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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.


Coast Guard During May 1942, I was a lieutenant assigned as Executive and Engineer Officer of the USS PC-469 at the George Lawley Shipyard in Neponset, Massachusetts. Three other officers were assigned - Lieutenant Commander Richard Morell as the Commanding Officer with Lieutenant (junior grade) Kenneth Potts and Ensign Richard Young as watch officers. Upon arrival, I became very familiar with the PC design since the ship was in the throes of final outfitting and on the building ways - the keel having been laid on 22 October 1941.
Note: by Vice Admiral Thomas R. Sargent, III, USCG   18308 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  17645 Reads  Printer-friendly page



POW On April 20, 1945 the Russians were firing artillery into and around the prison forced labor camp near Juderbog, Germany, where I was confined with a number of the privates and PFC’s. The attack including blowing down one of the fences of the compound. As a result, we decided to escape the prison encampment and work our way back to the American lines, which we accomplished in five days, walking cross-country across Germany.
Note: by Pendleton Woods  7353 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War Jan. 24th: I commenced keeping diary in Tom Sandle's book he being gone the Devil knows where. This morning inspection of arms weather cloudy and damp. No camp guards furnished by our Brigadier yesterday we were on pickett had the easiest duty our company ever done.
Note: by Melville Cox Follett  6878 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam Soon after arriving in Viet Nam I saw an OV-10 Bronco. It was love at first sight and I was determined to get a ride in one. Luckily my job as an information officer gave me the opportunity. The ALO (Air Liaison Officer, pronounced "aye lo") assigned to the division flew OV-10s so I tracked the unit down.
Note: by Forrest Brandt  6614 Reads  Printer-friendly page



POW There were various ways tried by prisoners to get beyond those double barbed wire fences; climbing them, slipping between the wires, cutting through, tunneling under, or some sort of disguise to pass the guards at the gates.
Note: by Edwin Dunlap  7707 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I

Preparation in England, 1915

Inspection by General Campbell.

Saturday March 15th on my birthday. Route march to Birmingham from Sutton. General inspection in Calthorpe Park at 2. General Campbell in passing lines asks me what I was before I joined. General salute at 3.30 pm Victoria Square, dismissed at 4pm near Corporation Street.

Note: by William Bernard Whitmore, 1st Birmingham Battalion  8365 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam Thirty years ago I came tumbling out of the sky in my rotary winged aircraft. Struck by fiery rockets that caused a fatal hemorrhaging of vital fluids. Barely able to control her flight I flew to what I hoped was a clear and safe site. On short final she gave up all she had and started the inevitable slip to the right.
Note: by Bill Beardall  5695 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.
  6532 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I I will endeavor to give you a fuller account of our experiences whilst landing. I dare say long ere this reaches you, you will have read all about it in the papers, but here is the part I saw and took part in. It was on Sunday, April 25th at 3 a.m., we disembarked from our transport ship, the "Galeka," our kit consisted of an extra change of clothing, 200 rounds of ammunition, as well as plenty of tobacco, the entire lot weighing just on 90 lbs., and with that weight we had to climb down over the side of the ship - per Jacob's ladder, which by the way, is made of rope, - into rowing boats, 50 men in each. We were towed by naval pinnaces as near as possible to the shore, being under very heavy fire made it a very difficult task.
Note: by Pte. H. J. Lynch writing from Victoria Hospital, Alexandria.  6297 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  12370 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American

Santiago De Cuba

July 18, 1898

Dear Parents,

Received your welcome letter and was so glad to find all well. I am in the best of health, but my God, how the men around me suffer! There are 30 to 40 in the Company sick. It is the fever, and I thank God every day that He has spared me so far. He has heard your prayers, my dear Mama. As I have no paper, I will give you a brief sketch of what has happened on the Island and go into details some other time.

  5400 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War Manassas Junction Va Dec the 15 1861
Dear Cousin
I received your kind and interresting letter a few days ago, I was verry glad to hear from you all and also to hear from my sweat hearts I wan to see them verry bad indeed tho I dont think thare is eny chance for me to git a furlow,
Note: Company D of the 38th Virginia Infantry in Whitmell.  5673 Reads  Printer-friendly page



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  5464 Reads  Printer-friendly page



War of 1812 United States' Frigate Constitution, off Boston Light, 30 August 1812.
I have the honour to inform you, that on the 19th instant, at 2 PM being in latitude 41, 42, longitude 55, 48, with the CONSTITUTION under my command, a sail was discovered from the mast-head bearing E. by S. or E.S.E. but at such a distance we could not tell what she was. All sail was instantly made in chase, and soon found we came up with her.
Note: by Captain Isaac Hull, USN  7790 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.