Wager Swayne (1834 - 1902)

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About Wager Swayne


Wager Swayne (November 10, 1834 – December 18, 1902) was a Union Army general during the American Civil War who received America's highest military decoration the Medal of Honor for his actions at the Siege of Corinth. He was also appointed military Governor of Alabama during the early days of Reconstruction, serving from 1867 to 1868.


Born in Columbus, Ohio, he was the son of Noah Haynes Swayne, Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

He graduated from Yale University and became a lawyer in Ohio.

He served in the Union Army during the Civil War as a field officer in one of Ohio's three-year infantry regiments. In August 1861, Governor William Dennison appointed Swayne as major of the 43rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry, which was being organized in Mount Vernon, Ohio. He fought at the battles of Iuka and Corinth, and was promoted to fill the vacancy caused by the death of the regiment's colonel.

Swayne led the 43rd OVI with distinction during the Atlanta Campaign and was later promoted to brigadier general. Swayne had his leg amputated from a severe wound suffered in 1865 in South Carolina. He mustered out of the volunteer army later that year, but stayed in the Regular Army.

After the war, he served in the Freedmen's Bureau and moved to Alabama, where he served as military governor. He retired from the Army in 1870 and moved to Toledo, Ohio, where he established a law practice. He moved in 1881 to New York City, where he set up another law practice, specializing in representing telegraph and railroad companies.

In 1893, he was awarded a Medal of Honor for "conspicuous gallantry in restoring order at a critical moment and leading his regiment in a charge" at Corinth.

He died in New York City and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery Arlington County, Virginia, Plot: Section 3, Lot 1406.

Medal of Honor citation

Rank and organization: Lieutenant Colonel, 43d Ohio Infantry.

Place and date: At Corinth, Miss., October 4, 1862.

Entered service at: Columbus, Ohio.

Born: November 10, 1834, Columbus, Ohio.

Date of issue: August 19, 1893.

Citation: Conspicuous gallantry in restoring order at a critical moment and leading his regiment in a charge.



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Gen. Wager Swayne, Medal of Honor's Timeline

November 10, 1834
December 18, 1902
Age 68