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 annual field trips. Guests and new members are welcome. Space is limited in the restaurant, so please contact a board member or any general member, or click the button below to sign up to attend a meeting.

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
    2014
  • October
    2014
  • November
    2014
  • December
    2014
  • January
    2015
  • February
    2015
  • March
    2015
  • April
    2015
  • May
    2015
  • TRIPS Philadelphia Summary
     
  • COMING EVENTS
     
  • August
    2014
Join us for our monthly meeting!
 

Date: Tuesday, September 9, 2014
Time: 6:30 PM
Location: The Inn at Reading, 1040 Park Road, Wyomissing, PA 19610

Author & Historian: Dennis Frye - 2nd program - Today is the 152nd anniversary of Speical Order 191 that changed the War

Topic: "Harpers Ferry Under Fire,"



                                                                                                                                                                   
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, October 14, 2014
Time: 6:30 PM
Location: The Inn at Reading, 1040 Park Road, Wyomissing, PA 19610

Historian & Member: Mark Quattrock:

Topic: :  Beyond the Myth: The Confederate States Medical Service.


 


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, November 11, 2014
Time: 6:30 PM
Location: The Inn at Reading, 1040 Park Road, Wyomissing, PA 19610

Historian & Author: Phillip Greenwalt:

Topic: Sticking with the Colors: Short summary:

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, December 9, 2014
Time: 6:30 PM
Location: The Inn at Reading, 1040 Park Road, Wyomissing, PA 19610

Historian: Brian Jordan:

Dr. Brian Matthew Jordan is Lecturer of Civil War Era Studies at Gettysburg College and Book Review Editor for The Civil War Monitor.  He earned his Ph.D. with distinction in 2013 from Yale University, and his dissertation on the lives of Union veterans garnered the George Washington Egleston Prize (for Best U.S. History Dissertation at Yale) as well as the prestigious John Addison Porter Prize (for best work of scholarship in any field at Yale).  In addition to numerous scholarly articles, essays, book chapters and reviews, he is the author of Marching Home: Union Veterans and Their Unending Civil War, forthcoming from W.W. Norton.  His current project is a biography of Benjamin Butler.

Topic: Marching Home: Union Veterans and Their Unending Civil War, which is a history of the reintegration of Union soldiers after the Civil War. 

Brian will have 2 books for sale.

Marching Home: Union Veterans and Their Unending Civil War for $29.00
Unholy Sabbath: The Battle of South Mountain in History and Memory for the SPECIAL price for $25.00


 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, January 13, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Location: The Inn at Reading, 1040 Park Road, Wyomissing, PA 19610

President & CEO, Pamplin Historical Park and the National Museum of the Civil War Soldier:  A. Wilson Greene

Topic: April 2, 1865: Day of Decision at Petersburg:
 We will focus on the conduct, context, and consequences of the assault by the Union Sixth Corps that "broke the backbone of the Rebellion" and led that night to the evacuation of Richmond and Petersburg.  Most of the "Breakthrough Battlefield" is preserved in Pamplin Historical Park and is a National Historic Landmark.

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, February 10, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Location: The Inn at Reading, 1040 Park Road, Wyomissing, PA 19610

Member & past President: Joe Schaeffer - 4th Program

Joe grew up in Douglassville and graduated from Daniel Boone H.S. He graduated from Bloomsburg University in 1975 with a degree in Secondary Education-Social studies.  He has worked in the land title business for 35 years and owns Heartland Settlement Co.  Joe and Jana have celebrated over 30 years of marriage.  He married up.  They have 3 children;  Marci, Andrew and Caitlyn and 2 grandchildren.  Joe has a lifelong passion for history, particularly the Civil War, with particular interest in Gettysburg and the Lincoln assassination.  

Topic: Fort Fisher & the Fall of Wilmington: December 1864, Cape Fear, North Carolina.  Wilmington is the lone port city still available to Rebel blockade runners. In the trenches of Petersburg, Virginia,  Robert E. Lee’s dwindling army is hanging on by a thread. The Wilmington and Weldon Railroad provides just enough supplies to keep the army alive. Lee tells Jefferson Davis that if Wilmington is lost, Richmond will fall. Lincoln wants Wilmington taken.  Standing in his way and guarding the entrance to the Cape Fear River is Fort Fisher.  U.S. Grant orders a massive land and sea assault.  One of the epic human dramas of the Civil War is about to play out.  The life of the Confederacy hangs in the balance.  


