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Military history, when superficially studied, will furnish arguments in support of any theory.

-- Bronsart von Schellendorf

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 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  9609 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam Our fireteam (Det8), was staging off the Hunderton County (LST-838) and out of the Rach Gia short strip. We had been flying combat ops between Long Xuyen and Rach Gia and had spotted about a half acre of (VC) watermelons growing on a flat spot above a village which was along a river.
Note: by Bill Rutledge  6500 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II June 6, 1944
Several planes have passed over us, C-47's Which too - Paratroop's in. As far as you can see there are L.S.Ts. & L.C. Vs. Two Planes were shot down, Unidentified. Lot of A.A. fire ahead. Everything has been quiet for past two hours Searchlights on Beach at 045.
Note: by Seaman 3rd Class George A. Wehrle, aboard the heavy cruiser USS TUSCALOOSA  7443 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.  6847 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Korea I spent only a short time in Korea but my Korean service stands as an important part of my life. I well remember there were times near sunrise when my crew on the west coast and another crew from the 17th Bb Gp on the east coast were the northernmost Americans and stood symbolically alone between Communism and Democracy.
Note: by Charles Hinton  8472 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam It seems like yesterday that I was graduating from the Infantry Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia. Just a year earlier my friend Don and I were walking down the street checking out girls and cars like we did everyday after junior college classes.
Note: by Tim Lickness   6582 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam It was November 1st, 1963, and the pot had been stirring. The feelings against the Diem government were running higher and higher by the day. There were the pro-Diem faction and the anti-Diem faction. It was the Catholics versus the Buddhists. Diem and his family were Catholic and the Buddhist monks were stirring up trouble. You could just sense the tension in Saigon as it was building. You knew something was about to happen.
Note: by Lieutenant Commander Bobbi Hovis, Nurse Corps  15127 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War Memarandum of Events of Basil H Messler's term in the U.S. Ser Arrved in Davenport on the 27th day of February. Put up at the Penn. House and took Dinner and then I went to Lieut Walthams Recruiting office and made out My Inlistment papers in Dupicates and then got permistion of a furlow and was examined by Dr Church and pass examination Then got the Agt, to excep them and got an order to go to Camp McClelands. But did not go that evening went to the theater and then returned to the Hotell and took room No 69 in co. with Sergts Grooms & Allsop.
Note: by Basil H. Messler, Mississippi Marine Brigade  13891 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War Headquarters, 1st Brig., 3d Div. 6th Ar.
Near Gaines Mills
June 4, 1864
Dear Ha: I have just received a letter from you and as a mail will leave in an hour or two, I hasten to answer. We are behind entrenchments, holding a position which we have just taken from the enemy. Bullets, as I write, are flying in all directions, and wounded and dead men pass me continually.
Note: Letter from Chas. Leonard to his father in the trenches, Virginia countryside near Richmond, Va.  7244 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II I grew up in the small town of Ellis, Kansas during the great depression of the 1930s complete with heat waves, drought and dust storms. We thought such conditions were the norm.I graduated from Ellis High School in May of 1943. I could have loafed around all summer waiting for my draft notice but I asked for immediate induction. My father was furious - thought I was out of my mind.
Note: by Kenneth F. Haas.  6152 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II Saint-Leonard, a name that has continually come to mind over the last five decades, is the name of a quaint little village situated in the foothills of the Vosges of Southern France. It was not long after our encounter in this village when I made myself a promise not to be forgotten... a promise that I would keep in the many years to follow. The incident bringing about this promise I have lived with since that day, Nov. 20, 1944. It was a promise made out of both fear and anger, that some day if it be God's will, I will return.
Note: by Fielding D. Tucker  6757 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War On the 5th day of April 1862, the army had marching orders and we took up the line of march toward the Tennessee River. Late in the evening we arrived within less than a mile of the enemy camp and put in line of battle where we remained all night with orders for the men to lie on their arms and while it was quite cool weather, fires were all extinguished at nightfall.
Note: by Captain W.P. Howell, 25th Alabama, Company I  9745 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  6716 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American I was just closing a letter to my family when I felt the crash of the explosion. It was a bursting, rending, and crashing sound, or roar of immense volume, largely metallic in character. It was succeeed by a metallic sound - probably of falling debris - a trembling and lurching motion of the vessel, then an impression of subsidence, attended by an eclipse of the electirc lights and intense darkness within the cabin.
Note: recounted by Captain Charles D. Sigsbee, USS MAINE, Commanding Officer.  10611 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  11111 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1565: Pedro Menendez of Spain wipes out the French at Fort Caroline, in Florida.

1604: After a two-year siege, the Spanish retake Ostend, the Netherlands, from the Dutch.

1853: The Allies defeat the Russians at the battle of Alma on the Crimean Peninsula.

1863: In one of the bloodiest battles of the war, the Confederate Army of Tennessee drives the Union Army of the Cumberland back into Chattanooga, Tennessee, from Chickamauga Creek in northern Georgia.

1917: British advance east of Ypres and take Inverness Copse, Glencorse Wood, Veldhoek, and part of Polygon Wood amassing 2,000 prisoners.

1943: British submarines attempt to sink the German battleship Tirpitz as it sits in Norwegian waters, as Operation Source gets underway.

1965: Seven U.S. planes are downed in one day over Vietnam.

1968: U.S. military spokesmen defend the use of defoliants in Vietnam at a news conference in Saigon, claiming that the use of the agents in selected areas of South Vietnam had neither appreciably altered the countrys ecology, nor produced any harmful effects on human or animal life.

1972: The USAF reveals that U.S. planes have been mining the coastal rivers and canals of northern Quang Tri province below the DMZ, the first mining of waterways within South Vietnam.

480: Themistocles and his Greek fleet win one of historys first decisive naval victories over Xerxes Persian force off Salamis.