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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 20 Oct 68
Dear everybody,
Well it's another rainy day in Vietnam. When they say its been known to rain 40 days and nights you can believe it.

Today I had to fill sandbags and build a bunker where a mortar round came in last night. No big worry. It was at least 300 yards away. That's for really!
  5684 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I October 1, 1918 -- Firing and laying around most of the day. Moved up forward during the night and put our guns in position in a sunken road behind Epinay. Raining very hard all night and Fritz was shelling around all night. We had to keep awake all night, Haynecourt Cemetery 5:00
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Vietnam From the 1/14th Daily Journal for 19 NOVEMBER 1966.
19 NOVEMBER 1966 Although the heavy contact with NVA troops on the 13th of November was still fresh in the minds of the men, today they would relive this struggle with an even more determined and large enemy force. Innumerable incidents of personal heroic actions, and the valiant fighting team spirit of out units brought us through on top.
Note: Sgt Ted Belcher was awarded the Medal of Honor, PostHumously.  5912 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I Our cavalry brigade arrived in Peronne in November 1917, after a long trek up from billets. We had had a fairly easy time during the summer of that year. For a few months we had been dismounted and had been up at Vimy Ridge doing all sorts of work: digging reserve trenches, reinforcing communication trenches and digging new ones - in fact, doing real navvy work, which, on the whole, was enjoyable, as far as anything could be enjoyable in France during the War. The weather was good, rations were plentiful, though the water had a wicked taste.
Note: by Private Chris Knight, 6th Dragoon Guards, Carabineers  11537 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II 8/9/44 Mission #1 Flew our 1st mission today, 34 to go. They woke us at 1:50 am. Briefing time 3:00 am. So we knew it was pretty sure to be a long one. Had pineapple juice, fresh egg, hotcakes, sausage, cold cereal, coffee. Target Schmitt ball bearing works, Nurnberg.
Note: by First Lieutenant Andrew K. Norman  6538 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  6092 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.  6108 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Korea I entered active duty with the 47th Infantry Division from Minnesota. At the time I arrived in Korea, I was originally assigned to A Battery 143rd FA as Recon & Survey Officer on August 16, 1952. I was 1st Lt at that time. All of us, except the battery commander and executive officer, pulled tours as forward observer with the Korean infantry units we were supporting at that time.
Note: by William R Hendrickson  8124 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I A fellow named Kendall and I palled up the day after he joined our company. We were in a sugar factory at the time, where we were to spend the night before going into the line. I had found two planks and trestles, and thought, in my ignorance, to make a bed where the rats would not disturb me, and while I surveyed the available floor space the slinking form of a large rat, just discernible in the dimming light, made me turn sharply round.
Note: by Private David Phillips, 23rd County of London Regiment  7977 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.
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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  6643 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I June 27, 1917 I have decided to keep a diary myself as I hear rumored today that all the letters that I spent so much time writing on the boat have gone down on the Lorraine. If it is so, I'm sure disgusted at myself for wasting so much time writing them as the people at home will never know how much I tried to write to them.
Note: by Thomas Edward Shirley  8190 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American When we left our anchorage at Hong Kong for Mirs Bay we passed close to an English army hospital-ship lying in the stream. The patients gathered on the port-side, and, with the doctors and nurses, gave three hearty cheers as we steamed slowly by. It did our hearts good, and from all our ships ringing Yankee voices answered them in kind.
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Korea In the summer of 1950, I had just completed electronics school in Memphis, TN. I was ordered to Geiger counter school in San Diego, CA. Upon arrival in San Diego, we noticed a high degree of alert and activity at the base. I soon learned of the Korean War and how it would change my life.
Note: by Ed Buckman, VF-193, USS Princeton Task Force 77  8765 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II With a friend of mine, a Post Office messenger like myself, I had gone to the Royal Navy Recruiting Office when I was 16 year old to volunteer for the Navy. They took our names then and apologized for the fact that they were not allowed to take us as Boy Seamen at 16 years and that we would have to wait until we were called up at 18 years. They did tell us however if we volunteered just before 18 years the Navy would take us then.
Note: by Eric Mason, Signalman, AS Trawlers HMS Buster and HMS Bay  9963 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1777: Marines join the Pennsylvania Navy for action on the Delaware River.

1777: The British army launches a major offensive, capturing Philadelphia.

1781: The French fleet defeats the British at Yorktown, VA.

1826: The Persian cavalry is routed by the Russians at the Battle of Ganja in the Russian Caucasus.

1864: Confederate General Sterling Price invades Missouri and attacks a Yankee garrison at Pilot Knob. Price's troops captured a fort and scattered the Union defenders, but also suffered heavy losses.

1864: General Nathan Bedford Forrest and his men assault a Federal garrison near Pulaski, Tennessee.

1915: "Horse Marines" engaged Haitian bandits near Petite Riviere.

1931: The keel is laid for the USS Ranger (CV-4), the first ship designed as an aircraft carrier.


1941: The U.S. Army establishes the Military Police Corps.

1944: Operation Market-Garden, a plan to seize bridges in the Dutch town of Arnhem, fails, as thousands of British and Polish troops are killed, wounded, or taken prisoner.