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 10, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Location: The Inn at Reading, 1040 Park Road, Wyomissing, PA 19610

Members & Historians: Mike Gabriel & Ron Rhein - 10th Program

This is Mike and Ron's tenth presentation to the First Defenders CWRT.  Both are charter and long-term members.  Along with Dr. David Valuska they served as the original committee of three to found the First Defenders CWRT and were its initial officers.  Mike and Ron continued these responsibilities for over a decade, and became President and Vice-President, respectively, when Dave stepped down.
 
Dr. Ron Rhein is a retired faculty member of Kutztown University, where he served his last seventeen years as Chair of the Department of Biology.

Dr. Mike Gabriel is also a faculty member at KU, and he served as the Chair of the Department of History for nine years.  He is the author of three books on the American Revolutionary War.


Topic: Wilson's Creek
At dawn on August 10, 1861, Union forces under General Nathaniel Lyons met a combine Southern army composed of Missouri and Arkansas state troops and Confederate regulars led by Stirling Price and Benjamin McCulloch at Wilson's Creek in southwest Missouri in the second major battle of the Civil War.  After six hours of intense fighting that cost Lyon his life, the Union troops retreated, but the exhausted Confederates were unable to pursue.  This Northern defeat prevented them from securing Missouri and opened the state to four years of conflict.
    
 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!

SPECIAL DATE: Monday 20 April 2015

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

Historian, Author, Guide: The One and Only: Edwin C. Bearss-This is Ed's 6th Program.



Topic: Appomattox
 
Edwin C. Bearss is America's premier battlefield historian and the historian emeritus of the National Park Service. Since retiring in 1995, Ed has led historical tours approximately 275 days per year. Ed is the author of 13 books, including Fields of Honor. He has also served as a consultant on numerous documentaries and films, including Ken Burns' The Civil War.  Ed now lives in Arlington, Virginia.

  He is the recipient of the Department of the Interior's Distinguished Service Award, the highest award given by the department.

  Mr. Bearss comes from a long line of Marines. His father was a Marine and a close relative of "Hike'em" Hiram Bearss who was a Marine General who won the Medal of Honor. Mr. Bearss served in the Pacific during WWII where he was severely wounded, hit 4 times while he was pinned down by a creek bed. He has three children. Two are former Marines and one is an historian.

Mr. Bearss has a new book. Petersburg Campaign. 
 
Member Emeritus: Mr. Edwin C. Bearss with friend Dean Schultz. Ed & Dean are editors of the Gettysburg Magazine
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 12, 2015
Time: 6:30PM
Location: The Inn at Reading, 1040 Park Road, Wyomissing, PA 19610

 Historian: Mark D. Grim Jr. of Biglerville, Pennsylvania, is a retired Colonel, U.S. Marine Corps, with over 25 years of service and also a retired Pennsylvania attorney.  He is a graduate of Ursinus College, Widener University School of Law, U.S. Marine Corps Command & Staff College and the U.S. Army War College.  He is descended from a Civil War veteran, his Great Uncle, Corporal Andrew J. Grim, who served in Company C, 51st P.V.I., from September 1861-May 1864 when he was wounded (second time) at Spotsylvania Courthouse.  On June 6, 1864, he died as a result of those wounds.  



Topic: Brevet Major General John F. Hartranft, USV"- "Imprisonment, Trial and Execution of the Lincoln Conspirators"
"By the end of April 1865, following the assassination of President Lincoln, John Wilkes Booth was dead and eight of the nine remaining alleged conspirators were captured and imprisoned by Federal authorities.  Appointed by President Andrew Johnson as Special Provost Marshal, Governor of the Military Prison and Commander of Troops at the Washington Arsenal (Ft. McNair today), Washington, DC, Brevet Major General John F. Hartranft, USV, served as jailer of the eight conspirators imprisoned and tried there by military commission, and on July 7th, 1865, was responsible for the execution by hanging of four of the conspirators."

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!



 

 

July 2014 event



 


 

August 2014 events