He was the son of Foster Swift and Deborah Delano. He was married in 1805, to Louisa, daughter of Capt. James Walker, of Wilmington, NC. He was the brother-in-law of AMW's husband.
He was one of the first two graduates from the USMA, West Point, NY, being promoted 2nd Lieutenant, Corps of Engineers on 12 October 1802. He eventually became Chief Engineer, USA, in 1812, and Inspector of the USMA (1818). He was Chief Engineer of the US harbor improvements on the Great Lakes, 1829-35, and of the New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain railroad, 1830-31. He was active in suppressing Canadian border disturbances, 1839, and in 1841 was appointed by President Harrison US Commissioner to the British provinces to negotiate a treaty with Great Britain.
The Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans, 1904, vol. 10; Cullum Memorial Edition, Register of Graduates and former cadets, United States Military Academy, West Point, 1980.