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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.


Spanish American [Letterhead: New York and Cuba Mail Steamship Company]

On Board: S.S. City of Washington

[Havana], February 16, 1898

Dearest,

I sent you two cablegrams last night telling you of my safety, and before they both reached you before the morning papers, and that you were spared the agony of suspense and uncertainty.
Note: written the day after the USS MAINE was lost  7854 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War Headquarters District of West Tennessee, Pittsburg, TN April 9, 1862. Captain: It becomes my duty again to report another battle fought between two great armies, one contending for the maintenance of the best government ever devised, the other for its destruction. It is pleasant to record the success of the army contending for the former principle.
Note: by Major General U.S. Grant  9084 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam During the month of November and the first part of December 1967 there were many indications that the enemy ws building up forces in preparation for the coming Tet Offensive in the Bong Son plains of Binh Din Province. Their major targets would be U.S. and ARVN forces and the major district capitals. Aerial reconnaissance forces of the 1st Cavalry Divisions had found many indications of this to include an enourmous Russian Ship to Shore radio on the beach.
Note: by Rigo Ordaz, 1st Bn (Mech), 50th Infantry   11723 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War I was stationed at Albuquerque, New Mexico, as paymaster in the United States army when the war-cloud appeared in the East. Officers of the Northern and Southern States were anxious to see the portending storm pass by or disperse, and on many occasions we, too, were assured, by those who claimed to look into the future, that the statesman would yet show himself equal to the occasion, and restore confidence among the people.
Note: by General James Longstreet  8303 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I Sun Nov 8th 1914 , Blantyre St.,Bishopmill Dear Annie, Just a few lines to let you know that I am always in the land of living & keeping well hoping this will find you all the same at home I got up here friday & going back Tuesday not much time but better than nothing.
Note: letters by James Kay, Regimental Sergeant-Major, No 4 Company of the 16th Battalion Canadian Expeditionary Force, 3rd Brigade, First Canadian Division.   6269 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam I have a good idea why the sergeant from Kentucky raised his rifle to shoot the two women who were walking to market along the Tra Bong road that day.
Note: By Tom Dier   6190 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by the Seventeenth Regiment in the action of Groveton, or Bull Run, on Saturday, August 30, 1862:
Note: This battle report of the Second Battle of Bull Run was filed by Major Grower from his sickbed as he was recovering from his wounds received during the charge. Many of the names mentioned in this report are from Rockland County, NY.   7052 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.
  6550 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I 15/8/14. War declared on August 4th. 1914, so went to depot and enlisted. Told them I had my parent's consent, so was passed to go into camp the following week. I then thought it was time I told Father and Mother. Father was very angry, and had me rejected, as I was only 19 years old. Also he thought I was not strong enough, having a weak shoulder. I waited until September 25th. 1915, and then enlisted again. Being of age, I did not need any consent, and all my pals were going way, so I signed on for duration, and four months after. - I got through the medical test O.K. and was told to report at Sturt St. on 2nd. October 1915.
Note: by Kenneth Sydney Day  13126 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American We are out today on the scout on the mountain, about thirty miles from Guantanamo, and probably will not see camp again for about ten days. I have eight men with me, and have made a report of our position and that of the enemy and have sent the same to our captain at Guantanamo.
At present I am under orders of the noted Cuban, General Garcia, and he will give me a guide of ten or twelve Cubans when I return to our camp.
Note: by Marine Sergeant Bloomfield W. Riddle.  7248 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  12949 Reads  Printer-friendly page



POW There were various ways tried by prisoners to get beyond those double barbed wire fences; climbing them, slipping between the wires, cutting through, tunneling under, or some sort of disguise to pass the guards at the gates.
Note: by Edwin Dunlap  8198 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  6141 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War We enlisted at Story City, Iowa, the 12th of August, 1862, and left from Nevada, Iowa the 13th of September the same year. On the last day of our stay in Nevada, we were feasted and banqueted in regular wedding fashion. At the tables, the soldiers, marching to the strains of music, were seated first, and directly afterwards those nearest of kin. But there was too much sorrow and weeping at the thought of parting that our appetites were small.
  6983 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II May 6, Austria

Dear Dad,
Being in such a jubilant mood I must drop a few lines. Today I got you a Luger. Yes man! And it's a honey! The only regret I have is I didn't personally relieve a Kraut of it as I did a pair of binoculars a few days ago.
  6019 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1775: The Continental Congress authorizes the building of 13 frigates, mounting 24-36 guns.

1812: The last remnants of Napoleon Bonapartes Grand Arme? reach the safety of Kovno, Poland, after the failed Russian campaign. Napoleons costly retreat from Moscow.

1814: General Andrew Jackson announces martial law in New Orleans, Louisiana, as British troops disembark at Lake Borne, 40 miles east of the city.

1862: Confederate General Robert E. Lees Army of Northern Virginia repulses a series of attacks by General Ambrose Burnsides Army of the Potomac at Fredericksburg, Virginia. The defeat was one of the most decisive loses for the Union army.

1937: The Japanese army occupies Nanking, China.

1940: Adolf Hitler issues preparations for Operation Martita, the German invasion of Greece.

1941: British forces launch an offensive in Libya.

1951: U.S. Air Force pilot George A. Davis, flying a F-86 Sabre jet out of the 4th Fighter-Interceptor Wing, was credited with four aerial victories against MiG-15s, the largest number of kills by a single pilot in one day during the war. These victories made Davis the first "double ace" of the Korean War.

1974: North Vietnamese General Tran Van Tra orders 7th Division and the newly formed 3rd Division to attack Phuoc Long Province, north of Saigon.

2003: U.S. forces capture former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein in a crawl space beneath a house near his hometown of Tikrit, eight months after the fall of Baghdad.