Programs & Events


The First Defenders meet at 6:30 PM on the second Tuesday of each month from September through May. Meetings include dinner and a speaker who may be a guest or a member. Meetings are currently held at The Inn at Reading. A book raffle is held each month with all proceeds donated to battlefield preservation, and we visit many historical sites on our bi-annual field trips. Guests and new members are welcome. Space is limited in the restaurant, so please contact a board member or the First Defenders by email (see the CONTACTS page).

MEMBERS ONLY! Sign up to attend the upcoming event!

** REMEMBER, these events are for members and their guests only. If you are interested in becoming a member, please contact Dave Sweigert, the Membership Officer, on the Contact page.

Click here to download Membership form

 
  • September
    2015
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    2015
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    2015
  • December
    2015
  • January
    2016
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    2016
  • March
    2016
  • April
    2016
  • May
    2016
  • June 2015
    New York Trip Photos

     




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CIVIL WAR BATTLE FLAGS STILL HERE AFTER ALL THESE YEARS

They were a source of pride to the men who followed them, pointed them where to go when the sounds of battle drowned out orders from officers, a focus of attention for advancing enemy troops and very often resulted in the death of the brave men who carried them forward.  These are the battle flags of the more than 200 Pennsylvania regiments who marched off to war between 1861 and 1865. 

A frequent centerpiece of post-war parades and reunions, the standards were (and are!) actually quite fragile, and some have virtually disintegrated in part due to the storm thay passed through in war and in part over the ensuing years where time and environment took their toll.  However, thanks to conservation efforts by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, many of these 150-year old flags (and the staffs that flew them) have been saved for today's generation to see and experience. 

Preservation Specialist Jason Wilson explained to the First Defenders how the flags came to exist, how they were used during and after the war and the efforts that have been taken to preserve them.  Working from an ancient building in downtown Harrisburg, WIlson and his colleagues have provided the modern history student with another avenue to study and understand the Civil War, its participants and why they fought.
 
THE LAST ATTACK AT GETTYSBURG

To the casual observer, the Battle of Gettysburg ended when Pickett's men were expelled from the Angle on Cemetery Ridge and forced back to their lines.  Students of the battle know, however, there was one more fight yet to come, and First Defender Gary Hertzog explained the action, the leaders and the ill-fated general who led "Farnsworth's Charge."

In his first presentation to the Round Table, Gary set the stage for the battle on the southern end of the battlefield in front of Big Round Top which pitted Federal cavalry against Confederate infantry and artillery posted on rocky, uneven ground.  Brigadier General Elon Farnsworth, wearing his star for only three days, considered the charge a bad idea, but made it when his division commander, Judson "Kill Cavalry" Kilpatrick refused to back down from his order.  In obeying, Farnsworth (and quite a few of his troopers) sacrificed their lives for no advantage to the Army of the Potomac.

Gary has been a student of the Gettysburg battle for most of his life, and has successfully completed the first step toward becoming a Licensed Battlefield Guide.  Based on the response to his presentation from the First Defenders, he is well on his way to leading one of his first tours for the Round Table!
Join us for our monthly meeting!
 

Date: Tuesday, February 9, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM
Location: The Inn at Reading, 1040 Park Road, Wyomissing, PA 19610

Member: Sherri Stull

Topic: Women Soldiers in The Civil War

The story of the woman soldier has been a long, neglected chapter in our nation's Civil War history.  Even today, when thinking back to women of that time period, most individuals envision the woman left behind to tend her husband's farm or business, a laundress following the army, a nurse serving in a hospital, or maybe even the spy gathering intelligence.  Few people think of the fairer sex of the Victorian era as a combatant.  Together, we will explore military history as it relates to these brave women, discover who these women were, where they came from, why they chose to fight, how they were able to pass themselves off as men, and what happened to some when their identity was revealed.  We'll also examine some known, documented cases of women in Civil War combat.   
 



 

Click on the sign up button above if you plan on attending the upcoming event. We need to know who is coming to be able to accommodate everyone. Thanks!

Join us for our monthly meeting!
 

Date: Tuesday, March 8, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM
Location: The Inn at Reading, 1040 Park Road, Wyomissing, PA 19610

Author & Historian: Chris Mackowski - Second Presentation

Topic: Grant's Last Battle

    
 PLEASE REMEMBER TO SUPPORT YOUR SPEAKER!!!!

 Click on the sign up button above if you plan on attending the upcoming event. We need to know who is coming to be able to accommodate everyone. Thanks!

Join us for our monthly meeting!

Date: Tuesday, April 12, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM

Location: The Inn at Reading, 1040 Park Road, Wyomissing, PA 19610


Historian Emeritus: The One and Only: Edwin C. Bearss -This will be Ed's 7th Program.

Topic; Vicksburg


 
 
 
Ed Bearss 8 April 2014 talking about Cold Harbor. Ed was in rare form as usual, he was great.


 


 
Edwin C. Bearss: A FRIEND TO THE 1st DEFENDERS

Click on the sign up button above if you plan on attending the upcoming event. We need to know who is coming to be able to accommodate everyone. Thanks!

Join us for our monthly meeting!


Date: Tuesday, May 10, 2016
Time: 6:30PM
Location: The Inn at Reading, 1040 Park Road, Wyomissing, PA 19610

Historian: Don Scott

Historian and Author Don Scott


Topic: Camp William Penn



PLEASE REMEMBER TO SUPPORT YOUR SPEAKER!!!!

Click on the sign up button above if you plan on attending the upcoming event. We need to know who is coming to be able to accommodate everyone. Thanks!