September 2010

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The First Defenders

Civil War Round Table Newsletter

September 2010

From the President

Welcome back to a new campaign, our 14th. I hope you are having a joyous summer and that you return ready to support our round table. This November will mark the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's election, setting up a chain of events leading to the Civil War. The Program Committee has a terrific list of speakers lined up.

First, let me remind you that we have a new meeting place, Golden Oaks Golf Club. Golden Oaks is located on Route 662 approximately 1/4 mile east of the intersection of Routes 662 and 12 in Pricetown. Meeting time is still 6:30 PM. Our meetings will be held in the Pavilion which is above the Pro Shop. SPECIAL NOTE: THEY HAVE AN ELEVATOR. If you need help, please ask for assistance.

The other big news is that our website is now operational and may be found at and is not case sensitive. Please go to the site and explore. You will find the following: Home Page, Program and Events Page, Newsletter, and Contacts. EVERYONE WHO IS ABLE SHOULD USE THE 'PROGRAM AND EVENTS' PAGE TO REGISTER HIS/HER MEAL SELECTION. This will save us time and expense on mailing the newsletter. Going forward after September, our plan is to only mail the newsletter to those who cannot access the website. We expect that all members who have internet access will use the website to register. Some of the other benefits of the site include a listing of the upcoming speakers, events, and field trip information. Errol Steffy has worked very hard getting the site functioning, and Linda Zeiber is helping us Dutchmen with our grammar and also will be posting the newsletter each month. If you have an interest in helping to maintain the site, please step forward. Your assistance will be welcome.

Next news, thanks to Dave Fox and Roger Cotterill for a successful field trip. Details of the trip are further on in this newsletter.

Last but not least, thanks to Arlan and Pat Christ, Rich Kennedy, and Mike Gabriel for their years of service to the round table and to Lori Border (Treasurer), Dave Unger (Membership) and Linda Zeiber (Recording Secretary) for stepping up to fill those positions. I also thank all of the board members for their efforts.

Joe Schaeffer


Round Table Business

Treasurer's Report

Arlan Christ presented his report at the May meeting. Our balance from April 13, 2010, was $4,369.73. Receipts from the April meeting totaled $2,o7o.00 bringing a new total of $6,439.73. Expenses incurred totaled $1,717.78 leaving a balance of $4,721.95. The preservation fund had a total of $714.00 prior to the May meeting.


It's time to renew your membership for the new campaign of 2010-2011. Please fill out the attached form, and return it with you check as soon as possible.


All of our members can be proud of their work for battlefield preservation this past season. It was a year unlike any other. As many of you will remember, we sent $50.00 to 3rd Winchester Battlefield in October to take advantage of an $8.80 to one leverage. That cut into our preservation fund but was worth it. Then in December we sent $300.00 more dollars to CWPT for Appomattox Station to take advantage of the unbelievable leverage of $115.00 to one. Yes, $115.00 is not a misprint. And, again in April, we donated $200.00 for preservation for our April speaker. In spite of our giving preservation money to worthwhile sites throughout the campaign year and the fact that our February meeting was canceled because of bad weather, we have $923.00 in the preservation fund at the end of the May meeting.

The membership voted to spend $800.00 of that amount to be in two payments of $400.00 to two different sites. We will keep the remaining amount over the summer in case this coming fall there is another threatened site that needs money. We will be in a position to help. With the $1,350.00 the membership voted to grant to preservation, the total amount that the First Defenders have granted to various sites is $18,090.00. Congratulations! When you think that a good bit of it was leveraged, our contributions are praiseworthy indeed. Thanks to our May guests. They all made ticket purchases of $5.00. And, finally, thanks to our members who just donate and refuse to take tickets.

As for books, we are in good shape. Our inventory is well-supplied as a result of donations. I will add some newly published works to the inventory over the summer. I hope that everyone had a good, pleasant summer and enjoyed your vacations.

Tom Tate

Election of Officers

Each May our round table holds an election for the coming campaign. Several long-serving officers stepped down after completing their duties in May. Pat and Arlan Christ, membership chair and treasurer respectively, along with Richard Kennedy, board secretary, and Mike Gabriel, President, ended their service. Their time and efforts are deeply appreciated by all, and we give our deepest gratitude to each and every one of them. Newly-elected officers include Lori Border, treasurer, Dave Unger, membership, Linda Zeiber, recording secretary.

Harrisonburg Field Trip June 12–13, 2010

Thirty-eight eager travelers gathered on the Lytle Hall parking lot at 7:00 a.m. on June 12th. Despite gray skies, all boarded the bus looking forward to a new adventure. By our first rest stop in West Virginia, the sun was shining. We arrived on schedule at the Hardesty-Higgins House Visitor Center in downtown Harrisonburg. After a boxed lunch and welcome by the visitor center volunteers, we drove to the Turner Ashby Monument where Phillip Whey, a reenactor with the 53rd VA and devotee of Turner Ashby, gave a talk and described the preserved area where Ashby was killed.

The next stop on our journey was Port Republic. In June of 1862, Jackson's army was bivouacked north of Port Republic. While there, he learned of the death of his cavalry commander, Gen. Ashby, on June 6th. He directed the Battle of Cross Keys on June 8th. On the same day, he, his staff, and wagon train barely escaped capture by a surprise Federal invasion of the village. On June 9th, he led his troops into the Battle of Port Republic, a victory that ended the Valley Campaign.

We had the opportunity of visiting the Port Republic Museum and then took a walking tour of the village where Confederate reenactors were involved in a sizeable reenactment. The village is nestled between the North and South Rivers which join to create the South Fork of the Shenandoah River.

