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Military Quotes

The nation that will insist on drawing a broad line of demarcation between the fighting man and the thinking man is liable to have its fighting done by fools and its thinking done by cowards.

-- Sir William Francis Butler

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 Saturday, November 3, 1917
New York and S.S. "St. Paul"
Got up 6:30 a.m. after only 2:45 sleep. Went to paymasters for mileage checks. Saw Mrs. Whiting and received box from her to take to Ken Whiting in Paris. Got money changed and went on Board the St. Paul at 11:30 a.m. We sailed at 12:30 with only 47 first class passengers and apparently not many 2nd class. I have seen three women and a small boy.
  8812 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I On April 30, 1918 I was drafted in the service of the U. S. Army and sent to Camp Dix N. J. For further use. We had a fine trip passing over the Erie R.R. To Binghamton (NY) where I saw Mrs. Oxford and Helen who were the last people I saw who I was any way acquainted with for nearly a year. From Binghamton to Stroudsburg (PA) over the DL & W RR stopping for half an hour at Scranton (PA) where we replenished our stock of joy water we stopped only for perhaps fifteen minutes at Stroudsburg where we owned the town during that stay.
Note: by Pvt. Robert L. Dwight, 148th Infantry, 37th Division.  8682 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Gulf War August 2, 1990
Iraq invades Kuwait
August 18-30, 1990
A couple of dozen of the unit fly to Camp Shelby, Mississippi to support Exercise Vulcan Knight. We fly to Gulfport, then bus to Camp Shelby. My first thought upon seeing the place is that it's Beetle Bailey's Camp Swampy, incarnate. The concrete block billets are not air conditioned. It pushes 100 during the day but is actually easier to take than the evenings.
Note: by Steven Dutch, 432nd Civil Affairs Company  17882 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II On 16 February I was in a six-plane flight of Mark 5 Spitfires that encountered about twelve ME 109s in the region between Orvieto and Perugia, about sixty-five miles north of Rome. Our six-plane flight was in line-astern formation, with the planes about fifty feet apart and stepped to the right and down, slightly, so the pilots can easily see the planes ahead of them. I was leading the last two-plane element of the flight, and Bob Confer, a veteran of the North African Campaign was my wingman.
Note: by Robert C. Curtis, 2nd Sq., 52nd Fighter Group  8678 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam The year was 1967. We frequently received incoming RPG or mortars rounds at Cu Chi, RVN. The siren would go off, we would suddenly hear the 'plump - plump' of mortars or the flittering noise of the RPGs followed by their exposion and we would charge off to hit the bunkers.
Note: by Don Patrick  6236 Reads  Printer-friendly page



POW The serene beauty of the rising sun on February 16, 1944 was disrupted by German heavy artillery barrages. This was the commencement of a large scale offensive. Presently tanks were rapidly advancing on us, followed by infantrymen. The approaching tanks caused me to break out in a cold sweat and I feverishly prayed for God's help. One tank spotted my foxhole and sent a machine gun burst over my head. I then heard an order to come out. Momentarily hesitating, to make peace with my God which bolstered my courage, I vacated my foxhole.
Note: by Pvt. Robert Davis, POW 11605, Stalag VIIB  10167 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam I have a good idea why the sergeant from Kentucky raised his rifle to shoot the two women who were walking to market along the Tra Bong road that day.
Note: By Tom Dier   6553 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'.  8152 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  8069 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I Excuse me if this letter is badly written as I am writing sitting on some straw with a box as a desk: besides, my pencil is just about two inches long. However, though writing under difficulties, I will try to write a long letter as I have much to speak of to you.
Note: by Private Clarence Joseph, Letter from France to Marjorie Christienin British Columbia 1915  6534 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War Buck Denman, a Mississippi bear hunter and a superb specimen of manhood,was color sergeant of the Twenty-first and a member of [Lane]Brandon's (Confederate) company.He was tall and straight,broad shouldered and deep-chested,had an eye like an eagle and a voice like a bull of Bashan,and was full of pluck and power as a panther.
Note: by Major Robert Stiles.  6269 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam Over the years I have put most of the bad memories of Nam to the back of my mind and tried to forget them. Occasionally, one will come back. Any other time I would start out by saying Once Upon a Time or No Shit Man as I would make up a bullshit war story. But, this time I am going to start out by saying, to the best of my recollection the following did happen.
Note: by Larry Weisbarth, A 1/502nd Airborne Infantry, 67-68   8067 Reads  Printer-friendly page



War of 1812 Sir,
I have the honour to inform you, for the information of the Lords commissioners of the Admiralty, that on the 3rd instant, I sailed with his Majesty`s squadron under my command, from this port. to co-operate with our army at the head of the Lake, and annoy the enemy by intercepting all supplies going to the army, and thereby oblige his squadron to come out for its protection.
Note: H.M.S Wolfe, at Kingston, Upper Canada, 29 June, 1813.  7167 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War Memarandum of Events of Basil H Messler's term in the U.S. Ser Arrved in Davenport on the 27th day of February. Put up at the Penn. House and took Dinner and then I went to Lieut Walthams Recruiting office and made out My Inlistment papers in Dupicates and then got permistion of a furlow and was examined by Dr Church and pass examination Then got the Agt, to excep them and got an order to go to Camp McClelands. But did not go that evening went to the theater and then returned to the Hotell and took room No 69 in co. with Sergts Grooms & Allsop.
Note: by Basil H. Messler, Mississippi Marine Brigade  14930 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.  9471 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1780: American troops are badly defeated by the British at the Battle of Camden, South Carolina.

1812: American General William Hull surrenders Detroit without resistance to a smaller British force under General Issac Brock.

1861: Union and Confederate forces clash near Fredericktown and Kirkville, Missouri.

1863: Union General William S. Rosecrans moves his army south from Tullahoma, Tennessee to attack Confederate forces in Chattanooga.

1914: Liege, Belgium, falls to the German army.

1914: Austrian troops capture Shabatz, but Serbian troops check the Austrian advance between Loznitsa and Shabats.

1915: The Russian army is withdrawn to the Brest-Osovyets-Kovna line.

1915: Russians troops enter Van.

1915: Cumberland coast towns are shelled by German submarines.

1916: French troops take a system of German trenches near Belloy-en-Santerre on a front of 1,300 yards, capturing 1,300 prisoners.