Hack, Henry Eugene
Age: 19, credited to Orwell, VT
Unit(s): 14th VT INF
Service: enl 8/29/62, m/i 10/21/62, Pvt, Co. D, 14th VT INF, m/o 7/30/63
See Legend for expansion of abbreviationsVITALS
Birth: 1843, Orwell, VT
Burial: Mountain View Cemetery, Orwell, VT
Marker/Plot: Not recorded
Gravestone researcher/photographer: Alan Lathrop
Findagrave Memorial #: 46583675
Alias?: None noted
College?: Not Found
Veterans Home?: Not Found
(If there are state digraphs above, this soldier spent some time in a state or national soldiers' home in that state after the war)
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Mountain View Cemetery, Orwell, VT
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BiographyHenry Eugene Hack came from a solid, middle class rural family who worked hard all of their lives. Henry's civilian and military life mimicked that universal, common existence.
Most sources stated he was born on October 3, 1843 in Orwell, Vermont.  But his headstone pro claims September 30, 1843 to be his date of birth.  So we can safely assert that Henry was born in the fall of 1843. Less controversial is the identity of his parents. His father was Chester Bradeley Hack, CB for short (1814-1907) , and his mother was Julia Root (1817-1902). 
Henry's siblings may have numbered as high as six, depending on the sources examined. Most listed Orpha J. (1838); Therman R. (1841-1853); Helen Ellie or Eliza (1848); William C. (1853); and Mervin or Marvin (1859). His brother Therman R. died when he was only twelve in 1853. One source listed another son named Rollin or Rollen T. born in 1856.  This sibling only showed up on the 1860 census and not on any other listing from in any other sources.
In 1850, Henry and three of his siblings, Orpha, Thurman and Helen, were living in Orwell with their parents. Grandma Hopeful lived with the family. CB had a saddlery business he ran for a living. CB had two employees staying with him and his family as well. Westley King (17)and Thomas Mahan (64) were both saddlers also. A third young man, Stephen Hack (19) lived in the household. He was a farmer.  He was also the son of CB's brother, Joseph, Jr. 
By the next Federal Census in 1860, Henry had three more siblings: William, 1853; Rollin T., 1856; and Marvin, 1859. CB had changed jobs from dealing in horse equipment to being a farmer. He seemed to have done quite well, since the Orwell farm was valued at $7,500. CB's personal property totaled an additional $2,740.  For a small rural farmer, CB was doing very well for himself and his family. Seventeen year old Henry must have enjoyed the economic status, not to mention the social prestige, of being the son of a successful agricultural specialist. But the comforts of an upper middle class life style could not neutralize the allure of adventure or the seductiveness of a uniform and the sound of martial music. At the innocent age of nineteen, Henry pledged his life and his fortune to the Union and headed for the "killing fields".
August 29, 1862 Henry stepped up in front of the recruiter and signed his name to the declaration. He was assigned to Company D, Fourteenth Vermont Infantry. He stood five feet eight inches tall. His complexion was dark which went well with his blue eyes and brown hair. The nineteen year old came from Orwell where he was a farmer, but was credited to the neighboring town of Shoreham. The Fourteenth was a nine months unit.  It wasn't until the twenty-first of the following October that his company was mustered-in at Brattleboro along with the rest of the regiment. 
