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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.


Coast Guard June 1942
Captain Magnusson (if not an enemy in disguise), is the most encouraging piece of equipment on board. The man is a tough, powerful, stubborn-looking Norwegian (so we hear). He is said to have been born and raised in Iceland. We would later learn he owns a fleet of fishing trawlers similar to the Nanok.
Note: by Thaddeus D. Novak, Greenland Patrol, 1942  23039 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War VOLUNTEERED 2ND NEW YORK CAVALRY -- September 5th, 1863, mustered into the United States Service September 9th, 1863 at Saratoga, New York -- left Saratoga by train for Washington, where we trained until the first of February, 1864.
Note: Diary of Edward B. Root  8190 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam Between Charlie and the jungle, things had been pretty hard on us. We were very short-handed. My squad was down to three men, counting myself. Yes, just me and two other guys. Our company had encountered a major trail that was extremely, heavily traveled. We called in on the field radio to report this major trail and were told to wait to be joined by the Tiger Force. (a hard core, elite, special fighting unit of the 101st Airborne).
Note: by Sarge Lintecum  8857 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I On April 30, 1918 I was drafted in the service of the U. S. Army and sent to Camp Dix N. J. For further use. We had a fine trip passing over the Erie R.R. To Binghamton (NY) where I saw Mrs. Oxford and Helen who were the last people I saw who I was any way acquainted with for nearly a year. From Binghamton to Stroudsburg (PA) over the DL & W RR stopping for half an hour at Scranton (PA) where we replenished our stock of joy water we stopped only for perhaps fifteen minutes at Stroudsburg where we owned the town during that stay.
Note: by Pvt. Robert L. Dwight, 148th Infantry, 37th Division.  10415 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War Memarandum of Events of Basil H Messler's term in the U.S. Ser Arrved in Davenport on the 27th day of February. Put up at the Penn. House and took Dinner and then I went to Lieut Walthams Recruiting office and made out My Inlistment papers in Dupicates and then got permistion of a furlow and was examined by Dr Church and pass examination Then got the Agt, to excep them and got an order to go to Camp McClelands. But did not go that evening went to the theater and then returned to the Hotell and took room No 69 in co. with Sergts Grooms & Allsop.
Note: by Basil H. Messler, Mississippi Marine Brigade  16870 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"  10546 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam As soon as the Freedom Bird began to lose altitude the noise level on the craft began to rise. Idle conversation tended to either stop completely or to take on a more intense quality. From one end of the plane to the other the word spread with the speed of magic. We're coming into McChord.
Note: By Jim Calbreath   7746 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  9405 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Korea On June 10th 1952 I crawled onto a crew bus at K-8 Korea for the ride to the Operations tent for my first mission with my new navigator. Captain Black, another B-26 pilot, was already on board and we discussed his mission status while on the way to the flight line.
Note: by James Willard Braly, 13th Bomb Squadron.  7707 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American I was just closing a letter to my family when I felt the crash of the explosion. It was a bursting, rending, and crashing sound, or roar of immense volume, largely metallic in character. It was succeeed by a metallic sound - probably of falling debris - a trembling and lurching motion of the vessel, then an impression of subsidence, attended by an eclipse of the electirc lights and intense darkness within the cabin.
Note: recounted by Captain Charles D. Sigsbee, USS MAINE, Commanding Officer.  13136 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American

Santiago De Cuba

July 18, 1898

Dear Parents,

Received your welcome letter and was so glad to find all well. I am in the best of health, but my God, how the men around me suffer! There are 30 to 40 in the Company sick. It is the fever, and I thank God every day that He has spared me so far. He has heard your prayers, my dear Mama. As I have no paper, I will give you a brief sketch of what has happened on the Island and go into details some other time.

  7242 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  25456 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.  7337 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam In May 1969, I was transferred from 229th Aviation Unit to HHC 1st Bn. 8th Cav. Upon arrival at the 8th Cav, I met a friend, named Preston Taylor. We had completed our Advanced Individual Training together at Fort Sam Houston to become Medics. Preston had just arrived in South Vietnam from the States.
Note: by John D. Dennison.  9302 Reads  Printer-friendly page



War of 1812 Sir,
I have the honour to inform you, for the information of the Lords commissioners of the Admiralty, that on the 3rd instant, I sailed with his Majesty`s squadron under my command, from this port. to co-operate with our army at the head of the Lake, and annoy the enemy by intercepting all supplies going to the army, and thereby oblige his squadron to come out for its protection.
Note: H.M.S Wolfe, at Kingston, Upper Canada, 29 June, 1813.  8338 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1738: English parliament declares war on Spain.

1800: The USS Essex becomes first U.S. Navy vessel to pass the Cape of Good Hope.

1814: The HMS Phoebe and Cherub capture the USS Essex off Valparaiso, Chile.

1854: Britain and France declare war on Russia.

1862: Union forces stop the Confederate invasion of New Mexico territory when they turn the Rebels back at Glorieta Pass.

1864: A group of Copperheads attack Federal soldiers in Charleston, Illinois. Five are killed and twenty wounded.

1917: The Womens Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) is founded, Great Britains first official service women.

1939: The Spanish Civil War ends as Madrid falls to Francisco Franco.

1941: Andrew Browne Cunningham, Admiral of the British Fleet, commands the British Royal Navys destruction of three major Italian battleships and two destroyers in the Battle of Cape Matapan in the Mediterranean.

1942: A British ship, the HMS Capbeltown, a Lend-Lease American destroyer, which was specifically rammed into a German occupied dry-dock in France, explodes, knocking the area out of action for the German battleship Tirpitz.