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!


Fire on the Mountains: The Battles of South Mountain and Harpers Ferry, September 12-15, 1862

featuring Kevin Pawlak

In mid-September 1862, Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia undertook a bold advance north of the Potomac River into Maryland.  Their invasion would come to a premature end on September 17th along the Antietam Creek outside of Sharpsburg; however, three days earlier a bloody prelude took place along South Mountain.  At Harpers Ferry, Crampton's Gap, Turner's Gap and Fox's Gap artillery and musketry fire and the smoke they created engulfed the landscape on nearly a fifteen-mile front.  Lee fought for time to reunite his badly fragmented army while George McClellan and the Army of the Potomac fought to drive the enemy from Maryland and relieve Harpers Ferry.  The Battle of South Mountain actually constituted four separate actions that literally and figuratively resulted in "fire on the mountains."

Kevin Pawlak is a historic site manager for Prince William County’s Office of Historic Preservation and a Certified Battlefield Guide at Antietam National Battlefield. He previously worked as a Park Ranger at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. Kevin is the author of seven books about the American Civil War, including To Hazard All: A Guide to the Maryland Campaign, 1862, part of the Emerging Civil War Series and Such a Clash of Arms: The Maryland Campaign of September 1862.  This will be Kevin's third presentation to the First Defenders.