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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 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.  12370 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II May 6, Austria

Dear Dad,
Being in such a jubilant mood I must drop a few lines. Today I got you a Luger. Yes man! And it's a honey! The only regret I have is I didn't personally relieve a Kraut of it as I did a pair of binoculars a few days ago.
  5843 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I It was on a cool, starlit evening, early in September, 1916, that I first met Drew of Massachusetts, and actually began my adventures as a prospective member of the Escadrille Americaine. We had sailed from New York by the same boat, had made our applications for enlistment in the Foreign Legion on the same day, without being aware of each other's existence; and in Paris, while waiting for our papers, we had gone, every evening, for dinner, to the same large and gloomy-looking restaurant in the neighborhood of the Seine.
Note: by James Hall, Lafayette Escadrille, 94th pursuit squadron  9384 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.  8631 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.  7203 Reads  Printer-friendly page



War of 1812 US Ship United States, at Sea, 30 October 1812 I have the honour to inform you, that on the 25th instant, being in the latitude 29, N. longitude 29 30, W. we fell in with, and, after an action of an hour and a half, captured his Britannic Majesty's ship MACEDONIAN, commanded by captain John Carden, and mounting 49 carriage guns (the odd gun shifting.) She is a frigate of the largest class, two years old, four months out of dock, and reputed one of the best sailors in the British service.
Note: by Captain Stephen Decatur, USN  8503 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I It was near the end of the great German bid for victory in April 1918. We left Beuvry and passed the hamlet of Le Fresnoy and crossed the bridge over the La Bassee Canal into the village of Gorre. There we struck a route past the famous Brewery to make for the open fields and the front-line trenches.
Note: by Lance-Corporal Thomas A. Owen  6298 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam In May of 1967, and as a young Marine PFC aboard the USS Okinawa (LPH-3), attached to the 1st Bn. 3rd Marines, RLT 26, I was already years older than my chronological number of 19. Our Battalion had been using this ship as a Combat Assault Base since we left Khe Shan in late February.
Note: As remembered by PFC Joseph C. Connelly, Alpha Co., Ist Bn 3rd Marines.  6475 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Korea Our Combat Crew's operated RB-29s prior to the Korean Conflict from Kadena AB, Okinawa. We were accomplishing border surveillance flights both electronic and visual photography of sensitive areas with some overflights of targets of concern to the defense of the United States. Unfortunately our equipment, both aircraft, photo and electronic capabilities were antiquated and derelict.
Note: by Earl E Myers, 31/91st Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron, Okinawa/Korea.  6401 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam My experiences are those from the perspective of a gunship pilot. I flew Cobras with the 235th Aerial Weapons Company (the Delta Devils) out of Can Tho in '68 and '69. The 235th was an all-Cobra company and we gunship drivers were used as hired guns for anyone in the Delta who wanted helicopter gunships to come and shoot up stuff. We nearly always were dispatched as a single light fire team (two Cobras).
Note: by Ira Will McComic  7370 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War On the last day but one of the march of General Joseph E. Johnston's army to join General Beauregard, an order reached me at Rectortown, through Brigadier-General Barnard E. Bee, to collect the four field batteries of Johnston's army into one column, and, as senior artillery captain, to march them by country roads that were unobstructed by infantry or trains as rapidly as possible to Manassas Junction, and to report my arrival at any hour, day or night, to General Bee, who was going forward by rail with his brigade.
Note: by Jno. D. Imboden, Captain of Artillery, C.S.A.  7347 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War In 1861, when the war clouds obscured the sky I was a boy of 17, living in Tennessee. In common with all the boys of my age, whether living north or south I had the military spirit and at the first opportunity placed my name upon the rolls as a soldier, volunteering to fight for my native state. On the 21st day of May, 1861, I enlisted in company B, 16th Tennessee Infantry, under Col. Jno. H. Savage, and was sent to Estil Springs, on the N. C. & St. L. railroad, where we stayed a few days, and then went to Camp Trousdale, north of Nashville on the Louisville & Nashville railroad, near the Kentucky line.
Note: by Robert C. Carden, Company B, 16th Tennessee Infantry  16261 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I July 18th 1918 Dear Mother, Well there has been great activity in the line of warfare since my last letter. I never realized before that destruction of material things as well as human life could possibly occur in a few hours. Just a few days ago we witnessed the greatest artillery fire, and also its effect, since the war began.
Note: letter by Corp. Roy Bainbridge, 117 Am. Train Co C.  5821 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  13183 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II On June 15th 1944 the 2nd Armored Amphibian Bn invaded the Island of Saipan. The 2nd Armored was the first amtrac to be fitted with a open turret and a 75 mm canon, and was to be used as an assualt weapon to get heavy fire power to the beach before the infantry landed. We left the LST's with 72 Armored Amtracs, and only 23 made it all the way to the beach. The Japanese had zeroed in on exact places on the reef, and as the armored tanks got to that spot, they opened fire with heavy artillery and heavy mortars.
Note: by Bill Hoover  6585 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1794: American General "Mad Anthony" Wayne defeats the Ohio Indians at the Battle of Fallen Timbers in the Northwest territory, ending Indian resistance in the area.

1847: General Winfield Scott wins the battle of Churubusco on his drive to Mexico City.

1908: The American Great White Fleet arrived in Sydney, Australia, to a warm welcome.

1914: Russia wins an early victory over Germany at Gumbinnen.

1914: German forces occupied Brussels, Belgium, as the Belgian army retreated to Antwerp.

1940: Radar is used for the first time, by the British during the Battle of Britain.

1944: 60 British soldiers, commanded by Major Roy Farran, fight their way east from Rennes toward Orleans, through German-occupied forest, forcing the Germans to retreat and aiding the French Resistance in its struggle for liberation. Code-named Operation Wallace, this push east was just another nail in the coffin of German supremacy in France.

1950: General MacArthur repeated his July 4th warning to North Korean leader Kim Il Sung concerning the treatment of prisoners of war as a result of the Hill 303 (Waegwan) murder of 36 American soldiers.

1952: Navy, Marine, and Air Force aircraft destroy 80 percent of the targets at Chang Pyong-ni, Korea.

1968: 200,000 Warsaw Pact troops and 5,000 tanks invade Czechoslovakia to crush the "Prague Spring", a brief period of liberalization in the communist country.