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Relics of the Rough Riders


July 1, 1898, marks the date of the Battle of San Juan Hill, one of the most famous engagements of the Spanish-American War. In the holster of Trooper Louis B. Bishop of Troop G rode a Colt Single Action Army .45 revolver that now resides in the National Firearms Museum (NFM) collection. Bishop, who mustered in at San Antonio, Texas, also fought through the battle with a Krag carbine.

But one Troop A soldier, Robert D. Wrenn of Chicago, Ill., joined late. Theodore Roosevelt furnished Wrenn with a Winchester Model 1895 carbine instead of a Krag. Wrenn’s lever-action Winchester, on loan from the National Park Service’s Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site, is currently part of a special NFM temporary exhibition that includes many rare Roosevelt artifacts. Wrenn, a national tennis champion before enlisting, later contracted yellow fever and died while campaigning in Cuba.

The National Firearms Museum, located at NRA Headquarters in Fairfax, Va., houses one of the nation’s finest private arms collections, featuring more than 3,000 pieces from over 600 years of arms history. Guns from kings and presidents mingle in extensive exhibit galleries with masterpieces of engraving and military trophies. For more information, email, call (703) 267-1600 or check out the online galleries at