On April 14, 1861, the Stars and Stripes were lowered over Fort Sumter, SC, and the fort was surrendered to troops of the Confederate States of America. Secessionists rejoiced that “the Union is dissolved”. The news echoed like a thunderclap in the ears of loyal citizens. President Abraham Lincoln, with an iron will to “preserve the Union”, issued a proclamation on April 15 calling for 75,000 volunteers to put down the rebellion.
Thousands of Northern men left cities, farms, and towns to answer the call. The first to arrive in the defenses of Washington, D.C. on April 18 were five companies of militia troops from Pennsylvania. Schuylkill County sent the National Light Artillery and the Washington Artillery. The Logan Guards came from Mifflin County, the Allen Infantry from Lehigh County, and the Ringgold Light Artillery from Berks County. Thereafter and forevermore, these volunteers proudly claimed the title of the “First Defenders”.
Our Round Table chose to honor the memory of these patriots by calling ourselves the First Defenders Civil War Round Table of Berks County. Organized in Kutztown, Pennsylvania,on April 15, 1997, we now claim members from Berks County and several surrounding counties.
We welcome new members and are always looking for interested speakers.
THE UNION FOREVER!
MONEY DONATED FOR BATTLEFIELD PRESERVATION TO DATE: $24,740.00
17th Campaign to date: $1350