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When their nation called, these
men were the first to respond. . .
Following the capitulation of
Fort Sumter and in response to President Lincoln’s first call to arms in April,
1861, the men of the Ringgold Light Artillery, National Light Infantry, Washington
Artillery, Logan Guards, and Allen Infantry, departed their Pennsylvania homes
and families and marched into history as the First Defenders, for they were the
first volunteer troops to reach Washington after the start of America’s Civil
War. Despite this distinguished
achievement and regardless of their place in American history, little is known
and much less has been written about these men and the companies they
comprised. With First in Defense of the Union, Civil War historian John David
Hoptak fills this void in historiography and brings the story of the First
Defenders vividly to life by relying heavily upon the soldiers’ letters and
diaries to tell of their enlistment into service, their harrowing march through
Baltimore, their arrival in the nation’s capital, and their three month term of
service with the Federal forces.
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