Roosevelt’s Rootin’ Tootin’ Bunch?

April 16th, 1917

Letter to President Woodrow Wilson from Theodore Roosevelt

Dear Mr. President,

I guarantee that I will lose 80 lbs. in the next four weeks if you let me have just one platoon of hand-picked, Harvard socialites and ex-boy scouts. I had decided to call the outfit “Roosevelt’s Rootin’ Tootin’ Bunch,” but if you let me go ahead with my plan I will call it “Wilson’s Warriors” in your honor.

April 18th, 1917

Letter from President Woodrow Wilson to Theodore Roosevelt

Dear Mr. Roosevelt,

I very much enjoyed sipping lemonade with you last week. Next time it shall be mint juleps, I promise. Sir, you are a man of honor, and I appreciate your sentiment that we let bygones be bygones as they say. I am duly honored by your desire to sally forth with a platoon bearing my name, but I’m afraid that shall not come to pass nor will any “Rootin’ Tootin’ Bunch.” As Newton has said, war is a much changed affair since the grand old days of yore. The enemy is using machine guns, poisoned gasses, submarines and unicorns to ghastly effect. We must meet these menaces only with a professional fighting force, using science and industry as a guide where rude artifices and “gentlemen’s rules” of combat will prove grossly insufficient. I hope you will understand these reasons as much as I understand and appreciate the offer of your gallant — but unnecessary at the present — sacrifice.

April 21th, 1917

Letter from Theodore Roosevelt to his son Kermit Roosevelt

Dear Kermit,

That pin-headed, buffoon-hearted skunk-dogged paper-pusher denied me again! I shall NOT be denied. I can kill and die just as readily as anyone else. Don’t breathe a word of this, but I am in talks with the British Secretary of State for War, the Earl of Derby. If America doesn’t want me, merry old England just might! And if I have my way, I will take my entire volunteer regiment with me. Once the British ambassador leaks it to the administration, Wilson will do whatever it takes to get me to come back, maybe even give me a battalion.

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