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Union and West End Cemetery
Allentown, Pennsylvania


FIRST DEFENDERS

Allen Infantry - First Defenders

On Monday, April 15, 1861, after the Confederate States Army attacked Fort Sumter in the Charleston Harbor, Charleston, South Carolina, President Abraham Lincoln issued a call for 75,000 men to defend the capital in Washington D. C. The Allen Infantry, a militia unit from Allentown, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania was among the first five Pennsylvania companies (all former local militia units) to answer the call for troops to protect the Capital from attack by Confederate forces.

The five companies that were to become known as the "First Defenders" are as follows:

Ringgold Light Artillery - Capt. M'Knight, Reading
Logan Guards - Capt. Selheimer, Lewiston
Washington Artillery - Capt. Wren, Pottsville
National Light Infantry - Capt. M'Donald, Pottsville
Allen Infantry - Capt. Yeager, Allentown

The Allen Infantry of Allentown was organized in Allentown, Pennsylvania in 1859 under the command of Captain Thomas Yeager and drilled at 716 Hamilton Street in Allentown.

Recruited at Allentown
Mustered in on April 18, 1861, at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Allen Infantry (First Defenders)




Captain Thomas Yeagher
First lieutenant James M. Wilson
Second Lieutenant Joseph T. Wilt
First Sergeant
Second Sergeant Solomon Goeble
First Corporal William Wolf
Second Corporal John E. Webster
Third Corporal Ignatz Gresser
Fourth Corporal Daniel Kramer
Private Norman H. Cole
Private Charles Deitrich 
Private Henry Wilson Derr
Private Milton H. Dunlap
Private William Early
Private Gideon Frederick
Private Mattgew R. Fuller
Private William G. Frame
Private Edwin Gross
Private James Geider
Private George F. Henry
Private John Houck
Private Nathaniel Hillegass
Private Joseph Hettinger
Private George Hoxworth
Private Edwin M. Hittle
Private David Jacob
Private William Kress
Private George W. Keiper
Private Martin W. Leisenging
Private Franklin Leh
Private Edwin H. Miller
Private Henry M'Nulty
Private Charles A. Pfeffer
Private Jonathan W. Reber
Private William Rhue
Private Ernst Rothman 
Private George W. Rhoads
Private John Romig
Private Samuel Schneck
Private Henry Storch
Private Charles A. Shiffert
Private M. H. Sigman
Private Lewis G. Seip
Private Adolphus Sheidler
Private Enville Sheidler
Private John E. Uhler
Private Allen Wetherhold
Private David Weiss
Private William Wagner
Private Joseph Weiss
Private Berneville Weegandt

The Allen Infantry, along with the four other Pennsylvania Militia units, arrived in Baltimore, Maryland where the five companies had to change trains for Washington. During the march from one station to another, they were attacked by a mob of Southern sympathizers. Ultimately arriving in Washington, these five companies were the first troops to position themselves on the banks of the Potomac in defense of the country.

The men of the Allen Infantry were assigned, belatedly, to Company G of the Twenty-fifth Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Regiment.

The men of Company G, Twenty-fifth Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Regiment were mustered out on 26 July 1861, and those that were a part of the original Allen Infantry returned to Allentown to a city-wide celebration.

Medal presented to First Defenders
By the State of Pennsylvania
Act of the Legislature
dated May 26, 1891




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