April 24 2018
May 8th Program Announced: Daniel Edgar Sickles

Scoundrel or hero?  Like the Slim-Jim commercial, no one is neutral about Daniel Edgar Sickles, his mercurial life or his role in the Battle of Gettysburg.  Probably no one knows more about Sickles and can discuss the man in more objective terms than our guest, Jim Hessler. Making his encore appearance to close out the...

April 03 2018
April Program Update!

The First Defenders have learned that perennial April guest Ed Bearss recently suffered a fall at his home.  Although not seriously injured, Ed will be off his feet for a week or two and will be unable to present his “Evening with Ed” program on the Battle of Shiloh. While wishing Ed a speedy return...

March 27 2018
April Program- “Evening with Ed” on April 10th

It’s that time of the year again when the First Defenders will hold its annual “Evening with Ed” featuring the one and only Ed Bearss.  On Tuesday April 10th the historian emeritus of the National Park Service will tell the story of the Battle of Shiloh, the battle that swept away any notion of a...

February 28 2018
The 96th PVI Brought to Life by Dave Ward

Most passing Civil War students are well-versed in both the old and new tomes outlining the history of the campaigns and their generals.  It takes those with real interest, though, to dive deeper into the personal stories of the men who shouldered the musket and stood shoulder-to-shoulder trading Minié balls with the enemy.  To satisfy...

February 28 2018
March Program to Focus on “Pickett’s Charge”

The First Defenders will meet on Tuesday March 13th for their next program that will focus on the penultimate event of the three day Battle of Gettysburg: Pickett’s Charge. Meal selections are posted on-line under the “Events” tab, and the March newsletter can be viewed or downloaded from the “Newsletters” tab.  The deadline for meal...

February 01 2018
Naval Schemes, Plots & Tidbits – January Program Recap

The naval actions of the Civil War have long received short shrift along side the land actions of the conflict, and are often reduced to the Monitor v. Merrimack, Farragut’s taking of Mobile Bay, the Trent Affair and other high-profile events.  However, as every buff knows, there is much more than the actions familiar to even the...

January 31 2018
February Program Announcement

Our next program is scheduled for February 13th featuring Civil War jack-of-all-trades David Ward and his program highlighting “Schuylkill County’s Coal Heavers:  The 96th Pennsylvania Volunteers.”  Some of the original First Defenders served in the 96th which was originally commanded by Colonel Henry L. Cake, formerly of the National Light Infantry.  The regiment spent its service...

December 28 2017
January Program Announcement

Our next program is scheduled for January 9th, and our own Dale Kratzer will present something of a hodgepodge of “Naval Schemes, Plots and Interesting Tidbits.”  Much Civil War focus has been on the land activities, a number of interesting events took place on the water, too.  This program will cover events such as the “first” (?)...

December 28 2017
First Defenders Celebrate the Holidays & Perryville

The First Defenders Civil War Round Table celebrated the coming holiday season during its December program with a festive meal that included a birthday cake for former Preservation Committee chair Cate Kennedy. 54 First Defenders assembled at the Inn at Reading to hear our own Greg Stull talk about “The Battle that Wasn’t Supposed to...

November 27 2017
What Ever Happened to J.D. Cox?

Perhaps one of the best “citizen generals” who served the Union army during the Civil War, Jacob Dolson Cox was seemingly positioned to be the sixth Ohioan who would ascend to the presidency in the post-bellum years.  Yet this man who had done so much for the Northern cause would remain a back-bencher in the...