He was the son of the sister of AMW's husband's first wife, Mary Roberdeau Swift.
He graduated from the United States Military Academy, West Point, NY, in 1861. He worked on the Stonington and Providence Railroad and on the Hudson River Railroad and designed the sewerage and drainage system of Brooklyn NY, between 1857-1860.
He served in the Army of Potomac, 1861-1863 and later became a consulting engineer in New York City. He was the pioneer engineer in the building of the Brooklyn Bridge. He also edited Engineering News from 1881-1882. He was the President of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Herringshaw's Encyclopedia of American Biography of the Nineteenth Century, Chicago, 1902; The Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans, vol. 1, Boston, 1904; Cullum Memorial Edition, Register of Graduates and former cadets, United States Military Academy, West Point, 1980.