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Nicholas Foran
Born (1844-06-03)June 3, 1844
Died September 29, 1927(1927-09-29) (aged 83)
Place of birth County Waterford, Ireland
Place of death Prescott, Arizona, United States
Place of burial Prescott National Cemetery
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1867–1872
Rank Sergeant
Unit 8th U.S. Cavalry
Battles/wars Indian Wars
Apache Wars
Awards Medal of Honor

Sergeant Nicholas "Sam" Foran (June 3, 1844 – September 29, 1927) was an American soldier in the U.S. Army who served with the 8th U.S. Cavalry during the Apache Wars. He was one of thirty-four men who received the Medal of Honor for gallantry in several engagements against the Apache Indians in the Arizona Territory from August to October 1868.


Nicholas Foran was born in County Waterford, Ireland on June 3, 1844. He later emigrated to the United States and enlisted in the U.S. Army in St. Louis, Missouri in 1867. Assigned to frontier duty with the 8th U.S. Cavalry, Foran participated in the Apache Wars in the late-1860s. In the late summer and fall of 1868, Foran was part of a small cavalry detachment ordered to secure settlements and protect the Arizona Territory from Apache raiding parties. From August to October, a group of 50-60 cavalry troopers from Companies B and L frequently fought the Apache during their patrols. Cavalrymen such as Foran experienced ambushes and sniper attacks from hidden ravines. After the campaign's end, he and thirty-four other men received the Medal of Honor for "bravery in scouts and actions against Indians". The award presentation, held on July 24, 1869, was one of the largest held at the time.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8]

Foran was later posted to Fort Whipple in Prescott, Arizona. In 1872, he was finally discharged from Fort Union, New Mexico at the rank of sergeant. Returning to Arizona, he worked the mines in the McCabe district for 35 years before permanently settling in Prescott. His home at 144 North Granite Street, which no longer exists, was opened to the poor and said to be a "haven for all". Foran died in Prescott on September 29, 1927, at the age of 83. He was interred at the Prescott National Cemetery.[5][9] His a biography of his life, in which he was praised as a "typical trail blazer and a Western pioneer", was published in the Evening Courier three days after his death.[10]

On May 27, 1984, a new headstone officially recognizing Foran as an MOH recipient was placed at his gravesite. Although a special government project had started marking gravesites in 1976, it would take nearly 8 years before Foran was confirmed as an award recipient in the fall of 1983 by the Medal of Honor Historical Society in Alexandria, Virginia.[10][11]

Medal of Honor citation

Rank and organization: Private, Company L, 8th U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: Arizona, August to October 1868. Entered service at:------. Birth: Ireland. Date of issue: 24 July 1869.


Bravery in scouts and actions against Indians.[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. 145)
  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. Hannings, Bud. A Portrait of the Stars and Stripes. Glenside, Pennsylvania: Seniram Publishing, 1988. (pg. 396) ISBN 0-922564-00-0
  5. 5.0 5.1 Holt, Dean W. American Military Cemeteries: A Comprehensive Illustrated Guide to the Hallowed Grounds of the United States, including Cemeteries Overseas. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland, 1992. (pg. 294) ISBN 0-89950-666-6
  6. Yenne, Bill. Indian Wars: The Campaign for the American West. Yardley, Pennsylvania: Westholme Publishing, 2006. (pg. 139) ISBN 1-59416-016-3
  7. Sterner, C. Douglas (1999). "MOH Citation for Nicholas Foran". MOH Recipients: Indian Campaigns. Retrieved June 29, 2010. 
  8. Army Times Publishing Company. "Military Times Hall of Valor: Nicholas Foran". Awards and Citations: Medal of Honor. Retrieved June 29, 2010. 
  9. Sterner, C. Douglas (1999). "Photo of Grave site of MOH Recipient Nicholas Foran". Medal of Honor recipient Gravesites In The State of Arizona. Retrieved June 29, 2010. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 "New gravestone marks Medal of Honor winner". May 27, 1984.,5611369. 
  11. "Today In History, May 27". May 26, 2009. 
  12. "Medal of Honor recipients". Indian War Campaigns. United States Army Center of Military History. June 8, 2009. Retrieved June 29, 2009. 

External links

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