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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 Excuse me if this letter is badly written as I am writing sitting on some straw with a box as a desk: besides, my pencil is just about two inches long. However, though writing under difficulties, I will try to write a long letter as I have much to speak of to you.
Note: by Private Clarence Joseph, Letter from France to Marjorie Christienin British Columbia 1915  7507 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II Shortly after joining up we saw this notice on the notice-board looking for volunteers for a "suicide mission." Some brilliant officer had come up with the idea that he would like to form a unit that would go behind the enemy lines at night and blow up the German's tanks while they slept. Imagine that!
Note: by Ronald Arthur Tee, 56th Reconnaissance Regiment, 78th "Battleaxe" Division of the British 1st. Army, 1941-1946.
  6763 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American We are out today on the scout on the mountain, about thirty miles from Guantanamo, and probably will not see camp again for about ten days. I have eight men with me, and have made a report of our position and that of the enemy and have sent the same to our captain at Guantanamo.
At present I am under orders of the noted Cuban, General Garcia, and he will give me a guide of ten or twelve Cubans when I return to our camp.
Note: by Marine Sergeant Bloomfield W. Riddle.  8321 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War We remained in camp near Chattanooga till about the last of August. The Tennessee river being the line between the two armies the picket lines of each army were posted on the opposite banks of that stream. I remember having been ordered one morning to take my company and post them as pickets on the river bank just below the city.
Note: by Captain W.P. Howell, 25th Alabama, Company I  9351 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam The Short Range Ambush Platoon was organized as a small force whose primary mission was night ambush. SRAP was capable of operating independently without the support of any other elements. I can't speak for the entire platoon, but during my time, to my knowledge SRAP was Ranger led, and ably so. The first group was selected by SFC Jay Holloway from the battalion on an individual basis.
Note: by John Smerdon, 1/50 Infantry  8881 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam I remember pulling guard duty at Cu Chi Base Camp, RVN in the Support Command area. It just so happened that there was a Vietnamese cemetery located in the Support Command area at Cu Chi.
Note: by Don Patrick  10910 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.
  6895 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War

Rome Ga Nov 10th 1864

During the last two weeks we have been expecting "marching orders". More than a week since we rec'd orders to prepare for a "long arduous & successful campaign".

Note: by Cornelius C. Platter, 81st Ohio Infantry  23902 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Korea On June 10th 1952 I crawled onto a crew bus at K-8 Korea for the ride to the Operations tent for my first mission with my new navigator. Captain Black, another B-26 pilot, was already on board and we discussed his mission status while on the way to the flight line.
Note: by James Willard Braly, 13th Bomb Squadron.  7380 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  8684 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I Sun Nov 8th 1914 , Blantyre St.,Bishopmill Dear Annie, Just a few lines to let you know that I am always in the land of living & keeping well hoping this will find you all the same at home I got up here friday & going back Tuesday not much time but better than nothing.
Note: letters by James Kay, Regimental Sergeant-Major, No 4 Company of the 16th Battalion Canadian Expeditionary Force, 3rd Brigade, First Canadian Division.   7355 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II The 103rd Infantry (Cactus) Division left Camp Howze, Texas during the last half of September 1944. I, Hallet K. Brown, known as H. K., was a member of the 410th Infantry Regiment, 1st Battalion (Company D). Company D, a heavy weapons company, consisted of one mortar (80 mm) and two machine gun (.30 caliber) platoons. I was the first gunner, responsible for carrying the tripod and firing the gun, of the Eighth Squad (8 members), Second Section, Second Platoon.
Note: by Hallet K. Brown  18962 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.  8265 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I Turmoil and confusion are everywhere. Troops, baggage, and all the litter of war, lumbers up every available space. R.T. Officers are here, there, and everywhere. They sort us out, guide, and lead us to our trains. We file in. Where are we going? No one knows. Where's the 8th? Where's the 7th? Where's the 6th? Where is any regiment?
Note: by Private Alfred Grosch, 8th London  8996 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam On the night of 20 November 1970 at 2300 hours, five HH-53s and one HH-3 helicopter took off with fifty-six Special Forces Soldiers from Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base in Thailand. The aircraft would refuel over Laos and enter North Vietnamese airspace from the west. The target of the helo borne assault was the Son Tay Prisoner of War (POW) Camp located 23 miles northwest of the North Vietnamese capital of Hanoi. The flight from Udorn to Son Tay was approximately 337 miles one way.
Note: Tom Powell, “Greenleaf” Element  15210 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1779: American troops under General Anthony Wayne captured Stony Point, N.Y., with a loss to the British of more than 600 killed or captured.

1862: David Glasgow Farragut, in recognition of his victory at New Orleans, is promoted to Rear Admiral, the first officer to hold that rank in the history of the U.S. Navy.

1863: The draft riot enters its fourth day in New York City in response to the Enrollment Act, which was enacted on March 3, 1863.

1912: A Naval torpedo, launched from an airplane, was patented by Rear Admiral Bradley A. Fiske.

1915: First Navy ships, battleships Ohio, Missouri, and Wisconsin transit the Panama Canal.


1916: Captain Raynal Bolling commanded the 1st Aero Squadron, New York National Guard, when it was mobilized during the Mexican Border Crisis.

1920: Gen. Amos Fries was appointed first US army chemical warfare chief.

1927: Augusto Sandino began a five year war against the US occupation of Nicaragua.

1940: Hitler issues his Directive 16. It begins, "I have decided to begin to prepare for, and if necessary to carry out, an invasion of England."

1943: The US 3rd Division attacks Agrigento and Porto Empedocle.