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Inventory of the Thomas William Sweeny Papers, 1830-1944 (bulk 1846-1892)
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Subject Matter
  • Persons represented by 5 or more items
  • Some interesting or important items
  • Addendum
  • Bibliography (in HEH Library)

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Thomas William Sweeny Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1830-1944 (bulk 1846-1892)
    Creator: Sweeny, Thomas William
    Extent: 1464 pieces
    Repository: The Huntington Library
    San Marino, California 91108
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    The papers were purchased from Mrs. Thomas W. Sweeny in 1956 and 1958.


    Collection is open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information please go to following URL .

    Publication Rights

    In order to quote from, publish, or reproduce any of the manuscripts or visual materials, researchers must obtain formal permission from the office of the Library Director. In most instances, permission is given by the Huntington as owner of the physical property rights only, and researchers must also obtain permission from the holder of the literary rights. In some instances, the Huntington owns the literary rights, as well as the physical property rights. Researchers may contact the appropriate curator for further information.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Thomas William Sweeny Papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.


    Thomas William Sweeny was born in Cork County, Ireland in 1820, son of William Sweeny and Honora (Sweeny) Sweeny, who emigrated with their family to the U.S. in 1832. Selecting a military career, young Sweeny served in the Mexican War in 1846, where he lost his right arm as the result of a wound received in the battle of Churubusco. Following the Mexican War, he fought in two Indian campaigns: against the Yumas from Fort Yuma on the Colorado River from 1851 to 1853, and in the Sioux Expedition, 1855-1856 from Fort Pierre in Nebraska Territory, now South Dakota. In 1861 Sweeny was sent as brigadier general of the Missouri Volunteers to southwest Missouri to oppose Confederate occupation. Severely wounded in action, he was mustered out, but returned to service as colonel of the 52nd. Ill. Reg. in the Georgia campaign. He showed outstanding courage in the battles of Shiloh and Corinth, was commissioned brigadier general. After the Civil War, Sweeny remained in the regular service until his retirement in 1870.
    Sweeny was twice married. His first wife was Ellen Swain Clark whom he married in 1848. Widowed in 1860, he did not remarry until 1867. His second wife was Eugenia Octavia Reagan, who survived him. Three children were born to each marriage, four of whom survived their father, who died in 1892 in his home in Astoria, Long Island. One of the sons, William Montgomery Sweeny, was mainly responsible for the conservation of his father's papers and for additions to them in the form of correspondence, family genealogical material and memoirs of some of his father's former companions in military campaigns.

    Subject Matter

    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; Sweeny family genealogy.

    Persons represented by 5 or more items

    BARNARD, Sarah A (Sweeny)
    7 pieces
    BRIE, Emile H
    7 pieces
    BROWER, Charles
    9 pieces
    CLARK, Francis D
    10 pieces
    KELLY, James Edward
    5 pieces
    LANE W. H.
    6 pieces
    MORSE, C. Osgood
    7 pieces
    NILES, Samuel Vincent
    7 pieces
    O'BEIRNE, James Rowan
    6 pieces
    DODGE, Grenville Mellen
    5 pieces
    KILBY, Mary P
    7 pieces
    PORTER, Fitz John
    7 pieces
    SIGEL, Franz
    11 pieces
    SPALDING, Edward B
    8 pieces
    SWEENY, Charles Baxter
    15 pieces
    SWEENY, Eugenia O. (Reagan)
    5 pieces
    SWEENY, Frances Ellen
    11 pieces
    SWEENY, Sarah Bernard
    5 pieces
    SWEENY, Sarah Bernard
    5 pieces
    SWEENY, Thomas William
    335 (approx.) pieces

    Some interesting or important items

    • SW 181 GRANT, Ulysses S. Letter to Gen. Thomas S. Jesup. 1847, Jan. 31
    • SW 403 SCOTT, Winfield. Letter to David Conner: re. Taylor's victory over Santa Ana. 1847, Mar. 16
    • SW 540 SWEENY, Thomas W. To C. Lovell: Report on Battle of Corinth (Miss.). 1862, Oct. 15
    • SW 626 SWEENY, Thomas W. Official Report of the Battle of Shiloh. 1862
    • SW 627 SWEENY, Thomas W. Official Report of Brig. Gen. Sweeny of the March to Holly Springs (Miss.). 1863, Oct. 21
    • SW 634 SWEENY, Thomas W. "The Siege and Occopation of Corinth" (of 1862). c. 1865
    • SW 771 Account of battle of 52nd Ill. Reg. at Pittsburg Landing under command of Thomas William Sweeny, Feb. 1862
    • SW 850(1-120) SWEENY, Thomas W. & others. Letterbook. Contains correspondence re Yuma military reservation on the Colorado River, and the Sioux expedition in Nebraska Territory.
    • SW 862(1-195) SWEENY, Thomas W. & others. Letterbook. Contains correspondence during Civil War


    SW 862 has been disbound for conservation purposes and the individual letters stored in blue folders. The blue folders have been housed in four boxes at the end of the collection (boxes 9-12) and have been numbered sequentially.

    Bibliography (in HEH Library)

    307184 Sweeny, Thomas William. Journal, 1849-1853. Ed. by Arthur Woodward. Los Angeles, Westernlore Press [c. 1956]
    55348 Sweeny, Thomas William. Military Occupation of California, 1849-53. From the Journal of Lt. Thomas W. Sweeny. [N.Y.] 1909. Reprinted from the Journal of the Military Service Institution.
    Nicholson Coll. (R.B.) Sweeny, William Montgomery. A Biographical Memoir of Thomas William Sweeny, Brigadier-General U.S. Army. [1907]
    See also: Dictionary of American Biography.