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 Regimental Staff 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 Regimental Staff page.

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  • September
Join us for our monthly meeting!
Date: Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Time: 6:30PM
Location: The Inn at Reading, 1040 Park Road, Wyomissing, PA 19610
Did McClellan Out-General Lee During the First Invasion?
Dennis Frye, Chief Historian at Harper's Ferry National Historic Site, will make his third appearance with the First Defenders, and will again take us inside that "other" northern invasion a full ten months before Gettysburg.  Previously we learned about the "September Suspense" of the days preceding the Battle of Antietam before the outcome was known, and also found the "Lost Orders" were not as critical in the campaign as many have thought.  Now, one of the most knowledgeable experts on the Antietam Campaign will ask whether General George B. McClellan may have actually out-generaled none other than Robert Edward Lee.

Dogma suggests McClellan was a superb organizer and motivator who could never actually bring his army into action.  Histories of the Antietam Campaign suggest Little Mac squandered his chance to end the war in September 1862, but those histories have been written with the benefit of hindsight.  Dennis has taken us back to the time before the outcome was known, and we have twice found that we may not know all there is about this critical campaign that resulted in both the bloodiest day in American history and the changing of the war's dynamic to include eradicating slavery.

Dennis Frye is the Chief Historian of the Harper's Ferry National Historic Site, and is a found and past president of the Association for the Preservation of Civil War Sites, now the Civil War Trust.  He is also the founder and first president of the Save Historic Antietam Foundation.  Dennis grew up along South Mountain, and began his career as a teenage volunteer at Antietam.  He writes and lectures extensively on the first Confederate invasion of the north, and resides in Ambrose Burnside's post-Antietam field headquarters near Sharpsburg, Maryland.
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!