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John H. Foley
Born 1839
Died November 18, 1874(1874-11-18) (aged 35)
Place of birth Cork, Ireland
Place of death Benicia, California, United States
Place of burial Benicia Arsenal Post Cemetery
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service c. 1872–1873
Rank Sergeant
Unit 3rd U.S. Cavalry
Battles/wars Indian Wars
Awards Medal of Honor

Sergeant John H. Foley (1839 – November 18, 1874) was an Irish-born soldier in the U.S. Army who served with the 3rd U.S. Cavalry during the Indian Wars. He was one of four men received the Medal of Honor for gallantry in leading an attack against the Sioux Indians near Loupe Fork of the Platte River in Nebraska on April 26, 1872.


John H. Foley was born in Cork, Ireland in 1839. He later emigrated to the United States and enlisted in the U.S. Army in Boston, Massachusetts. Joining Company B of the 3rd U.S. Cavalry, he served on frontier duty in Nebraska during the early 1870s and eventually reached the rank of sergeant. On April 23, 1872, Foley was among the cavalry troopers under Captain Charles Meinhold who left Fort McPherson to pursue a band of hostile Miniconjou Sioux. Upon reaching the South Loup River (near present-day Stapleton, Nebraska) the following day, Meinhold ordered Foley and civilian scout William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody to take 10 men and search the south bend of the river while the main force crossed to the north side. Cody managed to take Foley and his men within 50 yards of the Sioux camp, located near Loupe Fork of the Platte River, before their presence was discovered. Foley then led a charge into the enemy camp followed by fellow Sergeant Leroy H. Vokes, Private William H. Strayer and William Cody. In the ensuing shootout, Cody killed one Indian while another two were killed by Foley's men. Six other Sioux, who were hunting away from the camp, heard the gunfire and were able to escape. His commanding officer, Captain Meinhold, noted in his report that Foley had "charged into the Indian camp without knowing how many enemies he might encounter". All four men, including Foley, were recommended for the Medal of Honor for "gallantry in action" and received the award a month later.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10] Foley died in Benicia, California on November 18, 1874, at the age of 35. He was interred at the Benicia Arsenal Post Cemetery.[11]

Medal of Honor citation

Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company B, 3d U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At Loupe Fork, Platte River, Nebr., 26 April 1872. Entered service at:------. Birth: Ireland. Date of issue: 22 May 1872.


Gallantry in action.[12]

See also


  1. Beyer, Walter F. and Oscar Frederick Keydel, ed. Deeds of Valor: From Records in the Archives of the United States Government; how American Heroes Won the Medal of Honor; History of Our Recent Wars and Explorations, from Personal Reminiscences and Records of Officers and Enlisted Men who Were Rewarded by Congress for Most Conspicuous Acts of Bravery on the Battle-field, on the High Seas and in Arctic Explorations. Vol. 2. Detroit: Perrien-Keydel Company, 1906. (pg. 582)
  2. Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs. Medal of Honor recipients, 1863-1978, 96th Cong., 1st sess. Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 1979. (pg. 283)
  3. Manning, Robert, ed. Above and Beyond: A History of the Medal of Honor from the Civil War to Vietnam. Boston: Boston Publishing Company, 1985. (pg. 325) ISBN 0-939526-19-0
  4. Reedstrom, Ernest Lisle. Historic Dress of the Old West. New York: Blandford Press, 1986. (pg. 82) ISBN 0-7137-1529-4
  5. Hannings, Bud. A Portrait of the Stars and Stripes. Glenside, Pennsylvania: Seniram Publishing, 1988. (pg. 267, 396) ISBN 0-922564-00-0
  6. O'Neal, Bill. Fighting Men of the Indian Wars: A Biographical Encyclopedia of the Mountain Men, Soldiers, Cowboys, and Pioneers Who Took Up Arms During America's Westward Expansion. Stillwater, Oklahoma: Barbed Wire Press, 1991. (pg. 27) ISBN 0-935269-07-X
  7. Paul, R. Eli, ed. The Nebraska Indian Wars Reader, 1865-1877. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1998. (pg. 220) ISBN 0-8032-8749-6
  8. Wilson, D. Ray. Terror on the Plains: A Clash of Cultures. Dundee, Illinois: Crossroads Communications, 1999. (pg. 58) ISBN 0-916445-47-X
  9. Sterner, C. Douglas (1999). "MOH Citation for John H. Foley". MOH Recipients: Indian Campaigns. Retrieved June 29, 2010. 
  10. Army Times Publishing Company. "Military Times Hall of Valor: John H. Foley". Awards and Citations: Medal of Honor. Retrieved June 29, 2010. 
  11. Sterner, C. Douglas (1999). "Photo of Grave site of MOH Recipient John H. Foley". Medal of Honor recipient Gravesites In The State of California. Retrieved June 29, 2010. 
  12. "Medal of Honor recipients". Indian War Campaigns. United States Army Center of Military History. June 8, 2009. Retrieved June 29, 2009. 

Further reading

  • Konstantin, Phil. This Day in North American Indian History: Important Dates in the History of North America's Native Peoples for Every Calendar Day. New York: Da Capo Press, 2002. ISBN 0-306-81170-7

External links

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