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. 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 Chairman, on the Contact page.

Click hear to download a membership application!

 
  • September
    2016
  • October
    2016
  • November
    2016
  • December
    2016
  • January
    2017
  • February
    2017
  • March
    2017
  • April
    2017
  • May
    2017

Join us for our monthly meeting!

Date: Tuesday, September 13, 2016
Time: 6:30PM
Location: The Inn at Reading, 1040 Park Road, Wyomissing, PA 19610

 

“The Most Brilliant and Successful Affair: The Battle of Rappahannock Station”
 
On November 7, 1863, two brigades of the Union Sixth Corps defied conventional tactics during their frontal bayonet charge against a like number of Confederates who protected a critical bridgehead on the Rappahannock River. Join Edward Alexander as he discusses the terrain and conditions that produced a Federal victory in this dramatic, yet overlooked engagement in the Virginia Autumn Campaign after Gettysburg.
 
Edward Alexander is a park ranger and historian at Pamplin Historical Park in Petersburg, Virginia, site of another successful Sixth Corps frontal assault on April 2, 1865. He has recently written Dawn of Victory: Breakthrough at Petersburg, about this latter engagement. Edward is an editor and contributor for Emerging Civil War. He currently resides in Richmond, Virginia.

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, October 11, 2016
Time: 6:30PM
Location: The Inn at Reading, 1040 Park Road, Wyomissing, PA 19610

Topic: "Mosby's Rangers" featuring historian/author Jeff Wert





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: Wednesday, November 9, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM
Location: The Inn at Reading, 1040 Park Road, Wyomissing, PA 19610

Member: Sherri Stull

 

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, December 13, 2016
Time: 6:30PM
Location: The Inn at Reading, 1040 Park Road, Wyomissing, PA 19610

 
"Second Battle of Winchester" featuring author Scott Mingus
 
In the summer of 1863, as Robert E. Lee's Confederate Army of Northern Virginia began its inexorable push northward toward Pennsylvania, only one significant force stood in the way -- Union Maj. Gen. Robert H. Milroy's division of the Eighth Army Corps in the vicinity of Winchester and Berryville. Believing that the enemy was merely a cavalry raid or feint, the veteran Indiana politician-turned-general chose to stand and fight. His controversial decision put his outnumbered and largely inexperienced men on a path to what most observers considered to be a military fiasco when Milroy lost half his force and routed ingloriously from the final battlefield. Many of the Northern soldiers who fought at Second Winchester, however, believed their three-day, ultimately unwinnable resistance delayed the vaunted Rebels from entering Pennsylvania long enough to buy time for the Army of the Potomac to arrive and defeat Lee at Gettysburg.  Scott Mingus tells the story of these men and the first act of the Gettysburg Campaign.  

Scott Mingus is a scientist and executive in the paper industry, and was part of the research team that developed the first commercially successful self-adhesive U.S. postage stamps.  The York, Pa., resident has written fifteen Civil War books. His biography of Confederate General William “Extra Billy” Smith won the 2013 Nathan Bedford Forrest Southern History Award as well as the Dr. James I Robertson, Jr. Literary Prize, and was nominated for the Virginia Literary Award for Non-Fiction. Scott maintains a blog on the Civil War history of York County (www.yorkblog.com/cannonball). His great-great-grandfather was a 15-year-old drummer boy in the 51st Ohio Infantry, and other family members fought in the Army of the Potomac at Antietam and Gettysburg.
 




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, January 10, 2017
Time: 6:30PM
Location: The Inn at Reading, 1040 Park Road, Wyomissing, PA 19610

Topic:  "The Burning of Chambersburg" featuring First Defender Bob Shuman





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, February 14, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Location: The Inn at Reading, 1040 Park Road, Wyomissing, PA 19610

Topic: "Simon Cameron" by Paul Kahan

   

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Join us for our monthly meeting!

Date: Tuesday, March 14, 2017
Time: 6:30PM
Location: The Inn at Reading, 1040 Park Road, Wyomissing, PA 19610

Topic:  "McNeil's Rangers"





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 11, 2017
Time: 6:30PM
Location: The Inn at Reading, 1040 Park Road, Wyomissing, PA 19610

Topic:  "An Evening with Ed" featuring the one and only Ed Bearrs!


 

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 9, 2017
Time: 6:30PM
Location: The Inn at Reading, 1040 Park Road, Wyomissing, PA 19610

Topic:  "Myths of the Lost Cause" featuring author Ed Bonekemper


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!