JOSEPH GARDINER SWIFT - (1783-dead) - Army Engineer, born Nantucket, Mass. Graduated at West Point (1802), on duty in the Atlantic coast and harbor defense. At outbreak of the War of 1812, appointed aid to General Pickney, during which time he became Colonel and Chief Engineer of the Army. Planned defenses of New York harbor, was brevetted Brigadier-general (1814) and became superintendent of (1816) the Military Academy, resigning two years later. Became U.S. surveyor of port of New York (1818-27), and superintendent of harbor improvement on the lakes. Constructed (1839) railroad from New Orleans to Lake Pontchartrain, believed to be the first road in which the T-rail was used. Appointed peace ambassador to Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick (1841). During great New York fire of 1835, took charge of destruction of buildings to arrest the progress of flames, thus saving millions of dollars worth of property. First student and first graduate of West Point.