The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003 Page: 263
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Texans in the Spanish-American War
main gate. The sentry stopped them from entering, but before he could
do much else Sergeant Sherman lambasted him for not knowing the du-
ties of a sentry. Didn't he know, the sergeant quizzed him, that a camp
guard was not supposed to hinder the progress of a work party returning
to camp in what was obviously a military formation? The sentinel, now be-
ginning to question his own sense of what was expected of him, backed
down and passed the men into camp. They lost no time in hurrying back
to their respective quarters before the befuddled guard had time to think
about what he had just experienced.18
The Rough Riders did not spend a lot of time in San Antonio. All too
quickly for some came the orders to entrain for Tampa, Florida, on May
29. These volunteer cavalrymen had endeared themselves to the citizen-
ry of San Antonio, and the people wanted to do something to reflect their
fondness for the men. They engaged Professor Carl Beck's band to per-
form a farewell concert at the pavilion in Riverside Park on the evening of
the 24th. The concert proceeded in fine fashion until near the end of the
program when it was time for the band to play a number called the "Cav-
alry Charge." In an effort to give this piece an added sense of realism, sev-
eral of the bandsmen pulled pistols and fired blanks into the air. Unfor-
tunately, by this time some of the onlooking Rough Riders had become
too full of beer and immediately joined in. Their pistols, however, were
not loaded with blanks, and bullets flew indiscriminately before order was
restored. A San Antonio newspaper the next day labeled the whole affair
as "very disgraceful," and four days later the Rough Riders left Texas for
Tampa and, ultimately, undying fame on the hills of Cuba.19
At Camp Mabry, meanwhile, those recruits who had been in the Vol-
unteer Guard for some time did not find this initial period of familiar-
ization to be of great consequence. After all, they had been exposed to at
least a modicum of drill, and some had attended annual encampments in
years past. Most of the men, however, were recent recruits without any
semblance of military training. Eighteen-year-old Arthur Gentzen, from
San Antonio, found it quite difficult to adjust to the sleeping arrange-
ments in camp. Although he certainly had not expected the state to sup-
ply him with a fine feather bed upon which to slumber, the ground on
which he lay was hard, and he often felt tree roots or rocks poking him
when he turned in for the night. He eased his discomfort somewhat by
laying his blanket on the ground to absorb some of the sharp edges, but
then he found that he was not warm enough to sleep. "After a little ex-
1 Charles Herner, The Arinzona Rough Riders (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1970), 68.
Royal A. Prentice, "The Rough Riders," New Mexico Histoncal Review, 26 (Oct., 1951), 267;
Dale L. Walker, "Bucky O'Neill and the Rough Riders," Montana: The Magazine of Western Hstory,
21 (Jan., 1971), 68 (quotation) Prentice cites the name of the musical number as "Custer's Last
Charge." Walker has the musical sound effects being provided by a small saluting cannon on the
outskirts of the crowd.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003, periodical, 2003; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101223/m1/315/: accessed November 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.