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!


The Lincoln Funeral Train in Pennsylvania

featuring Scott Mingus

The funeral train carrying the remains of the slain President Abraham Lincoln passed through the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania on April 21-22, 1865, on its way to New York City and again on April 28 as it headed west from Buffalo to Cleveland and passed through the Erie region. Tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians passed by the coffin as Lincoln lay in state in Harrisburg and Philadelphia. Massive, untold numbers of residents watched the funeral train slowly steam past their farms, small towns, communities, and whistle stops. Many left personal reminiscences.

Tapping into these often obscure or rare diaries and journal entries, coupled with the eyewitness accounts of a small cadre of big-city reporters on board the train and those newsmen in the towns through which the train journeyed presents a detailed, yet highly readable account of the funeral train's passage though Pennsylvania. Included are overviews of the locomotives used, the crewmen, the railroads the train used, timetables, and other interesting aspects of Lincoln's final journey.

Scott Mingus is an award-winning author, retired scientist and executive in the global specialty paper industry. The Ohio native graduated from Miami University, was part of the research team that developed the first commercially successful self-adhesive U.S. postage stamps, and he was a pioneer in the early development of bar code labels. Scott has written more than 30 Civil War and Underground Railroad books and numerous articles for Gettysburg Magazine and other historical journals. He has appeared on C-SPAN, C-SPAN3, PBS, PCN, and several other TV networks. Mingus writes a blog on the Civil War history of York County, PA, where he and his wife Debi live.  Scott has received lifetime achievement awards from the York County History Center and the Camp Curtin Historical Society for his many contributions to local history.