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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.


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  11860 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I

Preparation in England, 1915

Inspection by General Campbell.

Saturday March 15th on my birthday. Route march to Birmingham from Sutton. General inspection in Calthorpe Park at 2. General Campbell in passing lines asks me what I was before I joined. General salute at 3.30 pm Victoria Square, dismissed at 4pm near Corporation Street.

Note: by William Bernard Whitmore, 1st Birmingham Battalion  11052 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I In writing this, my object is to try and give some idea of my experiences in France and Belgium. Well, I land at Boulogne on February 2nd 1917. It was then bitter cold and snowing, and went on to St Martin’s Camp for the night and then my first real experience of hardship commenced.
Note: by Charles H Rooke, 1/5 Border Regiment  15798 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II Flying a bombing mission out of Foggia, Italy, off Tortorella US Army Air Field in Italy, during W.W. II, our B-17 caught one hell of a lot of flack. All four engines were still running, but ALL flight instruments failed. We had no airspeed indicator. Since we were returning from the bombing mission in formation, we didn't really need flight instruments except for the approach and landing.
Note: by George Ureke, Lt. Colonel USAF (Ret.).  11923 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Revolutionary War 1775, August 25.-Embark'd on board Cap't Jacksons sloop at 5 oclock in the afternoon (who had on board Col'o Clinton, Mr. Drake sutler & Cap't Nicholson with his company. We sail'd in company with Cap't North, Van Shaack, & Gale each with men on board. In the evening Van Shaack & Gale got aground on Esopus meadows.
Note: by Major Henry Livingston, Third New York Continental Line  11332 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Korea On my 87th mission, I flew a reconnaissance mission deep into North Korea. My primary target was an area of troop emplacements just north of the front lines and consisted of a requirement to photograph the area with vertical camera coverage in what is known as "mosaic photography".
Note: by Norman E. Duquette, Lieutenant Colonel, USAF  9445 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I October 1, 1918 -- Firing and laying around most of the day. Moved up forward during the night and put our guns in position in a sunken road behind Epinay. Raining very hard all night and Fritz was shelling around all night. We had to keep awake all night, Haynecourt Cemetery 5:00
  9671 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War As you will notice there are portions of the letter marked with "_?_" which indicates an unreadable word or phrase.

From the time I joined the Army till after the Battle of Bridgewater which took place on the 25th day of July 1814, just before the Falls of Niagara and through which I was mysteriously preserved, when to __?__ over nothing but death was inevitable. I will begin by Comm__? narative at that funeral immediately after that battle from what is __?__ in the eastern allies, Supposed to arrive from the __?__ of the particles of fluids and the facility with which they slid over each other it is infered that they have. We proceeded up the river to Fort Erie which is directly __(across?)__ from Buffalo on the Canadian Shore and stand some 20 or 30 rods __?__ the lake which I think __?__ __?__ on the 1st of August this __?__ surrendered to our men on the 3rd of the preceding month, and contained in its enclosure about 1/4 of an acre of ground prepared for a short __?__ with a large stone building two stories high.
  9269 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I June 27, 1917 I have decided to keep a diary myself as I hear rumored today that all the letters that I spent so much time writing on the boat have gone down on the Lorraine. If it is so, I'm sure disgusted at myself for wasting so much time writing them as the people at home will never know how much I tried to write to them.
Note: by Thomas Edward Shirley  10923 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam On the night of 20 November 1970 at 2300 hours, five HH-53s and one HH-3 helicopter took off with fifty-six Special Forces Soldiers from Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base in Thailand. The aircraft would refuel over Laos and enter North Vietnamese airspace from the west. The target of the helo borne assault was the Son Tay Prisoner of War (POW) Camp located 23 miles northwest of the North Vietnamese capital of Hanoi. The flight from Udorn to Son Tay was approximately 337 miles one way.
Note: Tom Powell, “Greenleaf” Element  17263 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.

  7770 Reads  Printer-friendly page



War of 1812 York (U.C)
April 29th, 1813
My Dear Wife, It is with sincere satisfaction that I inform you of my being well after a pretty severe engagement. Our Captain has lost his leg, Lester Irvine is badly wounded and poor Hazeltine. They will I expect recover, at least I hope so. I did intend to have resigned after the engagement but now it is impossible in consequence of the wounded officers.
Note: by Ens. Thomas Warner  8449 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam 20 Oct 68
Dear everybody,
Well it's another rainy day in Vietnam. When they say its been known to rain 40 days and nights you can believe it.

Today I had to fill sandbags and build a bunker where a mortar round came in last night. No big worry. It was at least 300 yards away. That's for really!
  8354 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War After ten o'clock at night, on the 2nd of April, 1862, while in my office as adjutant-general of the Confederate army assembled at Corinth, a telegram was brought to me from General Cheatham, commanding an outpost on our left flank at Bethel, on the Mobile and Ohio railway, some twenty odd miles northward of Corinth. General Cheatham had addressed it to General Polk, his corps commander, informing him that a Federal division, under General Lew Wallace, had been manoeuvring in his proximity during the day.
Note: by Thomas Jordan  11597 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  9174 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1865: General William T. Sherman begins a march through the Carolinas.

1940: Hitler cancels an attack in the West due to bad weather and the capture of German attack plans in Belgium.

1942: Japans advance into Burma begins.

1944: The U.S. First and Third armies link up at Houffalize, effectively ending the Battle of the Bulge.

1944: Eisenhower assumes supreme command of the Allied Expeditionary Force in Europe.

1945: Adolf Hitler takes to his underground bunker, where he remains for 105 days until he commits suicide.

1952: Knowing the requirements of the Korean war firsthand, General Earle E. Partridge, former Fifth Air Force Commander, put the full resources of the USAF Air Research and Development Command into searching for ways to increase the performance of the F-86 Sabre during this period. This top-priority effort led to the improved wing design "F" model that entered service with the 51st Wing in August 1952. The aircrafts operating altitude increased to 52,000 feet and its maximum speed went to Mach 1.05. In addition, the F-86F could make tighter turns at high altitudes.

1964: President Johnson approves Oplan 34A, operations to be conducted by South Vietnamese forces supported by the United States to gather intelligence and conduct sabotage to destabilize the North Vietnamese regime.

1969: An agreement is reached in Paris for the opening of expanded peace talks. It was agreed that representatives of the United States, South Vietnam, North Vietnam, and the National Liberation Front would sit at a circular table without nameplates, flags or markings.

1990: In the wake of vicious fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces in Azerbaijan, the Soviet government sends in 11,000 troops to quell the conflict.