At the age of 39, Roosevelt formed his famous cowboy cavalry known as Roosevelt’s Rough Riders. He had long spoken as a man familiar with the battlefield; the courage, resoluteness, and manly virtues necessary to fight to the death for what a man believed in. However, until what would become known as the Spanish-American war, as he approached middle-age, he had only longed for the thrill of a worthy battle, yet never had the opportunity to fight.
After hand-picking and training alongside his “All-American” regiment (men of every sorted background you could imagine: Indian, cowboy, college athletes), and their historic battles in Cuba (Las Guasimas & San Juan Hill), Roosevelt reported that during the intense moments of battle most of his surroundings were a blur in memory, only the immediate obstacles were in focus. He then said the following quote when asked about what it (the battle, fighting, killing) was like. For Roosevelt, this was the supreme moment of his life. Unlike most men, where war is a horrific, soul-shaking experience, Roosevelt felt most complete when the pressure was on and when the odds were at their worst.
The following is a photo of Roosevelt’s Rough Rider’s at a pitched camp.