The Fourteenth Vermont only existed for a short time (they were "Nine Months" men), but they saw hard service during their term of enlistment. At first, the Regiment was attached to those units making up the defenses around Washington, D.C. After December 11, 1862, the Fourteenth was placed on guard duty in and around Fairfax Court House where it was engaged in the repulse of Jeb Stuart's cavalry raid. From March to June, 1863, the Vermonters were stationed at Wolf Run Shoals along with other Vermont troops to guard the vital river ford on the Occoquan River. On the 25th of June, the Fourteenth was attached to the Third Division of the First Corps and began its march northward towards Gettysburg. It was a grueling march sometimes covering twenty miles a day for consecutive days at a time. Over two hundred of the Regiment were forced to drop out before every reaching Gettysburg because they could not keep up the pace. Private Henry E. Hack was one of those. He ended up in the General Hospital at Frederick, Maryland sick on June 29, 1863.The Fourteenth arrived at Gettysburg too late to take part in the first day's action. It bivouacked in a wheat field to the left of Cemetery Ridge. Late on the second day, the Regiment was called into action to help the Thirteenth Vermont repel an attack by General A.P. Hill on the left center of the Union line. After the tremendous opening cannonade of July 3, during which several men of the Fourteenth were killed by an explosion of a battery caisson, the left flank of Pickett's long grey line could be seen advancing towards the concealed Vermonters. At less than one hundred yards distance from the enemy, the men of the Fourteenth rose at command and delivered a devastating volley into the Confederate columns. The Thirteenth and Sixteenth changed fronts and added their fire to that of the Fourteenth. The result was that Pickett's right wing was caught and crushed. After the main charge was halted and Pickett's divisions were streaming back towards Seminary Ridge, four companies of the Fourteenth, A, F, D, and I, captured most of Confederate General Wilcox's Brigade as prisoners. This independent action taken by the Vermont troops was credited by the Union high command as being crucial to the turning of Pickett's Charge. The Fourteenth was also part of the Union's pursuit of Lee's forces following the three day battle. It was during this pursuit that, on July 18, 1863, the Fourteenth was released and sent home. The Fourteenth was mustered-out on July 30, 1863. Private Hack missed all of this action while he was confined to the General Hospital in Maryland. But he had recovered well enough to be discharged with the rest of the Regiment July 30, 1863.
It was not clear in the public record whether Henry went back to the family farm or not after his military service terminated. By 1868, however, it was clear that he had found love with a local woman named Mary F. Thomas (born November 30, 1846 in Orwell). Both of them were life-long residents of Orwell. They became husband and wife on October 20, 1868 in Orwell.  In 1870, Henry became a father to his first born son, Thomas Henry (b. October 24 in Orwell). A daughter was born to the couple on August 25, 1877. Her name was Charlotte Ella "Lottie". 
By the next decade, Henry, 35, and Mary, 33, were living in Orwell on a farm of their own. Eight year old Thomas and three year old Lottie enjoyed the fruits of their father's labors. Henry was doing well enough to afford a servant girl - Winnie Rayan aged twenty-six. He also had a hired man named Alva McCallister, thirty-three, who lived in the household with the rest of the family.  Another son was born in 1882 in Orwell to the Hack clan. Henry and Mary named him Fred Julius (Julius was Mary's father's name). That addition was followed on June 19, 1889 with the arrival of another daughter, Mary S.  Around May 18, 1889, Henry applied for a government pension which he was granted.  Then, in 1890, an all too common tragedy struck the Hack family. On August 11 of that year, Henry's youngest son, Fred, died. 
The turn of the century looked pretty good for the Henry and family when it began. He and Mary celebrated thirty-one years of marriage together. Lottie, twenty-two, and Mary S., fifteen, lived at home with their parents. Henry at fifty-six was a success at farming while Mary, fifty-three maintained an efficient household. Even though Mary S. attended school, Henry and Mary had hired a "private" teacher who lived with them in the home. She was twenty-nine year old Maude Severance. Sixty-four year old hired man, Peter Daniels, also lived under the same roof as all the others. Mary's brother, George, lived next door on his farm with a wife and son. Winnie Regan, mentioned as a servant in Henry's household earlier, was now performing the same duties but for George Thomas instead.  However, the decade could have been called the "decade of death" for the Hack family. Mary, who had lost her father on January 25, 1887, also lost her mother, Mary Ann Hull on September 10, 1900 in Orwell. In 1902, Henry's mother, Julia Root, died on August 3. Five years later, the angel of death visited once more when Henry lost his father, Chester Bradley Hack, on the 15th of October. 
Henry was sixty-six in 1910. Mary was sixty-three. They owned the house and farm free and clear of any liens or mortgages and survived on Henry's income. Son-in-law Charlis C. Allen and their daughter, Charlotte, now headed up the household. Charles operated the farm and probably owned it or soon would. Henry apparently had retired from active farming. Charlotte and Charles had no children at the time. They had been married on September 5, 1906.  In 1920, Henry and Mary were living alone on No State Road in Orwell on the farm they owned.  Henry and Mary lived on Henry's income even though he only had his government pension unless his son-in-law was making payments to him for the farm he operated.
Early in 1921, on April 18 to be precise, Henry passed away in Orwell. Cause of death was listed as acute delatation of heart; chronic meyocarditis; failing campensations mephritis. Translated into every day English, he died from heart failure and kidney failure.  Mary continued to live on the farm in Orwell for the next three years. She died on December 30, 1923 of fatty degeneration of heart and acute bronchitis. Mary Thomas Hack was a seventy-seven year old widow. 
