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First Name: Andrew

Last Name: Rowan

Birthplace: Gap Mills, WV, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Middle Name: Summers

Date of Birth: 23 April 1857

Date of Death: 10 January 1943

Rank: Lieutenant Colonel

Years Served:
Andrew Summers Rowan

•  Spanish-American War (1898)


Andrew Summers Rowan
Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army

Andrew Summers Rowan was born on 23 April 1857 in Gap Mills, WV; the son of a Confederate officer in the Civil War.

Rowan was educated at the U.S. Military Academy. Just before the outbreak of the Spanish-American War, President McKinley assigned then-Major Rowan to deliver an important message to the Cuban rebel general, requesting American help and intelligence from the Cuban rebels then fighting for their independence from Spain. This task would have daunted a lesser man, for no one knew where to find Garcia, who was in hiding from Spanish officials. Without asking a single question, Rowan immediately took the message and left for Cuba, then under Spanish control, and three weeks later, successfully located General Garcia in the Cuban jungle to deliver the message. He then obtained Garcia's reply and returned back to the U.S. to deliver the response to President McKinley.

He was the subject of an 1899 publication, "A Message to Garcia," written by Elbert Hubbard, and later an autobiography written at the request of the U.S. Army entitled, "How I Carried a Message to Garcia" (1923). These books stressed the importance of self-reliance and determination in carrying out small but important tasks in one's daily life, without hesitation and doubt, and were widely read throughout the U.S. The books were also used by school teachers as a guide to young people in bettering their lives by pointing out the lesson of taking on difficult tasks in life in order to grow professionally (regardless of their career choice).

After his successful delivery of the message, Rowan was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the 6th U.S. Volunteer "Immunes" Infantry Regiment. The 6th Regiment occupied postwar Puerto Rico. For his valor and actions in Cuba during the War, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. After the Spanish-American War, he served with the 19th Infantry Regiment in the Philippine Islands, where he was awarded a Silver Star Medal for his actions at Sudlon Mountain. He retired from the U.S. Army in 1909.


• He was the subject of a 1936 movie, "A Message to Garcia" starring John Boles.

• He was posthumously inducted into the U.S. Army's Military Intelligence Hall of Fame.

Death and Burial

Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Summers Rowan died on 10 January 1943 in San Francisco, CA. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA.

Honoree ID: 3026   Created by: MHOH




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