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Military Quotes

Nothing concentrates the military mind so much as the discovery that you have walked into an ambush.

-- Thomas Packenham

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 The battle of Bull Run or Manassas was the first, and in many respects the most remarkable, battle of our Civil War. It was a series of surprises—the unexpected happening at almost every moment of its progress. Planned by the Union chieftain with consummate skill, executed for the most part with unquestioned ability, and fought by the Union troops for a time with magnificent courage, it ended at last in their disastrous rout and the official decapitation of their able commander.
Note: by General John B. Gordon  8592 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  8888 Reads  Printer-friendly page



War of 1812 US Ship United States, at Sea, 30 October 1812 I have the honour to inform you, that on the 25th instant, being in the latitude 29, N. longitude 29 30, W. we fell in with, and, after an action of an hour and a half, captured his Britannic Majesty's ship MACEDONIAN, commanded by captain John Carden, and mounting 49 carriage guns (the odd gun shifting.) She is a frigate of the largest class, two years old, four months out of dock, and reputed one of the best sailors in the British service.
Note: by Captain Stephen Decatur, USN  11005 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  9722 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.  7969 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam From the 1/14th Daily Journal for 19 NOVEMBER 1966.
19 NOVEMBER 1966 Although the heavy contact with NVA troops on the 13th of November was still fresh in the minds of the men, today they would relive this struggle with an even more determined and large enemy force. Innumerable incidents of personal heroic actions, and the valiant fighting team spirit of out units brought us through on top.
Note: Sgt Ted Belcher was awarded the Medal of Honor, PostHumously.  8009 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Gulf War The mission began as it should, with prayer. Members of our unit and our family and friends assembled at the drill hall on 17th Street in Paducah, Kentucky for a prayer service. It was a time to think about the mission that lay before us the hazards that would be endured. We prayed for the strength to carry out this important mission, as well as for a quick and safe return home.
Note: by Brian Ginn  14270 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I Front, Aug. 9, 1918
Dear Uncle Clem:
I know you must be waiting anxiously for a letter from me and wondering why I have not written before. Ever since July 15, the day of Clem's death, and the opening of the German offensive which we turned into defeat, we have been on the go night and day, and a good share of the time have been used as infantry.
Note: W.A. Thompson, Jr served with the Rainbow Division of Engineers in France.  7828 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II I've not much memory for accurate dates. I know I received my call up papers in early 1939 and with the assistance of Maples, where I was working at the time on MOD work, cutting out and making black out blinds by the hundred, I managed to get a years exemption.
Note: by Frederick James Pearce  9120 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Revolutionary War Headquarters, Cambridge, August 20, 1775

Dear Sir: Since my last of the 15th Inst. I have been favoured with yours of the 6th.--I am much concerned to find the Supplies ordered have been so much delayed. By this Time, I hope, Colonel McDougall, whose Zeal is unquestionable, has joined you with every Thing necessary for prosecuting your Plan.
  8973 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War Headquarters Army of Northern Virginia, Sharpsburg, MD, September 18, 1862. Mr. President: On the afternoon of the 16th instant the enemy, who, you were informed on that day, was in our front, opened a light fire of artillery upon our line. Early next morning it was renewed in earnest, and large masses of the Federal troops that had crossed the Antietam above our position assembled on our left and threatened to overwhelm us.
Note: by General Robert E. Lee  8785 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II Immediately after the Battle of Kwajalein, the sailors aboard the USS Washington received orders to fuel the destroyers. After fueling the destroyers, dusk turned into the blackest of nights. Tired and battle-weary, I began to look for a place to sleep on the main deck but was unable to because several sailors were putting away the fueling gear. Finally, I had to resort to my own bunk over #4 machinery space. The temperature was about 110 degrees causing me to fall asleep fast.
Note: by Francis E. Tellier, EM 3/C - E Div.  11346 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Navy It was a normal day. I reported to work, started logging into the computer, checking e-mails, taking phone calls, talking with the office about what was going on. Then someone heard about the happenings at the World Trade Center - the first plane. We were able to watch the live video and started hearing the reports. Then we saw the footage of the second aircraft coming into the second tower.
Note: by Lieutenant Commander David Tarantino, MC, USN  14454 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II July 18 (1944) Came in to Bostrem Bay early this morning. - I am now on another L.C.I. the 228, waiting to be stationed on L.C.I. 226 which is not in Bay yet. These are the older type L.C.I. They have all seen plenty of action. This is our home base all amphib called "Alixhaven" "Madang" the hardest fought Jap air field is only a few miles away.These bases were captured from Japs about four months ago.
Note: by Arden Lee Hunt, signalman, LCI 226  16211 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!
  8055 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1916: The Russians force the Turkish 3rd Army back to Erzurum.

1942: General MacArthur repels the Japanese in Bataan.

1943: The deportation of Jews from the Warsaw ghetto to the concentration camp at Treblinka is resumed-but not without much bloodshed and resistance along the way.

1945: The German Army launches its second attempt to relieve the besieged city of Budapest from the advancing Red Army.

1950: Peoples Republic of China formally recognizes the communist Democratic Republic of Vietnam and agrees to furnish it military assistance.

1951: China rejected the U.N. cease-fire proposal as the Eighth Army re-entered Wonju without opposition.

1953: U.S. Navy carrier aircraft hit targets at Wonsan, Songjin, Hungnam and Changyon on the North Korea's east coast while surface elements fired on Sinchon and Kosong targets.

1953: The U.S. Coast Guards were dispatched from Sangley Point to save the crew of a Navy Lockheed P2V reconnaissance plane. They landed in 12-foot seas, risking their own crew to save their Navy counterparts. The Coast Guard fished 11 survivors from the wrecked plane. Tragically the Coast Guards port engine failed during take off, slamming the plane back into the cold waters of the South China Sea. Seven of the rescued Navy fliers survived this second crash; however, most of the Coast Guard crew was lost.

1962: The United States begins spraying foliage with herbicides in South Vietnam, in order to reveal the whereabouts of Vietcong guerrillas.

1985: For the first time since joining the World Court in 1946, the United States walks out of a case. The case that caused the dramatic walkout concerned U.S. paramilitary activities against the Nicaraguan government.