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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.


War of 1812 United States' Frigate Constitution, off Boston Light, 30 August 1812.
I have the honour to inform you, that on the 19th instant, at 2 PM being in latitude 41, 42, longitude 55, 48, with the CONSTITUTION under my command, a sail was discovered from the mast-head bearing E. by S. or E.S.E. but at such a distance we could not tell what she was. All sail was instantly made in chase, and soon found we came up with her.
Note: by Captain Isaac Hull, USN  8704 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II 21 April 1941
Today the sun is shining and Jerry Bombers have left us alone for a couple of hours. So will try and give a little more detail of events since we went into action. We evacuated our original position, overlooking Salonika. on the 9th. Hated leaving, but there was definitely the fear of being surrounded. So E troop remained behind to harrass and fight a rear-guard action.
Note: by Alan Jackson, 5th Field Regiment  6282 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Korea I spent only a short time in Korea but my Korean service stands as an important part of my life. I well remember there were times near sunrise when my crew on the west coast and another crew from the 17th Bb Gp on the east coast were the northernmost Americans and stood symbolically alone between Communism and Democracy.
Note: by Charles Hinton  8867 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam The night is so dark you can hold your hand in front of your eyes and can't see it. We have relaxed somewhat. Templeton is fast asleep. I learn later that he can sleep standing up. It was years later that I realized that was his way of escape from all around him.
  7476 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  15123 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II 8/9/44 Mission #1 Flew our 1st mission today, 34 to go. They woke us at 1:50 am. Briefing time 3:00 am. So we knew it was pretty sure to be a long one. Had pineapple juice, fresh egg, hotcakes, sausage, cold cereal, coffee. Target Schmitt ball bearing works, Nurnberg.
Note: by First Lieutenant Andrew K. Norman  7519 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam My experiences are those from the perspective of a gunship pilot. I flew Cobras with the 235th Aerial Weapons Company (the Delta Devils) out of Can Tho in '68 and '69. The 235th was an all-Cobra company and we gunship drivers were used as hired guns for anyone in the Delta who wanted helicopter gunships to come and shoot up stuff. We nearly always were dispatched as a single light fire team (two Cobras).
Note: by Ira Will McComic  7977 Reads  Printer-friendly page



POW Of course it had to come, Hitler had been seizing all the smaller states and threatening others. So when he marched on Poland it was the last straw, for Britain had warned him that we would not stand idly by, but would go to the aid of Poland. It was the 3rd September 1939, and I was digging air-raid shelters when I heard that we were at war with Germany; and it was only the day before, that I had received my calling up papers, so it looked as though I would be in for some excitement.
Note: by Private W.C. LAW, ( 5186223 ), 2 Gloucester Regt.  10137 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I It was Thursday evening, April 22nd, 1915. In a meadow off the Poperinghe-Ypres road, the men of the Queen Victoria Rifles were taking their ease. We had just fought our first big action in the fight for Hill 60. We had had a gruelling time, and had left many of our comrades on its slopes. We survivors were utterly spent and weary; but we felt in good heart, for only an hour ago we had been personally congratulated by Sir John French, also the Army Commander, General Smith-Dorrien.
Note: by Anthony R. Hossack, Queen Victoria Rifles  7346 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam From an altitude of thirty thousand feet, it's hard to determine where the blue of the Pacific meets the blue of the sky. Consequently, my sense of direction had diminished greatly since leaving the military base at Oakland, more than twenty hours earlier. Not that I really cared which direction I was traveling, I knew the destination well enough, but the disorientation only added to the sick feeling in my gut.
Note: by James F. McColloch, 9th Infantry Division  9956 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Airforce As I sometimes did, when the information for the next day's mission was slow in coming in, I would not call my driver but just get in my car and drive myself around the perimeter track, stopping now and then to talk to the men working on the planes. Of course, everything was blacked out. To drive we used a mere slit of light from the car's headlights to see the road.
Note: by Joseph A. Moller, Commanding Officer, 390th Bomb Group  7695 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  6073 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War Headquarters, 1st Brig., 3d Div. 6th Ar.
Near Gaines Mills
June 4, 1864
Dear Ha: I have just received a letter from you and as a mail will leave in an hour or two, I hasten to answer. We are behind entrenchments, holding a position which we have just taken from the enemy. Bullets, as I write, are flying in all directions, and wounded and dead men pass me continually.
Note: Letter from Chas. Leonard to his father in the trenches, Virginia countryside near Richmond, Va.  7645 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.  6419 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Korea On the 14 November 1952, the Commonwealth Div's sector was moved sideways to the west, one battalion position. The 1st Bn, The Black Watch relieved the 7th US Marines on the infamous Hook feature. The Marine Commanding Officer who was totally disillusioned with the position's vulnerability gave the Scots 24 hours before being pushed off. Four nights later at 2100hrs 18 November, the Chinese struck. The Black Watch held with the assistance of the New Zealand gunners.
Note: by Bruce Matthews, 16th Field Regiment  9897 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1865: Confederate General Joseph Johnston officially surrenders his army to General William T. Sherman at Durham Station, North Carolina.

1865: John Wilkes Booth is killed when Union soldiers track him down to a Virginia farm 12 days after he assassinated President Abraham Lincoln.

1865: Joseph E. Johnston surrenders the Army of Tennessee to Sherman.

1937: The ancient Basque town of Guernica in northern Spain is bombed by German planes.

1952: Armistice negotiations are resumed.

1971: The U.S. command in Saigon announces that the U.S. force level in Vietnam is 281,400 men, the lowest since July 1966.

1972: President Nixon, despite the ongoing communist offensive, announces that another 20,000 U.S. troops will be withdrawn from Vietnam in May and June, reducing authorized troop strength to 49,000.