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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 II The [heavy cruiser USS] Indianapolis [CA-35] had come to the Navy Yard, Mare Island [in San Francisco Bay] in early May 1945, to get heavy underwater damage repaired from a Kamikaze [Japanese suicide aircraft] hit that she took in [the Battle of] Okinawa on 30 March [1945]. We had more time there than anticipated and knew that we were due back in the forward area at the earliest practicable date.
Note: Recollections of Captain Charles B. McVay, III, USN, Commanding Officer of USS Indianapolis (CA-35).  8666 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War I, George Barker, enlisted in Company F., at Clarinda, Iowa, August 9, 1862, Volunteer, 23rd regiment, which was organized at Des Moines 1/4 mile northeast of the capitol building. We stayed and drilled until September 19, 1862 at which time we were sworn in service for 3 years, unless sooner discharged.
  12217 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I Friday, December 14, 1917
Grand Hotel, Paris, France
Got up at 9 a.m. Went to see if my kodak pictures were finished. They were not. Tried to find the Spad factory until late in afternoon. Did not find it. Every place I was told it was turned out to be the wrong place. Will try again some other day. I have been bitterly disappointed so many times at the Embassy that I dreaded to go there and ask for mail.
  9123 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam I was lucky enough to be stationed at a field hospital in Qui Nhon for a couple of months. QN was known by many to be an unofficial in-country R&R center. The town was pretty large, had quite a few GI's, and set right on the beach. Inland was a rather large mountain range that was the home of one of the many ROK divisions that were in-country at that time. In other words, a pretty nice place to be.
Note: By Jim Calbreath   8291 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  11607 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I July 11, 1918
Left Camp Custer
July 21, 1918
Left Camp Mills Sunday morning, 4 o'clock, for depot. Took ferry boat up Hudson River to pier. Stayed in New York harbor until Monday morning 9 o'clock. Sailed with a fleet of 16 boats, some torpedo boats and a lot of submarine chasers. Saw 3 observation balloons out in the ocean anchored on ships. Had calm weather for 5 days - got a little stormy then. Was awful sick the entire trip.
Note: by Paul Rademacher  10275 Reads  Printer-friendly page



War of 1812 United States' Frigate Constitution, off Boston Light, 30 August 1812.
I have the honour to inform you, that on the 19th instant, at 2 PM being in latitude 41, 42, longitude 55, 48, with the CONSTITUTION under my command, a sail was discovered from the mast-head bearing E. by S. or E.S.E. but at such a distance we could not tell what she was. All sail was instantly made in chase, and soon found we came up with her.
Note: by Captain Isaac Hull, USN  10662 Reads  Printer-friendly page



War of 1812 "Sir, In my hasty dispatch of the 22nd Instant I was unable to detail the operations of that dayŚ I now have the honour to acquaint you, for the information of His Excellency The Commander of The Forces, that, immediately on his departure from this post on that morning, I commenced my arrangement for the demonstration he had authorized me to make,
Note: by Lt. Col. George MacDonell.  9264 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  12344 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War This diary was commenced for the fun of writing down my experience as a soldier from the Old North State. I never thought for a moment that I would put it in print; but now that I am getting old and have read so many histories written by our officers, but have never seen in print a history written by a private. I know that my diary is truly the life of the man behind the gun, therefore I make bold to publish it.
Note: by Louis Leon, Company C, First North Carolina Regiment  14919 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I February 15, 1918 -- Left guns at 12 noon for wagon lines. Got a change of tunic and pants.

February 16, 1918 -- Started away on leave from Neun Le Mines. Fritz was shelling station. Had to beat it to Bethune Road down in boxcars and caught the leave train. Arrived in Balounge about nine p.m. Slept in the fish market all night.
  10065 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War General Bragg having evacuated Kentucky, the Federal troops under command of General Rosecrans had been concentrated about Nashville and Bragg's army around Murfreesboro. Only about 25 miles lay between the two armies. So about the last of December Rosecrans advanced on Murfreesboro sufficiently near to offer battle. So on the morning of 31st December we accepted the challenge and at them we went.
Note: by Captain W.P. Howell, 25th Alabama, Company I  10488 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War On the evening of the 8th day of October, 1864, there met on Princesses dock, Liverpool, twenty-seven men. They were nearly unacquainted with each other, and knew nothing of their destination. All were officers of the Confederate navy, by commission or warrant, and each had his distinct order to report to this place at the same hour. My commission was that of assistant surgeon.
Note: by Dr. F. J. McNulty  9333 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I The steamer appeared to be close to us and looked colossal. I saw the captain walking on his bridge, a small whistle in his mouth. I saw the crew cleaning the deck forward, and I saw, with surprise and a slight shudder, long rows of wooden partitions right along all decks, from which gleamed the shining black and brown backs of horses.
Note: by Adolf K.G.E. von Spiegel  9445 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I The visit of an English squadron for the Kiel Week in June, 1914, seemed to indicate a desire to give visible expression to the, fact that the political situation had eased. Although we could not suppress a certain feeling of doubt as to the sincerity of their intentions, everyone on our side displayed the greatest readiness to receive the foreign guests with hospitality and comradeship.
Note: by Admiral Reinhard Scheer, Commander German High Seas Fleet  24741 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1192: English King Richard I the Lion Hearted was captured in Austria on his return from the Third Crusade.

1745: A Scottish Jacobite army commanded by Lord George Murray routs the Royalist army of General Sir John Cope at Prestonpans.

1863: Union troops defeated at Chickamauga seek refuge in Chattanooga, Tennessee, which is then besieged by Confederate troops.

1929: Fighting between China and the Soviet Union breaks out along the Manchurian border.

1936: The German army holds its largest maneuvers since 1914.

1941: The German Army cuts off the Crimean Peninsula from the rest of the Soviet Union.

1942: The U.S. B-29 Superfortress makes its debut flight in Seattle, Washington. It was the largest bomber used in the war by any nation.


1942: British forces attack the Japanese in Burma.

1944: U.S. troops of the 7th Army, invading Southern France, cross the Meuse River.

1951: Operation SUMMIT, the first helicopter landing of a combat unit in history, took place. It included the airlifting of a reinforced company of Marines and 17,772 pounds of cargo into the Punchbowl area.