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 held at Giannotti’s Country Restaurant on Pricetown Road in Alsace Manor, and will also be provided virtually for members who are unable to attend due to COVID-19 concerns.

A book raffle is held each month with all proceeds donated to battlefield preservation, and members who attend virtually will have the opportunity to participate even if they cannot attend a program.

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!

 

Prelude to Gettysburg: the Cavalry Battles of Aldie, Middleburg & Upperville

featuring Kevin Pawlak

As Robert E. Lee continued to move north Maryland and Pennsylvania during the summer of 1863, Army of the Potomac commander Joseph Hooker struggled to gain a better understanding of Confederate intentions.  Following the cavalry action at Brandy Station, Hooker would still look to his horsemen to find the enemy and develop its intentions.  At the same time, Lee would use his cavalry under J.E.B. Stuart to do all that it could to deprive the Union commander of that valuable commodity.  The result of this life-and-death chess game resulted in three bloody days of intense cavalry fighting in northern Virginia's Loudoun Valley near the towns of Aldie, Middleburg, and Upperville.  Often overshadowed by the climactic action two weeks later at Gettysburg, these oft-overlooked running battles represent a key chapter in a campaign that saw the northern horsemen meet their southern opponents on more equal terms than ever before.

Kevin Pawlak is a Historic Site Manager for Prince William County’s Office of Historic Preservation and a Certified Guide at Antietam National Battlefield and Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. He is the author of four books on the American Civil War.

Dr. Mary Edward Walker

a living history portrayal by Hallie Vaughan

Mary Edwards Walker stands out as one of the more interesting and unusual personalities of the Civil War era.  Born in 1832, she would earn a medical degree from Syracuse Medical College in 1855 and pursue a profession that was virtually unheard for a "proper" Victorian Age lady.  Throughout her 87 years, she would be an abolitionist, prohibitionist, a prisoner of war and a Civil War surgeon.  Along the way, she would be the only woman to ever receive the Medal of Honor.

Doctor Walker would volunteer her services to the Union Army at the outbreak of the War, breaking what today we would call a "glass ceiling."  She was captured by the Confederates when she crossed enemy lines to treat wounded civilians, and was arrested as a spy.  Doctor Walker would remain a "guest" of the Richmond government until finally being exchanged.  After Appomattox, she would receive the Medal of Honor, but spend much of her life fighting to keep it.

Hallie Vaughan has been a Berks Countian since age 12.  Graduating from Wilson High School, Slippery Rock University and Gratz College, she taught in the Muhlenberg School District for 35 years during which time she developed an interest in women's history.  Hallie has continued doing research on the subject, and has lectured at Alvernia University Seniors College while also presenting to a wide assortment of community and school groups as well as "anyone who wants to listen!"  A docent at the Berks History Center, Hallie also volunteers at the Berks County Veterans Affairs Office.  She is married and has two sons and four grandchildren.

Meade's Pipe Creek Line

featuring Chris Army

Lee is Trapped - Williamsport

featuring Rick Schaus

Henry Washington Sawyer- Cape May's Civil War Hero

featuring Dave Fox

Greene's Brigade - Saviors of Culp's Hill

featuring Charlie Fennell

The Hospitals of Antietam

featuring John Schildt