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Ackerman, Silas Ranney


Age: 0, credited to Orwell, VT
Unit(s): 23rd NY LARTY
Service: 23rd NY LARTY

See Legend for expansion of abbreviations


Birth: 01/02/1843, Whiting, VT
Death: 05/24/1921

Burial: Mountain View Cemetery, Orwell, VT
Marker/Plot: 90
Gravestone researcher/photographer: Alan Lathrop
Findagrave Memorial #: 46635187


Alias?: None noted
Pension?: Unknown
Portrait?: Unknown
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)

Remarks: None


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Mountain View Cemetery, Orwell, VT

Check the cemetery for location/directions and other veterans who may be buried there.


It must have been a stroke of good luck for Silas Ranney Ackerman to have been born in the Green Mountain State. It was either pure luck or a fortunate accident because he and his immediate family were really die-hard Yorkers at heart except for a few years when Silas' father jumped the fence and spent some time in Vermont. His father crossed over Lake Champlain for the love of a woman - actually, as it turned out, two women.

Abraham Ackerman (1805-1888), Silas' father, was born in Hague, New York. He grew up there, lived there most of his life and was buried there. He did wander on the New York side of the lake some, having lived as far south as Ticonderoga, New York along with his brother, Benjamin, around 1830 when he was twenty-five. Sometime between then and 1836, Abraham married a woman named Diana Gage from Sudbury, Vermont. The couple were living there when she died May 12, 1836. She was only twenty-four. During the next four years, Abraham married again to a woman from Springfield, Vermont. Her name was Melinda Damon (1805-1888). Their first son, Edmund T. Ackerman, was born in 1840 in Pittsford, Vermont even though his parents resided in Sudbury. In 1843, on January 2, Silas, the second son joined the family. He was born in Whiting, Vermont. James T. Ackerman was born in Hague, New York in 1844. On May 18 of 1844, Abraham's sister, Jane died in Hague which may explain why the third son, James, was not born in Vermont. Abraham and Melinda returned to their home in Pittsford, Vermont where their next two children were born: Diana, 1845 and Francis, 1848. By the time their last child, Jane, was born in 1851, Abraham had returned to Hague, New York with his second wife and all their children. Abraham never left Hague for the next thirty-seven years. [1]

According to the 1850 Federal Census, eight year old Silas was living in Hague, New York with his family. His father operated a farm to support of them all. [2] By 1855, twelve year old Silas was grown enough to be helping Abraham do the work on the farm along with his older brother, Edmund. [3]

When 1860 rolled around, Abraham was still farming a piece of land in Hague with his eighteen year old son, Silas. Edmund was gone from the household which Melinda maintained for the family. And Silas was about to answer the burn of the call to arms initiated by the firing on Fort Sumter in 1861.

Exactly when Silas enlisted in the army is uncertain. Three records showing his enlistment said it was on September 28, 1861. [4] One source said he enlisted on September 9, 1861. [5] I believe they are all correct. I think he signed the enlistment papers on September 9, 1861 but was not mustered-in until September 28, 1861. These two events often occurred at different times - sometimes weeks or even months apart. Enlistment always came first followed later by the official muster-in process when a volunteer was actually inducted into Uncle Sam's service and he started to get paid. As you will see a little later in the brief history of the 23rd Independent Battery, New York Light Artillery which Mr. Ackerman became a part of, was accepted into the U.S. service formally on September 28, 1861. To confuse the issue even more, Private Ackerman enlisted not just once, but twice into the same unit, but at different times. His first enlistment was either September 9 or 28, 1861 depending on which source you believe. His re-enlistment into the same battery occurred January 1, 1864 after receiving a discharge from the 23rd on December 31, 1863. His original period of service had been for three years commencing in the fall of 1861. In December of 1863, he had only served two-thirds of his initial time. Nothing in the official records explained why he was discharged early or why he re-enlisted immediately in the same outfit. But that was precisely what five feet five and one half inch tall, nineteen year old single farmer with grey eyes, brown hair and light complexion did. [6] Private Silas Ranney Ackerman was recruited in Hague, New York where he was living with his parents on a farm. Where his re-enlistment occurred was not specified in the records. [7]

The unit to which Private Ackerman devoted his time was originally known as Battery A, Rocket Battalion of Artillery. It was made up of men from Niagara, Essex and Warren Counties. It became the 23rd Battery on November 1, 1862 although its new designation wasn't official until February 11, 1863. The 23rd was organized at Albany, New York and mustered-in the United States service there on December 6, 1861 for three years. It left the State December 9, 1861 under the command of Capt. Alfred Ransom for Washington, D.C. to serve as part of the defenses around the capital. It was stationed at those defensive positions from December, 1861 to April, 1862. From April 23, 1862 to April 1, 1865, the Battery served at various stations with different divisions and corps throughout North Carolina. Between April, 1865 and July 14, 1865, the 23rd was with General Sherman's forces. July 14, 1865 at Fort Porter, Buffalo, New York, the battery was mustered-out of the service. Casualties suffered by the 23rd from disease and accident totaled forty-six enlisted men. [8]

In1865, Edmund and Silas had returned home, but Jane was gone from her parent's house. She made room for a new husband. Her sister, Diana, had married and she and her new husband lived with her parents in Hague. George, Diana's husband, was a carpenter by trade. [9] Silas and Edmund were veterans in their mid-twenties looking for their future.

