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Military Quotes

Do not interfere with an army that is returning home. When you surround an army, leave an outlet free. Do not press a desperate foe too hard.

-- 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.


World War I The members of my family - that of Richthofen - have taken no very great part in wars until now. The Richthofens have always lived in the country; indeed, there has scarcely been one of them without a landed estate, and the few who did not live in the country have, as a rule, entered the State service. My grandfather and all my ancestors before him had estates about Breslau and Striegau. Only in the generation of my grandfather it happened that the first Richthofen. his cousin, became a General.
Note: by Captain von Richthofen (The Red Baron)  8816 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Revolutionary War Sept. 8, 1781.
I have the honour to inform your Excellency, that the transports with the detachment of troops under my orders anchored on the Long Island Shore on the 5th inst. At two o'clock P.M. about ten leagues from New London; and having made some necessary arrangements, weighed anchor at seven o'clock P.M. and stood for New London with a fair wind. At one o'clock the next morning we arrived off the harbour, when the wind suddenly shifted to the northward, and it was nine o'clock before the transports could beat in.
Note: Sir Henry Clinton was Commander in Chief of British forces in America at this time.  10021 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War

Pleasant Valley

October 7, 64

Dear sister

I am yet alive but I have been very sick for the last two weeks with the fever and ague but it is broke on me and I am getting quite smart

Note: by Private Miles B. Hodges, Company A, 22nd New York Volunteer Cavalry  9516 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  9844 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Army It is [a] matter of too great notoriety to need any proofs that the arrival of his Majesty's troops in Boston was extremely obnoxious to its inhabitants. They have ever used all means in their power to weaken the regiments, and to bring them into contempt by promoting and aiding desertions, and with impunity, even where there has been the clearest evidence of the fact, and by grossly and falsely propagating untruths concerning them.
Note: by Captain Thomas Preston, 13 march 1770.  10633 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II We set off at dawn from our base, West Island, Cocos, in a 356 Squadron Liberator on our flight to Malaya carrying a great load of medical supplies and comforts for PoWs and civilians. With the Japanese surrender, there are no bombs this time. Guns and armament have been stripped from the aircraft to provide more lift, and the cavernous bays which normally house 500 and 1,000-pounders, now contain dozens of large drop-canisters strapped to chutes.
Note: by John Behague, RAF, 99 Squadron  11362 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War Headquarters Co, B,. 84th Reg.
Blue Springs, Tenn
April 11, 1864
Dear Aunt,
It is with great pleasure that I seat my self to drop you a few lines of pleasure. I am well and harty and hope this may find you the same.
  9355 Reads  Printer-friendly page



POW On April 20, 1945 the Russians were firing artillery into and around the prison forced labor camp near Juderbog, Germany, where I was confined with a number of the privates and PFC’s. The attack including blowing down one of the fences of the compound. As a result, we decided to escape the prison encampment and work our way back to the American lines, which we accomplished in five days, walking cross-country across Germany.
Note: by Pendleton Woods  9606 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  9837 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.  7016 Reads  Printer-friendly page



POW I shall never forget the morning of March 28th, 1918, when I watched our trenches and the familiar landmarks disappear under the intense bombardment of hundreds of minenwerfers - those earthquakes in miniature. I watched and waited in a state of mental numbness or apathy, and at last the bit reserved for me hit me in the head. When I took a further interest in matters I was a prisoner.
Note: by Rifleman Victor Denham, London Rifle Brigade  15168 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I "Tomorrow we shall march on Paris!" Thus we expressed ourselves to the commander of the Third Battalion of the French line Infantry Regiment No. 2, which, driven to the Marne by our briskly attacking grenadiers, was forced to surrender, 800 men strong, on the evening of May 30th.
Note: by Kurt Hesse, fighting grenadier regiment No. 5, 36th Infantry Division  10487 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I 15/8/14. War declared on August 4th. 1914, so went to depot and enlisted. Told them I had my parent's consent, so was passed to go into camp the following week. I then thought it was time I told Father and Mother. Father was very angry, and had me rejected, as I was only 19 years old. Also he thought I was not strong enough, having a weak shoulder. I waited until September 25th. 1915, and then enlisted again. Being of age, I did not need any consent, and all my pals were going way, so I signed on for duration, and four months after. - I got through the medical test O.K. and was told to report at Sturt St. on 2nd. October 1915.
Note: by Kenneth Sydney Day  15272 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II Many stories of World War II combat missions in B-17s over Europe have been written. Rarely did any of these tell much about the planning, briefing, organization of the formations, form up and what happened after the planes returned to their bases. This mission was chosen to document for the casual readers to profile a typical combat mission in those days.
Note: by Marshall B. Shore, Lt. Colonel, USAF  8926 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam 20 Oct 68
Dear everybody,
Well it's another rainy day in Vietnam. When they say its been known to rain 40 days and nights you can believe it.

Today I had to fill sandbags and build a bunker where a mortar round came in last night. No big worry. It was at least 300 yards away. That's for really!
  8279 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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