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A bold general may be lucky, but no general can be lucky unless he is bold.

-- Field Marshal Archibald Percival Wavell

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 General Bragg having evacuated Kentucky, the Federal troops under command of General Rosecrans had been concentrated about Nashville and Bragg's army around Murfreesboro. Only about 25 miles lay between the two armies. So about the last of December Rosecrans advanced on Murfreesboro sufficiently near to offer battle. So on the morning of 31st December we accepted the challenge and at them we went.
Note: by Captain W.P. Howell, 25th Alabama, Company I  10050 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I I remember the first occasion when I was called upon to go over the top. It was during the Somme "do," where our battalion had already been in some nasty business near the Briqueterie and Trones Wood. I heard about the Third Company's experiences in Trones Wood during my recovery from an overdose of rum, and I was new enough a soldier to feel the strain on my heart-strings when I realized that rum stupor had saved me from participation.
Note: by Fred Ball  9012 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I NEW ZEALAND, or Aote‚-roa (The Long White Cloud), as it was called by the ancient Maori inhabitants, that fertile, beautiful country, lying in its loneliness in the Pacific Ocean some twelve hundred miles from huge Continental Australia, did not hesitate, after the outbreak of war, to take up its share of the Empire's burdens, and by August 29th, 1914, the Samoan Expeditionary Force, consisting entirely of New Zealand troops, had captured Samoa, the crown of Germany's possessions in the Southern Pacific.
Note: by Lt.-Col. C. H. Weston, D.S.O., LL.B. (N.Z.)  10151 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  8002 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II Our gun batteries were equipped with M7 track vehicles in the States, long before we deployed overseas! The M105 howitzers were mounted on the M7 with very minor modifications, and very little addtional training was needed, other than the driver and assitant driver, for this new and unique addition to the 29th. All of the other crew responsiblities remained essentially the same as if it were a trail drawn howitzer.
Note: by Irving Smolens, B Bty, 29th Field Artillery  10886 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam Any other time, the scenery would be described as beautiful. The perfectly aligned rows of rubber trees in the Michelin Rubber Planation appeared as a giant formal garden of some English Lord's Manor. The towering trees rose thirty feet or more; and as they reached for the sun, they created a strange environment under their carpet of leaves. Occasionally you would see underbrush, but for the most part, just well maintained rubber trees yielding their thick, dirty, milk-gravy sap which seemed to crawl as it moved from the tap into the container.
Note: by Edward J. Domaleski Jr., 25th Infantry Division  9225 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War

February the 15th, 1863
Camp In Field, Mo
Dearest One I have the pleaser to write a few lines to you which I hope will come safe to hand and find you all well and injoying good health I have wrote a good many letters to you lateley and have received very few from you that is lately I wrote two a week for three weeks I have got three for the Last four weeks I think that all our Leters don't go through the Health of rigement is very good at present time.

  8197 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War Looking off into the distance you see the enemy’s regimental and national flags fluttering in the breeze. Suddenly sheets of flame surrounded by white puffs of smoke erupt from cannon tubes.
  8421 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam Thirty years ago I came tumbling out of the sky in my rotary winged aircraft. Struck by fiery rockets that caused a fatal hemorrhaging of vital fluids. Barely able to control her flight I flew to what I hoped was a clear and safe site. On short final she gave up all she had and started the inevitable slip to the right.
Note: by Bill Beardall  7540 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Korea On June 10th 1952 I crawled onto a crew bus at K-8 Korea for the ride to the Operations tent for my first mission with my new navigator. Captain Black, another B-26 pilot, was already on board and we discussed his mission status while on the way to the flight line.
Note: by James Willard Braly, 13th Bomb Squadron.  7646 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam In May 1969, I was transferred from 229th Aviation Unit to HHC 1st Bn. 8th Cav. Upon arrival at the 8th Cav, I met a friend, named Preston Taylor. We had completed our Advanced Individual Training together at Fort Sam Houston to become Medics. Preston had just arrived in South Vietnam from the States.
Note: by John D. Dennison.  9207 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War Headquarters, 1st Brig., 3d Div. 6th Ar.
Near Gaines Mills
June 4, 1864
Dear Ha: I have just received a letter from you and as a mail will leave in an hour or two, I hasten to answer. We are behind entrenchments, holding a position which we have just taken from the enemy. Bullets, as I write, are flying in all directions, and wounded and dead men pass me continually.
Note: Letter from Chas. Leonard to his father in the trenches, Virginia countryside near Richmond, Va.  9112 Reads  Printer-friendly page



POW Of course it had to come, Hitler had been seizing all the smaller states and threatening others. So when he marched on Poland it was the last straw, for Britain had warned him that we would not stand idly by, but would go to the aid of Poland. It was the 3rd September 1939, and I was digging air-raid shelters when I heard that we were at war with Germany; and it was only the day before, that I had received my calling up papers, so it looked as though I would be in for some excitement.
Note: by Private W.C. LAW, ( 5186223 ), 2 Gloucester Regt.  11664 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  11207 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II June 6, 1944
Several planes have passed over us, C-47's Which too - Paratroop's in. As far as you can see there are L.S.Ts. & L.C. Vs. Two Planes were shot down, Unidentified. Lot of A.A. fire ahead. Everything has been quiet for past two hours Searchlights on Beach at 045.
Note: by Seaman 3rd Class George A. Wehrle, aboard the heavy cruiser USS TUSCALOOSA  9216 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1601: The Treaty of Lyons ends a short war between France and Savoy.

1865: General William T. Shermans army is rained in at Savannah, Georgia, as it waits to begin marching into the Carolinas.

1944: Operation Panther, the Allied invasion of Cassino, in central Italy, is launched.

1945: Soviet troops liberate the Polish capital from German occupation. Warsaw had surrendered to the Germans on September 27, 1939.



1951: Eighth Army re-entered Suwon. This was the most favorable entry in Eighth Armys journal since the Chinese intervention in the war in late November 1950.

1961: In his farewell address to the nation, President Dwight D. Eisenhower warns the American people to keep a careful eye on what he calls the "military-industrial complex" that has developed in the post-World War II years. A fiscal conservative, Eisenhower had been concerned about the growing size and cost of the American defense establishment since he became president in 1953.

1966: A B-52 bomber collides with KC-135 jet tanker over Spains Mediterranean coast, dropping three 70-kiloton hydrogen bombs near the town of Palomares and one in the sea. None of the bombs were armed, but explosive material in two of the bombs that fell to earth exploded upon impact, forming craters and scattering radioactive plutonium over the fields of Palomares.

1971: Led by South Vietnamese Lt. Gen. Do Cao Tri, and with U.S. air support and advisers, some 300 paratroopers raid a communist prisoner of war camp near the town of Mimot in Cambodia on information that 20 U.S. prisoners were being held there. They found the camp empty, but captured 30 enemy soldiers and sustained no casualties.

1991: The Persian Gulf War begins as Coalition planes strike targets in Iraq and Kuwait.