« PreviousContinue »
result that the troops were ordered home without further delay.
The Rough Riders left Cuba on August 7, just six weeks and a half after landing. The time spent in the island had been short, but to many it seemed an age. None were sorry to depart, although sad to think that some of the sick had to be left behind.
The transport used this time was the Miami, and Mr. Roosevelt tells us that, taken as a whole, the accommodations were better than they had been on the Yucatan. But on the trip much trouble was had with some of the stokers and engineers, who insisted upon drinking some liquor smuggled aboard.
“I will not permit this,” said Colonel Roosevelt. And he read the disorderly ones a strong lecture and made them give up their liquor. After that, as there was much grumbling, he set a guard; and that was the end of that trouble.
The destination of the transport was Montauk, on the extreme eastern shore of Long Island.
The trip took nine days, rather a dreary time to those anxious to see their native land once more. When an
anchorage was gained, a gunboat came out to the transport with the welcome news that Spain had agreed to our terms.
The sick had still to be cared for; yet, taken as a whole, the month spent at the camp at Montauk was pleasant enough. Here Colonel Roosevelt met that part of the regiment that had been left behind in Florida, and all the stories of the fights had to be told over and over again.
“It was good to meet the rest of the regiment,” says Mr. Roosevelt, in his book. “ They all felt dreadfully at not having been in Cuba. Of course those who stayed had done their duty precisely as did those who went.” Which was true; yet, as he adds, those who had been left behind could not be comforted.
Colonel Roosevelt was still in charge of the brigade while at Montauk, and much of his time was taken up in getting out necessary reports, and seeing to it that the entire camp was kept in first-class sanitary condition.
“And he was up to the mark,” said one of those who were there. “He didn't allow the least bit of dirt, and everything had to
be as shipshape as if we were at West Point. And it was a good thing, too, for it kept the sickness from spreading.”
The sea-breeze is strong at Montauk, and this soon began to tell upon all who were sick, putting in them new life and vigor. Here every possible attention was given to those who were down, so that ere long many were up again and as well as ever.
When he had a little time to himself, Theodore Roosevelt would gather a few friends around him, and either go to the beach to bathe or go off on a long horseback ride. War was to him a thing of the past, and he was once more willing to become a private citizen as of old.
In those days the camp at Montauk was constantly crowded with visitors from New York City and elsewhere, who poured in upon every train. All of the soldiers who had been to Cuba were hailed as heroes, and had to tell their stories many times.
“Every soldier had a crowd following him," said one private. “ The visitors wanted to know how we had fought, how we had been treated by the government, how things looked in Cuba, and a hundred