Major General, United States Army
Swift of Texas
Appointed from Kentucky, Cadet, United States Miltiary Academy, 1 July 1872 (29)
Second Lieutenant, 14th U. S. Infantry, 15 June 1876
Transferred to the 5th U. S. Cavalry, 28 July 1876
Regimental Adjutant, 4 June 1878 to 9 March 1887
Captain, 11 December 1893
Major, 7th Illinois Infantry, 19 May 1898
Lieutenant Colonel, 9th Illinois Infantry, 7 July 1898
Colonel, 4th Illinois Infantry, 12 November 1898
Honorably mustered out of the volunteer serice, 2 May 1899
Major, Puerto Rico Regiment, 1 December 1899
Honorably mustered out of the volunteer service, 10 June 1901
Major, Puerto Rico Provisional Regiment, 1 July 1901
Major, 1st U.S. Cavalry, 24 January 1903
Eben Swift, United States Army officer and military historian, son of Captain Ebenezer and Sarah Edwards (Capers) Swift, was born on May 11, 1854, at Fort Chadbourne, Texas, where his father, an Army Surgeon, was stationed. He studied at Racine College in Wisconsin, Washington University, and Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1876.
His first active-duty assignment was on the Indian frontiers of Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, Idaho, and Colorado, against Sioux, Cheyenne, Barrock, and Ute Indians.
On May 18, 1880, he married Susan Bonaparte Palmer, the daughter of General Innis N. Palmer. The couple had five children.
During the Spanish-American War, Swift was appointed Major and later Lieutenant Colonel and in 1899 was in charge of preparing a district of 300,000 inhabitants at Humacao, Puerto Rico, for civil government. He did valuable relief work after a hurricane that killed 2,600 people and destroyed $100 million worth of property.
Swift was in the campaign against the Moros in the Philippines and commanded the Second Cavalry in the punitive expedition in Mexico in 1916. He was made commander of a cavalry division at El Paso in 1916 and commander of Camp Gordon, Atlanta, Georgia, in 1917.
He organized and commanded the Eighty-second Division in World War I and was chief of the American Military Mission and Commander of United States forces in Italy until his retirement on May 11, 1918.
At retirement he held the rank of major general.
Swift was the author of numerous military history books. He died on April
25, 1938, in Washington, D.C. Camp Swift, in Bastrop, Texas, was named
in his honor during World War II.
WASHINGTON, April 25, 1938 – Major General Eben Swift, retired, veteran of Indian campaigns and an active officer from 1876 until 1918 died here today in his apartment at Stoneleigh Court. He would have celebrated his eighty-fourth birthday anniversary on May 11.
After his graduated from the Military Academy at West Point in 1876, General Swift spent several years with units completing the conquest and pacification of Indians in the West, and by the time the Spanish-American War broke out he was a seasoned officer.
In the early years of this century General Swift’s assignments included work as director of the Army War College and as an observer in Manchuria of the Russo-Japanese War. He was a Brigadier General when the United States entered the World War, but reached the statutory retirement age on May 11, 1918. He served, however, until September of that year. In 1919-20 he was recalled to temporary duty as a lecturer on tactics. General Swift wrote many papers on military affairs.
Surviving are a son, Colonel Innis P. Swift, and two daughters who are married to Army Captains, being the wives of Lieutenant Colonel Carl F. McKinney and Brigadier General Evan H. Humphrey.
SWIFT, SUSAN PALMER W/O EBEN
Posted: 4 February 2006 Updated: 20 September 2006 Updated: 24 December 2007