David G. Swaim

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David G. Swaim
David G. Swaim.jpg
BornDecember 22, 1834 Edit this on Wikidata
Salem, Ohio
DiedAugust 17, 1897 Edit this on Wikidata (aged 62)
Washington Edit this on Wikidata

David Gaskill Swaim (1834–1897) was Judge Advocate General of the United States Army from February 18, 1881 to December 22, 1894.


Born in Salem, Ohio, in December 1834, Swaim became a lawyer in 1858.[1] With the outbreak of the American Civil War, he joined the 65th Ohio Infantry as a first lieutenant. He was later promoted to adjutant of his regiment, and then acting adjutant of the brigade. He was wounded at the battles of Shiloh and Chickamauga and was promoted to captain.

When the war ended, he remained in the Army, serving in the Judge Advocate General's Corps until 1879, when President Rutherford B. Hayes appointed him Judge Advocate General and promoted him to brigadier general. He was a companion of the District of Columbia Commandery of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States.

In his role as Judge Advocate General, he voided court-martial findings against Johnson Chesnut Whittaker. This action was confirmed by President Chester A. Arthur, but may have led to "ill will" against Swaim.[2]

Later life and death[edit]

In 1884, charges of financial improprieties were levied against him, and he was suspended from duty for ten years. President Grover Cleveland reinstated him, and he retired immediately afterward. He died three years later at his home in Washington, D.C..


  1. ^ James Grant Wilson, John Fiske, eds. (1889). "Swaim, David Gaskill". Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography.CS1 maint: Uses editors parameter (link)
  2. ^ Richard F. Miller, ed. (2015). States at War, Volume 4: A Reference Guide for Delaware, Maryland, and New Jersey in the Civil War. University Press of New England. p. 244. ISBN 9781611686227.