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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.


World War I A fellow named Kendall and I palled up the day after he joined our company. We were in a sugar factory at the time, where we were to spend the night before going into the line. I had found two planks and trestles, and thought, in my ignorance, to make a bed where the rats would not disturb me, and while I surveyed the available floor space the slinking form of a large rat, just discernible in the dimming light, made me turn sharply round.
Note: by Private David Phillips, 23rd County of London Regiment  11131 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I Dear Sister
I just received your letter of Nov. 27, and as I have time I will anser immeidatly. I have been on the front twice and as Joe Nugent wrote home and told his people I suppose I may as well tell you. He is in the 314 Inf. which is in the same Div. that I am in the 79th.
  8598 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I It was a hot, sunny day, the tenth of June, the year Nineteen Eighteen, that I voluntarily answered the call of my country, which was then plunged into the greatest and most terrific war mankind has ever known. I enlisted at Camp Beauregard, and through the kindness and assistance of a friend of my sister's, Sergeant Whitmel Reed, was assigned to the Intelligence Section, Headquarters Company, 156th Infantry Regiment, 39th Division. A few days after my arrival I was equipped in olive drab, and soon made a full fledged soldier of "Uncle Sam".
Note: by Pvt. Mathew Chopin, 356th Inf., 89th Div.  11335 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam We have been stationed about 5-6 miles off the coast of Vietnam. Our job is to repair the river patrol boats. They would tow, push, shove or sometimes just putt their way out to us for repair. We keep seeing the same patrol boats and repair them, send them back, repair them, send them back.
Note: by Raymond Bruder  9399 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II Canadian Army Overseas
March 5/44
. . . Well we have arrived safely as you may have guessed from the cablegram. Although at that time it was impossible to say anything and isn't much more possible now. We had a very quiet uneventful trip, wasn't even sea sick but had a few hours when it was very hard to keep food down but that was the first day and night out.
Note: These letters were all written to his wife, Beth, who was caring for their two young daughters.  7627 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War Sandy Hook, Md Oct. 4th '62 Friend George, I was just now sitting in the tent with the Major, looking at the engravings in a late number of Leslie's Illustrated and I happened to observe the likeness & name of Don Carlos Beull. I remarked that he is the first public man I ever heard of as bearing my name. Upon this he said, "That reminds me that I have a letter for you."
Note: by Don Scott, 11th NH Volunteers  8216 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II 27.4.41 A fast trip with a couple of alarms brought us to Suda Bay, Crete. Arrived about noon and had a 3 mile walk to a rest camp. Did not enjoy it. 30.4.41 Today we received permission to send a cable advising "All well". I hope it reaches its destination in double quick time. Many times during the last few weeks we have realised how much the people in N.Z. must have been worrying, particularly on Anzac Day.
Note: by Alan Jackson, 5th Field Regiment  7138 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War I, with about five hundred other prisoners of war, arrived at Elmira about the first of August, 1864, after a confinement of forty five days at Point Lookout. I spent the first day in a thorough examination of my new abode, and its advantages as a home until fortune would release me from its durance. It contained several acres of ground, enclosed by a plank fence about fourteen feet high; some three feet from the top on the outside ran a narrow footway, or parapet, of plank, supported by braces.
Note: by Sergeant G. W. D. Porter, 44th Tenn. Infantry Regiment, CSA  7922 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam I saw her for the first time in 1969. Apparently my Vietnamese was not as good as I thought and the ride I had caught on a Vietnamese UH1D went to Tay Ninh instead of Tan Uyen where I was supposed to go. We had been in the air from Dinh Quan for about 30 minutes when I first saw her head rising out of the mist above the emerald green jungle.
Note: by Don Shacklette  10565 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam From an altitude of thirty thousand feet, it's hard to determine where the blue of the Pacific meets the blue of the sky. Consequently, my sense of direction had diminished greatly since leaving the military base at Oakland, more than twenty hours earlier. Not that I really cared which direction I was traveling, I knew the destination well enough, but the disorientation only added to the sick feeling in my gut.
Note: by James F. McColloch, 9th Infantry Division  11464 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War About the 14th or 15th of August 1864 about 300 of us started on an expedition from Jacksonville, Florida to destroy a rebel commissary at Gainesville, Florida. We arrived there at daylight on the morning of the 16th of August 1864. Through spys the rebels heard that we were coming and 1500 of them had surrounded the city ready to fight us. They charged on us but we drove them back and held the city till three o'clock in the afternoon and looking for reinforcements every minute.
Note: by John Marshall Stewart  7985 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Korea The village of Changbong-ni is located in central Korea, below the 38th Parallel and about 7 miles north of Hoengsong. My unit, 0 Battery of the 82nd AAA was armed with M-1 6 half-track vehicles which had a quad-50 turret mounted with four 50 caliber machine guns. The action described below took place on 11-12 February 1951. I was the senior Lieutenant of D Battery.
Note: by Paul G McCoy, 82AAA, D Btry.  12412 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I I really believe that I am after all a coward for I don't like patrolling...The battalion who alternates with us here have lost three officers (or rather two officers and an NCO) on this business in front of my trenches. Let me try to picture what it is like. I am asked to take out an 'officer's patrol' of seven men; duties - get out to the position of the German listening post (we know it), wait for their patrol and 'scupper' it; also discover what work is being done in their trenches.
Note: by Second Lieutenant H E Cooper, Royal Warwickshire Regiment   11218 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I October 1, 1918 -- Firing and laying around most of the day. Moved up forward during the night and put our guns in position in a sunken road behind Epinay. Raining very hard all night and Fritz was shelling around all night. We had to keep awake all night, Haynecourt Cemetery 5:00
  8922 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam I don’t know if those of you that were in Viet Nam during the war remember the custom of poc time. If you remember, this will be a refresher. If you never heard of poc time, well it’s time you learn about this Vietnamese tradition. What follows are my observations based on my brief time in country.
Note: by Robert D. Pryor, Detachment A-344, 5th Special Forces Group (ABN) First Special Forces.  9751 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1862: The Union Army of the Potomac occupies Fredericksburg, Virginia, as General Ambrose Burnside continues to execute his plan to capture the Confederate capital at Richmond.

1863: Union gunboats Restless, Bloomer and Caroline enter St. Andrews Bay, Fla., and begin bombardment of both Confederate quarters and saltworks.

1933: Paraguay captures 11,000 Bolivians in the war over Chaco.

1941: The United States declares war on Italy and Germany.

1941: Adolf Hitler declares war on the United States, bringing America, which had been neutral, into the European conflict.

1945: A Boeing B-29 Superfortress shatters all records by crossing the United States in five hours and 27 minutes.

1950: The 1st Marine Division completed its breakout from the Chosin/Changjin Reservoir entrapment and began its march to join the rest of X Corps at Hungnam.

1955: Israel raids Syrian positions on the Sea of Galilee.

1961: The ferry carrier, USNS Core, arrives in Saigon with the first U.S. helicopter unit. This contingent included 33 Vertol H-21C Shawnee helicopters and 400 air and ground crewmen to operate and maintain them. Their assignment was to airlift South Vietnamese Army troops into combat.

1969: Paratroopers from the U.S. Third Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, depart from Vietnam.