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Military Quotes

In no other profession are the penalties for employing untrained personnel so appalling or so irrevocable as in the military.

-- General Douglas MacArthur

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.


Iraq When the Iraq War started, I was assigned to a logistics unit at Fort Drum, serving as a battalion operations officer. From as early as September 2002, in light of the new crisis with Saddam, I knew we might deploy. After months of speculation, those deployment orders officially were published in February 2003.
Note: by Captain Andrew DeKever  10632 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I For a whole week before the Battle of Loos, the artillery of our Division were bombarding the German trenches night and day, smashing up the barbed wire. On September 24th, 1915, my battalion, a Highland one, was moved up into covered-in trenches ready to attack on the morning of the 25th.
Note: by C.S.M. Thomas McCall, 44th Highland Brigade, 15th Scottish Division  8162 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam Take five dumb bombs, one dumb A6 (non-system), one dumb target, and one dumb way to fight a war. Add a large portion of luck. What's the result? An averted disaster. But leaving a crew who will be able to fly another day and an Intruder still around to fly in harms way.
Note: By Captain Bill Kretschmar (retired), VMA (AW) 533 MAG 12, 1st MAW, Chu Lai, RVN, September, 1967 I Corps, South Vietnam   8491 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War Headquarters, 1st Brig., 3d Div. 6th Ar.
Near Gaines Mills
June 4, 1864
Dear Ha: I have just received a letter from you and as a mail will leave in an hour or two, I hasten to answer. We are behind entrenchments, holding a position which we have just taken from the enemy. Bullets, as I write, are flying in all directions, and wounded and dead men pass me continually.
Note: Letter from Chas. Leonard to his father in the trenches, Virginia countryside near Richmond, Va.  9702 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War Headquarters District of West Tennessee, Pittsburg, TN April 9, 1862. Captain: It becomes my duty again to report another battle fought between two great armies, one contending for the maintenance of the best government ever devised, the other for its destruction. It is pleasant to record the success of the army contending for the former principle.
Note: by Major General U.S. Grant  11746 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War I was stationed at Albuquerque, New Mexico, as paymaster in the United States army when the war-cloud appeared in the East. Officers of the Northern and Southern States were anxious to see the portending storm pass by or disperse, and on many occasions we, too, were assured, by those who claimed to look into the future, that the statesman would yet show himself equal to the occasion, and restore confidence among the people.
Note: by General James Longstreet  11256 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War From Gettysburg to Appomattox; from the zenith of assurance to the nadir of despair; from the compact ranks, boundless confidence, and exultant hopes of as proud and puissant an army as was ever marshalled— to the shattered remnants, withered hopes, and final surrender of that army—such is the track to be followed describing the Confederacy's declining fortunes and ultimate death.
Note: by General John B. Gordon  8240 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I Before reaching Louvain we bivouacked near a large well-built village, and here we had the wettest and merriest evening in the whole campaign. Some of our battalion water-carriers discovered a wine-cellar in the village. On going into a cellar they noticed a stack of fagots, and guessed that they were put there with a purpose. The fagots were quickly cleared away, and behind them appeared a door.
Note: by Captain Henry Huebner  15668 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam The Short Range Ambush Platoon was organized as a small force whose primary mission was night ambush. SRAP was capable of operating independently without the support of any other elements. I can't speak for the entire platoon, but during my time, to my knowledge SRAP was Ranger led, and ably so. The first group was selected by SFC Jay Holloway from the battalion on an individual basis.
Note: by John Smerdon, 1/50 Infantry  9850 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War I, George Barker, enlisted in Company F., at Clarinda, Iowa, August 9, 1862, Volunteer, 23rd regiment, which was organized at Des Moines 1/4 mile northeast of the capitol building. We stayed and drilled until September 19, 1862 at which time we were sworn in service for 3 years, unless sooner discharged.
  12249 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II The details of the following story are based on an actual happening, and have never before been related. It is a tale of tragedy at sea, and of the heroism displayed by men thrown together in a common lot by the fortunes of war. The setting is in the "Graveyard of the Atlantic", that frigid gray expanse of the North Atlantic in the land of the midnight sun, a hundred miles south of the polar ice packs.
Note: by Robert T. Shaffer, 1/c R Division  10089 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War Jefferson City Aug 1861 Dear Folks at Home I take this opportunity of writing you a few lines to let you know that I am well at present and hope these few lines will find you all enjoying god Health
Note: by William Hirst Gift  8392 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II I was a member of the 29th Infantry Division, in M Company, 3rd Battalion of the 116th Infantry Regiment. I was inducted into the Army June 16, 1943, at Fort Oglethorpe, Ga., and was discharged on Oct. 23, 1945, at Camp Atterbury, Ind. I was second gunner on the .30-caliber water-cooled Browning machine gun through most of combat when I moved up to squad leader.
Note: by John D. Hinton  10325 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II March 11, 1945. We are at fleet anchorage after returning from Iwo Jima, and Japanese areas. 2000 hours. I had just been relieved from watch in Rdo1, which is our main radio room in the Island structure, and had started walking aft on the flight deck. My rack, and also my GQ battle station, was Rdo#3. Radio 3 was a small emergency transmitter room on the Gallery deck, just under the flight deck, starboard side above the fan tail.
Note: by V.J.Verdolini RM2/c, U.S. Navy  11287 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I On Sunday, May 21st, 1916, the battalion was in camp Camblain-l'Abbe, behind Vimy Ridge. Recent spells in the line had been quiet, the weather was warm and sunny, and everyone was in good spirits. I was on camp-cleaning fatigue, but, the camp being in a good condition, there was nothing to do beyond picking up an odd piece of paper or two.
Note: by Frank Wilfrid Watts, 15th Battalion, The London Regt.  7718 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
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1934: The embattled Chinese Communists break through Nationalist enemy lines and begin an epic flight from their encircled headquarters in southwest China.

1940: Benjamin O. Davis becomes the U.S. Armys first African American Brigadier General.

1951: F-86 Sabres shot down nine MiGs and damaged five more in one of the worst aerial defeats inflicted on the Chinese during the war.

1964: The Peoples Republic of China joins the rank of nations with atomic bomb capability, after a successful nuclear test.

1968: In a series of meetings with U.S. Ambassador Ellsworth Bunker, South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu insists that North Vietnam assent to three conditions prior to a bombing halt. He said the North Vietnamese had to (1) agree to respect the neutrality of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), (2) stop shelling South Vietnamese cities and towns, and (3) agree to South Vietnamese participation in the Paris talks.

1973: Israeli General Ariel Sharon crosses the Suez Canal and begins to encircle two Egyptian armies.