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I had rather have a plain, russet-coated Captain, that knows what he fights for, and loves what he knows, than that you call a Gentle-man and is nothing else.

-- Oliver Cromwell

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 II September 25, 1943 was an unforgettable day. It was the day I received my notice to appear at the county court house in Hyattsville, Maryland for my induction into the army. And from there the other inductees and I were taken by bus to Fort Meade, Maryland where we were given uniforms and clothing.
  7329 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I France 16th June 1917.
Dear Mother & Father,
Please forgive me for making such a wide gap since I last wrote for truly it has been impossible. Since my last letter of the 2nd, our division has been through the fire and is now resting, resting as victors and as men who have done their bit. I feel at a loss to give an account of myself and of events generally during the past two weeks, for such a poor pen as mine cannot compass the tremendous events the awe-inspiring sights and the terrible ordeals which we have seen and gone through.
Note: by Len Newton, Sapper, 3rd Division Signal Coy, A.I.F.  7073 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II The 29th Field Artillery Battalion, along with the 8th Infantry Regiment, made up the 8th Combat Team of the 4th Infantry Division, whose mission was to make the H-Hour landing on Utah Beach. A, B, and C batteries had been equiped with M-7 armored 105mm howitzers, instead of conventional truck-drawn artillery pieces which were standard issue for infantry divisions. Each gun battery was equipped with 4 guns.
Note: by Irving Smolens, B Bty, 29th FA Battalion  6371 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam The year was 1967. We frequently received incoming RPG or mortars rounds at Cu Chi, RVN. The siren would go off, we would suddenly hear the 'plump - plump' of mortars or the flittering noise of the RPGs followed by their exposion and we would charge off to hit the bunkers.
Note: by Don Patrick  6076 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Revolutionary War 1775 January. - At the precise period when my medical studies and education are completed, under the patronage of Dr. Abner Hersey of Barnstable, and I am contemplating the commencement of a new career in life, I find our country about to be involved in all the horrors of a civil war. A series of arbitrary and oppressive measures, on the part of the mother-country, has long been advancing to that awful crisis, when an appeal to the power of the sword becomes inevitable.
Note: by James Thacher, M.D., Surgeon in the American Army  17921 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American I am not quite sure where Major Eskridge’s wound is so do not guess at it. V.

Shrewsbury N.J.
July 14, 98
My dear Mrs. Helmick,
I have been sent home with a broken leg to get ready for Puerto Rico. I am not writing this to tell you about myself, but about the rest of the reg’t, which I know will be good news to most of you.
Note: The 10th U.S. Infantry took part in the action at San Juan Hill, on the far west end of the line.  6464 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II On 15 December 1941 I was detached from the U.S. Naval School of Aviation Medicine, Pensacola, Florida, destined to eventually join the crew of USS Yorktown. After a short cruise in USS Hornet and her plane guard USS Noa (DD-343) in the Atlantic, I drove across country by auto to San Diego and served briefly in Aircraft Scouting Force Pacific, Transition Training Squadron.
Note: by LT Joseph P. Pollard, MC, USN, Medical Officer on board USS Yorktown (CV-5)  8524 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Army December 21st., 1915: Good-bye France, you have given me some sleepless nights, and many a hard day's work. I very much regret leaving you for foreign parts, but some day I shall return to you and go over all the ground again; no doubt it will recall many sad recollections.
Note: diary of Lt. Edwin Evan Jones.  10686 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  10124 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II Seven weeks after the Normandy landings on 6 June 1944, the British and Canadian divisions of the Second Army had secured the ancient but totally devastated city of Caen. Their further progress was now being held up by fanatical resistance from Germany's crack Fifth Panzer Army, holding favourable ground to the south and south-east of the city. The time had arrived for Operation Goodwood.
Note: by John Clulow  6807 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I Friday, January 1 1915
Old Drill dispensed with in place of platoon drill, adopted by the Imperial Army. Mail arrives from Australia dated 4.11.1914. Troops presented with chocolates and cigarettes from the Aust. War Contingent, London.
Note: Sam Weingott, born 1892, died on active service 5th June 1915.   12480 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War There are few things connected with the operations against Fort Donelson so relieved of uncertainty as this: that when General Grant at Fort Henry became fixed in the resolution to undertake the movement, his primary object was the capture of the force to which the post was intrusted. To effect their complete environment, he relied upon Flag-Officer Foote, whose astonishing success at Fort Henry justified the extreme of confidence.
Note: by General Lew Wallace  8253 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Korea On the 14 November 1952, the Commonwealth Div's sector was moved sideways to the west, one battalion position. The 1st Bn, The Black Watch relieved the 7th US Marines on the infamous Hook feature. The Marine Commanding Officer who was totally disillusioned with the position's vulnerability gave the Scots 24 hours before being pushed off. Four nights later at 2100hrs 18 November, the Chinese struck. The Black Watch held with the assistance of the New Zealand gunners.
Note: by Bruce Matthews, 16th Field Regiment  9876 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam Any officers (former or present) that would challenge the contention that relying on "Sarge" was a smart thing to do? I was an NCO during my tour of RVN and occasionally served as platoon sergeant so naturally I agree with the above. Amazed that OCS, ROTC, West Point didn't drive it into the heads of young lieutenants to "listen to experience."
Note: by Craig E. Thompson   6004 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I Front, Aug. 9, 1918
Dear Uncle Clem:
I know you must be waiting anxiously for a letter from me and wondering why I have not written before. Ever since July 15, the day of Clem's death, and the opening of the German offensive which we turned into defeat, we have been on the go night and day, and a good share of the time have been used as infantry.
Note: W.A. Thompson, Jr served with the Rainbow Division of Engineers in France.  5991 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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