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 David Unger, 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
     
  • 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

Dennis E. Frye is the Chief Historian at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park.  Writer, lecturer, guide, and preservationist, Dennis is a prominent Civil War historian. Dennis has numerous appearances on PBS, The History Channel, The Discovery Channel, and A&E as a guest historian, and he helped produce award-winning television features on the Battle of Antietam and abolitionist John Brown.   Dennis served as an Associate Producer for the Civil War movie Gods and Generals, during which he recruited and coordinated nearly 3,000 reenactors for the film.  Dennis also is one of the nation’s leading Civil War battlefield preservationists.  He is co-founder and first president of the Save Historic Antietam Foundation, and he is co-founder and a former president of today’s Civil War Trust, from whom he received the Trust’s highest honor - the Shelby Foote Award.  Dennis is a tour guide in demand, leading tours for organizations such as the Smithsonian, National Geographic, numerous colleges and universities, and Civil War Round Tables.  Dennis also is a well-known author, with 88 articles and eight books.   Harpers Ferry Under Fire (released in March 2012) received the national book of the year award from the Association of Partners for Public Lands; and September Suspense:  Lincoln’s Union in Peril, was awarded the 2012 Laney Book Prize for distinguished scholarship and writing on the military and political history of the war.  Dennis has written for prestigious Civil War magazines such as Civil War Times Illustrated, America’s Civil War, Blue & Gray Magazine, North and South Magazine, and Hallowed Ground, and is a guest contributor to the Washington Post.  Dennis resides near the Antietam Battlefield in Maryland, and he and his wife Sylvia have restored the home that was used by General Burnside as his post-Antietam headquarters. 





Topic: "Harpers Ferry Under Fire,"

Dennis new book :Harpers Ferry Under Fire" will be for sale. It includes over 200 illustrations and maps, and won a national book award prize. It is the most complete narrative of Harpers Ferry during the Civil War. Price is $22.00, and it cannot be purchased from Amazon or any on-line dealer. Proceeds benefit the non-profit organization that supports Harpers Ferry National Historical Park.
                                                                                                                                                                   
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:

Master of Arts Degree in History from Millersville University
20 years doing Living History
Co Founder of the Blue & Gray Hospital Association-The official living history group of the National Museum of Civil War Medicine
Volunteer Docent at the National Museum of Civil War Medicine
Member of the Society of Civil War Surgeons



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

 
When it comes to the Civil War medicine, there is a great deal of myth.  Especially when it comes to Confederate States Medical Service. Despite Hollywood and movies like Gone With The Wind this presentation is going to show the real story of the CS Medical Dept, how it organized, the challenges that were faced and its accomplishments. We will also talk about some of the 8,000 people that served in the 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:

Phill Greenwalt is co-author of Bloody Autumn: The Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1864 and Hurricane from the Heavens: The Battle of Cold Habror (both with Daniel Davis). Phill graduated from George Mason University with a M.A. in American History and also has a B.A. in history from Wheeling Jesuit University. He is currently a historian with the National Park Service at George Washington Birthplace National Monument and Thomas Stone National Historic Site. He started with the National Park Service as a historical interpreter intern at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park. He currently resides in the historic Northern Neck of Virginia with his wife Adel and their rescue cat, Maya.



Topic: Sticking with the Colors: Short summary:

By the fall of 1864, the Confederacy was hanging on by a thread. Large swaths of Southern territory was even actively held by Union forces or had been burnt and destroyed by the campaigns of 1864. Yet, around Petersburg and Richmond, especially, the proud Confederate Army of Northern Virginia remained in the trenches continuing to stalemate Ulysses S. Grant and the Union armies that besieged it. As their struggling nascent nation struggled to survive, what made thousands of men continue to "stick with the colors?" What made them continue to fight, starve, and for thousands die, when all signs pointed to defeat? What can we learn from their staunch belief in the generalship of Lee and the chance of success in dire situations? This talk will center on the rank and file of the Army of Northern Virginia and why in late 1864 and early 1865 thousands decided to "stick with the colors." 

Phill will have 2 books for sale. Both are co-authored by Dan Davis and they sell for $13 a piece but will do a promotion both for $20. 

"Bloody Autumn: The Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1864"
"Hurricane from the Heavens: The Battles of Cold Harbor."

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:

 



Topic: TBA

 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 & Historian: 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
 

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



Topic: Wilson's Creek

 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 14, 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: Brigadier General John F. Hartranft


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!

PHILADELPHIA AND THE CIVIL WAR
First Defenders Bus Tour
October 25, 2014
 

Our bus will be departing Heartland Settlement, 55 Commerce Drive, Wyomissing at 7:45 AM sharp as we make our way to the City of Brotherly Love.
 
Our initial stop will be the National Constitution Center parking lot where we will meet our tour guide, Dr. Andy Waskie. Andy made a presentation to our roundtable several years ago as General Meade (Andy is president of the General Meade Society); last year he visited as his wife portrayed Clara Barton.
 
We will de-bus at the Center and do a walking tour of Civil War related sites in Old City Philadelphia. This walk will be on level ground at an easy pace and will not be more than 60 minutes.
 
Getting back on the bus, we will head to the Union League & Heritage Center Museum where Andy will lead us on a tour of the facilities. The Union League dates back to the Civil War and has a storied history.
 
After the Union League tour, we’re heading to McGillin’s Olde Ale House, Philadelphia’s oldest pub (established 1860) where we will have a hot buffet luncheon. The buffet menu includes House Roasted Beef au jus, Meatballs in Marinara Sauce, Baked Penne Pasta, bread & butter, condiments, and unlimited coffee, tea, iced tea, and sodas.
 
After lunch we will begin a driving tour of Civil War sites in Center City Philly and then head out the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and up Kelly Drive to Laurel Hill Cemetery where Andy will lead us on a tour of the “Valhalla” of the Civil War in Philadelphia. Laurel Hill is the first cemetery in the US to be named a National Historical Landmark. It’s the final resting place of numerous notables (including generals Meade & Humphreys) who have impacted the storyline of Philadelphia and the nation.
 
From Laurel Hill we’ll travel to West Fairmount Park to visit Civil War sites and monuments. From the Park, we’ll head back to the Center to drop off Andy before heading back to Wyomissing, arriving at about 6:15 PM.
 
The cost for this tour is $63.00/person and includes the services of an expert guide, donations to the Union League and Laurel Hill, buffet lunch, and the bus transportation. Please use the registration form to sign up for this trip. Questions: contact Ron Emge (304.529.4888) or Don Stripling (610.750.3998).
 
 
 
-------------------------------------REGISTRATION FORM--------------------------------------
 
Name: __________________________________________   Phone: ______________________________
 
Name: __________________________________________    Phone: ______________________________
 
Please give your registration form/check (payable to the First Defenders CWRT) to Ron Emge or Don Stripling or mail same to Don at PO Box 130, Wernersville, PA 19565-0130.
 

 

July 2014 event



 


 

August 2014 events