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Military Quotes

A good plan executed today is better than a perfect plan executed at some indefinite point in the future.

-- General George Patton Jr

Welcome to the Patriot Files


The Patriot Files is a Library of Congress Veterans History Project Founding Partner web site comprised of first hand accounts of military life and combat, primary source material, as well as image, video, and audio resources.

The Patriot Files also supports the largest military usenet archive, military memorial, military website archive, and military news archive online.


Civil War Fitchburg, Sept. 17, 1919. The first experience of a soldier is camp life. O! the sweet memories of departed days, how they rise up before us; the ups and downs, the drills, the dress parades, skirmish, rally by fours, guard against infantry, guard against cavalry, the barracks, the bunks, the rations-how they stare us in the face as we look back to the first few days we were in camp in the town of Groton, near the Peterboro and Shirley Railroad, at a place called Camp Stevens.
Note: by Joel A. Stratton, Captain of Company C, Fifty-third Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers, 1862-1863.  10090 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Korea This story begins on the Yellow Sea. The Yellow Sea is between Japan and Korea. We are aboard Navy Ship LST 715. An LST is a landing ship tank. It was built in World War II for transporting Army tanks and / or trucks and Howitzers. It has a flat bottom as opposed to other designs of ships.
Note: by Bill Arnold - B Battery 143rd Field Artillery  9236 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam Between Charlie and the jungle, things had been pretty hard on us. We were very short-handed. My squad was down to three men, counting myself. Yes, just me and two other guys. Our company had encountered a major trail that was extremely, heavily traveled. We called in on the field radio to report this major trail and were told to wait to be joined by the Tiger Force. (a hard core, elite, special fighting unit of the 101st Airborne).
Note: by Sarge Lintecum  7412 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War January, 1861 1 Very cold last night but the sun shines out very warm and brightly today. Considerable ice running in the river. A very small school today. Some are sick and some are taking a New York holiday. I have never before been so unsettled about the future as I am at the commencement of this New Year.
Note: by Eugene Goodwin, 99th New York Infantry Regiment  16932 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II When I got to the hangar, navigators were working around a large table with their topographical maps and plotting charts. Navigators made their own calculations, and then compared results with others. When we had finished we went to the locker room. Dressing up was a long process for the gunners. It was a cold ride in the turrets and gunners wore as much clothing as they could from woollen underwear to electrically heated suits.
Note: by Jerrold Morris, 419 Squadron, RCAF  6946 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War Sept. 25, 1862, Antietam, MD Dear Brother, I received your letter yesterday and was glad to hear that you are all well. I like here full as well as I expected. We are now encamped on the banks of the Potomac River about six miles above Harper's Ferry.
Note: letters from Sylvester Spaulding.  7207 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War March 10, 1863 Newport News, Va Father, I was glad to hear from you. I am well. I hope these few lines will find you the same. I want you to write and let me know when you send me the box. Uncle Sylvester is with [us] now. His health is very good now.
Note: letters by Sidney Spaulding, 9th New Hampshire Regiment.  6628 Reads  Printer-friendly page



POW The serene beauty of the rising sun on February 16, 1944 was disrupted by German heavy artillery barrages. This was the commencement of a large scale offensive. Presently tanks were rapidly advancing on us, followed by infantrymen. The approaching tanks caused me to break out in a cold sweat and I feverishly prayed for God's help. One tank spotted my foxhole and sent a machine gun burst over my head. I then heard an order to come out. Momentarily hesitating, to make peace with my God which bolstered my courage, I vacated my foxhole.
Note: by Pvt. Robert Davis, POW 11605, Stalag VIIB  10248 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Korea Dear Mom: Well, I suppose you wonder where I am, and where I have been. I will start at the beginning. We left for Korea the 1st of July. We were the first regiment to hit there and fight. The North Koreans had about ten divisions to our one regiment. About all we could do was hit them and back up and they would get us surrounded all the time.
Note: letter from PFC Donald Luedtke, U.S. Army 24th Division.  7222 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Army TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS, Colonel Morris's, on the Heights of Harlem, September 24, 1776. Sir: From the hours allotted to Sleep, I will borrow a few Moments to convey my thoughts on sundry important matters to Congress. I shall offer them, with that sincerity which ought to characterize a man of candour; and with the freedom which may be used in giving useful information, without incurring the imputation of presumption.
  8809 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam How does one become a combat field historian? You would think the combat field historian would be an individual who had a great love of history, studied history or was a history major in college. Those would certainly be ideal prerequisites in a peacetime scenario when you were searching for the ideal candidate.
Note: by Commander Anthony R. DeMarco, USN  17620 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Korea It was sometime in March 1950, when my Brother, Spencer Walter (Walt) Welsh announced to the family that he was going to join the Army, As he was only 17 years old and did not have a profession decided for himself and jobs in York, Pennsylvania were few and far between, he said he wanted to better himself.
Note: by Jay Welsh  7552 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Revolutionary War Teaogo, Sept. 30, 1779. Sir: -- In mine of the 30th ultimo to His Excellency George Washington, and by him transmitted to Congress, I gave an account of the victory obtained by this army over the enemy at Newtown, on the 29th August. I now do myself the honor to inform Congress of the progress of this army, and the most material occurrences which have since taken place.
Note: by Gen. John Sullivan  7651 Reads  Printer-friendly page



War of 1812 United States' Frigate Constitution, off Boston Light, 30 August 1812.
I have the honour to inform you, that on the 19th instant, at 2 PM being in latitude 41, 42, longitude 55, 48, with the CONSTITUTION under my command, a sail was discovered from the mast-head bearing E. by S. or E.S.E. but at such a distance we could not tell what she was. All sail was instantly made in chase, and soon found we came up with her.
Note: by Captain Isaac Hull, USN  8995 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I Sun Nov 8th 1914 , Blantyre St.,Bishopmill Dear Annie, Just a few lines to let you know that I am always in the land of living & keeping well hoping this will find you all the same at home I got up here friday & going back Tuesday not much time but better than nothing.
Note: letters by James Kay, Regimental Sergeant-Major, No 4 Company of the 16th Battalion Canadian Expeditionary Force, 3rd Brigade, First Canadian Division.   6695 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1711: The Tuscarora Indian War begins with the massacre of 130 settlers in North Carolina.

1711: French troops occupied Rio de Janeiro.

1776: American Captain Nathan Hale is hanged as a spy by the British in New York City.

1789: Russian forces under Aleksandr Suvorov drive the Turkish army under Yusuf Pasha from the Rymnik River, upsetting the Turkish invasion of Russia.

1855: Marines and Seamen landed in the Fiji Islands.

1862: President Abraham Lincoln issues the Emancipation Proclamation.

1864: Union General Philip Sheridan defeats Confederate General Jubal Earlys troops at the Battle of Fishers Hill, in Virginia.

1914: The German cruiser Emden shells Madras.

1918: General Allenby leads the British army against the Turks, taking Haifa and Nazareth, Palestine.

1943: U.S. destroyers and landing craft land Australian troops at Finschhafen, New Guinea.