Robert L. Hart was born in 1845 in West Lebanon, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, the son of John D. (b. 1802) and Nancy (Lowry).
Pennsylvania natives John and Nancy were presumably married in Pennsylvania. 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 Fifth Michigan infantry.
According to a letter dated June 6, 1863, at Camp Sickles, Virginia, from First Lieutenant William H. Tillotson, recruiting officer for the Fifth 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 and have been unable to procure them until this day. This must by [sic] my excuse for sending them at this late date.” In any case, Tillotson went on to inform Colonel Smith that Hart “has been borne up on the rolls of the 3rd Michigan Infantry Vols. he having preferred that Regt. He is entitled to State and [national] Government bounties and for transportation to Washington.”
In any case, Robert eventually 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, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth 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.
It is not known if Robert returned to Michigan after the war.
He was married to Pennsylvania native Martha Patterson (b. 1848), 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. By 1901 Robert was probably living in Iowa when he applied for and received a pension (no. 1120655).
Robert was possibly married a second time to Illinois native Jennie (b. 1853).
By 1920 Robert was probably living in Knox Township, Pottawattamie County, Iowa in 1920.
Robert died on May 15, 1925, in West Lebanon, Pennsylvania.