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Thomas William Sweeny Papers: Finding Aid
mssSW 1-862  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
This collection contains the personal and professional papers of Irish-born American soldier Thomas William Sweeny (1820-1892), including his personal and official correspondence, military records accumulated during his service in the Mexican War, tours in California and Nebraska Territory, and the Civil War, and diaries. There is also correspondence of his son historian William Montgomery Sweeny (1871-1945). Subjects include: the Mexican War of 1845-1848; Fort Yuma; Sioux expedition, Nebraska Territory (Fort Pierre, S.D.); Civil War: Southwest Missouri, Georgia, battles of Shiloh and Corinth; and Sweeny family genealogy.
Background
Irish-born American soldier and Fenian leader Thomas William Sweeny (1820-1892) was born in Cork County, Ireland, in 1820, son of William Sweeny and Honora (Sweeny) Sweeny, who emigrated with their family to the United States in 1832, settling in New York. During the Mexican War, Sweeny fought with the 1st New York volunteers, taking part in Winfield Scott's campaign, from the siege of Vera Cruz to the storming of Churubusco. He lost his right arm as the result of a wound received in the battle of Churubusco. From 1851 to 1853, he served at Fort Yuma, California, and then took part in the Sioux Expedition, 1855-1856, from Fort Pierre in Nebraska Territory (now South Dakota). At the beginning of the Civil War, Sweeny served under Nathaniel Lyon in Missouri. Following the surrender of the state forces at Camp Jackson, he was appointed brigadier-general of the three-months' Missouri volunteers and took part in Franz Sigel's expedition to Southwest Missouri. In August of 1861, he was put in command of the 52nd Regiment of Illinois Infantry which he led at Fort Donelson and Shiloh. Sweeny then commanded a brigade and a division in the Army of the Tennessee, taking part in the battles of Corinth, Kennesaw Mountain, and the Atlanta campaign. In August 1865, he was honorably discharged from volunteer service. In 1866 he took part in the failed Fenian invasion of Canada. He was reinstated in the Army in the fall of 1866. Sweeny retired from the army in 1870, with the rank of brigadier-general. After the retirement, he lived in Astoria, on New York's Long Island, until his death in 1892.
Extent
1,464 pieces in 13 boxes, 2 envelopes, and 1 folder
Restrictions
The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.
Availability
Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, contact Reader Services.