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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.


World War I On Sunday, May 21st, 1916, the battalion was in camp Camblain-l'Abbe, behind Vimy Ridge. Recent spells in the line had been quiet, the weather was warm and sunny, and everyone was in good spirits. I was on camp-cleaning fatigue, but, the camp being in a good condition, there was nothing to do beyond picking up an odd piece of paper or two.
Note: by Frank Wilfrid Watts, 15th Battalion, The London Regt.  7218 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  11129 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.  7246 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II I was a medic attached to 2nd platoon, C Battery, of the 225th during my entire tour of duty in Europe. When we were in the field, there was half of C Battery (117 men) that I would visit in their positions on a daily basis. I was their primary health-care provider. I would travel on a three-quarter-ton truck that carried rations and water to each searchlight/radar section every day to make my rounds. From June 1944 to December 1945 we moved from Omaha beach in France to Neubiberg in Germany. During this entire time, I never treated someone who was wounded by the enemy. This was a good thing.
Note: by Robert J. King  9754 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam As soon as the Freedom Bird began to lose altitude the noise level on the craft began to rise. Idle conversation tended to either stop completely or to take on a more intense quality. From one end of the plane to the other the word spread with the speed of magic. We're coming into McChord.
Note: By Jim Calbreath   7662 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II The morning of December 7, 1941 was typical of any Sunday morning aboard the battleship USS CALIFORNIA. My billet for meals was the Marines' casemate #8(an armored enclosure for a gun) located port side midship, just where the forecastle breaks and a ladder leads down to the quarter-deck.
Note: by John H. McGoran  9720 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War Where the Jerusalem Plank Road, leading into the city of Petersburg, Va., passed through the earthworks of the contending forces, a little east of south of the city, there had been hot contention from the first approach of the Union army. The right of the original line of Confederate works, prepared in advance by their engineers, rested upon this broad road.
Note: by Captain Thomas P. Beals, Company E, 101st Regiment, Illinois Volunteer Infantry  12613 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Revolutionary War December 6
The Enemy forming a Line from towards our right to the extremity of our left upon an opposite long height to ours in a Wood. Our men were under Arms all Day and this Night also, as our Wise General was determined not to be attack'd Napping....
Note: Albigence Waldo was a Surgeon at Valley Forge, 1777.  11513 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  11077 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Gulf War NBC. Nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. These were some of the most thought about things in the blast furnace of Iraq. Not that we did not have other things to think about but the idea of a virus that could live 3-5 days in the desert environment was not something to take lightly.
Note: by David  13402 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II September 25, 1943 was an unforgettable day. It was the day I received my notice to appear at the county court house in Hyattsville, Maryland for my induction into the army. And from there the other inductees and I were taken by bus to Fort Meade, Maryland where we were given uniforms and clothing.
  8934 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Korea Herb and I always had the 2 1/2 ton 6x6 loaded with 18 drums of gasoline. We took it to where they told us to. We'd hang around the CP. When we heard there was a fire fight up front we knew that the medics would need the gas for the meat wagons. So that's where we'd go. We called our truck a mobile POL dump. I guess that described it pretty well. We were on the spearhead towards Pyongyang.
Note: by George Wegener  8787 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam I saw her for the first time in 1969. Apparently my Vietnamese was not as good as I thought and the ride I had caught on a Vietnamese UH1D went to Tay Ninh instead of Tan Uyen where I was supposed to go. We had been in the air from Dinh Quan for about 30 minutes when I first saw her head rising out of the mist above the emerald green jungle.
Note: by Don Shacklette  10565 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Gulf War August 2, 1990
Iraq invades Kuwait
August 18-30, 1990
A couple of dozen of the unit fly to Camp Shelby, Mississippi to support Exercise Vulcan Knight. We fly to Gulfport, then bus to Camp Shelby. My first thought upon seeing the place is that it's Beetle Bailey's Camp Swampy, incarnate. The concrete block billets are not air conditioned. It pushes 100 during the day but is actually easier to take than the evenings.
Note: by Steven Dutch, 432nd Civil Affairs Company  19606 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  9087 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1862: The Union Army of the Potomac occupies Fredericksburg, Virginia, as General Ambrose Burnside continues to execute his plan to capture the Confederate capital at Richmond.

1863: Union gunboats Restless, Bloomer and Caroline enter St. Andrews Bay, Fla., and begin bombardment of both Confederate quarters and saltworks.

1933: Paraguay captures 11,000 Bolivians in the war over Chaco.

1941: The United States declares war on Italy and Germany.

1941: Adolf Hitler declares war on the United States, bringing America, which had been neutral, into the European conflict.

1945: A Boeing B-29 Superfortress shatters all records by crossing the United States in five hours and 27 minutes.

1950: The 1st Marine Division completed its breakout from the Chosin/Changjin Reservoir entrapment and began its march to join the rest of X Corps at Hungnam.

1955: Israel raids Syrian positions on the Sea of Galilee.

1961: The ferry carrier, USNS Core, arrives in Saigon with the first U.S. helicopter unit. This contingent included 33 Vertol H-21C Shawnee helicopters and 400 air and ground crewmen to operate and maintain them. Their assignment was to airlift South Vietnamese Army troops into combat.

1969: Paratroopers from the U.S. Third Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, depart from Vietnam.