April 16 2020
New Title to Pass Away the COVID Blues

The Paymaster By Chuck Veit If “sheltering in place” is developing into “stir crazy” for you, here’s something new to pique your historical interest: The Paymaster: Being the Wartime Exploits of John H. Stevenson of the US Navy. This is Veit’s sixth book of unique and original naval/nautical history. It’s now available on his website at:...

March 22 2020
COVID-19 Sinks April Program

The raging impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in the need to CANCEL the April 14th First Defenders Civil War Round Table program. Given the emphasis on avoiding group activities, the potential health effects on those over 61 or with existing medical conditions and the uncertainty of businesses even being able to operate, the...

March 10 2020
Blue & Gray Education Association Dispatches – NEW FEATURE!

Governor Wise at Harper’s Ferry By Bert Dunkerly When violence broke out at Harper’s Ferry on October 16, 1859, Henry A. Wise was governor of Virginia (today the village is in West Virginia). In the aftermath of the raid, Virginians were on edge: fears of slave revolt were everywhere and the feeling grew that the...

March 03 2020
Adopt-A-Position Page Added!

Several stalwart members of the First Defenders journey semi-annually to Gettysburg to participate in the Gettysburg National Military Park “Adopt-A-Position” program.  This volunteer initiative is intended to help the overstretched Park Service care for the many monuments, tablets and other appurtenances on the battlefield. Check out our new “Adopt-A-Position” page by navigating from the title...

February 28 2020
Civil War Institute Offers First Defenders Program Discount!

The Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College (CWI) is offering the members of First Defenders Civil War Roundtable of Berks County a 15% discount to attend the CWI Summer Conference from June 12-17, 2020. You can find registration details about our conference on the CWI website and the full schedule of events. CWI  believes in...

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...