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You must love soldiers in order to understand them, and understand them in order to lead them.

-- Henri Turenne

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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.

Spanish American The day first of July, at six o'clock in the morning, the enemy army main force commanded by General Shafter, composed at least of 15,000 men, with plenty of modern artillery, without counting the insurrects groups, attacked the lines of the city towards the East and Northeast, that is, El Caney, defended by General Vara de Rey with 520 men and two Plasencia type guns and the position of San Juan, occupied by two companies of 250 soldiers.
Note: by Spanish Navy Officer Josť Muller Tejeira, 1898.  5496 Reads  Printer-friendly page

Spanish American Once through the entrance, as I deemed it wise to keep moving in order not to be taken by surprise when the ships had no headway, and as, at the same time, I did not wish to reach our destination before we had sufficient daylight to show us the position of the Spanish ships, the speed of the squadron was reduced to four knots, while we headed toward the city of Manila.
Note: by Admiral George Dewey  7981 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  8403 Reads  Printer-friendly page

World War I ON May 31st, 1916, the Grand Fleet and the High Sea Fleet fought the action which has become known as the Battle of Jutland. The despatch describing the battle, as published some weeks later, was not quite in its original form as written by me. After a conference held at the Admiralty, early in June, modifications were made : some of them because it was considered that certain passages might convey useful information to the enemy, and others because it was thought to be undesirable to draw attention to certain features of British design.
Note: by Admiral John Rushworth Jellicoe  6188 Reads  Printer-friendly page

Vietnam This was on my very first patrol, my first week in the bush as we moved along a steep ridge. There had been no contact yet, but there was considerable evidence of enemy presence. (We made contact a few days later on an NVA Hospital).
Note: By Steve Boyer   4794 Reads  Printer-friendly page

World War I October 1, 1918 -- Firing and laying around most of the day. Moved up forward during the night and put our guns in position in a sunken road behind Epinay. Raining very hard all night and Fritz was shelling around all night. We had to keep awake all night, Haynecourt Cemetery 5:00
  6448 Reads  Printer-friendly page

World War I Somewhere in France, July 23, 1918
Dear Father and Mother:
I have just finished sewing on my first service stripe, the meaning of which, as you probably know, is six months in foreign service. That number "23" still clings to the Twenty-third Engineers, and is a regular epoch marker.
  5227 Reads  Printer-friendly page

World War I June 27, 1917 I have decided to keep a diary myself as I hear rumored today that all the letters that I spent so much time writing on the boat have gone down on the Lorraine. If it is so, I'm sure disgusted at myself for wasting so much time writing them as the people at home will never know how much I tried to write to them.
Note: by Thomas Edward Shirley  7760 Reads  Printer-friendly page

Spanish American We are out today on the scout on the mountain, about thirty miles from Guantanamo, and probably will not see camp again for about ten days. I have eight men with me, and have made a report of our position and that of the enemy and have sent the same to our captain at Guantanamo.
At present I am under orders of the noted Cuban, General Garcia, and he will give me a guide of ten or twelve Cubans when I return to our camp.
Note: by Marine Sergeant Bloomfield W. Riddle.  6304 Reads  Printer-friendly page

World War II I've not much memory for accurate dates. I know I received my call up papers in early 1939 and with the assistance of Maples, where I was working at the time on MOD work, cutting out and making black out blinds by the hundred, I managed to get a years exemption.
Note: by Frederick James Pearce  6277 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  15114 Reads  Printer-friendly page

World War I Enlisted in regular army April 24th 1917. Left Jackson barricks for Brownsville Texas in the same month, arrive at Gettysburg the latter part of June, and was from 4th transferred to 59th Infantry when it was organized in July. I was Mess Sgt, made Sept. 24 1917 arrived in Charlotte N.C. in Nov 8th 1917. And was transferred to 12 M. G. Bn in Nov 1917.
Note: Diary of Henry J. Tudury, Sgt. CO B. 59 INF 4 Div, DSC-PH.
  5281 Reads  Printer-friendly page

World War II 1/3/43 German radio reported attack on Casablanca the night after we left the area. The supply convoy of 35 ships was probably packed like sardines in the harbor. No dope on damage. Could have been murderous. Apparently we picked the right time to get out of there. Excitement galore today.
  5307 Reads  Printer-friendly page

Spanish American

Santiago De Cuba

July 18, 1898

Dear Parents,

Received your welcome letter and was so glad to find all well. I am in the best of health, but my God, how the men around me suffer! There are 30 to 40 in the Company sick. It is the fever, and I thank God every day that He has spared me so far. He has heard your prayers, my dear Mama. As I have no paper, I will give you a brief sketch of what has happened on the Island and go into details some other time.

  4871 Reads  Printer-friendly page

Airforce On September 8, 1958, two B-52 collided about 1,000' above the eastern approach to the runway at Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane, Washington. The time of the crash was about 1730 hrs (5:30 PM) Pacific Time.

Note: by Richard P. Roberts  14100 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1542: The English defeat the Scots at the Battle of Solway Moss in England.

1863: Union troops capture Lookout Mountain southwest of Chattanooga as they begin to break the Confederate siege of the city. In the "battle above the clouds," the Yankees scaled the slopes of the mountain on the periphery of the Chattanooga lines.

1864: Kit Carson and his 1st Cavalry, New Mexico Volunteers, attack a camp of Kiowa Indians in the First Battle of Adobe Walls.

1939: In Czechoslovakia, the Gestapo execute 120 students who are accused of anti-Nazi plotting.

1944: 111 U.S. B-29 Superfortress bombers raid Tokyo for the first time since Capt. Jimmy Doolittles raid in 1942.

1950: UN troops begin an assault into the rest of North Korea, hoping to end the Korean War by Christmas.

1950: The Chinese special delegation arrives at the U.N. Security Council. Meanwhile, Eighth Army launches its drive to the Yalu River.

1963: Two days after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, President Lyndon B. Johnson confirms the U.S. intention to continue military and economic support to South Vietnam.

1964: The USS Princeton (LPH-5) completes 7-days of humanitarian relief to South Vietnam which suffered damage from typhoon and floods.

1965: In their first significant contacts, U.S. forces and North Vietnamese regulars fought a series of major battles in the Highlands that led to high casualties for both sides. These battles were a portent of things to come as U.S. and North Vietnamese forces began to engage each other on a regular basis shortly thereafter.