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I had rather have a plain, russet-coated Captain, that knows what he fights for, and loves what he knows, than that you call a Gentle-man and is nothing else.

-- Oliver Cromwell

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 On the evening of the 8th day of October, 1864, there met on Princesses dock, Liverpool, twenty-seven men. They were nearly unacquainted with each other, and knew nothing of their destination. All were officers of the Confederate navy, by commission or warrant, and each had his distinct order to report to this place at the same hour. My commission was that of assistant surgeon.
Note: by Dr. F. J. McNulty  8642 Reads  Printer-friendly page



POW In July of 1944, two of my roommates and myself were asked to join in a tunnel digging project. It seems that the Germans had been seen digging up a seismic type sensor at the fence-line outside of Barracks 6, West Compound and hauling it off for repair. Such sensors were buried all along the perimeter fences and wired into the German “Abwehr” or Security Office in the Vorlager. Thus the Germans were aware of tunnel attempts almost as soon as they were begun.
Note: by Maj. Gen. Luther H. Richmond (USAF Ret.), POW at Stalag Luft I, Barth, Germany  9498 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam In the summer of 1970 I was flying near Football Island and observed an Army CH47 helicopter rolling barrels of what appeared to be fuel off the ramp and then igniting them. It looked like they were trying to burn the grass in the area. On return I thought about what I had seen and came up with the idea of doing something similar.
Note: by Charlie Block  7758 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I July 20, 1918
My own beloved wife
I do not know how to start this letter. The circumstances are different from any under which I ever wrote before. I am not to post it but will leave it in my pocket, if anything happens to me someone will perhaps post it.
Note: by Company Sergeant-Major James Milne.  7455 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I We left Alexandria in Egypt on the 13th and passed through the Aegean Sea to arrive at the island of LEMNOS on the 16th. We spent several days in the Bay where numerous warships and troopships (French and British) were at anchor. I should guess there were 150 or more ships there including the QUEEN ELIZABETH.
Note: letter by 2/469 S.sgt Robert James Wait, New Zealand Artillery, 1NZEF  7409 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Korea I spent only a short time in Korea but my Korean service stands as an important part of my life. I well remember there were times near sunrise when my crew on the west coast and another crew from the 17th Bb Gp on the east coast were the northernmost Americans and stood symbolically alone between Communism and Democracy.
Note: by Charles Hinton  10199 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I 6th May, 1916, signed the enlistment papers after having been previously rejected in 1915. 20th June, left Byron Bay by train to Lismore for the medical examination. This time, Dr Bignell passed me, without even examining me, because he could see that I was eager to enlist and men were badly needed.
Note: by Private Verdi George Schwinghammer  20076 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam From our compound south of Danang a company is detached for security duty north of Danang at the Esso Plant and bridge. One platoon is south of the river and two north at the Esso Plant. Grunts are on the bridge. I'm a radio operator attached for air control to the company from the battalion radio platoon. 3Bn/27th Marines, 1968, I Corps.
Note: by Bruce Dillingham   8238 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam At the very end of June 1967 we arrived at Tan Son Nhut Air Base, Vietnam. From there we took a bus ride to Camp Alpha. The bus ride was a bit odd. There was barbed wire on the opened windows. Someone asked the driver, “Why the barbed wire?” We were told that sometimes the V.C. liked to throw hand grenades into any American bus and the wire was a preventative measure.
Note: by Thomas Andrzejczyk, Co. "C" 4th/23 Mech Infantry, 25th Division  10948 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I Delville Wood is a name, even now, full of sadness and the suppressed agony of thousands who had to make its acquaintance. Probably nearly as many men remained in it as came out of it whole, and no one fortunate to escape from this hell can think of it without recalling hours of suffering and the names of many good comrades now no more.
Note: by Captain S. J. Worsley  8972 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Korea For the last four months we were living at a camp in Japan called Camp McNair . It was located at the base of Mt. Fuji. It consisted of 440 twelve-man squad tents and several Quonset buildings as mess halls. The streets were bulldozed into the mountainside. They looked like steps.
Note: by Bill Arnold, 143d FA 40th ID  10362 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Revolutionary War Teaogo, Sept. 30, 1779. Sir: -- In mine of the 30th ultimo to His Excellency George Washington, and by him transmitted to Congress, I gave an account of the victory obtained by this army over the enemy at Newtown, on the 29th August. I now do myself the honor to inform Congress of the progress of this army, and the most material occurrences which have since taken place.
Note: by Gen. John Sullivan  8374 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I July 18th 1918 Dear Mother, Well there has been great activity in the line of warfare since my last letter. I never realized before that destruction of material things as well as human life could possibly occur in a few hours. Just a few days ago we witnessed the greatest artillery fire, and also its effect, since the war began.
Note: letter by Corp. Roy Bainbridge, 117 Am. Train Co C.  7485 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam The helicopter's jet engines strained, with the Huey B's blades slicing through the air, making the familiar sounding "chop, chop, chop," as the bird made a sharp turn. We were sitting on our helmets to protect against rounds coming through the floor of the aircraft.
Note: by Ted McCormick, B Co., 1/327th Inf, 101st ABN Division  9230 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  11673 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1779: Americans under Major Henry Lee take the British garrison at Paulus Hook, New Jersey.

1812: The U.S. Navy frigate Constitution defeats the British frigate Guerri?re in a furious engagement off the coast of Nova Scotia. Witnesses claimed that the British shot merely bounced off the Constitutions sides, as if the ship were made of iron rather than wood leading to her nickname of "Old Ironsides".

1914: The British Expeditionary Force (BEF) lands in France.

1942: A raid on Dieppe, France by British and Canadian commandos is repulsed by the German Army.

1944: In an effort to prevent a communist uprising in Paris, Charles de Gualle begins attacking German forces all around the city.

1950: The United Nations accepted offers of troops from Turkey, Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, Thailand and the Philippines.

1950: South Korean forces recaptured Pohang and Kigye.

1953: The Iranian military, with the support and financial assistance of the United States government, overthrows the government of Premier Mohammed Mosaddeq and reinstates the Shah of Iran.

1965: U.S. forces destroy a Viet Cong stronghold near Van Tuong, in South Vietnam.

1970: Cambodia and the U.S. sign a military aid agreement worth $40 million for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1971.