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Civil War Soldiers - Sweeny

Sweeny, Thomas W., brigadier-general, U.S. Army, was born in Cork, Ireland, Dec. 25, 1820. He came to the United States in 1832, learned the printer's trade in New York city, and served in the 1st N. Y. infantry in the Mexican war, receiving a wound at the battle of Churubusco which made it necessary to amputate his right arm. On returning to New York he was brevetted captain and was presented with a silver medal by the city government. He was commissioned second lieutenant in the U. S. infantry March 3, 1848; promoted first lieutenant June 11, 1851; captain Jan. 19, 1861; major of the 16th infantry Oct. 20, 1863; unassigned March 15, 1869, and was retired as brigadier-general in the U. S. army May 11, 1870. After entering the regular army he was ordered to California, where for a time he was commandant at Fort Yuma, and afterward he distinguished himself in campaigns with the Indians. At the beginning of the Civil war he was placed in charge of the U. S. arsenal at St. Louis, Mo., which he saved by threatening to explode the 40 tons of gunpowder stored there in case the secessionists attacked him. He was second in command of the national troops at the surrender of the Missouri state forces at Camp Jackson, was commissioned a brigadier-general of volunteers on May 20, 1861, and at the battle of Wilson's creek he was severely wounded. After this he was given command of the 52nd Ill. infantry, was attached to Gen. Grant's army, took part in the capture of Fort Donelson, and at the battle of Shiloh successfully defended a gap in the line, for which Gen. Sherman afterward said: "I attach more importance to that event than to any of the hundred events that I have since heard saved the day." In Dec, 1862, he was given command of a division of the 16th army corps and was engaged in protecting the Memphis & Charleston railroad. In the Atlanta campaign he commanded the 2nd division, 16th corps, Army of the Tennessee, with which he took possession of Snake Creek gap 24 hours before the arrival of supporting cavalry and held it against several assaults. Subsequently he took part in the battle of Resaca, forced a passage across Oostanaula river and fought a successful battle. He also distinguished himself in the battles of Kennesaw mountain, and in the battle before Atlanta on July 22, 1864, his division repelled an assault and captured 4 Confederate flags and 900 prisoners. After the occupation of Atlanta he held the post of commandant at Nashville till July, 1865, and was mustered out of the volunteer service on Aug. 24 following. Gen. Sweeny was active in the Fenian invasion of Canada in 1866, during a virtual retirement from the army. After that event he was reinstated in the army and assigned to duty in the Southern military district. He was presented by the city of Brooklyn with a costly sword for his services during the Civil war. He died in Astoria, L. I., April 10, 1892.

Source: The Union Army: A History of Military Affairs in the Loyal States 1861-1865, Volume 8 Biographical, 1908

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