Col. Roosevelt Was Wounded

A Newspaper Chronicle

Reprinted from: Bully! Colonel Theodore Roosevelt

The Rough Riders & Camp Wikoff Montuak, N.Y. (1898)

Edited by Jeff Heatley

Wednesday, August 3 (*The Sun, **Commercial Advertiser)

 It was found out yesterday that Col. Roosevelt really possess that which Mr. Crocker says any man running for Governor this fall will need – the evidence that he was wounded in battle. The story was told yesterday by a private in Col. Roosevelt’s regiment, who is now in the hospital at Governor’s Island. It was at San Juan Hill. Roosevelt and some other officers were standing together in a little clearing on the slope of the hill. Bullets were flying, and finally a fragment of shell struck Col. Roosevelt on the back of his left hand.

It was a glancing blow, and simply scraped the flesh. The wound bled profusely. Col. Roosevelt whipped out his handkerchief, bound it around his hand, and said:

"Well, that’s the first one. They’ll have to do better than that next time."

"Just as he said that," continued the Rough Rider, "a young officer standing next to him was killed by a Spaniard up in the top of one of the trees. The same sharpshooter picked off several of our men before he was killed by a private of the Twenty-fourth Infantry, one of the colored regiments. *

"I never saw a man as dead anxious to get into a scrap as Teddy. He was always looking for a chance. When we were being held back in reserve on the first day of the fight, he kept saying to the other officers, ‘I wish they’d let us start. Why won’t they give us the work?’ When we did get our orders at last, you ought to have seen him – but everybody knows now what he di8d them, I guess! He roughed it just the same as the rest of us. He didn’t wear any coat most of the time, when around in an old flannel shirt. He wouldn’t take a shelter tent even till they were distributed to the rest of us.

"One day when I had been working all day in the trenches I went back to the camp, and came across the Colonel sitting under a tree. He motioned me to him and said, ‘Well, my boy, where have you been?’ I sat down near him and told him what I’d been doing. He said, ‘It was as hot as hell up there, wasn’t it?’ and then he said, pointing to a fire a little way off, ‘You go right over there and you’ll find some hot coffee and as good food as we are able to get for the boys here. Say I sent you.’ He was looking out for us all the time." **

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