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Object of the Month

Our object of the month for March is a Drummers Bearskin ‘Mitre’ Cap from the period 1768 to 1800 and was the headdress used by a drummer of the 62nd Regiment.  On the reverse is a badge with a drum and the number 62 stamped on it. The cap was purchased at auction in April 1999 with the assistance of the Victoria and Albert Museum Purchase Grant Scheme.  

During this time the 62nd Regiment was involved in the American War of Independence. The regiment was still in Ireland when fighting broke out near Boston between the Colonists and British troops and an American force set out to conquer Canada in 1775. The 62nd sailed for Quebec the following year. The Regiment acted as Light Infantry and were involved in the advance from Canada into the rebel New England colonies under General Burgoyne. They won great praise for their steadfastness and fortitude in a number of actions. At the battle of Freeman's Farm in the Saratoga campaign of 1777 the losses were so heavy that at the end only five officers and 60 men of the 62nd were fit for duty.  The lack of reinforcements and supplies eventually caused General Burgoyne to surrender and the remaining members of the 62nd were taken prisoner. By 1780 most of the officers had been exchanged and were back home but few of the men ever saw England again.