The 2nd Kentucky Cavalry, Company D, was recreated in 1985 by Addison, Illinois resident and equestrian, Richard Hargreaves. Hargreaves, who now serves Company D as Captain and its Commanding Officer, has guided the unit in fellowship to its largest membership total yet. Together with his wife, Valarie, they have contributed not only to the cohesiveness of Company D, but are known in the Midwest for their living history activism.
Captain Hargreaves is ably assisted by his staff consisting of 2nd Lieutenant John Downey, Sergeants Lee Esarove and Norm Camp and Corporals Donnie Shepherd, Richard Montoya, Tim Getty and Enid Shepherd. By administering to preparations and to the needs of Company D in the field, they provide invaluable leadership to the unit through drill, training, and expertise. Their contributions of time and effort have succeeded in displaying an authentic presentation of battle procedures and camp life during the War Between the States.
Known as a mounted artillery unit for the horse-drawn mountain howitzer which is its centerpiece, Company D also boasts a section of both mounted and dismounted cavalry troopers. It is the dismounted troopers who serve on foot in an infantry capacity and gun support role during battle re-enactments. Standard weapons used by the troopers include pistols, carbines, and scatter guns.
The re-enactment events that are attended by the unit are generally at sites in Illinois and Indiana. They typically consist of both scripted and unscripted battle scenarios as the main attraction, but may also include educational presentations, demonstrations, commercial displays by Sutlers, refreshments, and music and dancing. Living historians representing both Union and Confederate sympathies remain on site from Friday until Sunday afternoon, usually dividing themselves into two encampments. For a portion of this time, the camps are open to the public for tours and the area is kept as authentic as possible, with no modern conveniences or contrivances in evidence.
The 2nd Kentucky Cavalry, Company D, is made up of families who gather together, not only to provide an authentic representation of American history, but also to enjoy themselves in doing it. Authenticity and military decorum in camp is stressed during the day while in view of the public, but regulations are relaxed during after hours. Modern attire and conveniences that are hidden away inside shelter tents during the day are allowed in the evening and every effort is made to maintain a friendly, family-oriented atmosphere. To that end, profane language and drunken behavior is not allowed. Several of these regulations were incorporate into General Order No. 5, which was issued 27 July 1863 (1998).