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!


“Jackson is With You! – The Battle of Cedar Mountain”

presented by Greg Mertz

The success of Confederate General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson in the Shenandoah Valley during the spring of 1862 was due in part to the Federal forces he confronted belonging to three separate departments that did not cooperate with one another.  That would change in the summer of 1862, as those former departments became corps in a new Federal army under General John Pope.  On August 9, 1862, Jackson decided to strike Union General Nathaniel P. Banks’ isolated corps before Pope’s army consolidated.  Jackson enjoyed a sizeable advantage in numbers over Banks, which may have given him a level of confidence that contributed to both Jackson and division commander General Charles Winder being distracted by an artillery duel rather than attending to the proper alignment of Winder’s infantry.   While Jackson was preparing to attack the Federal forces, it was Banks who first attacked the Confederates, wreaking havoc on the poorly positioned Confederate left.  With Jackson rallying his troops and the timely arrival of Confederate reinforcements, a counterattack brought gray-clad superior numbers to bear and turned a near-defeat into a Confederate victory.

Greg Mertz has retired after 40 years working with the National Parks Service, with the final 36 years at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park.  He is currently the vice president of the Brandy Station Foundation with that battlefield and Cedar Mountain to become part of a new Culpeper Battlefields State Park in 2024.


"Lee Invades the North: a Comparison of the Antietam & Gettysburg Campaigns"

presented by Brad Gottfried

General Robert E. Lee embarked on two major invasions of the north in 1862 and 1863 that culminated in the battles of Antietam and Gettysburg. While each invasion has been extensively studied, there have been few (to no) comprehensive comparisons of the two. This program compares and contrasts the two campaigns that began with such promise for the Army of Northern Virginia, and will cover the political climate, war effort, the armies, leadership, military intelligence, routes to the battlefield, preliminary encounters, battlefield terrain, the battles and post-campaign events.

Bradley Gottfried was born and raised in Philadelphia and, after receiving his Ph.D. in Zoology, he embarked on a 40-year career in higher education. He retired in 2017 as the President of the College of Southern Maryland, and has written 17 books and numerous magazine articles pertaining to the Civil War. Although perhaps best known for his campaign “map books,” he has also written on Gettysburg, the Point Lookout Prisoner of War Camp, and the Hope Antietam paintings. Brad is an Antietam Certified Battlefield Guide and a Gettysburg Licensed Town Guide.  He and his wife, Linda, live in Fayetteville, and have four children and four grandchildren. 

-To Be Announced-