Most people don’t recognize the name First U.S. Volunteer Cavalry, but they are familiar with the unit’s legendary nickname: the Rough Riders. The flamboyant moniker evokes images of Theodore Roosevelt leading the heroic charge up San Juan Hill.
Massive casualties during the Civil War had severely depleted the country’s fighting strength. In order to replenish the ranks of the U.S. Army, the military created this famous cavalry unit. Once they were trained and equipped, the Rough Riders served honorably in Cuba. They were instrumental during the Spanish-American War, especially the battles of Santiago, Las Guasimas and San Juan. Former members and friends of the regiment collected funds to erect a memorial in memory of their fallen comrades. They also designed the memorial. President Roosevelt dedicated the monument in 1906.
The 10-foot tall obelisk sits atop a trapezoidal pedestal. There is a plaque on the front of the imposing, dark grey granite monument that lists the battles that the unit fought while serving in Cuba under the insignia of the First U.S. Volunteer Cavalry. The other facets of the memorial are engraved with the names of the sixty officers and enlisted soldiers who died during the war. The front face also contains an engraved sentiment stating that it is in memory of the deceased members of the Rough Riders.