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Military Quotes

The art of war is of vital importance to the State. It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin. Hence it is a subject of inquiry which can on no account be neglected.

-- 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.


Civil War After ten o'clock at night, on the 2nd of April, 1862, while in my office as adjutant-general of the Confederate army assembled at Corinth, a telegram was brought to me from General Cheatham, commanding an outpost on our left flank at Bethel, on the Mobile and Ohio railway, some twenty odd miles northward of Corinth. General Cheatham had addressed it to General Polk, his corps commander, informing him that a Federal division, under General Lew Wallace, had been manoeuvring in his proximity during the day.
Note: by Thomas Jordan  6860 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.
  4456 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  4223 Reads  Printer-friendly page



War of 1812 Head Quarters 7h. M. District
Lines below New Orleans
8h Jany 1815. 3 Oclock
Sir,
I have recd. your dispatch of this date. The Army which I have the honor to command have used every exertion to afford relief to the wounded of your Army, even at the constant risque of their lives, your men, never intermitting their fire during such exertions.
Note: by Andrew Jackson, Major General, Commander Seventh Military District  8093 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  7146 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  4114 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I Before reaching Louvain we bivouacked near a large well-built village, and here we had the wettest and merriest evening in the whole campaign. Some of our battalion water-carriers discovered a wine-cellar in the village. On going into a cellar they noticed a stack of fagots, and guessed that they were put there with a purpose. The fagots were quickly cleared away, and behind them appeared a door.
Note: by Captain Henry Huebner  11167 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.  4291 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I 20. 1. 1916
Troopship Runic embarked at 6.15 a.m. put out into mid-stream at 9 a.m. had dinner was paid one pound and afterwards went on deck. Mother and Rose with Doris was out in the launch to see me weigh anchor at 20 min to 4 o’clock. Cleared the heads at 4 p.m. Last of dear old Manly for a while. All’s well everything O.K.
Note: No. 3769, 19th Battalion, AIF  4549 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  4196 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I The steamer appeared to be close to us and looked colossal. I saw the captain walking on his bridge, a small whistle in his mouth. I saw the crew cleaning the deck forward, and I saw, with surprise and a slight shudder, long rows of wooden partitions right along all decks, from which gleamed the shining black and brown backs of horses.
Note: by Adolf K.G.E. von Spiegel  5303 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II Pearl Harbor occurred about six months after I graduated from High School. I believe we all were aware it would change our lives and the things we believed in but none of us knew how much. It placed restraints on our lives. We wanted to keep on working and enjoying our new found freedom of being out of school and yet we were all moved by feelings of duty to the country and many of my friends joined the service.
Note: by William H. Gieske, 172nd Field Artillery Battalion.  5296 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Coast Guard June 1942
Captain Magnusson (if not an enemy in disguise), is the most encouraging piece of equipment on board. The man is a tough, powerful, stubborn-looking Norwegian (so we hear). He is said to have been born and raised in Iceland. We would later learn he owns a fleet of fishing trawlers similar to the Nanok.
Note: by Thaddeus D. Novak, Greenland Patrol, 1942  13810 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).  4176 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II Canadian Army Overseas
March 5/44
. . . Well we have arrived safely as you may have guessed from the cablegram. Although at that time it was impossible to say anything and isn't much more possible now. We had a very quiet uneventful trip, wasn't even sea sick but had a few hours when it was very hard to keep food down but that was the first day and night out.
Note: These letters were all written to his wife, Beth, who was caring for their two young daughters.  4284 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1775: In Massachusetts, British troops march out of Boston on a mission to confiscate the Patriot arsenal at Concord and to capture Patriot leaders Samuel Adams and John Hancock, known to be hiding at Lexington. As the British departed, Boston Patriots Paul Revere and William Dawes set out on horseback from the city to warn Adams and Hancock and rouse the Patriot minutemen.

1847: U.S. forces defeat Mexicans at Cerro Gordo in one of the bloodiest battle of the war.

1864: At Poison Springs, Arkansas, Confederate soldiers under the command of General Samuel Maxey capture a Union forage train and slaughter black troops escorting the expedition.

1885: The Sino-Japanese war ends.

1943: Traveling in a bomber, Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, the mastermind of the attack on Pearl Harbor, is shot down by American P-38 fighters.

1983: A suicide bomber kills U.S. Marines at the U.S. Embassy in Lebanon.