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Library of Congress

Military Quotes

There is many a boy here today who looks on war as all glory, but, boys, it is all hell.

-- General William T. Sherman

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 V-Mail , June 1944:

Dear Mom,
"The O.W.I. has given you more information about the historic D-Day than we could hope to include in one letter.
  3962 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Gulf War NBC. Nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. These were some of the most thought about things in the blast furnace of Iraq. Not that we did not have other things to think about but the idea of a virus that could live 3-5 days in the desert environment was not something to take lightly.
Note: by David  9316 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam It began with a bit of a buzz over the mortaring the night before and the normal scuttle butt as information slowly emerged as to damage and casualties. Willie and I where a bit hung over we had a party in our tent the night before when the mess closed, and had a few over the prescribed 2 cans per day (so did the company HQ radio ops who where with us).
Note: by Murray Broomhall, Delta Company 6 RAR  6501 Reads  Printer-friendly page



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  6857 Reads  Printer-friendly page



War of 1812 I was born in Pittsford, Otsego County, New York, on the 24th of September 1799. I am the son of Joseph Hanks, whose father's name was William, who lived in the green mountains of Vermont, and whose progenitors emigrated from Holland. My mother's maiden name was Anna Frary and her descent is traced to "the pilgrims".
  6510 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I It was on a cool, starlit evening, early in September, 1916, that I first met Drew of Massachusetts, and actually began my adventures as a prospective member of the Escadrille Americaine. We had sailed from New York by the same boat, had made our applications for enlistment in the Foreign Legion on the same day, without being aware of each other's existence; and in Paris, while waiting for our papers, we had gone, every evening, for dinner, to the same large and gloomy-looking restaurant in the neighborhood of the Seine.
Note: by James Hall, Lafayette Escadrille, 94th pursuit squadron  6047 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam In May of 1967, and as a young Marine PFC aboard the USS Okinawa (LPH-3), attached to the 1st Bn. 3rd Marines, RLT 26, I was already years older than my chronological number of 19. Our Battalion had been using this ship as a Combat Assault Base since we left Khe Shan in late February.
Note: As remembered by PFC Joseph C. Connelly, Alpha Co., Ist Bn 3rd Marines.  4696 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I The visit of an English squadron for the Kiel Week in June, 1914, seemed to indicate a desire to give visible expression to the, fact that the political situation had eased. Although we could not suppress a certain feeling of doubt as to the sincerity of their intentions, everyone on our side displayed the greatest readiness to receive the foreign guests with hospitality and comradeship.
Note: by Admiral Reinhard Scheer, Commander German High Seas Fleet  18227 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I Turmoil and confusion are everywhere. Troops, baggage, and all the litter of war, lumbers up every available space. R.T. Officers are here, there, and everywhere. They sort us out, guide, and lead us to our trains. We file in. Where are we going? No one knows. Where's the 8th? Where's the 7th? Where's the 6th? Where is any regiment?
Note: by Private Alfred Grosch, 8th London  6197 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by the Seventeenth Regiment in the action of Groveton, or Bull Run, on Saturday, August 30, 1862:
Note: This battle report of the Second Battle of Bull Run was filed by Major Grower from his sickbed as he was recovering from his wounds received during the charge. Many of the names mentioned in this report are from Rockland County, NY.   5296 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  4561 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam A couple of hours before sunset, any commander worth his salt got very serious about first, selecting and second, preparing a place for his outfit to spend the night. Nobody from higher headquarters was going to do this for you; battalion staffs and commanders were in fire bases, protected by other companies out of prepared bunkers, complete with wire, mines, defensive artillery fires already plotted, ready access to armed helicopters should the need arise, and so on.
Note: by Richard Guthrie, 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 50th Infantry  7426 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.  3759 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Iraq It was 3:00 A.M.. Although the sun’s rays had retreated hours before, its hot breath refused to dissipate from the steppes of Kuwait’s Ad Dibdibah plain. The heat attacked us from all sides. Airborne sandy powder hung above us and dimmed lights as if in a London fog.
Note: by Richard L. Klingler, MD LTC MC USAR, U.S. Army 310th MP Battalion  6272 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War Fitchburg, Sept. 17, 1919. The first experience of a soldier is camp life. O! the sweet memories of departed days, how they rise up before us; the ups and downs, the drills, the dress parades, skirmish, rally by fours, guard against infantry, guard against cavalry, the barracks, the bunks, the rations-how they stare us in the face as we look back to the first few days we were in camp in the town of Groton, near the Peterboro and Shirley Railroad, at a place called Camp Stevens.
Note: by Joel A. Stratton, Captain of Company C, Fifty-third Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers, 1862-1863.  7175 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1759: British forces seize Basse-Terre and Guadeloupe from France.

1865: Union cavalry units continue to skirmish with Confederate forces in Henderson, North Carolina and Munsford Station, Alalbama.

1924: The U.S. Senate passes the Soldiers Bonus Bill.

1942: In retaliation for the British raid on Lubeck, German bombers strike Exeter and later Bath, Norwick, York, and other "medieval-city centres." Almost 1,000 English civilians are killed in the bombing attacks nicknamed "Baedeker Raids."

1945: The Soviet Army fights its way into Berlin.

1950: Chiang Kai-shek evacuates Hainan, leaving mainland China to Mao Zedong and the communists.

1975: At a speech at Tulane University, President Gerald Ford says the Vietnam War is finished as far as America is concerned. This was devastating news to the South Vietnamese, who were desperately pleading for U.S. support as the North Vietnamese surrounded Saigon for the final assault on the capital city.