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Military Quotes

When war does come, my advice is to draw the sword and throw away the scabbard.

-- General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson

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.


Gulf War One of the things you have to watch out for in the field are tracks. Tracks of any kind can put a real damper on your day when they come rolling across your site without warning. To avoid such confrontations we took special care to build deep and well fortified fighting positions when time allowed.
Note: by David Bailey, A Company, 13th Signal Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division  7697 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.
  9715 Reads  Printer-friendly page



War of 1812 US Ship United States, at Sea, 30 October 1812 I have the honour to inform you, that on the 25th instant, being in the latitude 29, N. longitude 29 30, W. we fell in with, and, after an action of an hour and a half, captured his Britannic Majesty's ship MACEDONIAN, commanded by captain John Carden, and mounting 49 carriage guns (the odd gun shifting.) She is a frigate of the largest class, two years old, four months out of dock, and reputed one of the best sailors in the British service.
Note: by Captain Stephen Decatur, USN  10284 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American USS New York, 3 July 1898 Sir-I have the honor to make the following report upon the battle with and the destruction of the Spanish squadron, commanded by Admiral Cervera, off Santiago de Cuba, on Sunday, July 3, 1898. The enemy's vessels came out of the harbor between 9.35 and 10 AM, the head of the column appearing around Cay Smith at 9.31, and emerging from the channel five or six minutes later.
Note: by Admiral Sampson, USN  8393 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Korea March 22, 1952. I was just 22 years old. Dawn found me on the flight deck of the USS Valley Forge in the Sea of Japan, warming up my Skyraider. As a pilot in Fighter Squadron 194, the "Yellow Devils," I was the standby in case one of the 8 planes scheduled for the morning's flight became inoperative.
Note: by Ken Schecter  8885 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War On the 5th day of April 1862, the army had marching orders and we took up the line of march toward the Tennessee River. Late in the evening we arrived within less than a mile of the enemy camp and put in line of battle where we remained all night with orders for the men to lie on their arms and while it was quite cool weather, fires were all extinguished at nightfall.
Note: by Captain W.P. Howell, 25th Alabama, Company I  11391 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Revolutionary War Sept. 8, 1781.
I have the honour to inform your Excellency, that the transports with the detachment of troops under my orders anchored on the Long Island Shore on the 5th inst. At two o'clock P.M. about ten leagues from New London; and having made some necessary arrangements, weighed anchor at seven o'clock P.M. and stood for New London with a fair wind. At one o'clock the next morning we arrived off the harbour, when the wind suddenly shifted to the northward, and it was nine o'clock before the transports could beat in.
Note: Sir Henry Clinton was Commander in Chief of British forces in America at this time.  9137 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War Camp Near Yorktown April the 19 1862
My Dear Cousin
I write you afew lines to let you know whare we are, we are on the out post the yankees are shooting at our men constantly tho it is very cildom thay hit eny of them, thay havent shot but one man in our Regiment he was shot thursday,
Note: Company D of the 38th Virginia Infantry in Whitmell.   7951 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Korea Herb and I always had the 2 1/2 ton 6x6 loaded with 18 drums of gasoline. We took it to where they told us to. We'd hang around the CP. When we heard there was a fire fight up front we knew that the medics would need the gas for the meat wagons. So that's where we'd go. We called our truck a mobile POL dump. I guess that described it pretty well. We were on the spearhead towards Pyongyang.
Note: by George Wegener  8576 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam One night in late '67 at Marine Quang Tri Forward, I was assigned to generator watch. It is very boring to watch a 500kw Buddha generator generate. We had to keep one generator on-line, because the air strip was finished; and we might need the airfield lighting in an emergency. To ease the boredom, I had been watching a praying mantis approach some unremembered insect so slowly. The motion was almost imperceptible.
Note: by Mike Howard  7497 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II Flying a bombing mission out of Foggia, Italy, off Tortorella US Army Air Field in Italy, during W.W. II, our B-17 caught one hell of a lot of flack. All four engines were still running, but ALL flight instruments failed. We had no airspeed indicator. Since we were returning from the bombing mission in formation, we didn't really need flight instruments except for the approach and landing.
Note: by George Ureke, Lt. Colonel USAF (Ret.).  10946 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War Looking off into the distance you see the enemy’s regimental and national flags fluttering in the breeze. Suddenly sheets of flame surrounded by white puffs of smoke erupt from cannon tubes.
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World War II I got a very low draft number, so I was sure to be called. Instead of waiting to be called and being put into whatever anybody decided to do for me, I decided to try to guide my own destiny a bit. I enlisted in the Navy out of Floyd Bennet Naval Air Station, which was a reserve air station in Brooklyn, New York....I didn't want to be in the Army because I remembered all the stories and the movies about World War I were about people living in trenches.
Note: by Arnold Spring  7769 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II Shortly after joining up we saw this notice on the notice-board looking for volunteers for a "suicide mission." Some brilliant officer had come up with the idea that he would like to form a unit that would go behind the enemy lines at night and blow up the German's tanks while they slept. Imagine that!
Note: by Ronald Arthur Tee, 56th Reconnaissance Regiment, 78th "Battleaxe" Division of the British 1st. Army, 1941-1946.
  6766 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam A cakewalk! That's what Captain K said it was going to be. Just a two day cakewalk through some islands in the rice paddies. All we had to do was link up with the Marines in Hue. Just load up on ammo, take extra grenades, and don't take too many C's because you're not going to be gone that long.
Note: by Lt. Paul Becker, 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry, First Cavalry Division  7609 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1801: The U.S. fleet arrived in Tripoli after Pasha Yusuf Karamanli declared war for being refused tribute.

1861: At Manassas, VA, Gen Beauregard requested reinforcements for his 22,000 men and Gen Johnston was ordered to Manassas.

1862: Congress passed an act which established that "every officer, seaman, or marine, disabled in the line of duty, shall be intitled to receive for life, or during his disability, a pension from the United States."

1862: Twenty Marines from U.S.S. Potomac participated in an expedition up Pascagoula Rivet, Mississippi.

1863: U.S. ram Monarch, with troops embarked, participated in the reoccupation of Hickman, Kentucky, which had been taken by Confederate cavalry 2 days earlier.

1863: The combined attack on Fort Wagner, Charleston harbor, was renewed.

1864: Confederate President Jefferson Davis replaces General Joseph Johnston with John Bell Hood as commander of the Army of Tennessee. Davis, impatient with Johnstons defensive strategy in the Atlanta campaign, felt that Hood stood a better chance of saving Atlanta from the forces of Union General William T. Sherman.

1898: U.S. troops under General William R. Shafter took Santiago de Cuba during the Spanish-American War.

1903: Turks destroy the town of Kastoria in Bulgaria, killing 10,000 civilians.

1927: The first organized dive bombing attack in combat are undertaken by Marine Corps pilots against Nicaraguan bandits who were surrounding U.S. Marine garrison at Ocotal, Nicaragua.