Eight Brothers, All Veterans!!
A family with a Most Remarkable War Record
LAURENCE SWINEY AND HIS EIGHT SONS, WHO ALL FOUGHT
IN THE CIVIL WAR AND WHO ALL ARE STILL LIVING
[In the center of the above engraving is shown a picture of Laurence Swiney, of Stocksboro, Vt., who was a veteran of the war of 1812, and who died at the age of 82 after giving eight sons to the cause of the Union. Of the eight warrior sons those shown at the left, in order, are John, Laurence, Jr., Stephen J. and Truman W. Those at the right are William W., Alpheus M., Alfred S. and James B.]
It is doubtful if this country can produce another family with the remarkable war record possessed by the one which we illustrate in the above engraving. That eight brothers should have served as Union soldiers in the civil war is astonishing enough in itself, but that all eight should be alive and in good health 43 years after the cessation of hostilities is something which would be incredible if the proof were not so readily available.
In the illustration the place of honor in the center is occupied by Laurence Swiney, of Stocksboro, Vt., the father of the eight warrior sons. Mr. Swiney was a veteran of the war of 1812 and lived to be 82 years old, proud that he could point to eight sons who had fought that their country might remain one and indissoluble.
Of the eight sons four are twins and in order to enter the service it was necessary for some of them to pretend to more years than they had really lived. The heroic father, however, gave each boy his blessing as he marched away to war, though some of them were little more than children.
John Swiney, the oldest of the brothers, is now 82 years of age and is a farmer residing at Huntington, Vt. He enlisted in the Thirteenth Vermont Infantry, a nine-month regiment, pat of Stannard's brigade which did such heroic work at the battle of Gettysburg. At the expiration of the term of enlistment, he re-enlisted in the Ninth Vermont and served until the close of the war. That regiment was the first one to enter Richmond.
Lawrence Jr., also a farmer, living at Huntington, Vt., enlisted in the Eighth Vermont and was with Butler at New Orleans. He was afterward with Grant at Vicksburg, where he was wounded. He also served under Sheridan in the Shenandoah Valley, and was wounded the second time at the battle of Winchester. He continued with the Eighth Vermont until the close of the war.
Stephen J., 70 years old, a resident of Danville, Ill., is a lawyer and circuit judge. He enlisted in the Seventeenth Illinois, and was supposed to have been mortally wounded at the battle of Shiloh, or Pittsburg Landing. On recovery he enlisted in the One Hundred and Seventeenth Illinois, and was again wounded during Sherman's march to the sea.
Truman W. and William W. are twins, 64 years old. Truman W. is a merchant at Gibbons, Neb. He enlisted in the Fifth Vermont, one of the regiments of the famous Vermont brigade, and was seriously wounded at the battle of Savage Station, and was discharged by reason of his injuries. Upon recovery, he enlisted in the Seventh Vermont, and served in the Department of the Gulf until the end of the war.
William W., of Vergennes, Vt., enlisted in the First Vermont Cavalry at the age of 16. When the regiment was mustered in, he was rejected, as it was necessary to be 18 years old. In about two hours afterward he enlisted in the Sixth Vermont Infantry, and this time his age was 18, he having gained the two years in two hours. He served with the Army of the Potomac for three and one-half years, and was wounded at the taking of the Weldon Railroad and at Five Forks. He was put on detached duty and was not discharged until about a year after the war closed.
Alpheus M. and Alfred S. are twins, 62 years old. Alpheus M. resides at Holyoke, Mass., and is a veterinary surgeon. He enlisted in the Seventh Vermont, and served about two years in the Department of the Gulf, being discharged for disability.
Alfred S., a speculator living at Rochester, Vt., was a member of the Seventh Vermont and served in the Department of the Gulf until the close of the War.
James B., the last of the eight brothers, is a machinist at Rochester, Vt., 61 years old. He enlisted in the Seventh Vermont and served two years in the Department of the Gulf.
Source: Utica (New York) Saturday Globe, August 22, 1908, "A Family With A Most Remarkable War Record."
Article contributed by Sue Greenhagen, Technical Services Librarian, SUNY Morrisville College Library, Morrisville, NY 13408. Sue is also webmaster of New York State and the Civil War