R. Ripley Swift, Civil War Soldier


R. Ripley Swift

Born in Mansfield, Conn.__Son of Earl Swift,__by occupation an Agent,__Married,__at the age of 39 enlisted for three years in the 27th Regiment of Infantry, Mass. Vols.
When the call for volunteers for the 27th Rregiment was first issued, he at once obtained permission from Gov. Andrew to recruit a company in Chicopee and applied himself to the work with much earnestness.__September 24th 1861 he marched his company, then of about fifty men, to Springfield, and encamped at "Camp Reed", the regimental rendezvous.
Commissioned, by the Governor, Captain of Company G. October 16, 1861.__
He performed all the required duties at Springfield, and Annapolis, and bore the part of a brave officer in the Battles of Roanoke Island (Feb. 8th 1862) and Newbern, (March 14th 1862).
During the latter engagement, about 10 o'clock in the forenoon, Captain Swift was severely wounded in the fleshy part of the leg by a canister shot. He was soon carried from the field to a small negro hut, a temporary hospital, where he remained four days. Thence entered Academy Green Hospital at Newbern. Left for New York April 21st.__Arriving there, he was carried to the New England Rooms, being too weak to travel firther. Next day went to Hartford Ct. and thence reached Springfield May 1st.__He remained off duty until the next December, being under the surgical care of his father at Mansfield, Ct. and visiting his friends in Chicopee and vicinity.
Without waiting for orders and before he had fully recovered, Captain Swift started, Dec. 20th, to rejoin the regiment, and arrived at Newbern, December 31st 1862. He immediately reassumed command of his company. In a few days they were ordered to Washington, N.C. and from there some three weeks afterward, to Plymouth.__He served there about two months as Provost Marshall.__Engaged in several skirmishes and attacks; in one of these he narrowly escaped death from a piece of a shell which passed between him and Orderly Sergeant Samuel Morse, whilst they were talking together.
May 8th he returned to Newbern, the company having preceded him the day previous. In a few days, he was ordered to Washington, N.C. for duty in the Subsistence department.
August 14th was transferred by direction of Gen. Palmer, commanding at Newbern, and ordered to report at New York. Arrived there September 8th, and was immediately assigned to duty first at Fort Schuyler, and afterwards at Willett's Point, and at David's Island, being replaced in command of a company in the Invalid Corps. About the middle of October 1863, on account of an error in his transfer from the 27th. regiment, he was furloughed and remained off duty at Chicopee and vicinity until March 1864, when he was ordered to report for duty at Norfolk, Va. where the 27th. regiment was located Reported for duty at Norfolk April 1, 1864, and immediately rejoined his Reg. then in camp at {unreadable} Creek, near Plymouth, Va. Accompanied the 27th. in Butler's advance up the James in May 1864, participating in the several engagements of this campaign late May 16th. Early in the morning of May 16th., Heckman's Brigade of which the 27th. formed a part was attacked by a superior force of the enemy, and after {unreadable} engagement was forced to fall back with a loss in capture of parts of 7 Co's of the 27th. Capt. Swift was among the captured. Taken first to Richmond where he was robbed of all his money; then he remained in Libby Prison till June 1st; thence to Macon, Ga., where he lay two months; thence to Savannah, Ga., where he continued nine weeks; thence to Charleston where he was placed in the Charleston Jail under the federal fire; here he was confined three weeks; thence to Columbia, S.C., in which place he was a prisoner 4 1/2 months; thence, on Sherman's advance toward Columbia, he was transferred to Charlotte, N.C., thence to Greensboro and Raleigh, thence to Goldsboro, at which places he continued in aggregate 10 days. From Goldsboro he was taken to a point within 10 miles of Wilmington, N.C., at which he was exchanged. On 1st day of March, he placed foot as he exercises it on "God's Land". After exchange or rather parole he was sent to Annapolis where by virtue of expiration of his term of service he was discharged March 12, 1865. He describes the prison fair as bad and insufficient. At Savannah he experienced kinder treatment from the rebel authorities than at any other place of confinement. After discharge he returned to Springfield.


ca. 1861-1865


Public Domain




“R. Ripley Swift, Civil War Soldier,” Chicopee Archives Online, accessed December 17, 2017, http://www.chicopeepubliclibrary.org/archives/items/show/2800.