Continental Army General. Born in Clyduff, County Kings, Ireland, Hand attended Trinity College in Dublin and studied medicine. He accompanied the Eighteenth Royal Irish Regiment to the American frontier near present-day Pittsburgh as surgeon’s mate in 1774. By the end of the year, Hand completed his service and resigned. He settled in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, to practice medicine. In 1775 he accepted a commission in the Continental Army and commanded a brigade of the Light Infantry Corps. Hand was recognized for outstanding service at battles of Long Island, White Plains, Trenton, and Princeton. His right eye was injured in battle, and portraits of Hand show only his left profile. He was promoted to adjutant general in 1781 and served as chief administrative officer. He supervised a reorganization of the army despite the unwillingness of Congress and the states to adequately supply the troops. Hand and his staff prepared the “Regulations for the Service of the Siege” that led to Cornwallis’s surrender at Yorktown. He was brevetted major general September 30, 1783 and mustered out of the army November 3, 1783. Hand then returned to Lancaster. He was selected to represent Pennsylvania in the United States Congress in 1783 and 1784. He campaigned for Lancaster to become the first capital of the United States. Hand died of cholera at age 58.
Bio by: Iola