Thirteen years before Mary died, she had made out her last will and testament. She had stipulated three things in it: "...First, ...my debts and funeral expenses be paid....Second, I give...to my husband...all my property...real and personal....upon his death all of said property...to my son Thomas H. Hack, and my daughters Lottie E. Allen and Mary Hack share and share alike...." The "Third" condition appointed Henry her executor, but, of course, he predeceased her so the probate court had to appoint an executrix.  The man chosen was a lawyer, Davis L. Wells, from Orwell who was approved by the heirs in January of 1924.  Mary had sold her real estate interest (house and outbuildings and farm land) to her son, Thomas, prior to her death in 1923. Her estate, as lawyer Wells stipulated in a letter addressed to the court on February 1, 1924, consisted of "...securities and cash" only.  Apparently Mary had held the mortgage on the property, so Thomas had to pay it off upon her death. It amounted to $3,500. Mary's other liquid assets added up to $983.30. Therefore, her total estate value was $4,483.30. Mary's final expenses amounted to $302.35, leaving an inheritance of $4,283.69 to be divided equally three ways.  Each of the children got $1,383.31 by order of Judge Charles I. Button, Probate Court of Addison County.  Not a fortune even in nineteenth century terms, but a substantial amount. A fitting legacy for a man who was moderate in all things.
1. Ancestry.com, Vermont, Death Records, 1909-2008 for Henry E. Hack.
2. www.findagrave.com, Memorial #46583675 for Henry E. Hack.
3. Ancestry.com, Vermont, Vital Records, 1720-1908, Marriage Certificate for Henry E. Hack.
4. Ibid., Hack Family Tree for Henry Hack; Ibid.,1850 and 1860 U.S. Federal Census for Chester B. Hack and Henry Hack.
5. Ibid., 1850 U.S. Federal Census for Henry Hack.
6. www.findagrave.com, Memorial #149923605 for Joseph Hack, Jr.; Ancestry.com, Madden/Zlotnick Family Tree for Joseph Hack.
7. Ancestry.com, 1860 U.S. Federal Census for Henry E. Hack.
8. Fold3.com, Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Vermont, p. 3, image 312196929. Hereinafter referred to as Compiled Service Records....
9. Fold3.com, Compiled Service Records..., p. 4, image 312196932.
10. Ancestry.com, U.S., American Civil War Regiments, 1861-1866, 14th Infantry Regiment Vermont.
11. Ibid., North America, in Family Histories, 1500-2000 for Henry Hack.
12. Ibid., Roland Family Tree for Henry Eugene Hack and Mary F. Thomas.
13. Ibid., 1880 U.S. Federal Census for Henry Hack.
14. Ibid., Roland Family Tree for Mary F. Thomas and Henry Eugene Hack.
15. Fold3.com, Hack, Henry E.: Organization Index to Pension Files of Veterans Who Served Between 1861 and 1900.
16. Ancestry.com, Roland Family Tree for Mary F. Thomas and Henry Eugene Hack.
17. Ibid., 1900 U.S. Federal Census for Henry E. Hack.
18. Ibid., Roland Family Tree for Mary F. Thomas and Henry Eugene Hack.
19. Ibid., 1910 U.S. Federal Census for Henry E. Hack.
20. Ibid., 1920 U.S. Federal Census for Henry E. Hack.
21. Ibid., Vermont, Vital Records, 1909-2008 for Henry E. Hack; Ibid., Roland
Family Tree for Mary F. Thomas and Henry Eugene Hack.
22. Ibid., Vermont, Vital Records, 1909-2008 for Mary Thomas Hack.
23. Ibid., Vermont, Wills and Probate Records, 1749-1999 for Mary Thomas Hack, Last Will and Testament of Mary Thomas Hack dated 17 Aug., 1910. Hereinafter referred to as Probate Records....
24. Ibid., Probate Records..., Petition to Addison Probate Court dated 14 Jan., 1924.
25. Ibid., Probate Records..., letter from Wells to Hon. Chas I. Button dated Feb. 1, 1924.
26. Ibid., Probate Records..., Administrator's account dated 28th day of Oct., 1924.
27. Ibid., Probate Records..., Estate Decree dated April 28, 1924 written by Charles I. Button, Judge on graph paper.
Courtesy of Bernie Noble