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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 Sept. 25, 1862, Antietam, MD Dear Brother, I received your letter yesterday and was glad to hear that you are all well. I like here full as well as I expected. We are now encamped on the banks of the Potomac River about six miles above Harper's Ferry.
Note: letters from Sylvester Spaulding.  5928 Reads  Printer-friendly page



POW I shall never forget the morning of March 28th, 1918, when I watched our trenches and the familiar landmarks disappear under the intense bombardment of hundreds of minenwerfers - those earthquakes in miniature. I watched and waited in a state of mental numbness or apathy, and at last the bit reserved for me hit me in the head. When I took a further interest in matters I was a prisoner.
Note: by Rifleman Victor Denham, London Rifle Brigade  12139 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I Before reaching Louvain we bivouacked near a large well-built village, and here we had the wettest and merriest evening in the whole campaign. Some of our battalion water-carriers discovered a wine-cellar in the village. On going into a cellar they noticed a stack of fagots, and guessed that they were put there with a purpose. The fagots were quickly cleared away, and behind them appeared a door.
Note: by Captain Henry Huebner  12628 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Airforce On September 8, 1958, two B-52 collided about 1,000' above the eastern approach to the runway at Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane, Washington. The time of the crash was about 1730 hrs (5:30 PM) Pacific Time.

Note: by Richard P. Roberts  15071 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American It was suggested to me that I give a talk or write a paper on my experiences last summer, experiences that to me were the most interesting and exciting I suppose I will ever have. As it was left to me to select the method, I have chosen this as the easier, not that I always choose the easier way when I have an alternative, but only when I think it is the better way.
Note: by Bertram Willard Edwards of Chicago, a member of the Naval Reserve, USS OREGON.  6981 Reads  Printer-friendly page



POW In July of 1944, two of my roommates and myself were asked to join in a tunnel digging project. It seems that the Germans had been seen digging up a seismic type sensor at the fence-line outside of Barracks 6, West Compound and hauling it off for repair. Such sensors were buried all along the perimeter fences and wired into the German “Abwehr” or Security Office in the Vorlager. Thus the Germans were aware of tunnel attempts almost as soon as they were begun.
Note: by Maj. Gen. Luther H. Richmond (USAF Ret.), POW at Stalag Luft I, Barth, Germany  7965 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II I've not much memory for accurate dates. I know I received my call up papers in early 1939 and with the assistance of Maples, where I was working at the time on MOD work, cutting out and making black out blinds by the hundred, I managed to get a years exemption.
Note: by Frederick James Pearce  6918 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I Somewhere in France, July 23, 1918
Dear Father and Mother:
I have just finished sewing on my first service stripe, the meaning of which, as you probably know, is six months in foreign service. That number "23" still clings to the Twenty-third Engineers, and is a regular epoch marker.
  5831 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II After our repairs were completed, we were supposed to go on our post-repair trial run. But instead, on July 15th, we were ordered to go to San Francisco to take on some cargo. I was amazed to notice that there was a quiet, almost dead Navy Yard. We tied up at the dock there and two big trucks came alongside. The big crate on one truck was put in the port hanger.
Note: by CAPT Lewis L. Haynes, senior medical officer on board ship.  6442 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War In 1861, when the war clouds obscured the sky I was a boy of 17, living in Tennessee. In common with all the boys of my age, whether living north or south I had the military spirit and at the first opportunity placed my name upon the rolls as a soldier, volunteering to fight for my native state. On the 21st day of May, 1861, I enlisted in company B, 16th Tennessee Infantry, under Col. Jno. H. Savage, and was sent to Estil Springs, on the N. C. & St. L. railroad, where we stayed a few days, and then went to Camp Trousdale, north of Nashville on the Louisville & Nashville railroad, near the Kentucky line.
Note: by Robert C. Carden, Company B, 16th Tennessee Infantry  15686 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  6879 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War On the 8th of November, 1864, at 2 o'clock A.M., Captain Turner, of the Sixteenth Iowa, Captain Strang, of the Thirtieth Illinois, Lieutenant Laird, of the Sixteenth Iowa, and myself, made our escape through the guard lines at "Camp Surghum," near Columbia, South Carolina, with a view of making our way to the gunboats near the mouth of the Edisto river.
Note: by Captain W. W. McCarty.  6068 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War At the breaking out of the war I was a resident of the quiet but patriotic town of Groveland. Sumter had been fired upon and all was excitement. I could not work, and on the 18th of April, 1861, walked to Haverhill with my elder brother and Mark Kimball. We went to the armory of the Hale Guards, who were making active preparations to march, and I returned home that night resolved to go with them if possible. The next day we walked to Haverhill again, and I at once interviewed Captain Messer, but was informed that the company was more than full, so I could not go with it.
Note: by Captain John G. B. Adams, 19th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers  23589 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam The Short Range Ambush Platoon was organized as a small force whose primary mission was night ambush. SRAP was capable of operating independently without the support of any other elements. I can't speak for the entire platoon, but during my time, to my knowledge SRAP was Ranger led, and ably so. The first group was selected by SFC Jay Holloway from the battalion on an individual basis.
Note: by John Smerdon, 1/50 Infantry  7302 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War I, with about five hundred other prisoners of war, arrived at Elmira about the first of August, 1864, after a confinement of forty five days at Point Lookout. I spent the first day in a thorough examination of my new abode, and its advantages as a home until fortune would release me from its durance. It contained several acres of ground, enclosed by a plank fence about fourteen feet high; some three feet from the top on the outside ran a narrow footway, or parapet, of plank, supported by braces.
Note: by Sergeant G. W. D. Porter, 44th Tenn. Infantry Regiment, CSA  6176 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1835: Inspired by the spirited leadership of Benjamin Rush Milam, the newly created Texan Army takes possession of the city of San Antonio, an important victory for the Republic of Texas in its war for independence from Mexico.

1861: To monitor both military progress and the Lincoln administration, Congress creates the Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War.

1863: Major General John G. Foster replaces Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside as Commander of the Department of Ohio.

1916: Bulgarian troops cross the Danube near Silistria and Tutrakan, capturing towns on the left bank.

1938: Prototype shipboard radar is installed on the USS New York.

1940: Two British divisions, half of them composed of Indian troops, attack seven Italian divisions in Egypt. Overwhelmed, the Italian position in Egypt collapsed.

1941: The USS Swordfish (SS-193) makes the first U.S. submarine attack on a Japanese ship.

1950: X Corps was forced to withdraw from Hungnam by sea. A curtain of intense naval gunfire greatly aided the successful evacuation of 3,834 U.N. military personnel, 1,146 vehicles, 10,013 tons of bulk cargo and 7,000 Korean civilian refugees by elements of the U.S. Navy's Task Force 90.

1952: Three carriers of Task Force 77 launched aircraft to strike military targets at Munsan, Hyesanjin, Rashin and Hunyun, the latter being the northernmost air raid on the Korean War.

1992: U.S. Marines land in Somalia to ensure food and medicine reaches the deprived areas of that country.