This photograph at the Varnum Memorial Armory Museum shows Private Cyrus H. Brackett. Born in Acton, Maine, 20-year-old Cyrus Brackett enlisted in the First New England Cavalry as a resident of Dover, NH on October 12th 1861. He was mustered into Co. K on October 24th. Comprised of one battalion of New Hampshire men and two battalions of Rhode Islanders, the regiment was re-designated the 1st Rhode Island Cavalry in early 1862. In one of their first combat actions of the American Civil War, the 1st Rhode Island Cavalry heroically fought and captured the Confederate-held town of Front Royal, Virginia, which marked the upper reaches of the strategic Shenandoah Valley. Not satisfied with the town’s capture, the 1st Rhode Island Cavalry continued after the Rebels.
Though the retreating foe sent back their compliments in the form of shot and shell, our riders dashed fearlessly on and came upon their hastily formed line of infantry, beyond the farthest bridge, on the Winchester road, and here made one of the most bold, thrilling, magnificent charges on record. They smote the enemy like a tornado and broke their line. Here heroically fell most of the men we this day lost. Here slept in death the bravest of soldiers by the side of fallen horses and dying enemies. The memorable spot was in the vicinity of General Banks losses just one week before; thus refluent are the bloody waves of war. Never fell truer, braver men.
Private Cyrus H. Brackett was one of those brave men that fell to his death while making that fateful charge on May 30, 1862.