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Clarification On The Cuban Front

July 2024
1min read

Virginia Stevens, the niece of William Ransom Roberts, from whose Spanish American War journal we published an excerpt in our December, 1977, issue, has written that our summation of Roberts’ career after the war failed to “make the correct emphasis.” Roberts, she explains, went to the Philippines as a Regular Army enlisted man “under the illusion he would be helping to free a subject people”; instead he found himself forced to fight “to destroy the forces of Emilio Aguinaldo, leader of the independence movement,” and this experience unhinged his mind; he spent the rest of his life in mental hospitals.

Another reader, Gilbert A. Sanow of Elyria, Ohio, caught us out in a pair of caption errors in the same article. On page 83, we published a photograph of a line of soldiers, declaring that it was “a troop of cavalry on the march.” Not so, says Mr. Sanow, who looked closely at the guns they carried: “The Krag was a .30 caliber bolt-action magazine weapon.… Infantry troops were armed with the rifle version, which was fully stocked and had a thirty- inch barrel and was equipped with a bayonet. Cavalrymen were equipped with the carbine version, which featured a half stock and a shorter barrel. The photo clearly shows troops marching with rifles, not carbines. They also have bayonet scabbards on their cartridge belts. Both of these facts show that these troops are not cavalrymen.”

The second error (which was also noted by James K. Anderson, editor of V.F. W. Magazine ) had to do with the photograph below: “The caption indicates that the troops in the picture are the Rough Riders… the 1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry Regiment.” But, Mr. Sanow notes, “The flag in the photo clearly states that the unit is the ’9th Regiment.…’ ” Therefore, “it cannot be the Rough Riders.”

Mr. Sanow describes himself as a “collector and student of U.S. Army items… a member of the Ohio Gun Collectors Association, the Ohio Valley Military Society, the Company of Military Historians, and the Association of American Military Uniform Collectors,” and we are not about to argue with him.

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