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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 On the 5th day of April 1862, the army had marching orders and we took up the line of march toward the Tennessee River. Late in the evening we arrived within less than a mile of the enemy camp and put in line of battle where we remained all night with orders for the men to lie on their arms and while it was quite cool weather, fires were all extinguished at nightfall.
Note: by Captain W.P. Howell, 25th Alabama, Company I  12082 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam The tropical night was noisy with insects buzzing and other animals adding to the overall hum typical of Vietnam. The air was suffocating humid, and ground fog was obscuring the perimeter of the big engineer compound in The Central Highlands. It was the winter monsoon and the sky covered by low heavy clouds -- ideal conditions for an enemy attack.
Note: by SP/4 Lawrence Pichulo  9242 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War At the beginning of the war, the army and navy were mostly employed in protecting the loyal people who resided on the borders of the disaffected states and in reconciling those whose sympathies were opposed. But the defeat at Manassas and other reverses convinced the Government of the serious nature of the contest, and of the necessity of more vigorous and extensive preparations for war.
Note: by Admiral Henry Walke  11853 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



Civil War Helena Arks
July 6th.. 1863
Dear Parents
I will Inform you with Pleasure that I am well at the Present & I Hope that when this Reaches you that it May find you all well I Had a light chill yesterday But I feel all O. K. to day.
Note: by Newton Robert Scott, Private, Company A, of the 36th Infantry, Iowa Volunteers.  7288 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I In writing this, my object is to try and give some idea of my experiences in France and Belgium. Well, I land at Boulogne on February 2nd 1917. It was then bitter cold and snowing, and went on to St Martin’s Camp for the night and then my first real experience of hardship commenced.
Note: by Charles H Rooke, 1/5 Border Regiment  15532 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II September 25, 1943 was an unforgettable day. It was the day I received my notice to appear at the county court house in Hyattsville, Maryland for my induction into the army. And from there the other inductees and I were taken by bus to Fort Meade, Maryland where we were given uniforms and clothing.
  9310 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American SIR: At 9 a. m., July 3, I gave orders and arrangements were made for general muster at 9.30 a. m. At 9.30 a. m. the enemy were telegraphed by the Iowa as Coming out. At the same time they were discovered by the quartermaster on watch, N. Anderson, of this ship, and reported to the officer of the deck.
Note: account written July 7, 1898.  9310 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam A cakewalk! That's what Captain K said it was going to be. Just a two day cakewalk through some islands in the rice paddies. All we had to do was link up with the Marines in Hue. Just load up on ammo, take extra grenades, and don't take too many C's because you're not going to be gone that long.
Note: by Lt. Paul Becker, 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry, First Cavalry Division  8366 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  16762 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam Any officers (former or present) that would challenge the contention that relying on "Sarge" was a smart thing to do? I was an NCO during my tour of RVN and occasionally served as platoon sergeant so naturally I agree with the above. Amazed that OCS, ROTC, West Point didn't drive it into the heads of young lieutenants to "listen to experience."
Note: by Craig E. Thompson   7857 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Korea March 22, 1952. I was just 22 years old. Dawn found me on the flight deck of the USS Valley Forge in the Sea of Japan, warming up my Skyraider. As a pilot in Fighter Squadron 194, the "Yellow Devils," I was the standby in case one of the 8 planes scheduled for the morning's flight became inoperative.
Note: by Ken Schecter  9628 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I On Sunday, May 21st, 1916, the battalion was in camp Camblain-l'Abbe, behind Vimy Ridge. Recent spells in the line had been quiet, the weather was warm and sunny, and everyone was in good spirits. I was on camp-cleaning fatigue, but, the camp being in a good condition, there was nothing to do beyond picking up an odd piece of paper or two.
Note: by Frank Wilfrid Watts, 15th Battalion, The London Regt.  7524 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  8592 Reads  Printer-friendly page



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  11451 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.