SWIFT, EBEN (1854–1938). Eben Swift, United States Army officer and military historian, son of Capt. 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 Gen. 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 (see PERSHING, JOHN J.). 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.

Francis B. Heitman, Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army (2 vols., Washington: GPO, 1903; rpt., Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1965). Who Was Who in America, Vol. 1.

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, "SWIFT, EBEN," accessed April 24, 2019, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fsw16.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

Get this week's most popular Handbook of Texas articles delivered straight to your inbox