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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 Fitchburg, Sept. 17, 1919. The first experience of a soldier is camp life. O! the sweet memories of departed days, how they rise up before us; the ups and downs, the drills, the dress parades, skirmish, rally by fours, guard against infantry, guard against cavalry, the barracks, the bunks, the rations-how they stare us in the face as we look back to the first few days we were in camp in the town of Groton, near the Peterboro and Shirley Railroad, at a place called Camp Stevens.
Note: by Joel A. Stratton, Captain of Company C, Fifty-third Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers, 1862-1863.  10176 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam March 4, 1968
Well Mom,
There really is a war going on over here. We made contact in daylight yesterday for the first time since I've been here. You know how they say war is not like the movies show it. Well, they're wrong. It's exactly like the movies.

Note: By Tim Driscoll  7036 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Airforce Shortly after the end of WWII the US Air force established a group called AFOAT-ONE that flew regular air sampling flights around the periphery of the Soviet Union. I understand their mission was to pinpoint the site of plutonium production and more importantly the rate of production of Pu.
  9973 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II This is a talk on an action which took place in the North Atlantic on Easter Sunday. I'll give you some background before I go into that part of the story. I will give you a general idea of what we were doing. We were Task Group 21.12 operating as a so-called killer group. Our mission was to sink submarines and we attempted to stay at sea in the areas where the submarines were concentrating.
Note: Recollections of Lieutenant Commander Dudley S. Knox, USNR, on destroyer escort USS Chatelain (DE-149). These actions occured the 9th and 10th of April 1944.   11734 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War Near Sharpsburg, MD, September 29, 1862 I have the honor to report the following as some of the results of the battles of South Mountain and Antietam: At South Mountain our loss was 443 killed, 1,806 wounded, and 76 missing; total, 2,325. At Antietam our loss was 2,010 killed, 9,416 wounded, and 1,043 missing total, 12,469. Total loss in the two battles, 14,794.
Note: by Major General George McClellan  7739 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam Over the years I have put most of the bad memories of Nam to the back of my mind and tried to forget them. Occasionally, one will come back. Any other time I would start out by saying Once Upon a Time or No Shit Man as I would make up a bullshit war story. But, this time I am going to start out by saying, to the best of my recollection the following did happen.
Note: by Larry Weisbarth, A 1/502nd Airborne Infantry, 67-68   8268 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I ON May 31st, 1916, the Grand Fleet and the High Sea Fleet fought the action which has become known as the Battle of Jutland. The despatch describing the battle, as published some weeks later, was not quite in its original form as written by me. After a conference held at the Admiralty, early in June, modifications were made : some of them because it was considered that certain passages might convey useful information to the enemy, and others because it was thought to be undesirable to draw attention to certain features of British design.
Note: by Admiral John Rushworth Jellicoe  7650 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II I grew up in the small town of Ellis, Kansas during the great depression of the 1930s complete with heat waves, drought and dust storms. We thought such conditions were the norm.I graduated from Ellis High School in May of 1943. I could have loafed around all summer waiting for my draft notice but I asked for immediate induction. My father was furious - thought I was out of my mind.
Note: by Kenneth F. Haas.  7091 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam A couple of hours before sunset, any commander worth his salt got very serious about first, selecting and second, preparing a place for his outfit to spend the night. Nobody from higher headquarters was going to do this for you; battalion staffs and commanders were in fire bases, protected by other companies out of prepared bunkers, complete with wire, mines, defensive artillery fires already plotted, ready access to armed helicopters should the need arise, and so on.
Note: by Richard Guthrie, 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 50th Infantry  10194 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam I think it is safe to say that everyone's first impression upon arriving in country to Vietnam was unique to that individual. It would be dependent on a persons' expectations and what his life experiences were subsequent to arrival, as-well-as, the time and place you came in country. Even so, I expect that some common chords are shared in each.
Note: by Roland Kunkel   9345 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I The steamer appeared to be close to us and looked colossal. I saw the captain walking on his bridge, a small whistle in his mouth. I saw the crew cleaning the deck forward, and I saw, with surprise and a slight shudder, long rows of wooden partitions right along all decks, from which gleamed the shining black and brown backs of horses.
Note: by Adolf K.G.E. von Spiegel  7793 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam I remember pulling guard duty at Cu Chi Base Camp, RVN in the Support Command area. It just so happened that there was a Vietnamese cemetery located in the Support Command area at Cu Chi.
Note: by Don Patrick  9953 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   6267 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II I had just had breakfast and was looking out a porthole in sick bay when someone said, "What the hell are all those planes doing up there on a Sunday? " Someone else said, "It must be those crazy Marines. They'd be the only ones out maneuvering on a Sunday." When I looked up in the sky I saw five or six planes starting their descent. Then when the first bombs dropped on the hangers at Ford Island, I thought, "Those guys are missing us by a mile." Inasmuch as practice bombing was a daily occurrence to us, it was not too unusual for planes to drop bombs, but the time and place were quite out of line.
Note: by Pharmacist's Mate Second Class Lee Soucy, USS UTAH  16538 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam In order to comply with the directive to maintain a low profile during the upcoming Tet celebration, our mechanized infantry battalion had been ordered to set up in a position off Highway 15, the major road leading to the port city of Vung Tau. All offensive operations were also put on hold during this ceasefire period. And although few of us understood the significance of the Tet celebration in the Vietnamese culture, we were looking forward to some slack time. But such was not to be!
Note: by 1LT Brice H. Barnes, HHC, 2-47th Inf (Mech), 9th Inf Div  15706 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1587: In France, Huguenot Henri de Navarre routs Duke de Joyeuses larger Catholic force at Coutras.

1709: Marlborough and Eugene of Savoy take Mons in the Netherlands.

1805: Austrian general Karl Mac surrenders to Napoleons army at the battle of Ulm.

1870: The Summer Palace in Beijing, China, is burnt to the ground by a Franco-British expeditionary force.

1940: German troops reach the approaches to Moscow.

1944: After advancing island by island across the Pacific Ocean, U.S. General Douglas MacArthur wades ashore onto the Philippine island of Leyte, fulfilling his promise to return to the area he was forced to flee in 1942.

1950: In the first airborne operation of the war, 2,860 paratroopers of the 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team jumped between Sukchon and Sunchon, 25 miles north of Pyongyang. Far East Air Force C-119s and C-47s transported the assault force and F-80 and F-51 fighters provided air cover.

1952: The destroyer escort Lewis was hit by shore fire off the West Coast of Korea. Seven sailors were killed and one wounded.

1964: Relations between Cambodia, South Vietnam, and the United States reach a low point as Cambodia becomes a sanctuary for Viet Cong and North Vietnamese forces.

480: Greeks defeat the Persians in a naval battle at Salamis.