I would like to observe and commemorate the birthday of a personal hero of mine today.
A toast if you will, (in Rum, Cuban if possible) to the memory of
William Owen "Buckey" O'Neill. Born 2 February 1860, 150 years ago today.
Sheriff, Yavapai County, Arizona Territory
Mayor, Prescott, Arizona Territory
Captain, Troop A, First U.S. Vol. Cav. " The Rough Riders"
K.I.A. 1 July 1898 in the assault on Kettle Hill, San Juan Hts. Cuba
"The most serious loss that I and the regiment could have suffered
befell just before we charged. Buckey O'Neill was strolling up and
down in front of his men, smoking his cigarette, for he was
inveterately addicted to the habit. He had a theory that an officer
ought never to take cover-a theory which was wrong, though in a
volunteer organization the officers should certainly expose
themselves very fully, simply for the effect on the men; our
regimental toast on the transport running "the officers; may the war
last until each is killed, wounded or promoted." As O'Neill moved to
and fro, his men begged him to lie down, and one of his sergeants
said "Captain, a bullet is sure to hit you." O'Neill took his
cigarette out of his mouth and blowing out a cloud of smoke laughed
and said "Sergeant, the Spanish bullet isn't made that will kill me."
A little later, he discussed for a moment with one of the regular
officers the direction from which the Spanish fire was coming. As he
turned on his heel a bullet stuck him in the mouth and came out the
back of his head; so that even before he fell his wild and gallant
soul had gone out into the darkness"
The Rough Riders pp 123-124
"Who would not die for a new star in the flag?"
On the tombstone of "Buckey" O' Neill at Arlington Va.
"We may have great men.......but we'll never have better!"
Down by the Glenside
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