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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.

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Spanish American SIR: I have the honor to make the following report of the part taken by this ship in the action of yesterday during and following the sortie of Admiral Cervera’s squadron. The ship had started at 8.50 for the army landing at Siboney, the commander in chief having an appointment with the general commanding the army.
Note: account written July 4, 1898.  5456 Reads  Printer-friendly page

World War II Flying a bombing mission out of Foggia, Italy, off Tortorella US Army Air Field in Italy, during W.W. II, our B-17 caught one hell of a lot of flack. All four engines were still running, but ALL flight instruments failed. We had no airspeed indicator. Since we were returning from the bombing mission in formation, we didn't really need flight instruments except for the approach and landing.
Note: by George Ureke, Lt. Colonel USAF (Ret.).  8380 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  6181 Reads  Printer-friendly page

War of 1812

Brown’s Point, October 14, 1812

The affair of yesterday terminated so gloriously for this province, and does so much honour to its spirited defenders, that I hasten to give an account to you, whom I know to be most warmly interested in the present cause of our country.

Note: By Lieutenant John Beverley Robinson of the 3rd Regiment of York Militia (Flank Company).  6376 Reads  Printer-friendly page

Vietnam Once upon a time there was a war, and I was in it. It seems about as far away now as the Civil War, but there it was--The 1960’s--and among things like topless bathing suits, integration and space programs there was an increasingly gnawing ache in the side of the American People called Vietnam.
Note: from EVERYMAN STROLLS THROUGH HELL by James Worth.  7740 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.  6246 Reads  Printer-friendly page

Civil War On the last day but one of the march of General Joseph E. Johnston's army to join General Beauregard, an order reached me at Rectortown, through Brigadier-General Barnard E. Bee, to collect the four field batteries of Johnston's army into one column, and, as senior artillery captain, to march them by country roads that were unobstructed by infantry or trains as rapidly as possible to Manassas Junction, and to report my arrival at any hour, day or night, to General Bee, who was going forward by rail with his brigade.
Note: by Jno. D. Imboden, Captain of Artillery, C.S.A.  6824 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  14583 Reads  Printer-friendly page

World War II 27.4.41 A fast trip with a couple of alarms brought us to Suda Bay, Crete. Arrived about noon and had a 3 mile walk to a rest camp. Did not enjoy it. 30.4.41 Today we received permission to send a cable advising "All well". I hope it reaches its destination in double quick time. Many times during the last few weeks we have realised how much the people in N.Z. must have been worrying, particularly on Anzac Day.
Note: by Alan Jackson, 5th Field Regiment  5379 Reads  Printer-friendly page

Vietnam The next days are spent digging bunkers, filling sand bags and increasing the strength of our perimeter. We string endless lines of concertino wire, drive posts and set out trip flares, claymores and boo gas.( Buried 55 gallon drums that are a mixture of petroleum jelly and gasoline.) Instant crispy critter.
  5800 Reads  Printer-friendly page

Civil War March 10, 1863 Newport News, Va Father, I was glad to hear from you. I am well. I hope these few lines will find you the same. I want you to write and let me know when you send me the box. Uncle Sylvester is with [us] now. His health is very good now.
Note: letters by Sidney Spaulding, 9th New Hampshire Regiment.  5767 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  7315 Reads  Printer-friendly page

Civil War At the beginning of the war, the army and navy were mostly employed in protecting the loyal people who resided on the borders of the disaffected states and in reconciling those whose sympathies were opposed. But the defeat at Manassas and other reverses convinced the Government of the serious nature of the contest, and of the necessity of more vigorous and extensive preparations for war.
Note: by Admiral Henry Walke  8582 Reads  Printer-friendly page

Vietnam Every day we wandered aimlessly through the dense, green, vegetated, treacherous terrain. Men became lost, absorbed, into the greenness that nature built long ago. The same greenness that Charlie used so well to conceal his roads, bases, weapons, and supplies. The dark forests that seemed to offer up a war with mosquitoes, leeches, physical and emotional exhaustion, and the endless search. Frustrations of living, coping, and the lack of sleep. So tired you don't give a shit anymore. Face the danger, press on. Prison life at hard labor couldn't be this bad. Nevertheless, prison is life and out here, there are no guarantees of any such thing.
Note: by Tom Hays   5421 Reads  Printer-friendly page

World War I After nine months in France, I joined the East Lancs. at Gugunci, travelling overland from Cherbourg to Taranto, thence by steamer to Itea, and finally by motor and rail across wild Greece to Salonika. On disembarking at Dudulah, an enemy aeroplane greeted us with its heavy drone, but proceeded on its way to bomb an ammunition dump some distance away.
Note: by Private N. C. Powell, 3/5th East Lancs. Regt.  6812 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1862: Union troops push 5,000 confederates out of Maysbille, Ark., at the Second Battle of Pea Ridge.

1863: Colonel Benjamin Griersons troops bring destruction to central Mississippi on a two-week raid along the entire length of the state

1864: Confederate General John Bell Hood pulls his battered army into Guntersville, Alabama, but finds the Tennessee River difficult to cross. Plotting another attack against the Yankees, he continues traveling westward with his defeated army.

1942: American Maj. Gen. Mark Clark meets in Algeria with French officials loyal to the Allied cause, as well as Resistance fighters, regarding the launch of Operation Torch, the first Allied amphibious landing of the war.

1951: U.N. and communist liaison officers signed an agreement to resume armistice talks. Both sides agreed to move the talks from Kaesong to Panmunjom and defined a neutral zone around the area.

1954: As a result of the Geneva accords granting Communist control over North Vietnam, U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower authorizes a crash program to train the South Vietnamese Army.

1955: The prototype of the F-105 Thunder Chief makes its maiden flight.

1962: President John F. Kennedy announces that U.S. spy planes have discovered Soviet missile bases in Cuba.

1972: In Saigon, Henry Kissinger meets with South Vietnamese President Thieu to secure his approval of a proposed cease-fire that had been worked out at the secret peace talks with the North Vietnamese in Paris. Thieu rejected the proposed accord.