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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.


Vietnam Once upon a time there was a war, and I was in it. It seems about as far away now as the Civil War, but there it was--The 1960’s--and among things like topless bathing suits, integration and space programs there was an increasingly gnawing ache in the side of the American People called Vietnam.
Note: from EVERYMAN STROLLS THROUGH HELL by James Worth.  11103 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.

  7741 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  15721 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam The 1/50 finished its participation in the joint Operation Cochise and counterpart ARVN operation in the Soui Ca Valley and moved to AO Walker, An Khe area with the mission of securing QL19 and conducting operations within the AO, securing LZ Schueller, LZ Action, manning Strong Points and bridges along a historic but treacherous road, QL19. QL stands for National Highway in Vietnamese.
Note: by Rigo Ordaz, 1st Bn (Mech), 50th Infantry   12951 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American During the year preceding the outbreak of the Spanish War I was Assistant Secretary of the Navy. While my party was in opposition, I had preached, with all the fervor and zeal I possessed, our duty to intervene in Cuba, and to take this opportunity of driving the Spaniard from the Western World.
Note: by Lt. Colonel Theodore Roosevelt, 1st Volunteer Cavalry  21132 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II Somebody got the bright idea that I should go to a summer camp--- a summer military camp-- in June 1939, conducted by the U. S. Army. In due course I was enlisted/enrolled in the Basic program of the Citizens Military Training Camps at Vancouver Barracks in Vancouver, Washington. That was where my training as an infantry foot soldier began at age 15. We spent 30 days there in Vancouver and underwent intensive basic infantry training provided by soldiers of the Regular Army 3rd Division.
Note: by Charles W. Crary  26728 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I June 27, 1917 I have decided to keep a diary myself as I hear rumored today that all the letters that I spent so much time writing on the boat have gone down on the Lorraine. If it is so, I'm sure disgusted at myself for wasting so much time writing them as the people at home will never know how much I tried to write to them.
Note: by Thomas Edward Shirley  10888 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  11753 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Korea Korea
April 27th
Hello All,

Haven't had much time to write as we have been on the move pretty much lately. We had pushed up twelve miles north of the 38th parallel. Got hit up there by the gooks about four days ago. I guess our lines held pretty strong, but the ROK's caved in on our right flank and the army pulled out on our left.
  9685 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I I will endeavor to give you a fuller account of our experiences whilst landing. I dare say long ere this reaches you, you will have read all about it in the papers, but here is the part I saw and took part in. It was on Sunday, April 25th at 3 a.m., we disembarked from our transport ship, the "Galeka," our kit consisted of an extra change of clothing, 200 rounds of ammunition, as well as plenty of tobacco, the entire lot weighing just on 90 lbs., and with that weight we had to climb down over the side of the ship - per Jacob's ladder, which by the way, is made of rope, - into rowing boats, 50 men in each. We were towed by naval pinnaces as near as possible to the shore, being under very heavy fire made it a very difficult task.
Note: by Pte. H. J. Lynch writing from Victoria Hospital, Alexandria.  9263 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  13597 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War Where the Jerusalem Plank Road, leading into the city of Petersburg, Va., passed through the earthworks of the contending forces, a little east of south of the city, there had been hot contention from the first approach of the Union army. The right of the original line of Confederate works, prepared in advance by their engineers, rested upon this broad road.
Note: by Captain Thomas P. Beals, Company E, 101st Regiment, Illinois Volunteer Infantry  13315 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam On the night of 20 November 1970 at 2300 hours, five HH-53s and one HH-3 helicopter took off with fifty-six Special Forces Soldiers from Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base in Thailand. The aircraft would refuel over Laos and enter North Vietnamese airspace from the west. The target of the helo borne assault was the Son Tay Prisoner of War (POW) Camp located 23 miles northwest of the North Vietnamese capital of Hanoi. The flight from Udorn to Son Tay was approximately 337 miles one way.
Note: Tom Powell, “Greenleaf” Element  17223 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War The battle of Bull Run or Manassas was the first, and in many respects the most remarkable, battle of our Civil War. It was a series of surprises—the unexpected happening at almost every moment of its progress. Planned by the Union chieftain with consummate skill, executed for the most part with unquestioned ability, and fought by the Union troops for a time with magnificent courage, it ended at last in their disastrous rout and the official decapitation of their able commander.
Note: by General John B. Gordon  8859 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I In April 1918 I volunteered to go to France in response to the urgent call for more surgeons. For twenty years I had been in general practice in a suburb, and did a fair amount of surgery among patients and at the local hospitals. I had also had some war experience as one of the surgeons at the British Red Cross Hospital, Netley, in the first six months of the War, but I had no experience of cases fresh from the battlefield, and the surgical technique which had recently been adopted in dealing with them.
Note: by Captain John A. Hayward  14920 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1862: Union general Ulysses Grant’s cavalry received a setback in an engagement on the Mississippi Central Railroad at Coffeeville, Mississippi.

1864: Confederate General Hood sent Nathan Bedford Forrest’s cavalry and a division of infantry towards Murfreesboro, Tenn.

1864: The naval landing force under Commander Preble participated in heavy fighting around Tulifinny Crossroads, Georgia, while Federal troops attempted to cut the Savannah-Charleston Railway and join with the advancing forces of General Sherman.

1904: Japanese destroyed Russian fleet at Port Arthur in Korea.

1941: The LEXINGTON, one of the two largest aircraft carriers employed by the United States during World War II, makes its way across the Pacific in order to carry a squadron of dive bombers to defend Midway Island from an anticipated Japanese attack.

1942: Japanese forces repel a strong US attack on their defensive positions at Buna, New Guinea.

1950: U.N. forces withdraw from Pyongyang as Chinese forces move in.

1978: In an effort to prop up an unpopular pro-Soviet regime in Afghanistan, the Soviet Union signs a "friendship treaty" with the Afghan government agreeing to provide economic and military assistance.

1997: Pres. Clinton said US troops in Haiti will continue their presence. Some 300-500 troops were posted on a rotating basis for civil affairs work with an additional 150 US military police for security.

1997: Turkish troops began an offensive against Turkish Kurds in northern Iraq. The 20,000 man force was to be assisted by 8,000 men of the Kurdistan Democratic party, an Iraqi group.