by word and deed, to do all I could to secure the carrying out of the policy in which I so heartily believed; and from the beginning I had determined that, if a war came, somehow or other, I was going to the front.

Up to the last moment we were spending every ounce of energy we had in getting the regiment into shape. Fortunately, there were a good many vacancies among the officers, as the original number of 780 men was increased to 1,000; so that two companies were organized entirely anew. This gave the chance to promote some first-rate men.

Just before leaving Tampa we had been brigaded with the First (white) and Tenth (colored) Regular Cavalry under Brigadier-General S. B. M. Young. We were the Second Brigade, the First Brigade consisting of the Third and Sixth (white), and the Ninth (colored) Regular Cavalry under Brigadier-General Sumner. The two brigades of the cavalry division were under Major-General Joseph Wheeler, the gallant old Confederate cavalry commander.

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