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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.


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  9567 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I June 20, 1918 Fine day, we were pulled out from pier by tug at 8:30 this morning. Steamed slowly out of harbor. We are in a convoy of twelve transports and one battle cruiser "Montana." Ships keep about one half mile apart. All are very much camouflaged. Very crowded boat. Gun crew moved into deck house and I moved to saloon with crew. Good place. Jolly bunch. Four guns mounted on this ship. We were accompanied all day by several destroyers. They turned back at dark.
Note: by Sgt. Norvel P. Clotfelter, 344th MG. Batt; 90th Div.  14421 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam From an altitude of thirty thousand feet, it's hard to determine where the blue of the Pacific meets the blue of the sky. Consequently, my sense of direction had diminished greatly since leaving the military base at Oakland, more than twenty hours earlier. Not that I really cared which direction I was traveling, I knew the destination well enough, but the disorientation only added to the sick feeling in my gut.
Note: by James F. McColloch, 9th Infantry Division  10808 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Army TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS, Colonel Morris's, on the Heights of Harlem, September 24, 1776. Sir: From the hours allotted to Sleep, I will borrow a few Moments to convey my thoughts on sundry important matters to Congress. I shall offer them, with that sincerity which ought to characterize a man of candour; and with the freedom which may be used in giving useful information, without incurring the imputation of presumption.
  9341 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam How does one become a combat field historian? You would think the combat field historian would be an individual who had a great love of history, studied history or was a history major in college. Those would certainly be ideal prerequisites in a peacetime scenario when you were searching for the ideal candidate.
Note: by Commander Anthony R. DeMarco, USN  18220 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Korea In late May, 1950, the 31st Recon Sq. conducted an Operational Readiness Test, flying out of Kadena AFB Okinawa. Immediately upon completion of the ORT, most of the squadron’s RB-29s (eight, as I recall) were flown back to the States, to Tinker AFB, OK, for complete overhaul.
Note: by William F. (Bill) Welch, 31st and 91st SRS.   9195 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam I don’t know if those of you that were in Viet Nam during the war remember the custom of poc time. If you remember, this will be a refresher. If you never heard of poc time, well it’s time you learn about this Vietnamese tradition. What follows are my observations based on my brief time in country.
Note: by Robert D. Pryor, Detachment A-344, 5th Special Forces Group (ABN) First Special Forces.  9180 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.  7225 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War AUGUST 1, 1861.—Believing the people of the South to be engaged in a just cause, defending the inalienable rights of American freemen, and that principle in the Declaration of Independence which asserts that "all governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed," and that the States are acting by the authority and in the strength of their reserved rights, I am with them.
  8600 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam I saw her for the first time in 1969. Apparently my Vietnamese was not as good as I thought and the ride I had caught on a Vietnamese UH1D went to Tay Ninh instead of Tan Uyen where I was supposed to go. We had been in the air from Dinh Quan for about 30 minutes when I first saw her head rising out of the mist above the emerald green jungle.
Note: by Don Shacklette  9470 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War Jan. 24th: I commenced keeping diary in Tom Sandle's book he being gone the Devil knows where. This morning inspection of arms weather cloudy and damp. No camp guards furnished by our Brigadier yesterday we were on pickett had the easiest duty our company ever done.
Note: by Melville Cox Follett  8620 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Revolutionary War Friday evening, Jan. 19th., I was appointed to command the Reg. then ordered to be raised to march to Canada.

20th. and 21st. went to Cambridge to procure stores.

22nd. Received my Commission from the Council and set out about 8 o’c in the evening, came to Weston at Baldwins.
  10608 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American I am not quite sure where Major Eskridge’s wound is so do not guess at it. V.

Shrewsbury N.J.
July 14, 98
My dear Mrs. Helmick,
I have been sent home with a broken leg to get ready for Puerto Rico. I am not writing this to tell you about myself, but about the rest of the reg’t, which I know will be good news to most of you.
Note: The 10th U.S. Infantry took part in the action at San Juan Hill, on the far west end of the line.  7343 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam Approximately August or September of 1967 on some mountaintop, somewhere around Tam Ky, Vietnam. I'm here as a squad leader with Delta Company, 4th of the 31st, 196th Light Infantry Brigade, supposedly to support the Marine Corps in "I" Corps.
Note: by Patrick (Beanie) Camunes, D\4\31 196TH Lt. Inf. Bde.  7560 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  7097 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1778: Baron von Steuben joins the Continental Army at Valley Forge.

1836: The Alamo is besieged by Santa Anna.

1847: Forces led by Zachary Taylor defeat the Mexicans at the Battle of Buena Vista.

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1944: American bombers strike the Marianas Islands bases, only 1,300 miles from Tokyo.

1945: Eisenhower opens a large offensive in the Rhineland.

1945: During the Battle for Iwo Jima, U.S. Marines from the 3rd Platoon, E Company, 2nd Battalion, 28th Division take the crest of Mount Suribachi, the islands highest peak and most strategic position, and raise the U.S. flag.

1951: The first B-29 mission using the more accurate MPQ-2 radar bombed a highway bridge seven miles northeast of Seoul.

1967: American troops begin the largest offensive of the war, near the Cambodian border.

1971: Operation Lam Son 719, the South Vietnamese advance into Laos, grinds to a halt.