I can think of only two contemporary graphic representations, both of them German, that show American soldiers in light infantry caps bearing the legend, CONGRESS. If there is any textual evidence for these caps I am not aware of it. If some reader of these exchanges knows of any perhaps he or she could inform us.
It doesn’t seem likely that these “Congress” caps belonged to the 2nd Canadian Regiment. There are two advertisements for deserters from the light company of that unit; one ran in the Pennsylvania Journal on 23 July 1777 and the other in the New York Packet on 30 July 1778. In either ad the deserter is described as wearing a light infantry cap with a ciphered “C.O.R.” (doubtlessly for Congress’s Own Regiment) painted on the front. One of the caps also bore the motto, PRO ARIS ET FOCIS above the cipher. The other cap presumably carried the motto as well, but it wasn’t included in the description.
There is a further complication in the form of a resolution of the Continental Congress dated 15 April 1777: “Whereas, the continental batallions are all on one footing, liable to the same kind of services, and entitled to equal privileges; Resolved, That the appellations, ‘Congress's own regiment,’ ‘General Washington's life guards,’ &c. given to some of them, are improper, and ought not to be kept up; and the officers of the said batallions are required to take notice hereof, and conform themselves accordingly.”
The resolution was forwarded to General Washington, who dutifully wrote back to the President that, in effect, he was shocked, shocked. As we have seen, nothing seems to have come of it.
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