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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.


Civil War I, with about five hundred other prisoners of war, arrived at Elmira about the first of August, 1864, after a confinement of forty five days at Point Lookout. I spent the first day in a thorough examination of my new abode, and its advantages as a home until fortune would release me from its durance. It contained several acres of ground, enclosed by a plank fence about fourteen feet high; some three feet from the top on the outside ran a narrow footway, or parapet, of plank, supported by braces.
Note: by Sergeant G. W. D. Porter, 44th Tenn. Infantry Regiment, CSA  8573 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Iraq It was 3:00 A.M.. Although the sun’s rays had retreated hours before, its hot breath refused to dissipate from the steppes of Kuwait’s Ad Dibdibah plain. The heat attacked us from all sides. Airborne sandy powder hung above us and dimmed lights as if in a London fog.
Note: by Richard L. Klingler, MD LTC MC USAR, U.S. Army 310th MP Battalion  10189 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American U.S.S. "Oregon" San Francisco Cal. March 19th 1898 Weighed anchor at 4.45 .m. and got under way passing between Angel island and Alcatraz. Almost every whistle in the city and every ship on the bay saluted us as we headed for the Golden Gate at a 14 knot clip, even the little government tug "Gen McDowell" added her mite from the wharf at Alcatraz while the military prisoners on the "Rock" waved their hats and we could feel that they were cheering although too far off to be heard.
  10256 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  10383 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam We have been stationed about 5-6 miles off the coast of Vietnam. Our job is to repair the river patrol boats. They would tow, push, shove or sometimes just putt their way out to us for repair. We keep seeing the same patrol boats and repair them, send them back, repair them, send them back.
Note: by Raymond Bruder  10210 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War Sandy Hook, Md Oct. 4th '62 Friend George, I was just now sitting in the tent with the Major, looking at the engravings in a late number of Leslie's Illustrated and I happened to observe the likeness & name of Don Carlos Beull. I remarked that he is the first public man I ever heard of as bearing my name. Upon this he said, "That reminds me that I have a letter for you."
Note: by Don Scott, 11th NH Volunteers  8873 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II I've not much memory for accurate dates. I know I received my call up papers in early 1939 and with the assistance of Maples, where I was working at the time on MOD work, cutting out and making black out blinds by the hundred, I managed to get a years exemption.
Note: by Frederick James Pearce  9475 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II Our class went on draft leave at Christmas 1939, then to Pompey barracks, HMS Victory in Queen Street. We messed in the barracks but slept at Aggie Weston's in Commercial Rd. Aggies was two buildings separated by a side street but joined on the second or third floor by an enclosed bridge. We used to cross that bridge to our individual cabins. A petty officer and leading seaman were in charge of us.
Note: by Bert Ward  11899 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II June 6, 1944
Several planes have passed over us, C-47's Which too - Paratroop's in. As far as you can see there are L.S.Ts. & L.C. Vs. Two Planes were shot down, Unidentified. Lot of A.A. fire ahead. Everything has been quiet for past two hours Searchlights on Beach at 045.
Note: by Seaman 3rd Class George A. Wehrle, aboard the heavy cruiser USS TUSCALOOSA  9938 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II I was a medic attached to 2nd platoon, C Battery, of the 225th during my entire tour of duty in Europe. When we were in the field, there was half of C Battery (117 men) that I would visit in their positions on a daily basis. I was their primary health-care provider. I would travel on a three-quarter-ton truck that carried rations and water to each searchlight/radar section every day to make my rounds. From June 1944 to December 1945 we moved from Omaha beach in France to Neubiberg in Germany. During this entire time, I never treated someone who was wounded by the enemy. This was a good thing.
Note: by Robert J. King  10512 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I Delville Wood is a name, even now, full of sadness and the suppressed agony of thousands who had to make its acquaintance. Probably nearly as many men remained in it as came out of it whole, and no one fortunate to escape from this hell can think of it without recalling hours of suffering and the names of many good comrades now no more.
Note: by Captain S. J. Worsley  9831 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I The steamer appeared to be close to us and looked colossal. I saw the captain walking on his bridge, a small whistle in his mouth. I saw the crew cleaning the deck forward, and I saw, with surprise and a slight shudder, long rows of wooden partitions right along all decks, from which gleamed the shining black and brown backs of horses.
Note: by Adolf K.G.E. von Spiegel  9572 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.  11932 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American The first ship that went out was the flagship MARIA TERESA, followed by the VIZCAYA, COLON, OQUENDO, and finally the destroyers, all under full steam.
When, the ships went out the engines were under such high pressure that the enemy was surprised, and has subsequently expressed great admiration on that account.
Note: written for the Spanish newspaper La Corresponcia, August 22, 1898.  8345 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I I remember the first occasion when I was called upon to go over the top. It was during the Somme "do," where our battalion had already been in some nasty business near the Briqueterie and Trones Wood. I heard about the Third Company's experiences in Trones Wood during my recovery from an overdose of rum, and I was new enough a soldier to feel the strain on my heart-strings when I realized that rum stupor had saved me from participation.
Note: by Fred Ball  9628 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.