February 26 2020
Soldiers to the Governor’s Mansion on March 10th

Anyone who studies the Civil War knows that many veterans, North and South, would go on to political careers as the country transition from the antebellum years to the Gilded Age.  Pennsylvania was no exception, and no less than six Union soldiers would find themselves in the Keystone State Governor’s mansion as the 19th Century...

December 30 2019
First Defenders Kick Off 2020 on January 14th!

Tennessee Ernie Ford sang about “another year older and deeper in debt.”  Whether that applies to you or not, we are embarking on another New Year.  May it be happy, healthy and prosperous for all! The Program Committee will meet on January 6th to sketch out our 24th (!) campaign roster, but the current campaign...

November 26 2019
December Program Features the 128th PVI

The December muster of the First Defenders Civil War Round Table will close out 2019 with a presentation on the 128th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry.  Recruited in part from Berks County, the 128th was a nine-month regiment that quickly “saw the elephant” at Antietam before passing even a full month in uniform.  Before ending its term...

November 04 2019
The Passing of an Icon… In Memory of James “Bud” Robertson

Every so often in life you have the good fortune to meet a great man.  Such was the quintessential “Virginia gentleman,” Doctor James I. “Bud” Robertson who died on Saturday, November 2nd, at the ripe old age of 89.  Tapped by President John F. Kennedy to serve as as executive director of the United States...

October 28 2019
November 12th Program Announced

The next program of the First Defenders Civil War Round Table is scheduled for Tuesday, November 12th, beginning at 6:00 PM at the Inn at Reading. The program features First Defenders Wally Heimbach presenting his second program on the gallant Phil Kearny.  The one-armed soldier of fortune had a long and distinguished military career both...

October 28 2019
Longstreet’s Countermarch Ends the “Jaunt” Season

Depending where you sit on the subject of James Longstreet and his contributions (or lack thereof) during the Battle of Gettysburg, the time it took him to get the First Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia into battle on July 2nd is sure to provoke discussion.  Was there a “sunrise attack order?”  Why did...

October 07 2019
New Ancestor is Medal of Honor Recipient

A new First Defender ancestor has been introduced to our members.  He is Ferdinand Frederick “Fritz” Rohm, the great-great grandfather of Nancy Melcher. You can find Fritz’ story in the Civil War Ancestors page of this site.  The chief bugler of the 16th Pennsylvania Cavalry, Fritz would have a dramatic impact on the Commonwealth of...

September 24 2019
Jeff Wert and “Civil War Barons” at October 8th Program

Long-time First Defenders CWRT friend and lecturer Jeffry Wert will present the program at the October 8th gathering of the Round Table at the Inn at Reading.  Jeff’s latest work, “Civil War Barons,” is a departure from his previous battlefield and soldiers genre, and focuses on those Northern entrepreneurs who made a fortune while contributing...

August 20 2019
First Defenders 23rd Campaign Season to Commence

The 23rd Campaign of the First Defenders Civil War Round Table is set to open its season on Tuesday, September 10th, at the Inn at Reading.  The kick-off event will feature one of our most popular speakers, Chris Mackowski, a co-founder of the Emerging Civil War stable of authors, lecturers and new generation of period historians. ...

June 17 2019
June 28th Berks History Center Program on Tap

Back by popular demand, the Berks History Center has scheduled an exciting program for Friday evening, June 28th!  Learn about the attacks on Berks County settlers during the French and Indian War, including the tragic irony of murder and abduction of Amish, Brethren and Mennonite families along the Blue Mountain, and the prominent role of Conrad Weiser in...