About Seaman Benjamin Swearer, Medal of Honor
The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Seaman Benjamin Swearer, United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism in action while embarked in a surfboat from the U.S.S. Pawnee during action against Fort Clark, off Baltimore Inlet, Maryland, 29 August 1861. Taking part in a mission to land troops and to remain inshore and provide protection, Seaman Swearer rendered gallant service throughout the action and had the honor of being the first man to raise the flag on the captured fort.
General Orders: War Department, General Orders No. 11 (April 3, 1863)
Action Date: August 29, 1861
Division: U.S.S. Pawnee
LIBBY LIFE: Experiences of A Prisoner of War in Richmond, VA, 1863-64 http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/book/libby-12.htm
BENJAMIN SWEARER, Color-Sergeant of the 9th Maryland, was among those paroled on the 7th of March, and came North with us on the truce-boat " City of New York." No sooner had he been transferred to the Union steamer than he unwrapped from
around his body an American flag, which, with three hearty cheers, was hung up in the cabin. This was the regimental flag of the 9th Maryland. On the 18th of last October, the Rebel Imboden attacked Colonel Simpson's regiment, then doing duty at Charlestown, Va., and among the captured was Sergeant Swearer. This brave man had torn one of the .flags from the lance and had concealed it around his body ; the other flag he refused to surrender, although threatened with instant death by his captors, and tore it into shreds before their eyes.
During more than four months he had been a prisoner on Belle Isle, and had succeeded in concealing this flag, although frequent searches were made for it by the Rebel officials, who had reason to suspect that Swearer had brought it with him. Upon our arrival at Annapolis the cherished flag was attached to a lance, and the gallant Color- Sergeant stepped once again upon loyal soil under the shadow of that banner he had sworn never to forsake, and which, defended and shielded on the battle-field and in the prison, lie now bore proudly back, unpolluted by Rebel hands, to his comrades.