By Anthony Roy
The Forlorn Soldier is a brownstone statue created by James G. Batterson. For over a century the story of the statue was that people rejected it because the right foot was mistakenly thrust forward, which is opposite of the traditional parade-rest military pose. This statue faced years of environmental degradation, causing it to lose its hands, rifle, bayonet, and part of its face. Although there were many people who admired this Civil War relic, there were many times in its history when people felt that the statue’s time was up and it needed to be discarded. In the midst of Connecticut’s sesquicentennial commemoration of the Civil War, however, interest in this soldier was reignited. The Connecticut Civil War Commemoration Commission set out to preserve the sculpture and its history. The results of this effort were that officials moved the statue to the Connecticut State Capitol building and demystified the soldier’s past. We now know that the statue was a prototype of an important statue model that Batterson reproduced several times to commemorate the Civil War generation. Today, experts continue to preserve both the statue and its history so that generations to come might know them.
Anthony Roy is a regional historian and social studies teacher at Connecticut River Academy whose work related to the Forlorn Soldier was completed as a part of his candidacy for a master’s in public history from Central Connecticut State University and as a part of the Connecticut Civil War Commemoration Commission’s efforts to study and inspire awareness of the American Civil War and Connecticut’s involvement in it.