Colonel Moses Hazen’s 2nd Canadian Regiment was one of the first “national” regiments in the American army. Created by the Continental Congress, it drew members from Canada, eleven states, and foreign forces. “Congress’s Own” was among the most culturally, ethnically, and regionally diverse of the Continental Army’s regiments—a distinction that makes it an apt reflection of the union that was struggling to create a nation.
The 2nd Canadian, like the larger army, represented and pushed the transition from a colonial, continental alliance to a national association. The problems the regiment raised and encountered underscored the complications of managing a confederation of states and troops.
In this enterprising study of an intriguing and at times “infernal” regiment, Holly A. Mayer marshals personal and official accounts—from the letters and journals of Continentals and congressmen to the pension applications of veterans and their widows—to reveal what the personal passions, hardships, and accommodations of the 2nd Canadian can tell us about the greater military and civil dynamics of the American Revolution. Congress’s Own follows congressmen, commanders, and soldiers through the Revolutionary War as the regiment’s story shifts from tents and trenches to the halls of power and back.
Interweaving insights from borderlands and community studies with military history, Mayer tracks key battles and traces debates that raged within the Revolution’s military and political borderlands wherein subjects became rebels, soldiers, and citizens. Her book offers fresh, vivid accounts of the Revolution that disclose how “Congress’s Own” regiment embodied the dreams, diversity, and divisions within and between the Continental Army, Congress, and the emergent union of states during the War for American Independence.