Charles Swasey, born in Massachusetts, was appointed midshipman on 28 September 1854 and commissioned lieutenant on 31 August 1861. Lieutenant Swasey served aboard Varuna in the engagement with the steamer Governor Moore below New Orleans on 24 April 1862 and as executive officer of Sciota on the West Gulf Blockading Squadron. Lieutenant Swasey was wounded during an engagement with Confederate forces near Donaldsville, La., on 4 October 1862 and died the same day.
The name Swasey was assigned to Destroyer No. 299 on 1 August 1918. However, the name was transferred to destroyer No. 273 on 1 October 1918; and Destroyer No. 299 was renamed John Francis Burnes (q.v.) on 18 October 1918.
(DD-273: dp. 1,215; l. 314'4"; b. 30'11"; dr. 9'4"; s. 34+ k.; cpl. 122; a. 4 4", 1 3", 12 21" tt.; cl. Clemson)
The first Swasey (DD-273) was laid down on 27 August 1918 by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corp., Squantum, Mass.; launched on 7 May 1919; sponsored by Miss Mary L. Swasey; and commissioned on 8 August 1919.
Swasey was assigned to the Pacific Fleet and, after completing fitting out and sailing to the west coast, arrived at Pearl Harbor in the fall of 1919. She served there until the summer of 1922 when she returned to San Diego. Swasey was decommissioned at San Diego on 10 June 1922 and assigned to the reserve fleet for the next 17 years. Swasey was reactivated on 18 December 1939 and, after an overhaul and sea trials, transferred to Great Britain on 26 November 1940. Swasey was struck from the Navy list on 8 January 1941.