Saturday evening found us in the Hall of Valor Civil War Museum at the New Market Battlefield State Historical Park. We had a chance to inspect the museum's interesting collection and then had a catered dinner on the main floor of this lovely museum. We met Scott Harris, park historian and director of the museum. Following dinner, Scott made a presentation entitled "Embattled Eden" and conducted a question/answer session. In the spring of 1864, Gen. Grant wanted control of the Shenandoah Valley. He ordered Gen. Franz Sigel's army to secure the Valley and threaten Lee's left flank.

Gen. Breckinridge pulled all forces to repulse this threat. The VMI Cadet Corps marched from their classrooms in Lexington to join his army. They were put into the center of his line. They crossed the rain-soaked wheat field, the Field of Lost Shoes. They swept over the Federal position capturing a cannon. Sigel retreated leaving the field and the Valley to Breckinridge. Never before or since has an American cadet corps participated in a pitched battle.

The final stop of our trip was made at the New Market Battlefield and the 54th PA monument located in the town of New Market. After a buffet dinner in Martinsburg, West Virginia, we headed home. Of course, there are many other highlights, far too many to write about here. If you missed the trip, "you really needed to be there"! Roger Cotterill and Dave Fox outdid themselves putting the trip together. We owe them a debt of thanks. They missed no details. A great time was had by all.

--submitted by Linda Zeiber

Adopt-A-Position Update

Thank you to the members who worked in April at the 6th PA Cavalry monument in Gettysburg. We did not paint the back side of the fence at that time. Saturday, October 16th is the next work date for completion of this.

Please contact Don Stripling if you would like to work on this project. There will be a short meeting after the October RT meeting to discuss details of the work detail.

Barbara Shafer

September Trivia

1. Give the name of an incident in the Civil War involving a failed Union raid on the Confederate capital of Richmond on March 2, 1864.
2. In April 2010, a group of First Defender volunteers worked at a site in Gettysburg. What is the name of the monument that received this effort?
3. The Sixth PA Cavalry earned a reputation for being a highly-trained and reliable unit despite being armed initially with antiquated weapons, leaving their mark on key battlefields including Hanover Court House, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Brandy Station--where they conducted one of the most famous charges of the war--and Appomattox. What is the nickname of this regiment?


"A superb regiment, noted for intelligence, bravery and stalwart service, the Sixth Pennsylvania Cavalry was an elite outfit, in the truest sense. That they were accepted and admired by the Regulars, alongside whom they served on many a hard-fought field, speaks volumes of the gallantry and dash of these sons of the Keystone State."--Brian C. Pohanka, historian and adviser for the motion pictures Cold Mountain and Glory

--submitted by Barbara Shafer

The Program for September: Eric Wittenberg

Jeb Stuart's Controversial Ride to Gettysburg

Eric Wittenberg is making his second presentation for the First Defenders. He spoke about John Buford at our May 1999 meeting. Eric is a well-known authority on Civil War cavalry. He has authored/co-authored several books and has written numerous magazine articles for venues such as Blue & Gray, North & South, and The Gettysburg Magazine. Eric's topic will be Jeb Stuart's controversial ride to Gettysburg. He has co-authored a book on this subject, Plenty of Blame to Go Around.

Mr. Wittenberg will be signing autographs for any books that you may have so be sure to bring them. He will be selling and signing his book, Plenty of Blame to Go Around; Jeb Stuart's Controversial Ride to Gettysburg. Please have cash!

Other books authored by Eric Wittenberg:

1. Battle of Brandy Station 9. With Sheridan in the Final Campaign

2. Like a Meteor Blazing Brightly 10. Under Custer's Command

3. One Continuous Fight 11. Protecting the Flank

4. Rush's Lancers 12. Gettysburg's Forgotten Cavalry Actions

5. Glory Enough for All 13. We have It Damn Hard Out Here

6. Union Cavalry Comes of Age 14. One of Custer's Wolverines

7. Little Phil 15. At Custer's Side

8. Battle of Monroe's Crossing and the Civil War's Final Campaign

To learn more about Eric Wittenberg, go to his website:

Reservations for the September 14, 2010 Meeting:

New Dinner Reservation Procedures: If possible, please make your meal choices/reservation on the website. Meal choices: Vegetable Stir-Fry, Roast Beef Marsala, and Broiled Salmon.

The price is $22.00 for meals. If you must call in reservations, please call your menu selection at 610.478.1717 no later than Monday, September 6, 2010, which is also the deadline for online reservations. Please call after 5:00 p.m. and speak clearly. This new phone number is Joe Schaeffer's business phone so we are asking you to be considerate about not calling until after 5:00 p.m.

*NOTE: Once you have made your reservation, there are no cancellations. The Round Table will be billed for your meal whether you attend or not. Please understand that you will be asked to reimburse the RT should you not attend after having made a reservation.

2010-2011 Program Schedule
September 14, 2010: Eric Wittenberg Jeb Stuart's Controversial Ride to Gettysburg

October 12, 2010: Patrick Falci Lee's Forgotten Gen. A P Hill at Gettysburg

November 9, 2010: Don Ernsberger 69th PA at the Wall at Gettysburg

December 14, 2010 Emily Lapisardi Union Spy Elizabeth Van Lew

January 11, 2011: Round Table Discussion South Justified in Secession

February 8, 2011: Tom Tate Santa Anna's Spurs

March 8, 2011: Alan & Carla Messinger Native Americans in the Civil War

April 12, 2011: Edwin C. Bearss Chancellorsville

May 10, 2011: Joe Schaeffer Commander William B. Cushing, The Assault on the Albemarle

Newsletter contact: Linda Zeiber,


Name: _________________________________
Address: _________________________________
Phone: ________________E-mail:____________________

Membership payment of $20 is due by October 12, 2010.

The check should be made payable to The First Defenders CWRT and mailed to:
David Unger

307 Grant Avenue

Leesport, PA 19533

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