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Welcome to the Patriot Files


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.


World War I In the early hours of the morning of March 22nd, 1918, our own front-line troops retired through us. At the time we were occupying a shallow trench forming the support line before Marcoing, in the Cambrai salient, and a little later we also withdrew. Our first halt was on the slope of a hill. We could not see the attackers, but their artillery plastered the hillside with shrapnel, and we were not sorry to get orders to move again.
Note: by Private R. G. Bultitude, 1st Battalion Artists Rifles   9220 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  14555 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War Fitchburg, Sept. 17, 1919. The first experience of a soldier is camp life. O! the sweet memories of departed days, how they rise up before us; the ups and downs, the drills, the dress parades, skirmish, rally by fours, guard against infantry, guard against cavalry, the barracks, the bunks, the rations-how they stare us in the face as we look back to the first few days we were in camp in the town of Groton, near the Peterboro and Shirley Railroad, at a place called Camp Stevens.
Note: by Joel A. Stratton, Captain of Company C, Fifty-third Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers, 1862-1863.  11453 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I 4th. - 6th. Nov. Very busy time. Had splendid row with C.O. in which he got it rather hotly from me, for all that he could say at the end was that I was not to teach him his business. If he had had any gumption he would have sent me back to my company.
Note: by Robert Lindsay Mackay, 11th Battalion of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.  9781 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American During the year preceding the outbreak of the Spanish War I was Assistant Secretary of the Navy. While my party was in opposition, I had preached, with all the fervor and zeal I possessed, our duty to intervene in Cuba, and to take this opportunity of driving the Spaniard from the Western World.
Note: by Lt. Colonel Theodore Roosevelt, 1st Volunteer Cavalry  20612 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I Enlisted in regular army April 24th 1917. Left Jackson barricks for Brownsville Texas in the same month, arrive at Gettysburg the latter part of June, and was from 4th transferred to 59th Infantry when it was organized in July. I was Mess Sgt, made Sept. 24 1917 arrived in Charlotte N.C. in Nov 8th 1917. And was transferred to 12 M. G. Bn in Nov 1917.
Note: Diary of Henry J. Tudury, Sgt. CO B. 59 INF 4 Div, DSC-PH.
  8885 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Coast Guard During May 1942, I was a lieutenant assigned as Executive and Engineer Officer of the USS PC-469 at the George Lawley Shipyard in Neponset, Massachusetts. Three other officers were assigned - Lieutenant Commander Richard Morell as the Commanding Officer with Lieutenant (junior grade) Kenneth Potts and Ensign Richard Young as watch officers. Upon arrival, I became very familiar with the PC design since the ship was in the throes of final outfitting and on the building ways - the keel having been laid on 22 October 1941.
Note: by Vice Admiral Thomas R. Sargent, III, USCG   22448 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War I was sleeping in a large barn a short distance from camp, when I was awakened by the bugle sounding "Boots and Saddles". I aroused the other boys with me, hastened to camp, & fell into line, where we learned that the rebels were advancing in force, and that our pickets had been driven in.
Note: by George Jenvy, 2nd Virginia Cavalry, in a letter to his father.  6702 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam At Det 1, we were flying missions that melted into each other and in retrospect, in another theater, would have been considered "medal" material on nearly a daily basis. We on the other hand, only knew we were doing a job to the best of our ability, under often hazardous conditions, with the ultimate goal of always being there and getting our "Brother Warriors" out of trouble safely so they could go home to their loved ones.
Note: by Michael W. Dobson  9780 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II With a friend of mine, a Post Office messenger like myself, I had gone to the Royal Navy Recruiting Office when I was 16 year old to volunteer for the Navy. They took our names then and apologized for the fact that they were not allowed to take us as Boy Seamen at 16 years and that we would have to wait until we were called up at 18 years. They did tell us however if we volunteered just before 18 years the Navy would take us then.
Note: by Eric Mason, Signalman, AS Trawlers HMS Buster and HMS Bay  13419 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II 1/3/43 German radio reported attack on Casablanca the night after we left the area. The supply convoy of 35 ships was probably packed like sardines in the harbor. No dope on damage. Could have been murderous. Apparently we picked the right time to get out of there. Excitement galore today.
  7937 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I July 20, 1918
My own beloved wife
I do not know how to start this letter. The circumstances are different from any under which I ever wrote before. I am not to post it but will leave it in my pocket, if anything happens to me someone will perhaps post it.
Note: by Company Sergeant-Major James Milne.  7847 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Korea Dear Mom: Well, I suppose you wonder where I am, and where I have been. I will start at the beginning. We left for Korea the 1st of July. We were the first regiment to hit there and fight. The North Koreans had about ten divisions to our one regiment. About all we could do was hit them and back up and they would get us surrounded all the time.
Note: letter from PFC Donald Luedtke, U.S. Army 24th Division.  8558 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Gulf War POST-WAR Support of the 3rd Armor Division
7 March 1991
Today we moved again, transferred to the control of the 3rd Armored Division. The 26 mile trip back to the Iraqi/Kuwait border took less than three hours. We put our tents up in record time.
Note: by Brian Ginn  13107 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II Berlin, or Big "B", as we called it, was a target that no one wanted to go to and a target that everyone wanted to go to. It seemed that everyone wanted to participate in a raid on Berlin because bombing big "B" was really striking at the heart of Nazi power and it was, in a way, retribution for the bombing of London, Rotterdam and other major cities.
Note: by A. Willard Reese, 1st Lt, 751st Sqdn, 457th Bmb Grp, 8th AF  10281 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1565: Pedro Menendez of Spain wipes out the French at Fort Caroline, in Florida.

1604: After a two-year siege, the Spanish retake Ostend, the Netherlands, from the Dutch.

1853: The Allies defeat the Russians at the battle of Alma on the Crimean Peninsula.

1863: In one of the bloodiest battles of the war, the Confederate Army of Tennessee drives the Union Army of the Cumberland back into Chattanooga, Tennessee, from Chickamauga Creek in northern Georgia.

1917: British advance east of Ypres and take Inverness Copse, Glencorse Wood, Veldhoek, and part of Polygon Wood amassing 2,000 prisoners.

1943: British submarines attempt to sink the German battleship Tirpitz as it sits in Norwegian waters, as Operation Source gets underway.

1965: Seven U.S. planes are downed in one day over Vietnam.

1968: U.S. military spokesmen defend the use of defoliants in Vietnam at a news conference in Saigon, claiming that the use of the agents in selected areas of South Vietnam had neither appreciably altered the countrys ecology, nor produced any harmful effects on human or animal life.

1972: The USAF reveals that U.S. planes have been mining the coastal rivers and canals of northern Quang Tri province below the DMZ, the first mining of waterways within South Vietnam.

480: Themistocles and his Greek fleet win one of historys first decisive naval victories over Xerxes Persian force off Salamis.