Rough Riders, popular name for the 1st Regiment of U.S. Cavalry Volunteers, organized largely by Theodore Roosevelt in the Spanish-American War (1898). Its members were mostly ranchers and cowboys from the West, with a sprinkling of adventurous blue bloods from the Eastern universities. Roosevelt resigned his post as Assistant Secretary of the Navy to enter active fighting. The command of the regiment went, however, to a man of more military experience, Leonard Wood. Roosevelt was made lieutenant colonel. Transportation difficulties caused the regiment's horses to be abandoned in Florida, and it fought chiefly on foot in Cuba. It took part in the battles about Santiago; its exploits, especially at San Juan Hill, were highly publicized.
See T. Roosevelt, The Rough Riders (1899, repr. 1961); C. Herner, The Arizona Rough Riders (1970).