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Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders charged up Cuba’s San Juan Hill and captured it this day, July 1, 1898. After eight hours of heavy fighting over 1,500 Americans lay dead or wounded. Just four months prior, the U.S. ship Maine was blown up in Havana’s Harbor. Roosevelt resigned as assistant secretary of the Navy and organized the first volunteer cavalry, made up of polo riders, cowboys and even Indians. After the battle, President McKinley wrote: “At a time … of the … glorious achievements of the … military … at Santiago de Cuba, it is fitting that we should pause and … bow before the throne of divine grace.”

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