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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 I think it is safe to say that everyone's first impression upon arriving in country to Vietnam was unique to that individual. It would be dependent on a persons' expectations and what his life experiences were subsequent to arrival, as-well-as, the time and place you came in country. Even so, I expect that some common chords are shared in each.
Note: by Roland Kunkel   10597 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.  7243 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  8843 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  10800 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War I, with about five hundred other prisoners of war, arrived at Elmira about the first of August, 1864, after a confinement of forty five days at Point Lookout. I spent the first day in a thorough examination of my new abode, and its advantages as a home until fortune would release me from its durance. It contained several acres of ground, enclosed by a plank fence about fourteen feet high; some three feet from the top on the outside ran a narrow footway, or parapet, of plank, supported by braces.
Note: by Sergeant G. W. D. Porter, 44th Tenn. Infantry Regiment, CSA  7917 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I I remember the first occasion when I was called upon to go over the top. It was during the Somme "do," where our battalion had already been in some nasty business near the Briqueterie and Trones Wood. I heard about the Third Company's experiences in Trones Wood during my recovery from an overdose of rum, and I was new enough a soldier to feel the strain on my heart-strings when I realized that rum stupor had saved me from participation.
Note: by Fred Ball  8967 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam This was on my very first patrol, my first week in the bush as we moved along a steep ridge. There had been no contact yet, but there was considerable evidence of enemy presence. (We made contact a few days later on an NVA Hospital).
Note: By Steve Boyer   7447 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War January, 1861 1 Very cold last night but the sun shines out very warm and brightly today. Considerable ice running in the river. A very small school today. Some are sick and some are taking a New York holiday. I have never before been so unsettled about the future as I am at the commencement of this New Year.
Note: by Eugene Goodwin, 99th New York Infantry Regiment  18507 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I I have been through a most thrilling experience - one I shall never forget all my life. We had been strafing the enemy for some days, our artillery pounding them all along the line. Suddenly, at 4.53 o'clock on Sunday morning last the order came to charge. We went over the parapet - the whole brigade, save one battalion. Our artillery fire lifted, and our boys calmly walked over to the opposing trenches, a barrage of fire being put behind the lines.
Note: by Sgt Harvey Gale  7694 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam I was flying C&C for an operation in lower III Corps, near the end of the Plain of Reeds, actually further SE, near the Thumb and the Testicles, if you know the area. Our Company XO, a fairly new Captain and aviator and a great guy, was my PP.
Note: by Robert Glasier, 240th Assault Helicopter Company  11018 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I I bade farewell to my right leg, and to my career as a soldier, outside a trench at Gheluvelt, near Ypres, on October 29th, 1914. In the First Battle of Ypres the British were out-numbered by seven to one. On the previous evening we took over trenches, not deep or elaborate ones, from an English regiment.
Note: by Sergeant J. F. Bell, 2nd Gordon Highlanders  11154 Reads  Printer-friendly page



War of 1812 Pittsburg, 23 October 1812 On the 9th of August last, I received orders from General Hull to evacuate the post and proceed with my command to Detroit by land, leaving it at my discretion to dispose of the public property as I thought proper. The neighbouring Indians got the information as early as I did, and came in from all quarters in order to receive the goods in the factory store, which they understood were to be given them.
Note: by Captain Heald, letter to The Secretary of War  15144 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  7823 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I France 16th June 1917.
Dear Mother & Father,
Please forgive me for making such a wide gap since I last wrote for truly it has been impossible. Since my last letter of the 2nd, our division has been through the fire and is now resting, resting as victors and as men who have done their bit. I feel at a loss to give an account of myself and of events generally during the past two weeks, for such a poor pen as mine cannot compass the tremendous events the awe-inspiring sights and the terrible ordeals which we have seen and gone through.
Note: by Len Newton, Sapper, 3rd Division Signal Coy, A.I.F.  8575 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  10664 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1862: Northwestern Arkansas and Southwestern Missouri is secured for the Union when a force commanded by General James G. Blunt holds off a force of Confederates under General Thomas Hindman.

1917: U.S. declared war on Austria-Hungary with only one dissenting vote in Congress and became the 13th country to do so.

1917: Four U.S. battleships arrive at Scapa Flow taking on the role of the British Grand Fleet's Sixth Battle Squadron. Include USS Delaware (BB-28), USS Florida (BB-30), New York (BB-34), and USS Wyoming (BB-32).

1941: At 7:55 a.m. Hawaii time, in a sneak attack, Japanese warplanes bomb the U.S. naval base at Oahu Island's Pearl Harbor and the United States enters World War II.

1941: Japanese forces bomb Guam and Wake and Midway is bombarded by Japanese destroyers.

1941: The Canadian government declares war on Japan.

1942: American PT Boats force a Japanese supply convoy to turn back before landing their supplies on Guadalcanal. The convoy is escorted by 7 destroyers led by Captain Sato.

1943: The US 5th Army secures the Mignano gap and expands its offensive. The US 2nd and 6th Corps attack Monte Sammucro and San Pietro. There is determined German resistance.

1944: On Leyte, the US 77th Division lands about one mile south of Ormoc. There is some Japanese resistance. One of the 12 escorting destroyers is sunk by a Kamikaze attack. Meanwhile, the US 7th Division continues attacking northward toward Ormoc.

1944: The US 3rd Army penetrates the Siegfried Line northwest of Saarlautern.