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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 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 Looking off into the distance you see the enemy’s regimental and national flags fluttering in the breeze. Suddenly sheets of flame surrounded by white puffs of smoke erupt from cannon tubes.
  6750 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I Dear Sir:
As I have a little time I thought I would write you a few lines to let the people at home know how I am getting along. I have been over in this country about five months and like it fine. We get plenty to eat these days but have hard time to eat it. Just think, I only weighed one hundred and forty-five pounds when I landed over here, and I was weighed the other day and weighed one hundred and seventy-two pounds.
Note: By August Weinhuff, U. S. S. Emetine, Oct. 13, 1918.  6232 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   7563 Reads  Printer-friendly page



War of 1812

May the 27th 1813
Fort Stephens Lore Sandusky
Affectionate Companion I received your letter this morning of the 23rd instent Which gave me a grate deal of satisfaction to hear that you are well and that Wilson is a good boy. It gives me a great deal of satisfaction to hear that the corn is planted and that you expect it will be tended for I did not look for that to be done

Note: by John Hollyday  9027 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam It has been 36 years since the tet offensive of 1968 broke out. However each year since then I remember my first time under fire, and what a mess I made of it. I arrived in country in September 1967, I was an 11B primary MOS. In Cam Ranh Bay I received orders for a military intelligence unit.
Note: by Robert Ryan, 525th Military Intelligence Group  14406 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam I was drafted 3 weeks after graduating from high school and went in the Army in September of 1966. After basic training at Fort Campbell and AIT at Fort Polk, I was sent to Vietnam in March of 1967 with an 11B10 light weapons infantry MOS. My first three weeks in-country were spent in a security platoon on the Bien Hoa air base perimeter.
Note: by Andrew R. Ansenberger, 368th Transportation Company   12080 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Coast Guard Hurricanes get names and hype, but for old-fashioned natural violence it's hard to beat a classic First District northeaster-like the one that raked New England on Halloween week, mauling Coast Guard assets and writing new chapters in the history of search and rescue.
Note: by Rick Booth  11503 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War March 10, 1863 Newport News, Va Father, I was glad to hear from you. I am well. I hope these few lines will find you the same. I want you to write and let me know when you send me the box. Uncle Sylvester is with [us] now. His health is very good now.
Note: letters by Sidney Spaulding, 9th New Hampshire Regiment.  6250 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam Of all those who made up our platoon, Michael Robert Shapard, or "Shap" as he was called, was to become my closest friend. From the time I had joined the unit at Ft. Hood, it was Shap I had been instantly drawn to, likely because it was he who had made me feel truly welcome at the time of my awkward infusion into the Platoon. Having under gone training with my new unit's sister battalion the 2nd Battalion (Mechanized), 50th Infantry, I wouldn't report into the 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 50th Infantry until after the standard 2 week deployment leave.
Note: by William Moore, B Company, 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 50th Infantry  9037 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  14153 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I I really believe that I am after all a coward for I don't like patrolling...The battalion who alternates with us here have lost three officers (or rather two officers and an NCO) on this business in front of my trenches. Let me try to picture what it is like. I am asked to take out an 'officer's patrol' of seven men; duties - get out to the position of the German listening post (we know it), wait for their patrol and 'scupper' it; also discover what work is being done in their trenches.
Note: by Second Lieutenant H E Cooper, Royal Warwickshire Regiment   9357 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Revolutionary War Teaogo, Sept. 30, 1779. Sir: -- In mine of the 30th ultimo to His Excellency George Washington, and by him transmitted to Congress, I gave an account of the victory obtained by this army over the enemy at Newtown, on the 29th August. I now do myself the honor to inform Congress of the progress of this army, and the most material occurrences which have since taken place.
Note: by Gen. John Sullivan  7130 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Korea The following is a summation of my recollections of the Korean War while stationed at Kimpo Air Force Base. I was assigned as a radio man to the 45th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron a photo reconnaissance squadron. The squadron flew the World War II P-51's which were actually designated RF-51 (Reconnaissance Fighter) but we always referred to them as P-51's or Mustangs.
Note: by Herbert A (Art) Rideout, Kimpo AFB, Korea 1952, 45th TRS 67th TRW.  9628 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War Sept. 25, 1862, Antietam, MD Dear Brother, I received your letter yesterday and was glad to hear that you are all well. I like here full as well as I expected. We are now encamped on the banks of the Potomac River about six miles above Harper's Ferry.
Note: letters from Sylvester Spaulding.  6603 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.