George Washington to Major General
William Alexander, Lord Stirling1
[Near Springfield, New Jersey] June 8 . States that “a detachment of three batalions under General Hand”2 will cooperate with the militia “to harass the enemy.” Asks him “to have the Militia put into some form and endeavour to ascertain their number” and then to “permit them to act in their own way.”
LS, in the handwriting of H, Park Collection, Morristown National Historical Park, Morristown, New Jersey.
1. Although Alexander was a native of North America, in 1755 he instituted legal proceedings to secure the title of Earl of Stirling, to which his father had been heir presumptive before leaving Scotland for America. He lost the suit, but he used the title and was generally known by it. He was commissioned a brigadier general in the Continental Army in 1776 and a major general in 1777.
2. Edward Hand, a native of Ireland, had served with the British forces in America from 1767 to 1774, when he resigned to practice medicine in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He had been a lieutenant colonel in a Pennsylvania rifle battalion as early as 1775, and when the letter printed above was written he was a brigadier general in the Continental Army.