Letter from Vice President Theodore Roosevelt to
Frederick Funston congratulating him
The Vice President's Chamber
Washington, D.C.
Oyster Bay, N.Y., March 30th, 1901


Brig. Genl. Frederick C. Funston,
Manila, P.I.

My dear General:--

This is no perfunctory or formal letter of congratulation. I take pride in this crowning exploit of a career filled with feats of cool courage, iron endurance and gallant daring, because you have added your name to the honor roll of American worthies. If I thought there was any danger of your head being turned, as poor, gallant Dewey's head was turned, I should not write you; but I think you have in your nature a fund of solid common sense which will prevent your being misled by the hero worship you are certain to receive. Therefore, I can give myself the pleasure of telling you what I really feel. Your feat will rank with Cushing's when he sank the Albermarle. Otherwise I cannot recall any single feat in our history which can be compared to it. Moreover, with your career as a whole of course Cushing's career cannot in any way compare.

So I feel that you have given us one of those careers which must necessarily be an inspiration for all Americans who value courage, resolution and soldierly devotion to duty. In short to all Americans who rise above the level of William Lloyd Garrison, Dr. Parkhurst and the editor of the New York Evening Post. But in addition you have done more than this. You have shown qualities which give us good reason to feel that you are fit to perform striking feats of generalship on a much larger scale, if ever the need should arise. I earnestly hope that the need will not arise; but the attitude of Admiral Diederich, who was doubtless acting under orders, was sufficient to show even three years ago that some one of the great continental powers might if it thought it worth while try to take a fall out of us. It is always possible that one of them may make the effort to upset the Monroe doctrine by hoisting its flag in South America or the West Indies, or interfering with our plans concerning the Isthmian Canal. If any power does so act it will be because it has made up its mind that we are not a military people; that we have no adequate army; no really capable generals; and that the Bryanites and their allies of the Carl Schurz-Bourke Cockran-Godkin-and-Villard stamp here in the East, have no care for the national honor and are quite willing to see us humiliated; while our people as a whole are unquestionably very short sighted about making preparations. Under such circumstances it is always possible that we may find ourselves pitted against a big military power where we shall need to develop fighting material at the very outset, and then I am one of many millions who would look to confidence to what you would do. Incidentally, if that day is not too far distant I shall hope to be serving under or along aside of you. I think I could raise at once a brigade of three or four such regiments as that I commanded before Santiago. However, the last is pure castle building.

The reason I have written is to express my gratitude to you as an American, and my pride in your great achievement.

Faithfully yours,

Theodore Roosevelt