Title: ROUGH RIDERS | Play a San Juan Spectacle in Wild West Show.

Periodical: Boston Daily Advertiser

Date: June 13, 1899

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Play a San Juan Spectacle in Wild West Show.

The electric lights of the Buffalo Bill arena on Huntington ave. went out at about 9 last night, and the sword was draped in shadow. Into the gloom marched presently a company of black men who might have been of the 10th cavalry. They swung in step, and the song they shouted was "There'll be a hot time in the old town tonight." They were followed by unmounted members of the 1st cavalry vols., the famous rough riders of Theodore Roosevelt. More rough riders came, and Cubans, and making a detour round the base of San Juan hill they unwound the tents which they carried upon them and made huts with their rifles for poles. Camp-fires blazed here and there, caps sounded, "colors," "My Country 'Tis of Thee," and to sleep - bivouac the night before the block-house.

Now it is the second scene. The curtains at the other end of the enclosure have parted, and there rises the hill, with the block-house a-top. The Spaniards are defending it with a sharp fire. Rough riders, black cavalry and Cubans are attacking with a slow, mowing on push. Over here a gattling gun sputters away like a pack of giant fire-crackers. On this side men are carrying a wounded comrade off the field on a stretcher. More sharp shooting and more advancing, and all in a rush somebody shakes the Stars and Stripes on the very top of the hill, and the Spaniards are put out of action.

The weird romance of the scene is best caught thus at night, when the conditions resemble those of the actual battle. But even in the daylight of the matinees the unique mixedness of the men who fought on the American side, the courageous, almost bantering way in which the impossible feat was approached, the picturesque vividness of the grim, Yankee desperateness of it all are made clear and fine and moving.

In looking into the faces of those among the actors who were actually in the engagement - and they may be identified as the ones in the distinctive rough riders' uniform - it is difficult to avoid a certain sentimental emotion.

Curiosity somewhat of another sort was evinced by the audience when, in the preliminary review which has the Ogallalahs for its Alpha and Col. Cody for its Omega, "rough riders" of the Sandwich Islands in native costume, a trifle amplified in concession to American ideas, with shawls of fringed matting, rode forth, and were followed by three representatives of our other and more recently acquired colony, the Philippines. It is said that 10 of them started for this country, but the seven others turned back at Honolulu.

When the cowboys had their fun with the bronchos, Mr. William McCune, the gentleman with the echoing lungs, bawled forth "William McGinty, of Roosevelt's Rough Riders - on Dynamite." And well might he bawl. Mr. McGinty is, save one, the shortest man there was in the quaint regiment. When his company drilled he was obliged to run while the others walked in order to keep up. For this and other reasons Col. Roosevelt liked him, and his portrait in multiple adorns some of the colonel's narrative. What these other reasons were appeared sufficiently when Mr. McGinty strode Dynamite, spite of that beast's St. Vitus's dance, and presently went hobbling down the plain like a small boy on a hobby-horse, that would hitch along.

Another new thing in this year's programme is the "Jimkana" race. Three cowboys galloped, dismounted, turned their coats inside out so as to resemble mackintosh jackets, remounted, galloped, dismounted, lighted cigars, put up alpaca umbrellas, remounted and galloped in, the umbrellas turning inside out at the finish.

All the old numbers reappear, Annie Oakley shoots glass balls and skips nimbly down the lists; the Mexicans lasso, Orapezo the Great juggling his rope like a wizard of the hemp; cavalrymen from the 16th British, ("Queen's Own"), Lancers, and from the Kaiser's Garde-Currassiers, drilled, and a troop of 6th U.S. cavalry performed fancy bare-back riding; Col. Cody shot glass balls riding at a gallop; buffalo were hunted, and the infant phenomenon made her first Boston appearance, the Deadwood coached was attacked and rescued, and so was the settler's cabin. Nor has the drill of the artillerymen, which invariably makes everybody laugh, this year been omitted.

The Cossacks have been renewed throughout, and a good job, too; for at present, these are the most audacious and picturesque riders in show history. The Arab troop of acrobats, too, is new. The brawny and brisk men of the East form their pyramids and turn their somersaults with incredible precision and rapidity, and when each feat was finished and they stood forth in the splendid exultation of strength and skill, the expression on their faces, radiant with the joy of living, bore about as much suggestion of the type of athletes who contended at Coney Island last week as a Greek statue does to a convict.

Title: ROUGH RIDERS | Play a San Juan Spectacle in Wild West Show.

Periodical: Boston Daily Advertiser

Date: June 13, 1899

Topic: Congress of Rough Riders

Keywords: Spanish American War Cavalry Mexicans Cossacks Arabs

People: Roosevelt, Theodore, 1858-1919 McGinty, William M., 1871-1961 McCune, William Francis Oakley, Annie, 1860-1926

Places: San Juan Hill (Cuba) Cuba

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