Count Hermann Von Hacke
1st Foot Guards, Prussian Army
Co. F, 7th New York
Co. F, 52nd New York
Hermann Von Hacke, also known as Hermann Bogislav Albert Wilhelm Eduard Heinrich, Count Von Hacke, was born on May 22, 1831 in Potsdam, Prussia to Count Albert Von Hacke and Luise Wilhelmine von Kummer.
He joined the 1st Regiment of Foot Guards, garrisoned in Potsdam, as a Second Lieutenant in about 1851. He married Anna Von Pusch of Schugsten at Koniegsburg on August 5, 1856. Together, they had two sons and a daughter. He was promoted to First Lieutenant in about 1859, and detached from his unit to the NCO school at Potsdam in 1861 and 1862. At some point he came to the US during the Civil War, where he was described as being a Prussian officer on furlough. He joined the 7th NY as the Second Lieutenant of Co. F in January 1863. On enlistment, he was described as having brown hair, brown eyes, a fair complexion and standing 5 feet 10 inches. He mustered out with the regiment on May 8, 1863 in New York City.
Von Hacke joined the 52nd NY as the First Lieutenant of Co. F in December 1863. Before then, he may have been waiting around for the reorganization of the 7th NY, which occurred from May to October 1863, when the attempt was discontinued. He would fight at the Wilderness, but was listed as killed in action on May 10, 1864, on the first day of Spotsylvania. An obituary printed in the New York Times on June 10, 1864 mentions that his comrade, fellow Prussian officer Baron Otto Von Steuben, First Lieutenant of Co. K, 52nd NY, had tried to get some last words from Von Hacke for his family, but that he had been speechless and soon died. Von Steuben was likewise described as a Prussian officer on furlough that had joined the 52nd in February 1864. He was also described as a relation to the General Von Steuben of the American Revolution.
The obituary, though elegant, was a bit overdone. In reality, Von Hacke had been wounded and captured on May 10. The confused nature of the fighting and retreat that day left a number of 52nd soldiers captured, with a few of them wounded. Von Hacke was sent to Libby Prison in Richmond where he died of his wounds on June 23, 1864. He was buried in Oakwood Cemetery, but was later moved to Richmond National Cemetery, where his grave is today.
Though Von Hacke was definitely a Count, Von Steuben was probably not a Baron. Von Hacke was always referred to as a Count in Prussian Army officer registers, and sometimes used Count in his US military records, the title of Baron never appeared in the same records for Karl Julius Otto Von Steuben. Born in Seeburg, Prussia, he served as a Lieutenant in the 1st and 41st Infantry Regiments and the 33rd Landwehr Battalion from 1853 to 1863. He enlisted in the 52nd on February 4, 1864 as a First Lieutenant. Though the Baron title may have been created by someone trying to link him to the American Revolution general, whether they were actually related is unknown. It is also unknown whether Von Steuben ever really knew what happened to Von Hacke. He was killed two days later at Spotsylvania during the assault on the Mule Shoe.
Anna filed for a pension in 1865 from the US Government, which was increased when it came to light that he had been commissioned Captain, but that it occurred after he had been captured. He was never mustered into the regiment as a captain and probably never even knew of his promotion. Remaining a widow, she continued to collect a pension until her death in 1901.
Hermann's obituary in the New York Times.
This photo of Count Hermann Von Hacke was taken by Charles D. Fredricks & Co., of 587 Broadway, NYC. It is labeled in pencil on the back as “1 Lt. Graf von Hacke, 7 Rgt NYV 1 German Regt”. Von Hacke has the rank of First Lieutenant in the photo, but the regimental numeral on his cap is too hard to read. He had not been a First Lieutenant in the 7th NY, so this may date from his time in the 52nd. It is possible the picture was taken during the reorganization of the 7th NY, with an expected rank of First Lieutenant upon its formation.
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