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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 The Short Range Ambush Platoon was organized as a small force whose primary mission was night ambush. SRAP was capable of operating independently without the support of any other elements. I can't speak for the entire platoon, but during my time, to my knowledge SRAP was Ranger led, and ably so. The first group was selected by SFC Jay Holloway from the battalion on an individual basis.
Note: by John Smerdon, 1/50 Infantry  7854 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.
  7089 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam In May of 1967, and as a young Marine PFC aboard the USS Okinawa (LPH-3), attached to the 1st Bn. 3rd Marines, RLT 26, I was already years older than my chronological number of 19. Our Battalion had been using this ship as a Combat Assault Base since we left Khe Shan in late February.
Note: As remembered by PFC Joseph C. Connelly, Alpha Co., Ist Bn 3rd Marines.  6840 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!
  6359 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Revolutionary War Friday evening, Jan. 19th., I was appointed to command the Reg. then ordered to be raised to march to Canada.

20th. and 21st. went to Cambridge to procure stores.

22nd. Received my Commission from the Council and set out about 8 o’c in the evening, came to Weston at Baldwins.
  9145 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War The battle of Bull Run or Manassas was the first, and in many respects the most remarkable, battle of our Civil War. It was a series of surprises—the unexpected happening at almost every moment of its progress. Planned by the Union chieftain with consummate skill, executed for the most part with unquestioned ability, and fought by the Union troops for a time with magnificent courage, it ended at last in their disastrous rout and the official decapitation of their able commander.
Note: by General John B. Gordon  6766 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II One reason people born after World War II find it difficult to understand why the final days of the war were so destructive is that they do not realize how angry we Allied soldiers had become - and to some extent still are. Once our forces crossed the Rhine, it was clear that Germany was doomed. But Hitler, in his madness, vowed to fight on. Generals and admirals, whatever they thought, supported him. Soldiers and sailors continued to fight in the misguided belief that they were defending their fatherland.
Note: by John C. Ausland, 29th Field Artillery  8041 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Coast Guard The Coast Guard manned and operated about seventy of these rather unusual ships during World War II in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans - they were unusual in that they had two firerooms generating steam for two large triple-expansion steam engines with all machinery, such a force-draft blowers, anchor engines and steering engines, all of them being single cylinder steam engines - the only variation was the two turbine-driven generators furnishing electric power for ships utilities!! The ships were twin screw with twin rudders making them extremely easy to handle provided you allowed for the high bow, the low stern and the vagaries of the wind.
Note: by Vice Admiral Thomas R. Sargent, III, USCG  17780 Reads  Printer-friendly page



POW I shall never forget the morning of March 28th, 1918, when I watched our trenches and the familiar landmarks disappear under the intense bombardment of hundreds of minenwerfers - those earthquakes in miniature. I watched and waited in a state of mental numbness or apathy, and at last the bit reserved for me hit me in the head. When I took a further interest in matters I was a prisoner.
Note: by Rifleman Victor Denham, London Rifle Brigade  12935 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II The first reaction to the new base at Folkingham was “It's immense”! On this base we had three concrete runways, each 6,000 feet, ample taxiways, a revetment for parking each aircraft, and four hangers. There were innumerable Nissen huts to house us, an Officers Club, an EM Club in the making, a consolidated officers' mess, and a consolidated enlisted men's, mess. We were the first tenants, and parts were still under construction.
Note: by Col. Joseph Harkiewicz  25196 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II 27.4.41 A fast trip with a couple of alarms brought us to Suda Bay, Crete. Arrived about noon and had a 3 mile walk to a rest camp. Did not enjoy it. 30.4.41 Today we received permission to send a cable advising "All well". I hope it reaches its destination in double quick time. Many times during the last few weeks we have realised how much the people in N.Z. must have been worrying, particularly on Anzac Day.
Note: by Alan Jackson, 5th Field Regiment  5973 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  6585 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Korea It was July 1951. I was training with the division in Japan on the island of Honshu. The next part of our training was to be a mock invasion on Yokohama Beach. This landing would be exactly like a real invasion. All our vehicles were equipped for land service, but when the orders came down, they were to be retrofitted with snorkels, which would allow them to operate in shallow water such as beaches.
Note: by Bill Arnold, 143d FA 40th ID  8078 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American SIR: I have the honor to make the following report of the part taken by this ship in the action of yesterday during and following the sortie of Admiral Cervera’s squadron. The ship had started at 8.50 for the army landing at Siboney, the commander in chief having an appointment with the general commanding the army.
Note: account written July 4, 1898.  6083 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I In November 1915 I was one of those accepted by Colonel Lord Feversham to be enlisted in the Yeoman Rifles being formed at Helmsley Park. In January 1916 the battalion was transferred to Aldershot, where we became fit for our great adventure. Runners were asked for, and I volunteered for the job.
Note: by Corporal Robert William Iley, 41st Battalion Machine Gun Corps   6467 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1815: USS Constitution, under Captain Charles Stewart, captures HMS Cyane and sloop-of-war Levant.

1861: The Confederacy Department of Navy is formed.

1864: In the largest battle fought in Florida during the Civil War, a Confederate force under General Joseph Finegan decisively defeats an army commanded by General Truman Seymour. The victory kept the Confederates in control of Florida's interior for the rest of the war.

1865: Following the evacuation of Fort Anderson, Rear Admiral Porter's gunboats steamed seven miles up the Cape Fear River to the Big Island shallows and the piling obstructions and engaged Fort Strong's five guns.

1941: The U.S. sent war planes to the Pacific. General George C. Kenney pioneered aerial warfare strategy and tactics in the Pacific theater.

1942: Franklin D. Roosevelt authorized the internment of Japanese Americans on the West Coast.

1942: Japanese drive off a carrier based task force led by the American aircraft carrier Lexington which attempts to attack Rabaul.

1943: British and American units hold the German attack on Sbiba.

1944: American carrier aircraft from Task Group 58.1 (Admiral Reeves) attack Japanese targets in Jaluit Atoll. The fighting on Eniwetok continues. The nearby island of Parry is shelled by US naval forces.

1944: A ferry carrying a stock of heavy water on the first stage of a journey from the Ryukan hydroelectric plant to laboratories in Germany is sunk and her cargo lost in attack by Norwegian resistance fighters.