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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.


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.  5866 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II Many stories of World War II combat missions in B-17s over Europe have been written. Rarely did any of these tell much about the planning, briefing, organization of the formations, form up and what happened after the planes returned to their bases. This mission was chosen to document for the casual readers to profile a typical combat mission in those days.
Note: by Marshall B. Shore, Lt. Colonel, USAF  6647 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam We have been stationed about 5-6 miles off the coast of Vietnam. Our job is to repair the river patrol boats. They would tow, push, shove or sometimes just putt their way out to us for repair. We keep seeing the same patrol boats and repair them, send them back, repair them, send them back.
Note: by Raymond Bruder  7055 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam The year was 1967. We frequently received incoming RPG or mortars rounds at Cu Chi, RVN. The siren would go off, we would suddenly hear the 'plump - plump' of mortars or the flittering noise of the RPGs followed by their exposion and we would charge off to hit the bunkers.
Note: by Don Patrick  5629 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II V-Mail , June 1944:

Dear Mom,
"The O.W.I. has given you more information about the historic D-Day than we could hope to include in one letter.
  5349 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War The village of Dover was, and for that matter yet is, what our English cousins would call the shire-town of the county of Stewart, Tennessee. In 1860 it was a village unknown to fame, meager in population, architecturally poor. There was a court-house in the place, and a tavern, remembered now as double-storied, unpainted, and with windows of eight-by-ten glass, which, if the panes may be likened to eyes, were both squint and cataractous.
Note: by General Lew Wallace  7865 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War There are few things connected with the operations against Fort Donelson so relieved of uncertainty as this: that when General Grant at Fort Henry became fixed in the resolution to undertake the movement, his primary object was the capture of the force to which the post was intrusted. To effect their complete environment, he relied upon Flag-Officer Foote, whose astonishing success at Fort Henry justified the extreme of confidence.
Note: by General Lew Wallace  7827 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II Our gun batteries were equipped with M7 track vehicles in the States, long before we deployed overseas! The M105 howitzers were mounted on the M7 with very minor modifications, and very little addtional training was needed, other than the driver and assitant driver, for this new and unique addition to the 29th. All of the other crew responsiblities remained essentially the same as if it were a trail drawn howitzer.
Note: by Irving Smolens, B Bty, 29th Field Artillery  8284 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War Sandy Hook, Md Oct. 4th '62 Friend George, I was just now sitting in the tent with the Major, looking at the engravings in a late number of Leslie's Illustrated and I happened to observe the likeness & name of Don Carlos Beull. I remarked that he is the first public man I ever heard of as bearing my name. Upon this he said, "That reminds me that I have a letter for you."
Note: by Don Scott, 11th NH Volunteers  6602 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II Monday, 8 December.
Report made by Capt. B. d. Godbold, Commanding "D" Battery F.D.R. 0700 two officers, Capt. Godbold, F.B.D. and Lt. Grealy with enlisted men moved to the battery position by truck as ordered. In addition to his duties as battery commander, Capt. Godbold acted as Peale Island Strong Point Commander. 0730 Battery reported manned and realy, to Island Commander, C.P. Director, height finder, power plant. 3 guns manned, 4 gun directors, power plants, and 02 sandbagged prior to occupation of position.
Note: by Captain B. D. Godbold USMC, Battery D, 1st Defense Battalion
  11140 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I We are stubbornly trying to force the Turks up out of the ground, but they stick in well. Once we get them on the run, they seem to think we will progress quickly. The only thing I wish is that I was able to say I was in the landing at Gaba Tepe on April 25th.
Note: A letter by Corporal Alf. Birkhill, who is now at Anzac, pays warm tribute after seeing the heroic Australians who scaled the heights at Gaba Tepo.   5660 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II More lives were lost in one exercise practicing for D-Day than during the invasion of Utah Beach on 6 June 1944. That rehearsal was called "Exercise Tiger." Planning for the greatest amphibious operation in history required many such exercises, each designed to test the readiness of plans for the invasion of Normandy and the efficiency of the troops. Duck, Fox, Muskrat, Beaver, and Trousers preceded Tiger, and Fabius followed. Each was larger than the last, and the later ones used live ammunition.
Note: by LT Eugene E. Eckstam, MC, USNR,a medical officer on USS LST-507  10114 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam Over the years I have put most of the bad memories of Nam to the back of my mind and tried to forget them. Occasionally, one will come back. Any other time I would start out by saying Once Upon a Time or No Shit Man as I would make up a bullshit war story. But, this time I am going to start out by saying, to the best of my recollection the following did happen.
Note: by Larry Weisbarth, A 1/502nd Airborne Infantry, 67-68   7130 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Airforce Late November 1963, the day president Kennedy died, was the day on which I was going around John Adams high school in South Bend getting signatures allowing me to leave early in my senior year to join the Air Force. Vietnam was seldom mentioned on television in those days, but by then had already become what it eventually became. I was 17, fed up with school, seeking serious work for my country of whatever kind they might see fit to give.
Note: by Michael S. Bell, 3346th Consol. Maint. Sq., Air Training Command  9554 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War I was sleeping in a large barn a short distance from camp, when I was awakened by the bugle sounding "Boots and Saddles". I aroused the other boys with me, hastened to camp, & fell into line, where we learned that the rebels were advancing in force, and that our pickets had been driven in.
Note: by George Jenvy, 2nd Virginia Cavalry, in a letter to his father.  5018 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1865: Confederate General Joseph Johnston officially surrenders his army to General William T. Sherman at Durham Station, North Carolina.

1865: John Wilkes Booth is killed when Union soldiers track him down to a Virginia farm 12 days after he assassinated President Abraham Lincoln.

1865: Joseph E. Johnston surrenders the Army of Tennessee to Sherman.

1937: The ancient Basque town of Guernica in northern Spain is bombed by German planes.

1952: Armistice negotiations are resumed.

1971: The U.S. command in Saigon announces that the U.S. force level in Vietnam is 281,400 men, the lowest since July 1966.

1972: President Nixon, despite the ongoing communist offensive, announces that another 20,000 U.S. troops will be withdrawn from Vietnam in May and June, reducing authorized troop strength to 49,000.