At the outbreak of the Spanish-American War, this area was the campsite of the 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry Regiment commanded by Colonel Leonard Wood (Medal of Honor recipient) and later Lieutenant Colonel Theodore Roosevelt.
Known as the "Rough Riders," the more than 1000 officers and troopers were a diverse assortment of cowboys, ranchers, miners, lawmen, trappers, professional sportsmen, and socialites from 42 U.S. states, 4 U.S. territories and 13 foreign countries.
Over 600 Rough Riders departed for Cuba via Port Tampa on June 24, 1898 to fight as dismounted cavalry, leaving the rest of the regiment in Tampa for the duration of the war due to the critical shortage of ships to transport the invading force.
The Rough Riders sustained the highest casualty rate of any American unit in that war and became a living legend in their own time. Roosevelt belatedly was awarded the Medal of Honor for bravery on the field of battle.