Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders charged up Cuba's San Juan Hill and captured it JULY 1, 1898. After eight hours of heavy fighting over 1,500 Americans lay dead or wounded. Just 4 months prior the U.S. ship Maine was blown up in Havana's Harbor. Teddy Roosevelt resigned as Assistant Secretary of the Navy and organized the first volunteer cavalry, made up of polo riders, cowboys and even Indians. President James Buchanan previously stated December 19, 1859: "When a market for African slaves shall no longer be furnished in Cuba...Christianity and civilization may gradually penetrate the existing gloom." President Ulysses S. Grant stated December 2, 1872: "Slavery in Cuba is..a terrible evil....It is greatly to be hoped that...Spain will voluntarily adopt...emancipation...in sympathy with the other powers of the Christian and civilized world." On July 6, 1898, after the battle, President McKinley wrote: "At a time...of the...glorious achievements of the naval and military arms...at Santiago de Cuba, it is fitting that we should pause and...reverently bow before the throne of divine grace and give devout praise to God, who holdeth the nations in the hollow of His Hands."