Maybe it was Diana's getting married that prompted Silas consider following her example and find himself a bride. Somewhere around 1866-67, Silas chose a Miss Ellen M. Balcomb from Hague to be his first wife. The marriage would not last long. She was twenty-one when they married. She was born, raised, married and died in Hague. Silas and Ellen were not married long enough to start a family. She passed away on February 6, 1868 at Hague, only a few years after being wed to Silas. [10]

Within one year of his first wife's death, Silas married for the second time. His new wife was Addie Mary Rising (1850-1902) from Hague. She was living with her mother and father - Mary and Joel Rising when she married Silas in Hague, New York. She was nineteen years old when she married. [11] In 1870, she and Silas had set themselves up on a farm in Hague. Silas was twenty-seven. His farm's value was placed at $2,800 and his personal property amounted to another $880. [12] This was a tidy sum for a young man who only recently returned from war, married, was widowed and then remarried all within about five years time. Silas and Addie continued living in Hague as the next few years brought an increase in the size of their family. By 1875, two children had been born to Silas and Addie: Ellen in 1870 and Chauncey L. in 1871. At thirty-three, Silas farmed and twenty-four year old Addie kept house. [13] Before the 1880 Federal Census taker arrived, the Ackermans had added an additional family member to the household. This time not by birth but rather by adoption. Living with Silas and Addie was cousin Jane J. Chase, a dress maker who was thirty-five. [14] Whether she had anything to do with Silas and family moving across the Lake (Champlain) to Orwell, Vermont or not is unknown.

By 1890, Silas was reported residing in Orwell. [15] In 1900, Silas and Addie, now fifty-eight and fifty respectively, were caring only for Chauncey L. who was twenty-nine and still living with his parents. Silas was out of agriculture, having turned his energies to being a landlord instead. [16] Silas suffered the loss of his second wife of thirty-three years on June 21, 1902. Addie passed away in Orwell at the early age of fifty-two. [17]

Back in 1889, Silas had applied for and was granted a pension for his service in the army during the Civil War. He applied again for an increase of payments in 1907 which was also granted. [18] Silas was living in Hubbardton, Vermont in 1910 with his thirty-eight year old son, Chauncey L. Neither the father nor the son were listed in the census as being employed. Maybe Silas, or both of them, were surviving on whatever pension money was coming in plus any rental income from Silas' real estate holdings, if he still had any. [19]

When Silas was seventy-eight years old, he lived in Poultney, Vermont with his son-in-law, Merritt Bresee and his daughter, Ellen. He had a twenty year old grand-daughter, Hazel, by that time. Merritt was a merchant in the meat market business. Silas did not work. Chauncey was finally on his own somewhere, but not with his father. [20] Silas died on May 24, 1921 in Brandon, Vermont. Old age had finally caught up with Silas. The miles on him had added up to myocarditis, chronic interstitial nephritis and arteriosclerosis (kidney failure and hardening of the arteries that brought on a heart attack). [21] He had lived a long life.

1., Family Tree, Hagan/Ackerman/Irish, Judy Poirier, manager.
2. Ibid., 1850 U.S. Federal Census for Abraham Ackerman.
3. Ibid., New York State Census, 1855 for Silas R. Ackerman.
4. Ibid., 1890 Veterans Schedules for Silas R. Ackerman; Ibid., New York Civil War Muster Roll Abstracts, 1861-1900;, Ackerman, Silas R. : Organization Index to Pension Files of Veterans Who Served Between 1861-1900, image 5169086.
5. Ibid., New York, Town Clerk's Registers of Men Who Served in the Civil War, ca 1861-1865.
6. Ibid., New York, Civil War Muster Roll Abstracts, 1861-1900.
7. Ibid., New York, Town Clerk's Registers of Men Who Served in the Civil War, ca 1861-1865.
9., New York State Census, 1865 for Silas R. Ackerman.
10. Ibid., 1860 U.S. Federal Census for Ellen M. Balcomb; Ibid., 1865 New York State Census for Ellen Balcom;, Memorial #73099491 for Ellen M. Ackerman; Ibid., Family Tree, Grimes.
11. Ibid., New York State Census, 1865 for Addie Rising; Ibid., 1870 U.S. Federal Census for Ada Ackerman; Ibid., Vermont, Vital Records, 1720-1908 for Addie M. Ackerman; Ibid., Family Tree, Power.
12. Ibid., 1870 U.S. Federal Census for Silas Ackerman.
13. Ibid., New York State Census for Silas Ackerman.
14. Ibid., 1880 U.S. Federal Census for Silas R. Ackerman.
15., Family Trees (2) indicate Silas was living in Orwell, Vermont in 1890;, Family Trees, FamilieSR4EverFamily and Houck-Storry.
16., 1900 U.S. Federal Census for Silas R. Ackerman.
17. Ibid., Vermont, Vital Records, 1720-1908 for Addie M. Ackerman.
18., Ackerman, Silas R.: Organization Index to Pension Files of Veterans Who Served Between 1861-1900.
19., 1910 U.S. Federal Census for Gilas R. Ackerman.
20. Ibid., 1920 U.S. Federal Census for Silas Ackerman.
21. Ibid., Vermont, Death Records, 1909-2008 for Silas Ackerman
Courtesy of Bernie Noble.

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