On February 13, 1891, Thomas Timothy Fallon of Freehold received the Medal of Honor, the United States’ highest award for bravery during combat. Fallon was born in County Galway, Ireland, on August 17, 1837, and immigrated to the United States in 1859. He enlisted as a private in Company K of the 37th New York Volunteer Infantry Division of the U.S. Army, also known as the “Irish Rifles.” He participated in more than 20 battles, and was honored for valor on three occasions during the Civil War. At the Battle of Williamsburg, Va., in May 1862, he assisted in driving rebel skirmishers back to their main line. The Irishman was one of ten men sent forward; only four made it back. During the Battle of Seven Pines outside Richmond, Va., Fallon participated in action despite having been excused from duty because of disability. After a transfer to Battery K of the 4th U.S. Artillery, he mustered out at the end of his service and promptly signed up to become a sergeant in the 35th New Jersey Infantry. In a charge with his company at Big Shanty, Ga., in June 1864, Fallon was the first man on the enemy’s works. He and his men took one officer and 28 men prisoner. Thomas captured the officer himself, knocking the southerner down with his musket before dragging him out through the Rebel defenses. His meritorious conduct earned him a 30-day furlough, which the Irishman characteristically refused, as he was eager to continue the campaign. He spent his postwar years working as a tailor in Freehold, where he married Mary Garrity, with whom he had a daughter. Fallon died on August 23, 1916, and his remains are interred at the Saint Rose of Lima Cemetery in Freehold. Bruce Springsteen is a direct descendant. Fallon’s Medal of Honor is a part of the permanent collection at the Monmouth County Historical Association.
Medal of Honor: Private Thomas T. Fallon, 37th New York Infantry. Irish in the American Civil War. Available: https://irishamericancivilwar.com/2011/10/13/medal-of-honor-private-thomas-t-fallon-37th-new-york-infantry/
Thomas Timothy Fallon. Congressional Medal of Honor Society. Available: http://www.cmohs.org/recipient-detail/424/fallon-thomas-t.php
Image: Fallon Capturing the Officer. (1869). Unknown author. The Story of American Heroism, 1897, J.W. Jones publisher, Springfield, Ohio. Public domain.