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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.

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War of 1812

United States Brig Enterprise

Portland,

September 1813

Sir, In consequence of the unfortunate death of Lieutenant Commandant William Burrows, late commander of this vessel, it devolves on me to acquaint you with the result of our cruize, after sailing from Portsmouth on the 1st instant.

Note: by Edward R. McCall, Senior Officer  12667 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Navy Sometime in the spring of 1969, a U.S. plane was shot down by North Korea. We responded by sending an amazing armada of Naval vessels to "show them our shit." I remember waking at sunrise and going out on deck after having joined up with the task force sometime during the night. We were totally surrounded by ships of all shapes and sizes: cruisers, carriers, destroyers, tankers, supply ships, and the battleship New Jersey. I was on a destroyer and felt dwarfed by the firepower around us.
Note: by John Paul Rossie  9693 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II I had just had breakfast and was looking out a porthole in sick bay when someone said, "What the hell are all those planes doing up there on a Sunday? " Someone else said, "It must be those crazy Marines. They'd be the only ones out maneuvering on a Sunday." When I looked up in the sky I saw five or six planes starting their descent. Then when the first bombs dropped on the hangers at Ford Island, I thought, "Those guys are missing us by a mile." Inasmuch as practice bombing was a daily occurrence to us, it was not too unusual for planes to drop bombs, but the time and place were quite out of line.
Note: by Pharmacist's Mate Second Class Lee Soucy, USS UTAH  18700 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam Little did I know that within an hour I would be beginning the second half of my WestPac cruise, albeit in a new squadron. My name is Bill Angus and I was a B/N with VMA (aw) 224 embarked aboard the Coral Sea.
Note: By Captain Bill Angus (retired) VMA (AW) 242 Carrier Air Wing 15 USS Coral SeaCVA 43   10378 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  17146 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam Now, the way I recall it seems to be quite a bit different than the “official” version as reported in the “After Action Reports” on record for the early morning of 30 January 1968. Myself being a trooper of E Co.-Recon, 1st Bn./501st Inf., 2nd Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division and being a participant in the defense of LZ Jane against the assault upon it in those early morning hours that turned out to be the onset of the 1968 TET Offensive, that is, as perpetrated 1 day early in error by a number of communist forces in I Corps.
Note: by Michael Bradshaw, E Co.-Recon, 1stBn. /501stInf., 101stAbn. Div.
  14769 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam This guy was ROTC and technically he was green to RVN but not green to combat. He had been in Israel working with the IDF when the June '67 war broke out.
Note: by Craig E. Thompson   8418 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War Jefferson City Aug 1861 Dear Folks at Home I take this opportunity of writing you a few lines to let you know that I am well at present and hope these few lines will find you all enjoying god Health
Note: by William Hirst Gift  8474 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   16172 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American [Letterhead: New York and Cuba Mail Steamship Company]

On Board: S.S. City of Washington

[Havana], February 16, 1898

Dearest,

I sent you two cablegrams last night telling you of my safety, and before they both reached you before the morning papers, and that you were spared the agony of suspense and uncertainty.
Note: written the day after the USS MAINE was lost  10293 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II On 15 December 1941 I was detached from the U.S. Naval School of Aviation Medicine, Pensacola, Florida, destined to eventually join the crew of USS Yorktown. After a short cruise in USS Hornet and her plane guard USS Noa (DD-343) in the Atlantic, I drove across country by auto to San Diego and served briefly in Aircraft Scouting Force Pacific, Transition Training Squadron.
Note: by LT Joseph P. Pollard, MC, USN, Medical Officer on board USS Yorktown (CV-5)  10624 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Navy It was a normal day. I reported to work, started logging into the computer, checking e-mails, taking phone calls, talking with the office about what was going on. Then someone heard about the happenings at the World Trade Center - the first plane. We were able to watch the live video and started hearing the reports. Then we saw the footage of the second aircraft coming into the second tower.
Note: by Lieutenant Commander David Tarantino, MC, USN  14797 Reads  Printer-friendly page



War of 1812 US Ship United States, at Sea, 30 October 1812 I have the honour to inform you, that on the 25th instant, being in the latitude 29, N. longitude 29 30, W. we fell in with, and, after an action of an hour and a half, captured his Britannic Majesty's ship MACEDONIAN, commanded by captain John Carden, and mounting 49 carriage guns (the odd gun shifting.) She is a frigate of the largest class, two years old, four months out of dock, and reputed one of the best sailors in the British service.
Note: by Captain Stephen Decatur, USN  11366 Reads  Printer-friendly page



POW If I had known what was in store for me on the day I was captured, and the 802 days that followed, I would have continued to fight, even though there was no chance of survival. The damaged weapons carrier slid to a halt, and we piled up against the cab. The noise was deafening and we could have been yelling at each other but I don't remember hearing anything but the noise of the mortar rounds.
Note: by SFC George Matta, Sr.  10241 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam I remember pulling guard duty at Cu Chi Base Camp, RVN in the Support Command area. It just so happened that there was a Vietnamese cemetery located in the Support Command area at Cu Chi.
Note: by Don Patrick  12135 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.