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I had rather have a plain, russet-coated Captain, that knows what he fights for, and loves what he knows, than that you call a Gentle-man and is nothing else.

-- Oliver Cromwell

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.


Korea It was January 28, 1951. I had been with my platoon for five days. The platoon leader, Lieutenant Mitchell, called us into his hut and informed us that we would be going on a motorized patrol the next day. He emphasized that it would be dangerous since a patrol had gone into the same region on the 28th without finding the enemy.
Note: by Richard C Fockler, 23rd lnf., C Co.  7997 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Korea I was born in Aalborg, Denmark on April 8, 1922 and immigrated to America with my mother and two older brothers Kaj and Poul in 1924. My father, Niels Christian, had come to America the previous year in 1923. After a two week sea and train journey through Ellis Island and Canada, we finally arrived in Chicago where we settled in a Danish neighborhood in the Humboldt Park area. Our family suffered greatly during the depression years but with the help of the Danish community we survived.
Note: by Erik Larsen, Battalion Surgeon, 2nd Battalion, 23rd Regimental Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division  14962 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American U. S. S. POTOMAC,

Caimanera, Cuba, August 23, 1898.

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the work done on the wreck of the Maria Teresa since the last inspection made by Lieutenant-Commander Pillsbury, on August 15, 1898.
  5098 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Korea It was sometime in March 1950, when my Brother, Spencer Walter (Walt) Welsh announced to the family that he was going to join the Army, As he was only 17 years old and did not have a profession decided for himself and jobs in York, Pennsylvania were few and far between, he said he wanted to better himself.
Note: by Jay Welsh  6051 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  6332 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam Early on the morning of December 3, 1971, Paddy Control contacted Dustoff Operations with an emergency scramble mission. A Navy Seawolf helicopter had just given a mayday call near Tra Vinh, indicating he had been hit by enemy fire and was going down. We scrambled immediately, and Paddy vectored us to the coordinates where he'd last seen the Seawolf on radar.
Note: by David Freeman  5431 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War About the 14th or 15th of August 1864 about 300 of us started on an expedition from Jacksonville, Florida to destroy a rebel commissary at Gainesville, Florida. We arrived there at daylight on the morning of the 16th of August 1864. Through spys the rebels heard that we were coming and 1500 of them had surrounded the city ready to fight us. They charged on us but we drove them back and held the city till three o'clock in the afternoon and looking for reinforcements every minute.
Note: by John Marshall Stewart  6201 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  9086 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Revolutionary War SIR,
I HAVE made several attempts to inform your excellency, that the French West-India fleet, under Monsieur de Grasse, entered the capes the 29th ult. I could not exactly learn the number; they report twenty-five or twenty-six sail of the line.
Note: York town, in Virginia, 8th Sept. 1781  6910 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam We had a new guy in our mortar platoon I will call Joe C. He was a Chicano from East L. A. He was friendly, and fun loving but liked to take chances. In the world of mortars, one of the top rules, is not to have a round in each hand while firing a mortar tube. It is nearly impossible to keep track of where the round in the barrel is.
Note: by Larry Nuckolls, 81MM + 4.2", B Co., 2/22 (M) 25TH INF DIV., 1970.  6074 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American USS Oregon, 4 July 1898
Sir - I have the honor to report that at 9.30 AM yesterday the Spanish fleet was discovered standing out of the harbor of Santiago de Cuba. They turned to the westward and opened fire, to which our ships replied vigorously. For a short time there was almost continuous flight of projectiles over this ship, but when our line was fairly engaged and the Iowa had made a swift advance, as if to ram or close, the enemy's fire became defective in train as well as range. The ship was only struck three times, and at least two of them were by fragments of shells. We had no casualties.
Note: by Captain C.E. Clark, USN  6008 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War

Pleasant Valley

October 7, 64

Dear sister

I am yet alive but I have been very sick for the last two weeks with the fever and ague but it is broke on me and I am getting quite smart

Note: by Private Miles B. Hodges, Company A, 22nd New York Volunteer Cavalry  6333 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Korea On June 25, 1950, the Korean War began. I listened to the news every day and when I heard my old outfit, Baker Company Fifth Marines, was in Korea fighting hard, I decided to re-enlist. Traveling to Kansas City, Missouri, to the Marine recruiting office I hoped to re-up as a sergeant. I was disappointed, for I had been involved in a car wreck and still had some cuts not fully healed.
Note: by PFC Charlie Carmin, 1st Marine Division  17376 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam At Det 1, we were flying missions that melted into each other and in retrospect, in another theater, would have been considered "medal" material on nearly a daily basis. We on the other hand, only knew we were doing a job to the best of our ability, under often hazardous conditions, with the ultimate goal of always being there and getting our "Brother Warriors" out of trouble safely so they could go home to their loved ones.
Note: by Michael W. Dobson  7640 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War Headquarters Co, B,. 84th Reg.
Blue Springs, Tenn
April 11, 1864
Dear Aunt,
It is with great pleasure that I seat my self to drop you a few lines of pleasure. I am well and harty and hope this may find you the same.
  6166 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1815: USS Peacock takes HMS Nautilus, last action of the War of 1812.

1834: Congress placed the Marine Corps under Navy jurisdiction.

1862: The Seven Days' Battles continues at Glendale (White Oak Swamp), Virginia, as Robert E. Lee has a chance to deal a decisive blow against George B. McClellan's Army of the Potomac.

1863: Union and Confederate cavalries clashed at Hanover, Pennsylvania.

1943: General Douglas MacArthur launches Operation Cartwheel, a multi-pronged assault on Rabaul and several islands in the Solomon Sea in the South Pacific.

1943: American forces land on several islands of the New Georgia group. Rendova island is targeted, in particular.

1943: A mixed Australian and American unit known as McKechnie Force lands at Nassau Bay near Salamaua from Morobe. There is heavy Japanese resistance to the landing.

1944: German resistance in the Cotentin Peninsula ends.

1944: Elements of US 5th Army are heavily engaged in Cecina. The main advance inland is slowed by a new German defensive line south of Siena and Arezzo.

1944: The American 5th Amphibious Corps has captured over half of Saipan. Fighting north of Mount Tipo Pale and Mount Tapotchau continues. Death Valley and Purple Heart Ridge are cleared.