- Paul David Nelson
Hand, Edward (31 December 1744–03 September 1802), medical doctor and revolutionary war soldier, was born in Clyduff, King’s County, Province of Leinster, Ireland, the son of John Hand, occupation unknown, and Dorothy (maiden name unknown). In the 1760s he enrolled in Trinity College, Dublin, and completed medical studies in 1766 with a good academic record. Thereupon he entered the British army as a surgeon’s mate and came to Philadelphia in 1767 with the Eighteenth Royal Irish Regiment of Foot. He was ordered to Fort Pitt in western Pennsylvania, and in 1772 he purchased an ensign’s commission with profits earned from land speculation. Two years later he sold his ensigncy, resigned from the army, and settled in Lancaster, Pennsylvania to practice medicine and surgery. In 1775 he married Catharine Ewing, with whom he had eight children over the next seventeen years. At the outbreak of the revolutionary war, Hand, an ardent Whig, joined his neighbors in resisting Britain. Offered a commission as a lieutenant colonel in the Continental army, he obeyed the “glorious summons” to arms and marched with Colonel William Thompson’s Pennsylvania Rifle Battalion to the siege of Boston. On 1 January 1776 he was appointed lieutenant colonel of the First Continental Infantry and two months later was chosen its colonel. With this regiment, he fought in the battle of Long Island and later, at Throg’s Neck delayed a British advance toward White Plains. He retreated with ...