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Firsthand accounts

  • Civil War Times Magazine

    CWT Book Review: Diary of a Union Lady

    Diary of a Union Lady, 1861-1865 by Maria Lydig Daly Internal discord, debate and bitter disagreement afflict all nations at war. The latitude given to dissenting opinions tells us a great deal about that nation’s commitment to...

  • Civil War Times Magazine

    A Rare View of Antietam’s Opening Hours

    Reconstructing a coherent narrative from the chaos of combat can be a daunting task. It is all the more problematic for a battle such as Antietam, which was fought over ground lacking in the permanent and dramatic terrain features found at...

  • World War II Magazine

    The Day I Should Have Died

    Stuck in a B-29 with a runaway propeller 600 miles from the nearest airfield, disaster loomed. On May 3, 1945, I was the radio operator on a Boeing B-29 “Super- fortress” of the 43rd Bomb Squadron, 29th Bomb Group, flying out of Guam....

  • World War II Magazine

    Eight Days

    For those at home, war occasionally made for short marriages and long memories. Sometimes when I look at the old black-and-white photo from my wedding in June 1943, it’s as though the people in it are strangers. Was the young woman in...

  • World War II Magazine

    March of the Unknown Generals

    Two men with stars braved sniper fire on Guadalcanal, inspiring a couple of frightened young Marines. Occasionally during combat an incident occurs that one can recall with absolute clarity even decades later. For this Marine, that...

  • World War II Magazine

    ‘I’m Alive and Well, Thank You’

    The previously anonymous Marine in an iconic Iwo Jima photo shares his story of the battle for the first time. I first saw the photo (right) when I was in a hospital in Guam in 1945 after being wounded following the initial landing on Iwo...

  • World War II Magazine

    An Unlikely Samaritan Saves the Day

    ‘My loaded pistol was in an enemy’s hands. And that was the good news’. Disaster almost always comes at you without warning. There is no time for preparation; you can’t brace yourself, or dodge. It just clobbers you when, where and...

  • World War II Magazine

    “Well Mother—Your Son’s a Survivor”

    A letter written by an unknown hand recounts a terrifying U-boat attack. Little is known about the writer of the following letter. There was no signature, and the original copy ended up in the hands of someone with no connection to the...

  • World War II Magazine

    ‘We Shall Fight On the Beaches…’

    My fascination with military fortifications began when I was a child, watching soldiers training for D-Day on the Scottish coast. I am just old enough to remember a time when the military concrete that still can be seen along the coasts of...

  • World War II Magazine

    A Young Marine at Tulagi

    A young marine comes of age on 31/2 square miles of island jungle in the Pacific. I know where I was a month ago, a year ago, or a decade ago, but I do know precisely where I was sixty-five years ago last August 8. On that date I was one...

  • World War II Magazine

    A Combat Nurse’s Exhausting Sorrows, Unexpected Joys

    Army nurse June Wandrey stood five feet two inches tall with, in her words, “finely honed muscles that were dynamite ready.” That forceful spirit was evident in her wartime letters as well; Wandrey did not mince phrases when it came to...

  • World War II Magazine

    A Soldier’s Death Far from the Field of Battle

    Thousands of American soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines lost their lives in World War II during training exercises, their sacrifices often over looked. On August 28, 1944, a woman in Quincy, Washington, Mrs. W. C. Grigg, witnessed one...

  • MHQ Magazine

    Blood and Butchery in the Crimea

    Long months spent in the trenches during the siege of Sevastopol convinced a French lieutenant of war’s futility. Charles Duban was born in Dijon, France, in January 1827. His father was a Napoleonic war veteran who had left the army an...

  • MHQ Magazine

    “Nobody Knew Who Was in Charge”

    A veteran of the Napoleonic wars reflects on his experiences at Quatre Bras, where the bravery of individual French soldiers won the day, and at Waterloo, where it did not. Napoleonic War veteran Jean-Baptiste Jolyet had served with the...

  • MHQ Magazine

    Confederate Cavalryman in the Wilderness

    Unaware of the titanic clashes around him, this Civil War soldier followed orders but saw great opportunities to do much more. Lieutenant Robert Thruston Hubard Jr. was born into a successful family and grew up on a thriving Virginia...

  • Vietnam Magazine

    Vietnam Book Review: Last Night I Dreamed of Peace

    Last Night I Dreamed of Peace: The Diary of Dang Thuy Tram translated by Andrew X. Pham. Harmony Books, New York, 2007, softcover 19.95. Dang Thuy Tram’s chronicle, in its sensationalized English version, is perhaps the only...