The Legend of Old Hayfoot, the Forlorn Soldier

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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.

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Ransom, David. “Connecticut’s Monuments: An Essay Purpose of Monuments.” Connecticut Historical Society, 2016. Link.


“Connecticut Historical Society,” 2017. Link.
“Connecticut State Capitol Tours,” 2017. Link.
Hartford Public Library. “Hartford History Center,” 2016. Link


Roy, Anthony. Neither Forlorn nor Forgotten: A History of James Batterson’s Old Soldier. Hartford, CT: Connecticut Civil War Commemoration Commission, 2013.


“Almost Forgotten.” Hartford Courant. May 25, 1986, sec. H.
“Forgotten Sentinel.” The Travelers Beacon 2, no. 21 (August 1939): 6–7.
Dixon, Ken. “‘Forlorn Soldier’ Assumes New Post.” Greenwich Time, September 17, 2013. Link.
“His Epitaph--He Began On Wrong Foot.” Hartford Courant. April 10, 1936.
Felt, William H. “Old Hayfoot: Tokens of the Hartford of Other Years Are Disappearing.” Hartford Courant. April 23, 1936.
“Taps for ‘Hayfoot.’” Hartford Courant. April 12, 1936.
“The Lighter Side: Old Hayfoot.” Hartford Courant. August 20, 1936.
“They Saved the Old Soldier.” Hartford Courant. November 17, 1968.

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