COLONEL THEODORE ROOSEVELT
DISCHARGES THE “CHIEF TRUMPETER” OF THE ROUGH RIDERS
ROOSEVELT, THEODORE. (1858-1919) 26th President of the United States; Vice President under McKinley; Colonel of the Rough Riders at the Battle of San Juan Hill; recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. Exceedingly-scarce partly-printed Document Signed, twice. Once as “T. Roosevelt / Col. 1st U.S.V. cavalry [commanding] Rg 1”, and “T. Roosevelt” Col/ U.S.V.C. Two full separate pages, quarto. ‘Camp Wikoff, Montauk Point, New York. September 15, 1898’. [Camp Wikoff, was named for Colonel Charles A. Wikoff, who was killed in action in ‘Hell’s Pocket’ during the campaign]. Large eagle vignette at top center of one page. Stamped docket at top indicating remaining pay of $204.48 being paid on his discharge. The document reads:
“to WHOM it May Concern, Know ye That Clay Platt Chief Trumpeter of the First Regiment of United States Cavalry Volunteers, who was enrolled on the Twelfth day of May, one thousand eight hundred and ninety-eight, to serve two years, or during the war is hereby DICHARGED from the service of the UNITED STATES, by reason of the muster out of the regiment. –
…Given at Camp Wikoff L[ong] I[sland] this 15th day of September, 1898. T. Roosevelt, Colonel U.S.V.C. Commanding the Regiment”.
The second page is headed: ‘MILITARY RECORD’ and reads:
Noncommissioned Officer: Chief Trumpeter
Battles, engagements, skirmishes, expeditions: Las Guasimas, San Juan Hill and the fighting around Santiago
Wounds in service:
Remarks: [Here T.R. has penned:] A good and faithful soldier
Col. 1st U.S. V. Calvary, Regt 1”
These two pages are matted and framed in a simple black wood frame, with a bust length picture of Roosevelt in his U.S.V. Rough Rider uniform centered between the two leaves. Under that image is a photograph of Platt and 15 other mounted men on horseback, that is captioned: “Capt. Platt, and his Cow Boys Carnival at Manila [Philippines] 1915”, with each individual identified above their image. Evidently Platt had returned to the US Army after his involvement in Cuba. Also accompanying the above is Platt’s handwritten “Last will and Testament” dated June 24, 1935 [referring to him now as Major Platt], and two other photographs that document other parts of Platt’s life.
A remarkable grouping of items! Most people are familiar with the story of T.R. and his Rough Riders, but these documents bring it to life in a way which few things can. In our many years of dealing with the finest historical letters and manuscripts, this is the first time we have had the privilege of offering a discharge for a soldier who served in battle with Roosevelt and his Rough Riders at San Juan Hill.