Musters – 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. 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!


The Presidency of U.S. Grant & the Impact on Reconstruction

Voters went to the polls in 1868 more than three years after Appomattox, the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the tumultuous presidency of Andrew Johnson.  There was little question that Union hero of the war Ulysses S. Grant would become the 18th president of the United States.  With the effects of the war still fresh in public memory and the problematic Reconstruction still uncontrolled, the nation turned to Grant.

Much of the martial capacity imbued in Grant during wartime would not translate into political capabilities required in civilian government administration.  Unique political, economic and cultural forces had been unleashed by the Civil War that Grant would need to address during his tumultuous two terms as chief executive frequently overshadowed by his wartime service and the administration's many scandals.

Historical reassessment, though, has shed new light on the business of politics in the decade after the Civil War, and Grant has emerged as an energetic and even progressive executive who faced some of the most difficult issues dealing with Reconstruction and the evolving, expanding United States. 

Dr. Paul Kahan earned a Ph.D. in U.S. history from Temple University. Prior to that, Dr. Kahan earned an M.A. in Modern American History & Literature from Drew University and B.A.s in history and English (with minors in medieval/Renaissance studies and music) from Alfred University.  He has published several books, including "Eastern State Penitentiary: A History," "Amiable Scoundrel: Simon Cameron, Lincoln's Scandalous Secretary of War," "The Presidency of Ulysses S. Grant: Preserving the Civil War's Legacy," and "The Bank War: Andrew Jackson, Nicholas Biddle, and the Fight for American Finance." 

The First Defenders Civil War Roundtable will open its 23rd Campaign in September 2019.  Programs for the Campaign will include:

September 10, 2019 Chris Mackowski "Mine Run: The Battle that Wasn't"
October 8, 2019 Jeff Wert "Civil War Barons"
November 12, 2019 Wally Heimbach "Phil Kearny: Soldier of Fortune"
December 10, 2019 Paula Gidjunis "Joel Wanner & the 128th PA Infantry"
January 14, 2020 Dave Fox "Colonel Charles Albright & the 32nd PA"
February 11, 2020 To Be Announced  
March 10, 2020 Dave Unger "From Soldiers to Governors"
April 14, 2020 Philip Greenawalt "The Civil War West of the Mississippi"
May 12, 2020 Jennifer Murray "General George Gordon Meade"