November 04 2019
The Passing of an Icon… In Memory of James “Bud” Robertson

Every so often in life you have the good fortune to meet a great man.  Such was the quintessential “Virginia gentleman,” Doctor James I. “Bud” Robertson who died on Saturday, November 2nd, at the ripe old age of 89.  Tapped by President John F. Kennedy to serve as as executive director of the United States...

October 28 2019
November 12th Program Announced

The next program of the First Defenders Civil War Round Table is scheduled for Tuesday, November 12th, beginning at 6:00 PM at the Inn at Reading. The program features First Defenders Wally Heimbach presenting his second program on the gallant Phil Kearny.  The one-armed soldier of fortune had a long and distinguished military career both...

October 28 2019
Longstreet’s Countermarch Ends the “Jaunt” Season

Depending where you sit on the subject of James Longstreet and his contributions (or lack thereof) during the Battle of Gettysburg, the time it took him to get the First Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia into battle on July 2nd is sure to provoke discussion.  Was there a “sunrise attack order?”  Why did...

October 07 2019
New Ancestor is Medal of Honor Recipient

A new First Defender ancestor has been introduced to our members.  He is Ferdinand Frederick “Fritz” Rohm, the great-great grandfather of Nancy Melcher. You can find Fritz’ story in the Civil War Ancestors page of this site.  The chief bugler of the 16th Pennsylvania Cavalry, Fritz would have a dramatic impact on the Commonwealth of...

August 20 2019
First Defenders 23rd Campaign Season to Commence

The 23rd Campaign of the First Defenders Civil War Round Table is set to open its season on Tuesday, September 10th, at the Inn at Reading.  The kick-off event will feature one of our most popular speakers, Chris Mackowski, a co-founder of the Emerging Civil War stable of authors, lecturers and new generation of period historians. ...

June 17 2019
June 28th Berks History Center Program on Tap

Back by popular demand, the Berks History Center has scheduled an exciting program for Friday evening, June 28th!  Learn about the attacks on Berks County settlers during the French and Indian War, including the tragic irony of murder and abduction of Amish, Brethren and Mennonite families along the Blue Mountain, and the prominent role of Conrad Weiser in...

February 26 2019
The “Sultana Disaster” to be Featured at March Program

In the spring of 1865 following Appomattox and the Lincoln Assassination, the Civil War was not yet over. Yet following euphoria and shock, the tragic explosion and sinking of the “Sultana” on the Mississippi River near Memphis and resulting deaths of hundreds (including many former Union POWs) became little more than a footnote to the...

December 26 2018
January 8th Program Announcement

2018 is fading into the rear-view mirror, but the 22nd First Defenders Campaign is only halfway complete. As we move into 2019, the next program for the First Defenders Civil War Round Table is scheduled for Tuesday, January 8th, at the Inn at Reading.  Vice President Mark Quattrock will present a program on “The U.S....

November 04 2018
No answers for family’s questions about Civil War unknowns

The following story was first reported by the Associated Press, and is posted here verbatim and with full attribution. ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) — When Paul Davis heard earlier this year that the complete remains of two Civil War soldiers had been uncovered recently at Manassas National Battlefield, mixed among severed limbs in a surgeon’s pit,...