Robert L. Hart was born in November of 1845 in West Lebanon, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, the son of Pennsylvania natives John D. Hart (1818-1889) and Nancy Lowry (1823-1907).
By 1850 Robert was attending school with two of his younger siblings and living with his family on a large farm (his father owned $1100 worth of real estate) in Young Township, Indiana County, Pennsylvania; next door lived his uncle Robert Hart and his family. By 1860 Robert was attending school with three of his younger siblings and living with his family on a large farm (his father owned some $4800 worth of real estate) in West Lebanon, Young Township, Indiana County, Pennsylvania. Robert left Pennsylvania and moved westward, eventually settling in Detroit sometime before 1863.
He stood 5’8” with blue eyes, dark hair and a fair complexion, and was an 18-year-old laborer possibly living in Detroit when he enlisted in Company H on May 1, 1863, at Detroit for 3 years, and was mustered the same day.
Apparently Robert had originally enlisted in the 5th Michigan Infantry. According to a letter dated June 6, 1863, at Camp Sickles, Virginia, from First Lieutenant William H. Tillotson, recruiting officer for the 5th Michigan, to Lieutenant Colonel Smith, commanding the barracks at Detroit, Hart had the oath administered to him “just before the boat left for Cleveland, Ohio, but had no blanks to complete the enlistment.” Tillotson added that Hart “has been borne up on the rolls of the 3rd Michigan Infantry Vols.” Since he “preferred that Regt.” Most importantly, Tillotson reported that Hart was “entitled to State and [national] Government bounties and for transportation to Washington.”
Robert reported to the Regiment at Potomac Creek, Virginia, probably sometime in June of 1863. He was reported sick in the hospital in May of 1864 and was driving an ambulance when he was transferred to Company A, 5th Michigan Infantry upon consolidation of the 3rd and 5th Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864. He remained detached as an ambulance driver through April of 1865 and was a teamster in the Quartermaster department in May of 1865. Robert was mustered out probably on July 5, 1865, at Jeffersonville, Indiana.
Robert returned to his home in Pennsylvania after the war.
He married Pennsylvania native Martha Patterson (1847-1912), and they had at least one child: John (b. 1873).
By 1870 Robert was working as a farmer and living with his wife in West Lebanon, Young Township, Indiana County, Pennsylvania, and in 1880 he was working in a sawmill and living with his wife and son in West Lebanon. In 1890 he was living in Young, Indiana County, Pennsylvania and in 1900 and 1910 he was living with his wife Martha in Young, Pennsylvania.
Robert married Pennsylvania native Margaret Craig (1863-1921) on March 11, 1915 in Indiana County, Pennsylvania.
In 1920 Robert was working as a farmer and living with his wife Margaret in Young, Pennsylvania; also living with him was his son John.
By 1901 Robert was probably living in Iowa when he applied for and received a pension (no. 1120655).
Robert was a widower for a second time when died of heart disease on May 16, 1925, in West Lebanon, Pennsylvania. He was buried in West Union Cemetery, Armstrong Township.