Photograph showing the Rough riders at Cincinnati, enroute to reception of fellow Rough Rider Teddy Roosevelt. Photo dates to between 1910 and 1915.
The "Rough Riders" was the name bestowed on the 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry, one of three such regiments raised in 1898 for the Spanish-American War and the only one of the three to see action. The United States army was weakened and left with little manpower after the Civil War roughly 30 years prior. As a result, President William McKinley called upon 1,250 volunteers to assist in the war efforts. It was also called "Wood's Weary Walkers" after its first commander, Colonel Leonard Wood as an acknowledgment of the fact that despite being a cavalry unit they ended up fighting on foot as infantry. When Colonel Wood became commander of the 1st Cavalry Brigade (1st U.S. Cavalry, 106th U.S. Cavalry, and 1st U.S.V. Cavalry) the Rough Riders then became "Roosevelt's Rough Riders". That term was familiar in 1898, from Buffalo Bill who called his famous western show "Buffalo Bill's Wild West and Congress of Rough Riders of the World".