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General Edward Hand

Hand, Edward, was born December 31st, 1744, at Clydaff, King's County, Province of Leinster, Ireland. He died at his farm, "Rockford," near Lancaster, September 3d, 1802.

In 1767, he received the appointment of Surgeon's Mate, or Surgeon, to the 18th Royal Irish Regiment of foot, and sailed with that regiment from the Cove of Cork, May 20th, 1767, and arrived at Philadelphia, July 11th, He was Ensign in the same regiment, and the commission being dated 1772, it would seem that he purchased it in this country.

He went with the 18th to Fort Pitt, and returning to Philadelphia in 1774, he resigned his commission, and received a regular discharge from Ireland. In the same year he came to Lancaster, with recommendations, in order to practice his profession of Physic and Surgery. In 1775 he married. His first American commission bears date June 25th, 1775. He was on Prospect Hill, 20th August following. He left Lancaster, Lieutenant Colonel of the First Battalion of Pennsylvania Riflemen, famous for its exploits during the war. He rose to the rank of Adjutant General, still retaining that of Brigadier General.

He was the Adjutant General at the battle of Yorktown, and marched with the troops back to Philadelphia, where the Army was disbanded. After the war he resumed the practice of medicine.

In 1708 he was appointed Major General in the Provisional Army.

He assisted in accomplishing the independence of his adopted Country, with zeal, ability and fidelity, high in public esteem. As a physician venerated, in private life respected and beloved, he died lamented by all who knew him, especially by the poor, to whom he gave professional aid gratuitously; and when successive generations shall have passed away, his name and his fame shall survive in the history of his country's glory.

The subjoined letter from General Washington, the original of which is in the hands of General Hand's granddaughter, accords the highest mead of praise to the gallant subject of this notice:


Mount Vernon, January 14th, 1784.

Dear Sir: When I left Philadelphia, I hoped to have had the pleasure of seeing you at Annapolis, before my departure from thence, and to have had an opportunity (previous to my resignation) of expressing to you personally, amongst the last note of my official life, my entire approbation of your public conduct, particularly in the execution of the important duties of Adjutant General.

Notwithstanding I have been disappointed in that expectation, and have it now in my power-only as a private character-to make known my sentiments and feelings respecting my military friends; yet, I cannot decline making use of the first occasion, after my retirement of informing you, my dear sir, how much reason I have had to be satisfied with the great zeal, attention and ability manifested by you, in conducting the business of your Department; and how happy I should be in opportunities of demonstrating my sincere regard and esteem for you. It is unnecessary, I hope, to add with what pleasure I should see you at this place, being with great truth, my dear sir,

Your real friend and most ob't serv't,


The Hon'ble Gen'l HAND.

Source: An authentic history of Lancaster County, in the state of Pennsylvania; Lancaster, Pa.: J.E. Barr, 1869, 813 pgs.

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