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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 I It was near the end of the great German bid for victory in April 1918. We left Beuvry and passed the hamlet of Le Fresnoy and crossed the bridge over the La Bassee Canal into the village of Gorre. There we struck a route past the famous Brewery to make for the open fields and the front-line trenches.
Note: by Lance-Corporal Thomas A. Owen  6031 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War As you will notice there are portions of the letter marked with "_?_" which indicates an unreadable word or phrase.

From the time I joined the Army till after the Battle of Bridgewater which took place on the 25th day of July 1814, just before the Falls of Niagara and through which I was mysteriously preserved, when to __?__ over nothing but death was inevitable. I will begin by Comm__? narative at that funeral immediately after that battle from what is __?__ in the eastern allies, Supposed to arrive from the __?__ of the particles of fluids and the facility with which they slid over each other it is infered that they have. We proceeded up the river to Fort Erie which is directly __(across?)__ from Buffalo on the Canadian Shore and stand some 20 or 30 rods __?__ the lake which I think __?__ __?__ on the 1st of August this __?__ surrendered to our men on the 3rd of the preceding month, and contained in its enclosure about 1/4 of an acre of ground prepared for a short __?__ with a large stone building two stories high.
  6172 Reads  Printer-friendly page



War of 1812 Pittsburg, 23 October 1812 On the 9th of August last, I received orders from General Hull to evacuate the post and proceed with my command to Detroit by land, leaving it at my discretion to dispose of the public property as I thought proper. The neighbouring Indians got the information as early as I did, and came in from all quarters in order to receive the goods in the factory store, which they understood were to be given them.
Note: by Captain Heald, letter to The Secretary of War  12451 Reads  Printer-friendly page



POW There were various ways tried by prisoners to get beyond those double barbed wire fences; climbing them, slipping between the wires, cutting through, tunneling under, or some sort of disguise to pass the guards at the gates.
Note: by Edwin Dunlap  7752 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Coast Guard New Yorkers, it appears, are no different from other city dwellers. The Tamaroa, the Coast Guard cutter that rescued the downed Air National Guard chopper crew during the October 1991 storm on which the hit movie "The Perfect Storm" is based, is here in the city. Yet like most people, New Yorkers are oblivious to such amazing landmarks right where they live.
Note: by William O. Doherty Jr., Friday, September 01, 2000. Doherty served with the Coast Guard's Tamaroa Deck Force from 1967-68.   7170 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  7707 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  8974 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam I remember the first time we were told to go to Dong Tam-it seemed strange for flame thrower APC's, from the 9th Inf, 15th Engineers to be told we were going to be with the Navy for awhile. We were nicknamed on the radio and respectfully so "Zippos" sometimes the electronic firing device didn't work, so we'd bring out our Zippos lighters and light the napalm this way as it was leaving the barrel. I had no hair on my arm for the first 8 months of this.
Note: by Paul Kasper, 15th Engineers/9th Infantry Division  7601 Reads  Printer-friendly page



POW On April 20, 1945 the Russians were firing artillery into and around the prison forced labor camp near Juderbog, Germany, where I was confined with a number of the privates and PFC’s. The attack including blowing down one of the fences of the compound. As a result, we decided to escape the prison encampment and work our way back to the American lines, which we accomplished in five days, walking cross-country across Germany.
Note: by Pendleton Woods  7399 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American

Santiago De Cuba

July 18, 1898

Dear Parents,

Received your welcome letter and was so glad to find all well. I am in the best of health, but my God, how the men around me suffer! There are 30 to 40 in the Company sick. It is the fever, and I thank God every day that He has spared me so far. He has heard your prayers, my dear Mama. As I have no paper, I will give you a brief sketch of what has happened on the Island and go into details some other time.

  5439 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I As the car quickly reversed, a thin stream of blood spurted from His Highness's mouth onto my right check. As I was pulling out my handkerchief to wipe the blood away from his mouth, the Duchess cried out to him, 'In Heaven's name, what has happened to you?' At that she slid off the seat and lay on the floor of the car, with her face between his knees.
Note: By Count Franz von Harrach, who rode on the running board of the royal car.  5426 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.
  6838 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  12209 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  15746 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I Dear Sir:
As I have a little time I thought I would write you a few lines to let the people at home know how I am getting along. I have been over in this country about five months and like it fine. We get plenty to eat these days but have hard time to eat it. Just think, I only weighed one hundred and forty-five pounds when I landed over here, and I was weighed the other day and weighed one hundred and seventy-two pounds.
Note: By August Weinhuff, U. S. S. Emetine, Oct. 13, 1918.  5828 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1601: The Treaty of Lyons ends a short war between France and Savoy.

1865: General William T. Shermans army is rained in at Savannah, Georgia, as it waits to begin marching into the Carolinas.

1944: Operation Panther, the Allied invasion of Cassino, in central Italy, is launched.

1945: Soviet troops liberate the Polish capital from German occupation. Warsaw had surrendered to the Germans on September 27, 1939.



1951: Eighth Army re-entered Suwon. This was the most favorable entry in Eighth Armys journal since the Chinese intervention in the war in late November 1950.

1961: In his farewell address to the nation, President Dwight D. Eisenhower warns the American people to keep a careful eye on what he calls the "military-industrial complex" that has developed in the post-World War II years. A fiscal conservative, Eisenhower had been concerned about the growing size and cost of the American defense establishment since he became president in 1953.

1966: A B-52 bomber collides with KC-135 jet tanker over Spains Mediterranean coast, dropping three 70-kiloton hydrogen bombs near the town of Palomares and one in the sea. None of the bombs were armed, but explosive material in two of the bombs that fell to earth exploded upon impact, forming craters and scattering radioactive plutonium over the fields of Palomares.

1971: Led by South Vietnamese Lt. Gen. Do Cao Tri, and with U.S. air support and advisers, some 300 paratroopers raid a communist prisoner of war camp near the town of Mimot in Cambodia on information that 20 U.S. prisoners were being held there. They found the camp empty, but captured 30 enemy soldiers and sustained no casualties.

1991: The Persian Gulf War begins as Coalition planes strike targets in Iraq and Kuwait.