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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.


Spanish American U. S. S. POTOMAC,

Caimanera, Cuba, August 23, 1898.

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the work done on the wreck of the Maria Teresa since the last inspection made by Lieutenant-Commander Pillsbury, on August 15, 1898.
  7410 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam Ask anybody who served in Vietnam about rats and they tell you all about the size and ferociousness of the rodents. Rats were difficult at best to control and almost impossible to eradicate. One of the keys to successful rat control was keeping your area policed and trash removed.
Note: by Stephen C. Gillis  9694 Reads  Printer-friendly page



War of 1812

Buffaloe November 27, 1812
My Dear Wife,
It is with a degree of satisfaction I inform you of my health and the greatest part of the Company. Tomorrow at 7 o'clock we embark for Canada - consequently it will be liberty or death - You must excuse me for not writing you more as I am officer of the day and guard both, therefore, I am obliged through necessity to wright at 12 o'clock to night.

Note: During Ens. Warner's tour of duty he wrote letters home to his wife, five of which have been preserved. From these letters one may follow Ens. Warner's progess from Baltimore, through Carlisle, Pennsylvania, to the shores of Lake Ontario. From camp at Sacketts Harbor, Warner's unit proceeded to the Battle of York (now known as Toronto), the capitol of Upper Canada, fought in late April, 1813. Under the leadership of the adventurous Brigadier General Zebulon Pike, for whom Pike's Peak is named, the American forces scored a victory, but lost their General, killed in battle.

After that battle, Warner's unit apparently re-crossed Lake Ontario to camp outside Fort Niagara and presumably later participated in the taking of Fort George from the British.
  8746 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II We were dropped into the channel from the mother ship at about 4:30 in the morning. I was the intelligence sergeant in headquarters company so a few weeks prior to the invasion I was put into a Quonset hut that had triple Concertina wire around it and was under 24 hour guard.
Note: by Herb Epstein, Intelligence Sergeant, Headquarters Company, 5th Ranger Battalion  7141 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam I was flying a UH-1 D for the 187th Assault Helicopter Company, the Blackhawks out of Tay Ninh, Vietnam in 1967. Sleep never comes easy in Vietnam, the artillery shoots H&I (harassment and interdiction) fire all night, every time one of the 8 inch guns went off, a small amount of the dust, collected from the dry season would fall off the tent roof and drift to the floor. It was the monsoon season and the cool rain had put me right to sleep.
Note: by Wayne R. "Crash" Coe, Hotel-3 Blackhawk 54, 187th Assault Helicopter Company, 67-8.  10078 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  29187 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Army It is [a] matter of too great notoriety to need any proofs that the arrival of his Majesty's troops in Boston was extremely obnoxious to its inhabitants. They have ever used all means in their power to weaken the regiments, and to bring them into contempt by promoting and aiding desertions, and with impunity, even where there has been the clearest evidence of the fact, and by grossly and falsely propagating untruths concerning them.
Note: by Captain Thomas Preston, 13 march 1770.  10270 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I I bade farewell to my right leg, and to my career as a soldier, outside a trench at Gheluvelt, near Ypres, on October 29th, 1914. In the First Battle of Ypres the British were out-numbered by seven to one. On the previous evening we took over trenches, not deep or elaborate ones, from an English regiment.
Note: by Sergeant J. F. Bell, 2nd Gordon Highlanders  11402 Reads  Printer-friendly page



POW If I had known what was in store for me on the day I was captured, and the 802 days that followed, I would have continued to fight, even though there was no chance of survival. The damaged weapons carrier slid to a halt, and we piled up against the cab. The noise was deafening and we could have been yelling at each other but I don't remember hearing anything but the noise of the mortar rounds.
Note: by SFC George Matta, Sr.  9776 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War On the 18th of Jan. 1863, we found ourselves encamped upon the old battle ground below New Orleans, where Jackson informed John Bull that his visit was neither welcome nor for the good for the people who had left home to avoid him and his mode of government.
Note: by Captain Augustine Thompson, Company G, 28th Maine  9499 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  13137 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I Friday, January 1 1915
Old Drill dispensed with in place of platoon drill, adopted by the Imperial Army. Mail arrives from Australia dated 4.11.1914. Troops presented with chocolates and cigarettes from the Aust. War Contingent, London.
Note: Sam Weingott, born 1892, died on active service 5th June 1915.   15218 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Gulf War POST-WAR Support of the 3rd Armor Division
7 March 1991
Today we moved again, transferred to the control of the 3rd Armored Division. The 26 mile trip back to the Iraqi/Kuwait border took less than three hours. We put our tents up in record time.
Note: by Brian Ginn  13153 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam In January of 1967, I was the gunner on 868, Lt. Wallace the AC, and WO Leach the pilot; my regular crew chief, Don Cline, was on R&R, so the head of the crew chiefs was flying crew chief for us. The 129th was making a company move from Dong Ba Thin to somewhere in the south, with the ships fully loaded with all our personal gear.
Note: by Max Whittington, 129th AHC  11796 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  12049 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1861: Citing failing health, General Winfield Scott, commander of the Union forces, retires from service. The hero of the Mexican War recognized early in the Civil War that his health and advancing years were a liability in the daunting task of directing the Federal war effort.



1950: The Chinese launched a strong attack on Eighth Army at Unsan.

1952: The Fifth Air Force claimed 6,761 enemy vehicles were destroyed, the highest monthly total for the war.

1956: Two days after Israeli sent forces into Egypt initiating the Suez Crisis, British and French military forces join them in the canal zone to try to retake the canal.

1968: In a televised address to the nation five days before the presidential election, President Lyndon Johnson announces that on the basis of developments in the Paris peace negotiations, he has ordered the complete cessation of "all air, naval, and artillery bombardment of North Vietnam." Accordingly, effective November 1, the U.S. Air Force called a halt to the air raids on North Vietnam known as Operation Rolling Thunder.

1970: South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu delivers a speech on the state of the nation before a joint session of the South Vietnamese National Assembly, asserting that 99.1 percent of the country had been "pacified."

1971: Saigon begins the release of 1,938 Hanoi POW's.