Press/Journalists
Press Release
July 27, 1998
National Archives Adds "Rough Riders" Military Service Records and Einstein Letters to Its Web Site

College Park, MD. . . More than 9,000 new images of historic documents and photographs were recently added to the National Archives and Records Administrationís (NARA) web site as part of its ongoing Electronic Access Project. This new material which reflects the scope of the National Archives holdings, nationwide, includes letters from Albert Einstein; photographs of the Three Mile Island incident; rare images from World War I; the action report on the loss of PT-109; and the compiled Military Service Records from all the "Rough Riders."

The thirteen pages of handwritten Albert Einstein letters to the U.S. Navy's Bureau of Ordnance, 1943-44, consist of ordnance - related issues, such as the development of torpedoes and using mathematics in this process to maximize the impact of torpedoes against enemy targets / ships. The letters include drawings Einstein made to illustrate his calculations / points.

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Spanish-American War, NARA added the entire compiled military service records of the famed Rough Riders to its web site. The War Department created these records at the turn of the century, extracting information from company muster rolls, regimental returns, descriptive books, hospital rolls, and other records, and copying it verbatim onto cards. A separate card was prepared each time an individualís name appeared on a document. Members of the National Archives Volunteer Association assisted in preparing the records and in creating the automated index to the names of the soldiers.

Roosevelt said the name "Rough Riders" was created "both by the public and by the rest of the army . . . doubtless because the bulk of the men were from the Southwestern ranch country and were skilled in the wild horsemanship of the great plains." Recruits also came from Ivy League schools such as Harvard, Yale, and Princeton. Roosevelt also recruited at the various social clubs of Boston and New York with which he was well acquainted. From this contingent Roosevelt sought athletes such as cross-country riders and polo players. Notable among the blue-blood eastern families recruited for the Rough Riders was Hamilton Fish, the nephew of former Secretary of State Fish. Most noteworthy of the western recruits was William "Bucky" O'Neil, who was the mayor of Prescott, Arizona, and a famous sheriff. A number of Native Americans representing tribes such as the Cherokees, Chickasaws, Choctaws, and Creeks rounded out the regiment.

Headquarters and Companies A, B, D, E, F, G, K, and L sailed from Tampa on June 14, and arrived at Daiquiri, Cuba on June 22. They participated in the skirmish at Las Guasimas on June 24, and at San Juan, July 1 to 3, during the Santiago Campaign. They remained in Santiago until August 8, then departed for the United States. They arrived at Montauk Point, New York on August 12. The remaining companies, C, H, I, and K, stayed in Tampa during the war until arriving at Montauk Point on August 12. The Rough Riders mustered out of service on September 15, 1898, with 47 officers and 1,090 enlisted men. Casualties while in service: Officers-killed in action, 2; wounded, 7: died of disease, 1. Enlisted men-killed in action, 21; wounded, 97; died of wounds, 3; died of disease, 19, deserted, 12.

More than 344,000 descriptions and 60,000 digitized items are currently in NAIL (NARA ARCHIVAL INFORMATION LOCATOR). By mid-1999, approximately 120,000 items will be digitized and available electronically. The Electronic Access Project will enable anyone, anywhere, with a computer connected to the Internet to search descriptions of NARA's nationwide holdings and view digital copies of many important documents. The project is funded by the U.S. Congress with the support of Senator Bob Kerrey of Nebraska.

Highlights of the recently added materials include:

  • Select patent documents from both the cartographic and textual holdings;
  • Representative Decklogs;
  • Information about the World War II rescue of George Bush;
  • World War II Diaries;
  • Petitions to Congress;
  • Documents representing each of the 50 states.

Visit the "Recently Added Data" page for additional information on new information posted on this site.

For additional PRESS information, please contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at (301) 837-1700 or by e-mail.

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