Friday, October 7, 2011

Lt. Charles Henry Swasey, USN

From the Oct. 3rd Tannton (Mass.) Daily Gazette "Who Lies Here--A lieutenant's family."

The grave of Charles Henry Swasey, Lt. USN, is buried in Mt. Pleasant Cemetery in the family plot. The monument has a concrete naval cannon atop it.

Swasey was born June 21, 1839, and appointed as a midshipman at the US Naval Academy Sept. 29, 1854. Upon commissioning, he went to the East Indies on the USS Hartford.

On August 31, 1861, he was commissioned lieutenant and became the executive officer on the USS Varuna. He and his ship served with distinction at the Battle of New Orleans where the Varuna was lost after being rammed two times each by the CSS Governor Moore (which also fired a hole through its own bow to hit the Varuna when it could depress its bow gun sufficiently) and the CSS Stonewall Jackson.

Eight sailors on the Varuna received the Congressional medal of Honor for their roles in the action.

He then became executive officer on the USS Sciota and served in the West Gulf Blockading Squadron.

On Oct. 4, 1862, the Sciota battled Confederate forces near Donaldson, Louisiana. Lt. Swasey was wounded by the first shot of the battle at 1:30 pm. A 12-pdr. rifled shot hit him in the right hip and took off his right hand. He was dead at 3 pm.

Reportedly his last words were, "Tell mother I tried to be a good man." Just 23 years old.

Two destroyers have been named after him.

Not Forgotten. --Old B-Runner

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