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san juan hill

             I was extremely proud of my men and the other cavalries that fought beside us. It did not start out with very much hope thouogh; we had taken heavy casualties for almost two hours, and the situation was not improving. A gathering of senior officers met behind the Bloody Ford and decided that San Juan Heights should immediately be assaulted, to avoid further causalities. My Rough Riders and other cavalries were ordered forward to Kettle Hill. To the left of us was the rest of the American line also moving forward, heading to San Juan Hill. Although the main attack on San Juan Hill was pinned down, the cavalrymen charging Kettle Hill reached the crest. The outnumbered Spaniards retreated back down the other side, heading for the safety of the Heights behind them. Fire support from Lt. Parker's four Gatling guns, pinned down the Spanish defenders around the blockhouse on San Juan Hill. Lt. Ord of General Hawkin's Brigade lead a renewed charge up the hill. Once he got across the open ground, the assaulting troops were protected from Spanish fire by the crest of the hill itself. As they neared the summit the supporting fire ceased. The Americans stormed the defenses around the blockhouse. Although many Spaniards had fled, a few remained to contest their position. Lt. Ord was killed as he jumped over the Spanish trench in front of the blockhouse. Within minutes the Spaniards had been overwhelmed. The blockhouse was now in our hands.
             While all of this went on I was still back at Kettle Hill. I consistently pleaded with my superiors to be allowed to continue the assault on San Juan Hill. Finally General Sumner agrees, and I lead my Rough Riders around 500 cavalrymen down the hill and up the ridge beyond. Fire support was being provided from the remaining men on Kettle Hill. After a brief resistance, the cavalrymen captured the ridge: we now control all of the Heights. We were subjected to increasing fire from the Spaniards.

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