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    1st United States Volunteer Cavalry, "Rough Riders" Camp Flag. The 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry, nicknamed "The Rough Riders", was a unit accepted for service during the Spanish American War. Intended as a mounted unit recruited from among frontiersmen, cowboys, and outdoorsman of the American West, it was to be commanded by a former frontier army doctor, Colonel Leonard Wood. The second in command was former Assistant Secretary of the Navy Theodore Roosevelt, who attracted and enlisted Ivy Leaguers, elite athletes, Texas Rangers, and Native American Indians to this unit. Their only common denominator was they were all skilled horsemen. Their name was inspired by the travelling Western show "Buffalo Bill's Wild West and Congress of Rough Riders of the World".

    This is a personal or camp flag that was used when encamped, as an unofficial and non-ceremonial flag, and used by a unit, regiment, or higher echelon organization near the position of their headquarters within a camp or other location. The flag is a 60" X 90", wool, double applique, 45-star, sewn stripe flag finished with a header and two grommets. The flag is faintly inscribed on the upper reverse hoist, "44 Stars 1891 45 Stars - 1986." And on the upper obverse hoist, "1ST VOL CAV" and "COL. WARD" and "5th Cor." Additionally, there is a name, "W. Wolff."

    The name on the flag is likely a reference to an F.W. Wolff who served in Company D of the Rough Riders. Wolff was from San Antonio, Texas and has the distinction of being one of the few Jews to serve in the 1st US Vol. Cav.

    The "5th Cor" was the higher echelon to which the unit was attached. The Fifth Army Corps, (May 7 - October 3, 1898) was commanded by Major General William R. Shafter and renowned for their victory at Santiago. "Col. Ward" has proven elusive. There was a Ward in the Rough Riders, but he served as a private. There was a staff officer Thomas Ward who served as an Assistant Adjutant General in the War Department, but his regular army rank was lieutenant. There was a Lt. Col. Francis G. Ward in the New York Infantry who doubtless would have known Roosevelt, but his connection is entirely speculative. The 1st Vol. Cav. refers to the Rough Riders.

    The Rough Riders remain the single most famous unit of the Spanish American War. This was due in part to Roosevelt's personal heroism and his subsequent years of promoting and careful crafting of an image of American manliness and exceptionalism through personal promotion and appearances.

    The Rough Riders were awarded the Spanish Campaign Medal.

    Condition: The 1st Vol, Cavalry Camp Flag is in fair condition. It is used, worn and soiled with numerous small holes throughout, but otherwise complete.

    This flag was formerly in the collection of Dr. Clarence Rungee, and is accompanied by his original museum inventory sheet with identifying information.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2020
    6th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 17
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,769

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