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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.


POW On or about the 6th of March 1944 we crashed our B-17, on fire, on the way to Berlin. I became a POW and I made up my mind that I would have to try to escape. After traveling by boxcar for several days we arrived at Dulag Luft at Frankfort. We went through a very intense interrogation for a few days and then another trip by boxcar to Stalag Luft I at Barth, Germany. That was a trip no one will ever forget. I am certain all Ex-POW’s will agree. I still dream about those boxcars.
Note: by 2nd Lt. Herbert Markle  17423 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  11929 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II It became known as the "Spearhead Division and I joined it, the Third Armored Division, at Camp Polk, Louisiana in early 1942, less than a year after it was formed. This account is of me telling of my day on the "Spearhead", how I got there, what happened, and how it ended.
Note: by Ray Reeder, 3rd Armored Division, 33rd Armored Regiment, Recon Company  17360 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Korea On June 25, 1950, the Korean War began. I listened to the news every day and when I heard my old outfit, Baker Company Fifth Marines, was in Korea fighting hard, I decided to re-enlist. Traveling to Kansas City, Missouri, to the Marine recruiting office I hoped to re-up as a sergeant. I was disappointed, for I had been involved in a car wreck and still had some cuts not fully healed.
Note: by PFC Charlie Carmin, 1st Marine Division  20158 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II We were dropped into the channel from the mother ship at about 4:30 in the morning. I was the intelligence sergeant in headquarters company so a few weeks prior to the invasion I was put into a Quonset hut that had triple Concertina wire around it and was under 24 hour guard.
Note: by Herb Epstein, Intelligence Sergeant, Headquarters Company, 5th Ranger Battalion  6298 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War The keel of the most famous vessel of modern times was laid in the shipyard of Thomas F. Rowland, at Greenpoint, Brooklyn, in October, 1861, and on the 30th of January, 1862, the novel craft was launched. On the 25th of February she was commissioned and turned over to the Government, and nine days later left New York for Hampton Roads, where, on the 9th of March, occurred the memorable contest with the Virginia.
Note: by Commander S. D. Greene, U.S. Navy  9241 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I Monday 4th. Sept. 1916. Recalled from Leave. Ordered "out". Felt very 'bucked' with life. Train to Dunfermline, packed a few things and then off to Edinburgh. Terrific crowds at the station to see our train off. Slept on the floor of a third class corridor with a few drunken Canadians, who, I believe, talked to me most of the night without getting a reply. Cheery souls!
Note: by Robert Lindsay Mackay, 11th Battalion of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.  6879 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War This diary was commenced for the fun of writing down my experience as a soldier from the Old North State. I never thought for a moment that I would put it in print; but now that I am getting old and have read so many histories written by our officers, but have never seen in print a history written by a private. I know that my diary is truly the life of the man behind the gun, therefore I make bold to publish it.
Note: by Louis Leon, Company C, First North Carolina Regiment  13675 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II It was the fall of 1944. I was fresh out of USAC basic at Keesler Field and was assigned to B-29 gunnery training at Buckingham Field, Fort Myers, FL As a lot of good "cadets" did then, I chose this instead of "on the line" training. Within the first week at Buck Field, I was fitted with a parachute harness and "invited" to take an orientation ride in a funny-looking B-24.
Note: By Sgt. Joe B. Tillery.  6403 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War Headquarters, 1st Brig., 3d Div. 6th Ar.
Near Gaines Mills
June 4, 1864
Dear Ha: I have just received a letter from you and as a mail will leave in an hour or two, I hasten to answer. We are behind entrenchments, holding a position which we have just taken from the enemy. Bullets, as I write, are flying in all directions, and wounded and dead men pass me continually.
Note: Letter from Chas. Leonard to his father in the trenches, Virginia countryside near Richmond, Va.  8221 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II After our repairs were completed, we were supposed to go on our post-repair trial run. But instead, on July 15th, we were ordered to go to San Francisco to take on some cargo. I was amazed to notice that there was a quiet, almost dead Navy Yard. We tied up at the dock there and two big trucks came alongside. The big crate on one truck was put in the port hanger.
Note: by CAPT Lewis L. Haynes, senior medical officer on board ship.  8217 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Gulf War One of the things you have to watch out for in the field are tracks. Tracks of any kind can put a real damper on your day when they come rolling across your site without warning. To avoid such confrontations we took special care to build deep and well fortified fighting positions when time allowed.
Note: by David Bailey, A Company, 13th Signal Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division  7269 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War May 3, 1864 Passed off quietly with nothing to disturb the monotony of camp life until after dark when we received orders to pack up and to be ready to march at a moment's notice. We had been expecting marching orders for the last two weeks so that we were not surprised to hear the orders to pack up sung out.
Note: by Clinton Hogue, Company G of the Iron Brigade's Indiana 19th Regiment  11827 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II The Naval Combat Demolition Units were charged with the responsibility of clearing sixteen 50- yard gaps on the beaches assigned to that force. They worked in conjunction with the Army engineers who were charged with the responsibility of clearing the shoreward obstacles.
Note: by Lieutenant Commander Joseph H. Gibbons, USNR, CO of U.S. Navy Combat Demolitions Units in Force "O"  9513 Reads  Printer-friendly page



War of 1812

Buffaloe November 27, 1812
My Dear Wife,
It is with a degree of satisfaction I inform you of my health and the greatest part of the Company. Tomorrow at 7 o'clock we embark for Canada - consequently it will be liberty or death - You must excuse me for not writing you more as I am officer of the day and guard both, therefore, I am obliged through necessity to wright at 12 o'clock to night.

Note: During Ens. Warner's tour of duty he wrote letters home to his wife, five of which have been preserved. From these letters one may follow Ens. Warner's progess from Baltimore, through Carlisle, Pennsylvania, to the shores of Lake Ontario. From camp at Sacketts Harbor, Warner's unit proceeded to the Battle of York (now known as Toronto), the capitol of Upper Canada, fought in late April, 1813. Under the leadership of the adventurous Brigadier General Zebulon Pike, for whom Pike's Peak is named, the American forces scored a victory, but lost their General, killed in battle.

After that battle, Warner's unit apparently re-crossed Lake Ontario to camp outside Fort Niagara and presumably later participated in the taking of Fort George from the British.
  7488 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1863: Confederate President Jefferson Davis names General Joseph Johnston commander of the Army of Tennessee.

1864: The Battle of Nashville concludes with a Union victory.

1904: Japanese warships quit Port Arthur in order to cut off the Russian Baltic fleets advance.

1940: British troops carry out an air raid on Italian Somalia.

1944: The Germans launch the last major offensive of the war, Operation Mist, also known as the Ardennes Offensive and the Battle of the Bulge, an attempt to push the Allied front line west from northern France to northwestern Belgium. The Battle of the Bulge was the largest fought on the Western front.

1950: The U.S. 24th Infantry Division received the Distinguished Unit Citation (now the Presidential Unit Citation) for "extraordinary heroism in combat against a numerically superior enemy." The division, commanded by Major General William F. Dean, by then a prisoner of war, was the first U.S. division to enter the Korean War.

1950: In the wake of the massive Chinese intervention in the Korean War, President Harry S. Truman declares a state of emergency.

1965: Gen. William Westmoreland, Commander of U.S. Military Assistance Command Vietnam, sends a request for 243,000 more troops by the end of 1966.

1998: The United States launches a missile attack on Iraq for failing to comply with United Nations weapons inspectors.