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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.


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  18590 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  26078 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War January, 1861 1 Very cold last night but the sun shines out very warm and brightly today. Considerable ice running in the river. A very small school today. Some are sick and some are taking a New York holiday. I have never before been so unsettled about the future as I am at the commencement of this New Year.
Note: by Eugene Goodwin, 99th New York Infantry Regiment  18940 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  24445 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II The first reaction to the new base at Folkingham was “It's immense”! On this base we had three concrete runways, each 6,000 feet, ample taxiways, a revetment for parking each aircraft, and four hangers. There were innumerable Nissen huts to house us, an Officers Club, an EM Club in the making, a consolidated officers' mess, and a consolidated enlisted men's, mess. We were the first tenants, and parts were still under construction.
Note: by Col. Joseph Harkiewicz  28678 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  9580 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War AUGUST 1, 1861.—Believing the people of the South to be engaged in a just cause, defending the inalienable rights of American freemen, and that principle in the Declaration of Independence which asserts that "all governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed," and that the States are acting by the authority and in the strength of their reserved rights, I am with them.
  9619 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Airforce Late November 1963, the day president Kennedy died, was the day on which I was going around John Adams high school in South Bend getting signatures allowing me to leave early in my senior year to join the Air Force. Vietnam was seldom mentioned on television in those days, but by then had already become what it eventually became. I was 17, fed up with school, seeking serious work for my country of whatever kind they might see fit to give.
Note: by Michael S. Bell, 3346th Consol. Maint. Sq., Air Training Command  12058 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II March 11, 1945. We are at fleet anchorage after returning from Iwo Jima, and Japanese areas. 2000 hours. I had just been relieved from watch in Rdo1, which is our main radio room in the Island structure, and had started walking aft on the flight deck. My rack, and also my GQ battle station, was Rdo#3. Radio 3 was a small emergency transmitter room on the Gallery deck, just under the flight deck, starboard side above the fan tail.
Note: by V.J.Verdolini RM2/c, U.S. Navy  11060 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  9123 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I Base Hospital 27, located at Angers, France, received the first official order dated July 14, 1917, to supply Army nurses for this service. Until this time, the Medical Corps attached to hospital trains were caring for the wounded. Through Miss Blanche Rulon, chief nurse of Base Hospital 27, Edna Cooper, Grace O'Donnell and I were detailed to Hospital Train 57.
Note: Helen T. Burrey, reserve nurse, Army Nurse Corps, a graduate of St. Francis Hospital, Pittsburgh, Pa., and a member of the nursing staff of U. S. Army Base Hospital No. 27, was one of the first three nurses to be assigned to hospital trains of The American Expeditionary Forces.   8977 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II One reason people born after World War II find it difficult to understand why the final days of the war were so destructive is that they do not realize how angry we Allied soldiers had become - and to some extent still are. Once our forces crossed the Rhine, it was clear that Germany was doomed. But Hitler, in his madness, vowed to fight on. Generals and admirals, whatever they thought, supported him. Soldiers and sailors continued to fight in the misguided belief that they were defending their fatherland.
Note: by John C. Ausland, 29th Field Artillery  9590 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I In November 1915 I was one of those accepted by Colonel Lord Feversham to be enlisted in the Yeoman Rifles being formed at Helmsley Park. In January 1916 the battalion was transferred to Aldershot, where we became fit for our great adventure. Runners were asked for, and I volunteered for the job.
Note: by Corporal Robert William Iley, 41st Battalion Machine Gun Corps   7995 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War On the last day but one of the march of General Joseph E. Johnston's army to join General Beauregard, an order reached me at Rectortown, through Brigadier-General Barnard E. Bee, to collect the four field batteries of Johnston's army into one column, and, as senior artillery captain, to march them by country roads that were unobstructed by infantry or trains as rapidly as possible to Manassas Junction, and to report my arrival at any hour, day or night, to General Bee, who was going forward by rail with his brigade.
Note: by Jno. D. Imboden, Captain of Artillery, C.S.A.  9651 Reads  Printer-friendly page



POW In April, 1945, we awakened every morning to a tremendous, though distant, artillery barrage to the East and Southeast of Barth. We knew that Marshall Rokassofsy’s First Ukrainian Army was attacking across Northern Germany and was getting closer by the day. Our spirits rose at the prospect of being liberated soon. The German guards were increasingly nervous, and a bit more friendly than they had been.
Note: by Maj. Gen. Luther H. Richmond (USAF Ret.), POW at Stalag Luft I, Barth, Germany  9786 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1189: Philip Augustus, Henry II of England and Frederick Barbarossa assemble the troops for the Third Crusade.

1863: Two Confederate ships drive away two Union ships as the Rebels recapture Sabine Pass, Texas, and open an important port for the Confederacy.

1919: The German Krupp plant begins producing guns under the U.S. armistice terms.

1930: An international arms control meeting opens in London.

1941: The United States lifts the ban on arms to the Soviet Union.

1942: In North Africa, German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel launches a drive to push the British eastward. While the British benefited from radio-intercept-derived Ultra information, the Germans enjoyed an even speedier intelligence source.

1943: A Nazi daylight air raid kills 34 in a London school. When the anticipated invasion of Britain failed to materialize in 1940, Londoners relaxed, but soon they faced a frightening new threat from the sky.

1951: Communist troops force the UN army out of Inchon, Korea after a 12-hour attack.

1951: Lieutenant Colonel William E. Bertram, 523rd Fighter-Escort Squadron commander, became the first F-84 Thunderjet pilot to shoot down a MiG-15.

1953: Aircraft from three carriers continue relentless assaults against communist supply buildups near Hungnam and Wonsan. Meanwhile, Air Force F-86 Sabre jets downed seven MiGs and damaged three others in a trio of engagements.