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Military Quotes

The difficulty of tactical maneuvering consists in turning the devious into the direct, and misfortune into gain.

-- Sun Tzu

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.


World War I We had a new man at the periscope, on this afternoon in question; I was sitting on the fire step, cleaning my rifle, when he called out to me: 'There's a sort of greenish, yellow cloud rolling along the ground out in front, it's coming ---
Note: By Arthur Empey, an American enlisted in the British Army.
First introduced by the Germans, gas warfare was soon embraced by all the combatants. By the end of the war, one in four of the artillery shells fired on the Western Front contained gas.
  7201 Reads  Printer-friendly page



War of 1812 Detroit, 4 August 1812
Sir-I take the earliest opportunity to acquaint your excellence of the surrender of Michillimackinac, under my command to His Britannic majesty's forces under the command of Captain Charles Roberts, on the 17th ult-the particulars of which are as follows:
Note: by Lieutenant Porter Hanks to Brigadier-General Hull.  8885 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American During the year preceding the outbreak of the Spanish War I was Assistant Secretary of the Navy. While my party was in opposition, I had preached, with all the fervor and zeal I possessed, our duty to intervene in Cuba, and to take this opportunity of driving the Spaniard from the Western World.
Note: by Lt. Colonel Theodore Roosevelt, 1st Volunteer Cavalry  17753 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II Somebody got the bright idea that I should go to a summer camp--- a summer military camp-- in June 1939, conducted by the U. S. Army. In due course I was enlisted/enrolled in the Basic program of the Citizens Military Training Camps at Vancouver Barracks in Vancouver, Washington. That was where my training as an infantry foot soldier began at age 15. We spent 30 days there in Vancouver and underwent intensive basic infantry training provided by soldiers of the Regular Army 3rd Division.
Note: by Charles W. Crary  23273 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War

Rome Ga Nov 10th 1864

During the last two weeks we have been expecting "marching orders". More than a week since we rec'd orders to prepare for a "long arduous & successful campaign".

Note: by Cornelius C. Platter, 81st Ohio Infantry  22103 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.  6730 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam At the very end of June 1967 we arrived at Tan Son Nhut Air Base, Vietnam. From there we took a bus ride to Camp Alpha. The bus ride was a bit odd. There was barbed wire on the opened windows. Someone asked the driver, “Why the barbed wire?” We were told that sometimes the V.C. liked to throw hand grenades into any American bus and the wire was a preventative measure.
Note: by Thomas Andrzejczyk, Co. "C" 4th/23 Mech Infantry, 25th Division  9679 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War I, with about five hundred other prisoners of war, arrived at Elmira about the first of August, 1864, after a confinement of forty five days at Point Lookout. I spent the first day in a thorough examination of my new abode, and its advantages as a home until fortune would release me from its durance. It contained several acres of ground, enclosed by a plank fence about fourteen feet high; some three feet from the top on the outside ran a narrow footway, or parapet, of plank, supported by braces.
Note: by Sergeant G. W. D. Porter, 44th Tenn. Infantry Regiment, CSA  6701 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Navy It was a normal day. I reported to work, started logging into the computer, checking e-mails, taking phone calls, talking with the office about what was going on. Then someone heard about the happenings at the World Trade Center - the first plane. We were able to watch the live video and started hearing the reports. Then we saw the footage of the second aircraft coming into the second tower.
Note: by Lieutenant Commander David Tarantino, MC, USN  12661 Reads  Printer-friendly page



POW If I had known what was in store for me on the day I was captured, and the 802 days that followed, I would have continued to fight, even though there was no chance of survival. The damaged weapons carrier slid to a halt, and we piled up against the cab. The noise was deafening and we could have been yelling at each other but I don't remember hearing anything but the noise of the mortar rounds.
Note: by SFC George Matta, Sr.  8300 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II 27.4.41 A fast trip with a couple of alarms brought us to Suda Bay, Crete. Arrived about noon and had a 3 mile walk to a rest camp. Did not enjoy it. 30.4.41 Today we received permission to send a cable advising "All well". I hope it reaches its destination in double quick time. Many times during the last few weeks we have realised how much the people in N.Z. must have been worrying, particularly on Anzac Day.
Note: by Alan Jackson, 5th Field Regiment  5974 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  7042 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam As a member of the 377th Combat Security Police at Tan Son Nhut, Viet Nam, during Tet 1968, I worked a bunker several towers down from the 051 Bunker at Gate 051. Tan Son Nhut gates were numbered, 051, 055, 057, etceteras. It's Tet '68, and my combat experience was zip, and Charlie wanted to kick-ass right into my bunker.
Note: by Den Cook  6647 Reads  Printer-friendly page



POW In April, 1945, we awakened every morning to a tremendous, though distant, artillery barrage to the East and Southeast of Barth. We knew that Marshall Rokassofsy’s First Ukrainian Army was attacking across Northern Germany and was getting closer by the day. Our spirits rose at the prospect of being liberated soon. The German guards were increasingly nervous, and a bit more friendly than they had been.
Note: by Maj. Gen. Luther H. Richmond (USAF Ret.), POW at Stalag Luft I, Barth, Germany  8183 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Korea The following is a summation of my recollections of the Korean War while stationed at Kimpo Air Force Base. I was assigned as a radio man to the 45th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron a photo reconnaissance squadron. The squadron flew the World War II P-51's which were actually designated RF-51 (Reconnaissance Fighter) but we always referred to them as P-51's or Mustangs.
Note: by Herbert A (Art) Rideout, Kimpo AFB, Korea 1952, 45th TRS 67th TRW.  9773 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1815: USS Constitution, under Captain Charles Stewart, captures HMS Cyane and sloop-of-war Levant.

1861: The Confederacy Department of Navy is formed.

1864: In the largest battle fought in Florida during the Civil War, a Confederate force under General Joseph Finegan decisively defeats an army commanded by General Truman Seymour. The victory kept the Confederates in control of Florida's interior for the rest of the war.

1865: Following the evacuation of Fort Anderson, Rear Admiral Porter's gunboats steamed seven miles up the Cape Fear River to the Big Island shallows and the piling obstructions and engaged Fort Strong's five guns.

1941: The U.S. sent war planes to the Pacific. General George C. Kenney pioneered aerial warfare strategy and tactics in the Pacific theater.

1942: Franklin D. Roosevelt authorized the internment of Japanese Americans on the West Coast.

1942: Japanese drive off a carrier based task force led by the American aircraft carrier Lexington which attempts to attack Rabaul.

1943: British and American units hold the German attack on Sbiba.

1944: American carrier aircraft from Task Group 58.1 (Admiral Reeves) attack Japanese targets in Jaluit Atoll. The fighting on Eniwetok continues. The nearby island of Parry is shelled by US naval forces.

1944: A ferry carrying a stock of heavy water on the first stage of a journey from the Ryukan hydroelectric plant to laboratories in Germany is sunk and her cargo lost in attack by Norwegian resistance fighters.