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In 1932, the Hartford Courant ran a report about a Civil War statue created with the wrong foot position. From that point on, the legend held that the designer of the statue made a mistake in the foot positioning—by placing the right foot forward, the statue did not replicate the traditional parade-rest military pose. Time and again, for the next 80 years, oral and recorded history reinforced the legend of Old Hayfoot. The wrong-foot-forward myth endured until 2013, when the Connecticut Civil War Commemoration Commission initiated the move of the soldier to the Connecticut State Capitol.
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.