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If we cannot secure our needs for survival on the basis of law and justice, then we must be ready to secure them with army in our hands.

-- Mihaly Karolyi

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.


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  6920 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I It was near the end of the great German bid for victory in April 1918. We left Beuvry and passed the hamlet of Le Fresnoy and crossed the bridge over the La Bassee Canal into the village of Gorre. There we struck a route past the famous Brewery to make for the open fields and the front-line trenches.
Note: by Lance-Corporal Thomas A. Owen  6715 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  9782 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II Monday, 8 December.
Report made by Capt. B. d. Godbold, Commanding "D" Battery F.D.R. 0700 two officers, Capt. Godbold, F.B.D. and Lt. Grealy with enlisted men moved to the battery position by truck as ordered. In addition to his duties as battery commander, Capt. Godbold acted as Peale Island Strong Point Commander. 0730 Battery reported manned and realy, to Island Commander, C.P. Director, height finder, power plant. 3 guns manned, 4 gun directors, power plants, and 02 sandbagged prior to occupation of position.
Note: by Captain B. D. Godbold USMC, Battery D, 1st Defense Battalion
  12148 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Navy It was a normal day. I reported to work, started logging into the computer, checking e-mails, taking phone calls, talking with the office about what was going on. Then someone heard about the happenings at the World Trade Center - the first plane. We were able to watch the live video and started hearing the reports. Then we saw the footage of the second aircraft coming into the second tower.
Note: by Lieutenant Commander David Tarantino, MC, USN  12928 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II The Laffey was built in Bath, Maine and was commissioned in Boston, Massachusetts, at the Navy Yard on February 8th, 1944. After a brief shakedown period, the ship participated in the Normandy Invasion in June 1944, after which she took part in the Cherbourg bombardment on June 25th, 1944 and suffered an eight-inch hit which fortunately did not explode.
Note: by Commander Frederick Julian Becton, USN, Commanding Officer of the destroyer USS Laffey (DD-724).  6898 Reads  Printer-friendly page



War of 1812 Pittsburg, 23 October 1812 On the 9th of August last, I received orders from General Hull to evacuate the post and proceed with my command to Detroit by land, leaving it at my discretion to dispose of the public property as I thought proper. The neighbouring Indians got the information as early as I did, and came in from all quarters in order to receive the goods in the factory store, which they understood were to be given them.
Note: by Captain Heald, letter to The Secretary of War  13656 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Revolutionary War Roxbury July 18 1775 To my Dear wife & Children I Received yours which I Prize next to your Person. The welfare of our family I understand is good. You tell me John is fat & Rugged which I Rejoice to hear & Prize above gold. The Rest of our Children I Donít mention be Cause I Left them well.
Note: by Lt. Samuel Cooper, Second Connecticut Regiment  11128 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Revolutionary War December 6
The Enemy forming a Line from towards our right to the extremity of our left upon an opposite long height to ours in a Wood. Our men were under Arms all Day and this Night also, as our Wise General was determined not to be attack'd Napping....
Note: From the Diary of Albigence Waldo, Surgeon at Valley Forge, 1777.   9850 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Airforce After a year in Peru in 1946 teaching Peruvian pilots to fly P-47’s, I returned to the U.S. in 1947, was assigned to the 161st Tac Recon Squadron at Langley Field, Virginia, which operated new RF-80’s. I was delighted, but when Lt. Col. Jim Rose the Squadron C.O. had to offer someone for a base headquarters assignment, he picked me — I was out.
Note: by Colonel Jean K. Woodyard, USAF Retired
Squadron Commander, 8th TRS.
  10637 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam Second day home.

Spent the day visiting family friends and relatives (including in-laws, shudder ). They made me feel pretty welcome (lots of WW2 vets). Glad to see me -- thanked me for my service, etc.
Note: by Craig E. Thompson   6067 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II June 6, 1944
Several planes have passed over us, C-47's Which too - Paratroop's in. As far as you can see there are L.S.Ts. & L.C. Vs. Two Planes were shot down, Unidentified. Lot of A.A. fire ahead. Everything has been quiet for past two hours Searchlights on Beach at 045.
Note: by Seaman 3rd Class George A. Wehrle, aboard the heavy cruiser USS TUSCALOOSA  8001 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II On September 29, 1943, Task Force 58, which included the USS Lexington CV-16, headed West towards Wake Island. On board the Lexington was Carrier Air Group Sixteen, which included VF-16, VT-16 and VB-16. I, Paul Bonilla AOM 2/c USNR, at the age of 22, was attached to VB-16 which flew SBD-5 Douglas Dauntless dive bombers which had a crew of two, a pilot and a radioman-gunner.
Note: by Paul T. Bonilla  7897 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I 6th May, 1916, signed the enlistment papers after having been previously rejected in 1915. 20th June, left Byron Bay by train to Lismore for the medical examination. This time, Dr Bignell passed me, without even examining me, because he could see that I was eager to enlist and men were badly needed.
Note: by Private Verdi George Schwinghammer  18721 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War Jan. 24th: I commenced keeping diary in Tom Sandle's book he being gone the Devil knows where. This morning inspection of arms weather cloudy and damp. No camp guards furnished by our Brigadier yesterday we were on pickett had the easiest duty our company ever done.
Note: by Melville Cox Follett  7979 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1807: British officers of the H.M.S. Leopard boarded the U.S.S. Chesapeake after she had set sail for the Mediterranean, and demanded the right to search the ship for deserters.

1813: A British force attempted to take Craney Island, the fort there was one of the key defenses to Norfolk's inner harbor and was home to the frigate "Constellation".

1864: Union forces attempt to capture a railroad that had been supplying Petersburg from the south and extend their lines to the Appomattox River.

1864: U.S.S. Lexington, Acting Ensign Henry Booby, withstood a surprise Confederate strike on White River Station, Arkansas, and forced the attacking Confederate troops to withdraw.


1865: The Confederate raider Shenandoah fires the last shot of the Civil War in the Bering Strait.

1898: Admiral Sampson begins amphibious landing near Santiago, Cuba. Lt. Col. Theodore Roosevelt and Col. Leonard Wood led the Rough Riders, a volunteer cavalry regiment, onto the beach at Daiquiri in the Spanish American War.


1941: During Operation Barbarossa over 3 million German troops invade Russia in three parallel offensives, in what is the most powerful invasion force in history. Nineteen panzer divisions, 3,000 tanks, 2,500 aircraft, and 7,000 artillery pieces pour across a thousand-mile front as Hitler goes to war on a second front.

1942: A Japanese submarine shelled Fort Stevens, Oregon, at the mouth of the Columbia River.

1944: President Roosevelt signed the GI Bill of Rights, authorizing a broad package of benefits for World War II veterans.

1944: After a preparatory air raid on Cherbourg, in which over 1000 tons of bombs are dropped, the divisions of the US 7th Corps (part of US 1st Army) begin assaulting the city of Cherbourg. There is heavy German resistance.