SVVEENY, Thomas William, Irish-Ameri can military officer: b. Cork, Ireland, 25 Dec. 1820; d. Astoria, L. L, 10 April 1892. He came to the United States in 1832 and settled in New York where after finishing his education, he was apprenticed to the printing business. He early identified himself with the military com panies of the city and at the breaking out of the Mexican War in 1846 became second lieu tenant in the First New York Volunteers, com manded by Col. Ward B. Burnett. Lieutenant Sweeny participated in all the battles of the campaign under Gen. Winfield Scott from the siege of Vera Cruz to the storming of Churu busco, where he was twice severely wounded, losing his right arm 20 Aug. 1847. On his re turn to New York, in 1848, he was given a re ception ball at Castle Garden and was presented a medal by the Corporation of New York. He was engaged in almost constant operations against the Yuma and other Indian tribes until the fall of 1853, when he was sent to New York on recruiting duty. In 1854 he was or dered to Fort Pierre, Nebraska Territory, where he took part in the Sioux campaign of 1855-56 as aide to Gen. William S. Harney. On 19 Jan. 1861 he was promoted captain, sec ond infantry, and soon after was sent to Saint Louis, Mo., by order of General Scott, and placed in command of the arsenal, which he saved by threatening to explode the 40 tons of Powder stored there in case the Secessionists attacked him. He was at the capture of Camp Jackson, where he was second in command of the Union forces and, owing to the disability of General Lyon, carried on the negotiations which brought about the surrender. He became bngadier-general of Missouri Volunteers in May 1861. Previous to the battle of Wilson's Creek, when General Lyon had expressed his intention to retreat, he prevailed upon Lyon to remain and give the enemy battle. In the subse quent battle he led the Second Kansas Regiment, and was severely wounded in the right leg. He
accepted the colonelcy of the 52d Illinois Volun teer Infantry in January 1862 and after the capture of Fort Donelson had charge of 5,000 prisoners of war. Toward the close of the first day of the battle of Shiloh, where he com manded a brigade, his command occupied a ravine, the defense of which was entrusted to him by General Sherman, who afterward said: °He held it, and I attach more importance to that event than to any of the hundred achieve ments which I have since heard 'saved the day." General Sweeny was commissioned brigadier-general of volunteers 29 Nov. 1862 and was engaged in protecting the Memphis and Charleston Railroad. He was promoted major 16th United States Infantry 20 Oct. 1863 and was present at the fighting at Iuka and the siege of Corinth. In the Atlanta campaign he commanded the second division, 16th Corps, Army of the Tennessee. He participated in the battle of Resaca and at Lay's Ferry forced a passage across the Oostenaula River and fought a battle that compelled Gen. Joseph E. Johnston to retreat with his army. He took part in the battles of Dallas and Kenesaw Mountain, the actions at Nickajack Creek, Ruff's Mills, Rome Cross Roads, Calhoun's Ferry and other engagements, and at the battle of Atlanta 22 July 1864 he repulsed the enemy with great slaughter, capturing four battle-flags and 900 prisoners. In 1866 he was engaged in the Fenian invasion of Canada. During this period he was out of the national service, but he was reinstated by the President and or dered to the Department of the South, where he was in command of the post of Augusta, Ga., and subsequently, that of Atlanta, Ga. General Sweeny was presented a sword by the city of Brooklyn in August 1862 for his serv ices in the Civil War. He was finally retired from active service 11 May 1870 with the full rank of brigadier-general, States Army. Consult 'Battles and Leaders of the Civil War.'