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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.

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Revolutionary War Sept. 8, 1781.
I have the honour to inform your Excellency, that the transports with the detachment of troops under my orders anchored on the Long Island Shore on the 5th inst. At two o'clock P.M. about ten leagues from New London; and having made some necessary arrangements, weighed anchor at seven o'clock P.M. and stood for New London with a fair wind. At one o'clock the next morning we arrived off the harbour, when the wind suddenly shifted to the northward, and it was nine o'clock before the transports could beat in.
Note: Sir Henry Clinton was Commander in Chief of British forces in America at this time.  8370 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II I landed about twenty-five feet from a road and before I could get my rifle assembled, I heard a motorcycle approaching. I remained still as I did not have time to assemble my rifle, and watched two German soldiers pass by. After they passed and I had my rifle together I found other paratroopers and our equipment bundle and set off for the bridge over the Merderet River.
Note: by Marcus Heim  9181 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American The most serious loss that I and the regiment could have suffered befell just before we charged. Bucky O'Neill was strolling up and down in front of his men, smoking his cigarette, for he was inveterately addicted to the habit. He had a theory that an officer ought never to take cover - a theory which was, of course, wrong, though in a volunteer organization the officers should certainly expose themselves very fully, simply for the effect on the men; our regimental toast on the transport running, " The officers; may the war last until each is killed, wounded, or promoted."
Note: by Colonel Theodore Roosevelt, Rough Riders,(1st United States Volunteer Infantry).  6889 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I The steamer appeared to be close to us and looked colossal. I saw the captain walking on his bridge, a small whistle in his mouth. I saw the crew cleaning the deck forward, and I saw, with surprise and a slight shudder, long rows of wooden partitions right along all decks, from which gleamed the shining black and brown backs of horses.
Note: by Adolf K.G.E. von Spiegel  7793 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam It has been 36 years since the tet offensive of 1968 broke out. However each year since then I remember my first time under fire, and what a mess I made of it. I arrived in country in September 1967, I was an 11B primary MOS. In Cam Ranh Bay I received orders for a military intelligence unit.
Note: by Robert Ryan, 525th Military Intelligence Group  15233 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  10349 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam Once upon a time there was a war, and I was in it. It seems about as far away now as the Civil War, but there it was--The 1960’s--and among things like topless bathing suits, integration and space programs there was an increasingly gnawing ache in the side of the American People called Vietnam.
Note: from EVERYMAN STROLLS THROUGH HELL by James Worth.  9198 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I The visit of an English squadron for the Kiel Week in June, 1914, seemed to indicate a desire to give visible expression to the fact that the political situation had eased. Although we could not suppress a certain feeling of doubt as to the sincerity of their intentions, everyone on our side displayed the greatest readiness to receive the foreign guests with hospitality and comradeship.
Note: by Admiral Reinhard Scheer  11143 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War We enlisted at Story City, Iowa, the 12th of August, 1862, and left from Nevada, Iowa the 13th of September the same year. On the last day of our stay in Nevada, we were feasted and banqueted in regular wedding fashion. At the tables, the soldiers, marching to the strains of music, were seated first, and directly afterwards those nearest of kin. But there was too much sorrow and weeping at the thought of parting that our appetites were small.
  7573 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I We are stubbornly trying to force the Turks up out of the ground, but they stick in well. Once we get them on the run, they seem to think we will progress quickly. The only thing I wish is that I was able to say I was in the landing at Gaba Tepe on April 25th.
Note: A letter by Corporal Alf. Birkhill, who is now at Anzac, pays warm tribute after seeing the heroic Australians who scaled the heights at Gaba Tepo.   6397 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War I am at present at the Soldiers Rest Home, Bangor, Me. In the Year 1865.
I enlisted July 19th 1862 in the town of Hampden, Penobscot County, State of Maine. I was then 19 years of age and consequently a minor. My parents, being loyal people, they gave their consent to my enlisting. I enlisted in Co. F, 18th Regt Maine Vol. Infantry and we were rendevouzed at the County Fair Grounds near Bangor City.
Note: Private Amos E. Hardy Enlisted July 19th 1862 in Co F.   7547 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam It began with a bit of a buzz over the mortaring the night before and the normal scuttle butt as information slowly emerged as to damage and casualties. Willie and I where a bit hung over we had a party in our tent the night before when the mess closed, and had a few over the prescribed 2 cans per day (so did the company HQ radio ops who where with us).
Note: by Murray Broomhall, Delta Company 6 RAR  9433 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Gulf War NBC. Nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. These were some of the most thought about things in the blast furnace of Iraq. Not that we did not have other things to think about but the idea of a virus that could live 3-5 days in the desert environment was not something to take lightly.
Note: by David  12258 Reads  Printer-friendly page



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.
  8978 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.  8905 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1587: In France, Huguenot Henri de Navarre routs Duke de Joyeuses larger Catholic force at Coutras.

1709: Marlborough and Eugene of Savoy take Mons in the Netherlands.

1805: Austrian general Karl Mac surrenders to Napoleons army at the battle of Ulm.

1870: The Summer Palace in Beijing, China, is burnt to the ground by a Franco-British expeditionary force.

1940: German troops reach the approaches to Moscow.

1944: After advancing island by island across the Pacific Ocean, U.S. General Douglas MacArthur wades ashore onto the Philippine island of Leyte, fulfilling his promise to return to the area he was forced to flee in 1942.

1950: In the first airborne operation of the war, 2,860 paratroopers of the 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team jumped between Sukchon and Sunchon, 25 miles north of Pyongyang. Far East Air Force C-119s and C-47s transported the assault force and F-80 and F-51 fighters provided air cover.

1952: The destroyer escort Lewis was hit by shore fire off the West Coast of Korea. Seven sailors were killed and one wounded.

1964: Relations between Cambodia, South Vietnam, and the United States reach a low point as Cambodia becomes a sanctuary for Viet Cong and North Vietnamese forces.

480: Greeks defeat the Persians in a naval battle at Salamis.