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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.

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Civil War Near Sharpsburg, MD, September 29, 1862 I have the honor to report the following as some of the results of the battles of South Mountain and Antietam: At South Mountain our loss was 443 killed, 1,806 wounded, and 76 missing; total, 2,325. At Antietam our loss was 2,010 killed, 9,416 wounded, and 1,043 missing total, 12,469. Total loss in the two battles, 14,794.
Note: by Major General George McClellan  8758 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American The most serious loss that I and the regiment could have suffered befell just before we charged. Bucky O'Neill was strolling up and down in front of his men, smoking his cigarette, for he was inveterately addicted to the habit. He had a theory that an officer ought never to take cover - a theory which was, of course, wrong, though in a volunteer organization the officers should certainly expose themselves very fully, simply for the effect on the men; our regimental toast on the transport running, " The officers; may the war last until each is killed, wounded, or promoted."
Note: by Colonel Theodore Roosevelt, Rough Riders,(1st United States Volunteer Infantry).  8256 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II I was 16 years old when war broke out. We heard that Hitler had invaded Poland, and at 11 o'clock on Sunday morning, Sept. 3rd, the Prime Minister, Mr. Neville Chamberlin, broadcasted to the nation that England was now at war with Germany.
  8905 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American I was just closing a letter to my family when I felt the crash of the explosion. It was a bursting, rending, and crashing sound, or roar of immense volume, largely metallic in character. It was succeeed by a metallic sound - probably of falling debris - a trembling and lurching motion of the vessel, then an impression of subsidence, attended by an eclipse of the electirc lights and intense darkness within the cabin.
Note: recounted by Captain Charles D. Sigsbee, USS MAINE, Commanding Officer.  13362 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam Of all those who made up our platoon, Michael Robert Shapard, or "Shap" as he was called, was to become my closest friend. From the time I had joined the unit at Ft. Hood, it was Shap I had been instantly drawn to, likely because it was he who had made me feel truly welcome at the time of my awkward infusion into the Platoon. Having under gone training with my new unit's sister battalion the 2nd Battalion (Mechanized), 50th Infantry, I wouldn't report into the 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 50th Infantry until after the standard 2 week deployment leave.
Note: by William Moore, B Company, 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 50th Infantry  10790 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War I was sleeping in a large barn a short distance from camp, when I was awakened by the bugle sounding "Boots and Saddles". I aroused the other boys with me, hastened to camp, & fell into line, where we learned that the rebels were advancing in force, and that our pickets had been driven in.
Note: by George Jenvy, 2nd Virginia Cavalry, in a letter to his father.  6768 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I 4th. - 6th. Nov. Very busy time. Had splendid row with C.O. in which he got it rather hotly from me, for all that he could say at the end was that I was not to teach him his business. If he had had any gumption he would have sent me back to my company.
Note: by Robert Lindsay Mackay, 11th Battalion of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.  9838 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam I flew several of these missions, and we always got secondary explosions and almost never needed the OV10's or snakes to light off the drop. It seemed as if the barrels rupturing and scrapping together created a good fuse and light off. Beyond the Flights mentioned I remember flying a mission in support of the ROK Marines with one CH-53 where we naped Football Island.
Note: by Doug Raupp  8164 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War Memarandum of Events of Basil H Messler's term in the U.S. Ser Arrved in Davenport on the 27th day of February. Put up at the Penn. House and took Dinner and then I went to Lieut Walthams Recruiting office and made out My Inlistment papers in Dupicates and then got permistion of a furlow and was examined by Dr Church and pass examination Then got the Agt, to excep them and got an order to go to Camp McClelands. But did not go that evening went to the theater and then returned to the Hotell and took room No 69 in co. with Sergts Grooms & Allsop.
Note: by Basil H. Messler, Mississippi Marine Brigade  17081 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam Over the years I have put most of the bad memories of Nam to the back of my mind and tried to forget them. Occasionally, one will come back. Any other time I would start out by saying Once Upon a Time or No Shit Man as I would make up a bullshit war story. But, this time I am going to start out by saying, to the best of my recollection the following did happen.
Note: by Larry Weisbarth, A 1/502nd Airborne Infantry, 67-68   9685 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I I bade farewell to my right leg, and to my career as a soldier, outside a trench at Gheluvelt, near Ypres, on October 29th, 1914. In the First Battle of Ypres the British were out-numbered by seven to one. On the previous evening we took over trenches, not deep or elaborate ones, from an English regiment.
Note: by Sergeant J. F. Bell, 2nd Gordon Highlanders  11417 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam The Short Range Ambush Platoon was organized as a small force whose primary mission was night ambush. SRAP was capable of operating independently without the support of any other elements. I can't speak for the entire platoon, but during my time, to my knowledge SRAP was Ranger led, and ably so. The first group was selected by SFC Jay Holloway from the battalion on an individual basis.
Note: by John Smerdon, 1/50 Infantry  9472 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam On 22 July 1968, the First Brigade of the 5th. Infantry Division [Mechanized], left Fort Carson, Colorado, under the command of Colonel Richard Glikes. Forward elements of the Brigade had been shipped out earlier to stake our claim to I-Corps. The heavy stuff, tanks and APCs and the likes had been shipped out in May and June. For the rest of us, we were to fly all the way. The last movie I saw on post was Elvira Madigan.
Note: by M.J.M. Raffin  17360 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War On the 8th of November, 1864, at 2 o'clock A.M., Captain Turner, of the Sixteenth Iowa, Captain Strang, of the Thirtieth Illinois, Lieutenant Laird, of the Sixteenth Iowa, and myself, made our escape through the guard lines at "Camp Surghum," near Columbia, South Carolina, with a view of making our way to the gunboats near the mouth of the Edisto river.
Note: by Captain W. W. McCarty.  8286 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam February 24, 1969
Hi,
Sorry I haven't written in a while. We just got back from an operation yesterday, and it's been a very busy 2 weeks. We went down to a place called Dodge City and there is buku gooks (there). We got choppered in.
Note: By Mike Bailey, 3rd Battalion 1st Marines Mike Company.  7990 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1248: The city of Seville, France, surrenders to Ferdinand III of Castile after a two-year siege.

1863: Union forces win the Battle of Orchard Knob, Tennessee.

1863: The Battle of Chattanooga, Tennessee, one of the most decisive battles of the American Civil War, begins.

1934: The United States and Great Britain agree on a 5-5-3 naval ratio, with both countries allowed to build five million tons of naval ships while Japan can only build three. Japan will denounce the treaty.

1940: President Franklin D. Roosevelt appoints Admiral William D. Leahy as U.S. Ambassador to Vichy France to try to prevent the French fleet and naval bases from falling into German hands.

1940: Romania signs the Tripartite Pact, officially allying itself with Germany, Italy, and Japan.

1941: U.S. troops move into Dutch Guiana to guard the bauxite mines.

1943: U.S. Marines declare the island of Tarawa secure.

1950: A battalion from the Netherlands joined the U.N. forces in Korea. Better known as the "Dutch Battalion," it was attached to the U.S. 2nd Infantry Division. The battalion first saw action on Feb. 12, 1951, in the major battle at Wonju, suffering more than 100 casualties and losing its commander.

1970: Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird discloses the November 21 U.S. raid on the North Vietnamese prison camp at Son Tay. The raid was conducted almost flawlessly, but no prisoners of war were found in the camp.