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Roosevelt and His Era

Annotations by Theodore Roosevelt

Rough Riders manuscript, Chapter 2 opening pageRoosevelt's successful campaigns in the Spanish-American War provided both a major boost to his campaign for governor of New York State in 1899 and the raw material for the publication of what was to be his most profitable book, Rough Riders. The book was originally written to be published as installments in Scribner's Magazine with book publication to follow. He received a substantial payment for each installment and the book was the best seller of all his works.

Written in his first year in office as governor, the book tells the story of the regiment which TR recruited and led throughout the campaign in Cuba. Although it is undoubtedly a memoir about TR more than anything else (Mr. Dooley, the comic Irishman created by Finley Peter Dunne, said that the book ought to be called Alone in Cuba!), it is also an exciting tale of battlefield courage by a motley group of men, who could tell stories of their lives in mining camps, cattle-ranges, Indian wars, lawless deeds of violence and brawls in saloons.

The original manuscript for Rough Riders was acquired by the New York State Library in 1942 as part of the Gotshall Collection and is one of only two complete book manuscripts of Roosevelt still extant. Throughout the typescript, which was dictated by TR, can be found his handwritten annotations and changes.

The War

The Black Troopers BookcoverMany of the books in the Squair Collection are not specifically about Theodore Roosevelt, but instead are concerned with TR's life and times. Many are also very rare. Because of Roosevelt's importance in the Spanish-American War, there are many books about that war.

The Black Troopers, or The Daring Heroism of the Negro Soldiers in the Spanish-American War by Miles V. Lynk (Jackson, Tenn.: M.V. Lynk Publishing House, 1899) was published a year after the war. Lynk recounts the heroism of the troopers in the 9th and 10th Cavalry and the 24th and 25 Infantry, as well as noting the loss of nearly 20 African-Americans in the sinking of the Maine.

John D. Miley Papers

Lt John D. Miley was an aide-de-camp to Major Gen. William Shafter during the Spanish-American War. He assisted in the coordination of services for the many war correspondents assigned to cover Shafter's expedition into Cuba during their stay in Tampa while awaiting invasion orders.

Included in the collection is a list of war correspondents and a letter describing the two rules war correspondents were to follow.

Letter from John D. MileyList of war correspondents by name, position, and remarks

Text of letter:

Headquarters U.S. Forces,

Tampa, FLA., May 23, 1898

The following rules are published, for the guidance of war correspondents:

  1. A correspondent will not write for papers others [sic] than those mentioned in his credentials, issued by the Secretary of War. If he desires to do so, he must get leave, and this permission must be duly registered on the face of his credentials.
  2. Each correspondent will read the Press Censor a copy of every issue of his paper, addressed to Lieut. J. D. Wiley, Gen. Shafter's Hdqrs., Tampa Bay Hotel, for examination.

[signed] J.D. Miley

1st Lieutenant, 2nd Artillery.


John D. Miley Papers - SC22109

Rough Riders Discharge

Handwritten military discharge form with American eagle logoDischarge of Major George M. Dunn
September 15, 1898

Roosevelt had been with the Rough Riders troop since May 6, 1898 and was with them through the campaign in Cuba. On September, TR was cleaning up some paperwork in his tent at Camp Wikoff at Montauk on Long Island where the Rough Riders had shipped to be mustered out. He was called out of his tent and found the entire regiment formed up in front of him. The troops he loved and who loved him in return presented him with Frederic Remington's famous Bronco Buster bronze sculpture.

That same day Roosevelt signed discharge certificates for the regiment. Exhibited is the discharge of Major George M. Dunn. In the Remarks section of the document, TR wrote that Dunn [p]erformed with scrupulous fidelity the irksome and indispensable duties of caring for and drilling the Tampa battalion.