Join the Cavalry!
Updated November 2015
We're an all-volunteer reenacting group incorporated by the consent of our membership. Most of our members live in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. We encompass a wide variety of civilian and military professions. We're united by our interest in history, particularly U.S. Civil War history, and our great respect for the horse's historic role in warfare. We welcome both experienced reenactors and newcomers interested in our hobby.
Below is some basic information about our unit, followed by a brief overview of how to join.
Some of our defining qualities:
We represent two of the most active cavalry regiments in the Civil War. Our primary impression is of Company A, 2nd U.S. Cavalry Regiment. The 2nd U.S. saw action in all major campaigns from First Manassas (Bull Run) through the Valley Campaigns in 1864. We also represent Company D, 9th Cavalry Regiment, Virginia, that was active in every major Confederate campaign from 1862 through Appomattox. Both units were a credit to their armies.
We strive to create an accurate impression. Our uniforms and equipment are correct reproductions, and we endeavor to keep modern intrusions out of our camp. We practice and use Poinsett's Cavalry Tactics, the standard at the time, for mounted, dismounted and manual of arms drill. One of our unit members even took considerable time and effort to write a straightforward translation of Poinsett's, Poinsett's for Reenactors, so that our 21st century minds could more easily comprehend it's 19th century instructional language.
We are safe. We pride ourselves at not acting like hot dogs, both on and off the field.
We allow women in the ranks. We need good riders committed to our goals of honoring United States Cavalry Troopers and find that some women fit the bill. We ask that they succeed at a reasonable and practical disguise of their gender.
We maintain a light hearted, cooperative, supportive, and committed atmosphere.
WE KICK BUTT! We're tactically successful on the field and have earned the trust of the National Park Service because we adhere to the manual, take careful risks, get where we're going on time, meet our commander's expectations, and act professionally. All Others Beware!
What we expect of our members:
We want you to enjoy this hobby so much that like us, you look forward to devoting occasional weekends to driving long distances with your horse, sleeping in a canvas tent in all weather and temperature extremes, pulling picket duty in the wee hours of the morning, and enjoying the thrill of charging against a line of Confederate Cavalry, Infantry or Artillery, your filemates galloping at your side.
In the spirit of unit cohesion, team cooperation, and an awesome impression on the field, we ask that you enjoy this activity with us in accordance with our principles. As a combatant member, you'll be expected to ride in our ranks in the uniform and equipment of the 2nd U.S. Cavalry and in a safe, competent manner that's in keeping with our impression. We also ask that you pitch in with routine tasks, to include mess duty and nighttime picket duty.
We also request that you cooperate with our field leadership in a professional manner. We're volunteers, not a modern Army unit. As such, we consent to following our elected leader's requests rather than following an appointed superior's orders. However we ask that you respect our leaders' requests both on the field and in camp, remembering that they've been with the unit many years, know the ropes and are acting in the best interest of everyone as a whole.
Communication between members:
Our unit doesn't maintain a physical location. We come together for events and our yearly business meeting. We prefer to discuss business at events or our annual meeting, but because of distance and individual obligations it's not always possible to bring all the membership together at once. To keep our activities synched and our members abreast of goings-on, we rely on modern technology.
When necessary, we have email discussions and sometimes vote electronically on particular issues. Depending on the topic, business is led by corporate and/or field leaders and discussions are open to all members.
We also designate, for each event, a member to take charge of unit planning and logistics. This member sends out an email "Roll Call" in advance of the event to determine who will attend, and is responsible to coordinate logistics and submit registration fees.
Finally, the Members page on this website allows us to download unit forms and find other member-specific information.
For both the unit and the public, we maintain Facebook and Flickr pages to publish After Action Reports and photos.
Attaining a field leadership position:
Some of our unit members have been nominated for and voted into a field leadership position. These persons devote the hours (and sometimes the aggravation) required to help lead the unit and ensure we enjoy events in which we participate. If you'd like to become a field leader we welcome your enthusiasm for the hobby. These are some things to keep in mind as you contemplate this role:
We don't take new members as officers or NCOs. We have only two officer positions, Captain and Lieutenant, and three NCO positions, a Sergeant and two Corporals. These positions are elected annually at our cooperate meetings. Our leadership is developed through time and experience in the ranks. They've usually been with the unit for many years, and officers have worked their way though the NCO ranks before being voted as an officer. All our leaders have spent many years in the hobby gaining the trust and confidence of our members who nominate and vote for them.
Leading a group of volunteers in a military hobby is vastly different than commanding within a modern military organization. For those with prior military experience you may be frustrated - or pleasantly surprised - by some of the differences. For those without military experience, it's necessary to learn a "military" way of doing things to maintain a correct impression. However there is no advantage to having prior military experience and some of our best leaders, past and present, have never been directly affiliated with the modern military.
How to join:
If you've seen us in action, or are looking at this website and are interested in what you see, contact us for more information. Our company leadership will help you get a good feel for our group and invite you to come see us in the field so you can see for yourself who we are and what we do. At this point, you don't need to wear a uniform or bring your horse. Just come and see what we're all about, and have dinner with us in camp.
The next step is to ride with us as a guest. Since we don't expect you to be fully equipped at this point, we can usually loan out an extra set of gear.
After a couple of events, if you're still interested you can request to become a probationary member. You'll serve a period of one year and be expected to attend a minimum number of events. This is to ensure that you're a good fit for this unit, and that this unit is a good fit for you.
Once the probationary period ends, you can request to become a full member. New members are voted into the unit during our annual business meeting that's held in January or February.
Thanks for visiting our website, and we look forward to your visit in camp!