Edward Harland was born in Norwich, Connecticut, on June 24, 1832, the grandson of an English watchmaker who came to America in 1773. After preparing for college in the local schools, he entered Yale and was graduated in 1853. He then studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1855. On May 11, 1861, he was mustered into Federal service as captain of Company D, 3rd Connecticut Volunteers, a ninety-day regiment which distinguished itself on the field of First Manassas (Bull Run). In September, Harland became colonel of the 8th Connecticut, which he led during Ambrose E. Burnside's expedition to North Carolina in the spring of 1862. At the battle of Sharpsburg that autumn Harland commanded a brigade of Isaac P. Rodman's division of Burnside's IX Corps, which was heavily engaged in the assault on the celebrated bridge over Antietam Creek. After the battle of Fredericksburg, where its losses were nominal, the brigade was transferred to southeast Virginia, and Harland was commissioned a brigadier general on April 4, 1863, to rank from the preceding November 29. From that time until the close of the war he commanded various districts and subdistricts in the Department of North Carolina. He resigned in June, 1865, to live in his native village of Norwich, practicing law and serving in both houses of the state legislature, as probate judge of the Norwich district, as adjutant general of Connecticut, and as a member of the state board of pardons. In 1890 he became president of the Chelsea Savings Bank, of which he had been elected a director in 1875. General Harland never married. He died in Norwich on March 9, 1915, and was buried in Yantic Cemetery.
Reference: Generals in Blue. Lives of the Union Commanders by Ezra J. Warner. Louisiana State University Press. Baton Rouge.