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Military Quotes

The mind of the enemy and the will of his leaders is a target of far more importance than the bodies of his troops.

-- Brigadier General S.B. Griffith

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 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



Korea On June 25, 1950, the Korean War began. I listened to the news every day and when I heard my old outfit, Baker Company Fifth Marines, was in Korea fighting hard, I decided to re-enlist. Traveling to Kansas City, Missouri, to the Marine recruiting office I hoped to re-up as a sergeant. I was disappointed, for I had been involved in a car wreck and still had some cuts not fully healed.
Note: by PFC Charlie Carmin, 1st Marine Division  21347 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II The Naval Combat Demolition Units were charged with the responsibility of clearing sixteen 50 yard gaps on the beaches assigned to that force. They worked in conjunction with the Army engineers who were charged with the responsibility of clearing the shoreward obstacles.
Note: by Lieutenant Commander Joseph H. Gibbons, Commanding Officer of U.S. Navy Combat Demolitions Units in Force 'O'.  9130 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American USS New York, 3 July 1898 Sir-I have the honor to make the following report upon the battle with and the destruction of the Spanish squadron, commanded by Admiral Cervera, off Santiago de Cuba, on Sunday, July 3, 1898. The enemy's vessels came out of the harbor between 9.35 and 10 AM, the head of the column appearing around Cay Smith at 9.31, and emerging from the channel five or six minutes later.
Note: by Admiral Sampson, USN  8489 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Korea I was born in Aalborg, Denmark on April 8, 1922 and immigrated to America with my mother and two older brothers Kaj and Poul in 1924. My father, Niels Christian, had come to America the previous year in 1923. After a two week sea and train journey through Ellis Island and Canada, we finally arrived in Chicago where we settled in a Danish neighborhood in the Humboldt Park area. Our family suffered greatly during the depression years but with the help of the Danish community we survived.
Note: by Erik Larsen, Battalion Surgeon, 2nd Battalion, 23rd Regimental Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division  17873 Reads  Printer-friendly page



War of 1812 Sandwich, in Upper Canada, 13 July 1812 Sir-from the 5th July inst. the day of the arrival of the army at Detroit, the whole was employed in strengthening the fortifications for the security of the town, and preparing boats for the passage of the river. About one hundred regulars of the British army, and, from the best accounts I have been able to obtain, six hundred Canadian militia with artillery, were in possession of the opposite bank, and fortifying directly opposite the town; seven or eight hundred Indians were likewise attached to this corps.
Note: by Brigadier-General Hull, USA, letter to The Secretary Of War  9216 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



Civil War On the 8th of November, 1864, at 2 o'clock A.M., Captain Turner, of the Sixteenth Iowa, Captain Strang, of the Thirtieth Illinois, Lieutenant Laird, of the Sixteenth Iowa, and myself, made our escape through the guard lines at "Camp Surghum," near Columbia, South Carolina, with a view of making our way to the gunboats near the mouth of the Edisto river.
Note: by Captain W. W. McCarty.  7808 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War March 10, 1863 Newport News, Va Father, I was glad to hear from you. I am well. I hope these few lines will find you the same. I want you to write and let me know when you send me the box. Uncle Sylvester is with [us] now. His health is very good now.
Note: letters by Sidney Spaulding, 9th New Hampshire Regiment.  7401 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II September 25, 1943 was an unforgettable day. It was the day I received my notice to appear at the county court house in Hyattsville, Maryland for my induction into the army. And from there the other inductees and I were taken by bus to Fort Meade, Maryland where we were given uniforms and clothing.
  8713 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  14460 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Revolutionary War Neversunk, 4 July 1778 General Clinton's dispatches will acquaint you of an action on the 28th June, of which our Battalion bore the principal part. Lee, acquainted with the temper of our present Commander, laid a snare which perfectly succeeded. The hook was undisguised with a bait, but the impetuosity of Clinton swallowed it.... The Grenadiers were ordered to march to the heights of which the Rebels were already possessed; such a march I may never again experience.
Note: by Lieutenant Hale  9330 Reads  Printer-friendly page



War of 1812

Buffaloe November 27, 1812
My Dear Wife,
It is with a degree of satisfaction I inform you of my health and the greatest part of the Company. Tomorrow at 7 o'clock we embark for Canada - consequently it will be liberty or death - You must excuse me for not writing you more as I am officer of the day and guard both, therefore, I am obliged through necessity to wright at 12 o'clock to night.

Note: During Ens. Warner's tour of duty he wrote letters home to his wife, five of which have been preserved. From these letters one may follow Ens. Warner's progess from Baltimore, through Carlisle, Pennsylvania, to the shores of Lake Ontario. From camp at Sacketts Harbor, Warner's unit proceeded to the Battle of York (now known as Toronto), the capitol of Upper Canada, fought in late April, 1813. Under the leadership of the adventurous Brigadier General Zebulon Pike, for whom Pike's Peak is named, the American forces scored a victory, but lost their General, killed in battle.

After that battle, Warner's unit apparently re-crossed Lake Ontario to camp outside Fort Niagara and presumably later participated in the taking of Fort George from the British.
  8180 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Airforce Late November 1963, the day president Kennedy died, was the day on which I was going around John Adams high school in South Bend getting signatures allowing me to leave early in my senior year to join the Air Force. Vietnam was seldom mentioned on television in those days, but by then had already become what it eventually became. I was 17, fed up with school, seeking serious work for my country of whatever kind they might see fit to give.
Note: by Michael S. Bell, 3346th Consol. Maint. Sq., Air Training Command  11523 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam One night in late '67 at Marine Quang Tri Forward, I was assigned to generator watch. It is very boring to watch a 500kw Buddha generator generate. We had to keep one generator on-line, because the air strip was finished; and we might need the airfield lighting in an emergency. To ease the boredom, I had been watching a praying mantis approach some unremembered insect so slowly. The motion was almost imperceptible.
Note: by Mike Howard  7568 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.