Brigadier General Edward Hand

Hand, Edward. 1744-1802.

Edward Hand was born in Kings County, Ireland. Interested in pursuing a career in medicine, he went to Trinity College, in Dublin, to study to become a doctor. Hand wished to bypass the 5 year apprenticeship to become a doctor and joined the British army as a surgeons mate. He was sent to America and served mostly at Fort Pitt. Hand eventually sold his commission in 1774 and moved to Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

When the war began, Hand was made lieutenant colonel of a battalion of Pennsylvania riflemen which was sent to join the American army camped outside Boston. During a reorganization of the American army, Hand was promoted to colonel in command of the 1st Continental Regiment. He fought with the regiment until April 1777.

Hand was then promoted to brigadier general and sent to command the American forces at Fort Pitt. He spent the next 2 1/2 years fighting Loyalists and Indians in the west. In 1780, Hand was recalled from the west and given command of a brigade of light infantry in Lafayette's Division. He did not remain a brigade commander long, for in February 1781 he was appointed adjutant general of Washington's army.

Hand traveled with George Washington to Mount Vernon and then on to Williamsburg to begin preparations for the battle at Yorktown. As Adjutant General at Yorktown, he helped prepare the siege plans and kept track of all statistics, such as casualties. Hand served as Adjutant General until 1783. He was promoted to brevet major general shortly before resigning from the army in the autumn of that same year. He returned to Lancaster, PA, where he died of cholera on September 4, 1802.

Last updated: February 26, 2015

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