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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.

The Patriot Files also supports the largest military usenet archive, military memorial, military website archive, and military news archive online.


Vietnam In the summer of 1970 I was flying near Football Island and observed an Army CH47 helicopter rolling barrels of what appeared to be fuel off the ramp and then igniting them. It looked like they were trying to burn the grass in the area. On return I thought about what I had seen and came up with the idea of doing something similar.
Note: by Charlie Block  5462 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American SIR: I have the honor to make the following report of that part of the squadron under your command which came under my observation during the engagement with the Spanish fleet on July 3, 1898. At 9.35 a. m. Admiral Cervera, with the Infanta Maria Teresa, Viscaya, Oquendo, Cristobal Colon, and two torpedo boat destroyers, came out of the harbor of Santiago de Cuba in column at distance and attempted to escape to the westward.
Note: account written July 6, 1898.  5430 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I July 11, 1918
Left Camp Custer
July 21, 1918
Left Camp Mills Sunday morning, 4 o'clock, for depot. Took ferry boat up Hudson River to pier. Stayed in New York harbor until Monday morning 9 o'clock. Sailed with a fleet of 16 boats, some torpedo boats and a lot of submarine chasers. Saw 3 observation balloons out in the ocean anchored on ships. Had calm weather for 5 days - got a little stormy then. Was awful sick the entire trip.
Note: by Paul Rademacher  7275 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  6737 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War CHARLESTON, S.C., October 6, 1863.
SIR: I have the honor to report that on Monday evening, 5th instant, Lieut. W. T. Glassell, Confederate Navy, in charge of the propeller David (a small submerged steamer), with the following crew, viz, James H. Toombs, acting first assistant engineer; Walker Cannon, pilot; James Sullivan, second fireman, started f 'ore the city and proceeded down the main ship-channel, passing through the entire fleet of the enemy's vessels and barges, until we arrived abreast of the U.S. frigate Ironsides, at 8.30 p.m. We then stood off and on for thirty minutes waiting for the flood tide to make.
Note: This is the battle report of James Toombs an engineer on one of the famous Confederate "David" torpedo boats.  5925 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.
  7663 Reads  Printer-friendly page



War of 1812

May the 27th 1813
Fort Stephens Lore Sandusky
Affectionate Companion I received your letter this morning of the 23rd instent Which gave me a grate deal of satisfaction to hear that you are well and that Wilson is a good boy. It gives me a great deal of satisfaction to hear that the corn is planted and that you expect it will be tended for I did not look for that to be done

Note: by John Hollyday  8153 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam The night is so dark you can hold your hand in front of your eyes and can't see it. We have relaxed somewhat. Templeton is fast asleep. I learn later that he can sleep standing up. It was years later that I realized that was his way of escape from all around him.
  6492 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II Our gun batteries were equipped with M7 track vehicles in the States, long before we deployed overseas! The M105 howitzers were mounted on the M7 with very minor modifications, and very little addtional training was needed, other than the driver and assitant driver, for this new and unique addition to the 29th. All of the other crew responsiblities remained essentially the same as if it were a trail drawn howitzer.
Note: by Irving Smolens, B Bty, 29th Field Artillery  7761 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II I was 16 years old when war broke out. We heard that Hitler had invaded Poland, and at 11 o'clock on Sunday morning, Sept. 3rd, the Prime Minister, Mr. Neville Chamberlin, broadcasted to the nation that England was now at war with Germany.
  6817 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Navy Sometime in the spring of 1969, a U.S. plane was shot down by North Korea. We responded by sending an amazing armada of Naval vessels to "show them our shit." I remember waking at sunrise and going out on deck after having joined up with the task force sometime during the night. We were totally surrounded by ships of all shapes and sizes: cruisers, carriers, destroyers, tankers, supply ships, and the battleship New Jersey. I was on a destroyer and felt dwarfed by the firepower around us.
Note: by John Paul Rossie  6582 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Korea It was July 1951. I was training with the division in Japan on the island of Honshu. The next part of our training was to be a mock invasion on Yokohama Beach. This landing would be exactly like a real invasion. All our vehicles were equipped for land service, but when the orders came down, they were to be retrofitted with snorkels, which would allow them to operate in shallow water such as beaches.
Note: by Bill Arnold, 143d FA 40th ID  7054 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam February 24, 1969
Hi,
Sorry I haven't written in a while. We just got back from an operation yesterday, and it's been a very busy 2 weeks. We went down to a place called Dodge City and there is buku gooks (there). We got choppered in.
Note: By Mike Bailey, 3rd Battalion 1st Marines Mike Company.  5308 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II Our class went on draft leave at Christmas 1939, then to Pompey barracks, HMS Victory in Queen Street. We messed in the barracks but slept at Aggie Weston's in Commercial Rd. Aggies was two buildings separated by a side street but joined on the second or third floor by an enclosed bridge. We used to cross that bridge to our individual cabins. A petty officer and leading seaman were in charge of us.
Note: by Bert Ward  9108 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I I should have mentioned that it was Lieut. A.S.Miller whose company caught most of the bombs, and from what I learned later, Sandy Miller behaved like the little gentleman he was.
Note: by Robert Lindsay Mackay, 11th Battalion of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.  5982 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1864: Confederates under General John Bell Hood make a third attempt to break General William T. Shermans hold on Atlanta. Like the first two, this attack failed, destroying the Confederate Army of Tennessees offensive capabilities.

1898: Spain, through the offices of the French embassy in Washington, D.C., requests peace terms in its war with the United States.

1914: Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia, beginning World War I.

1914: Russia says mobilization of Southern Corps will be announced tomorrow, but states they have no aggressive intentions against Germany.

1915: The Germans cross Vistula between Warsaw and Ivangorod.

1915: the Austrians are repulsed beyond the Kamienka.

1916: The British capture Delville Wood and Longueval village. They and also make further progress near Pozieres.

1918: The French advance, occupying Fere-en-Tardenois while the British retake Montagne de Bligny

1920: Pancho Villa surrenders to the Mexican government.

1932: The Bonus Army of impoverished World War I veterans is violently pushed out of Washington, D.C.