The Capitol Gang, Part I

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James Goodwin Batterson was born in 1823 in Windsor, Connecticut, the son of a stoneworker. The family soon moved to New Preston where his father started a marble stone yard. By the age of 23 Batterson had established a cemetery monument business in Hartford. His business headquarters would remain on Main Street for more than 5 decades.

James Goodwin Batterson
James Goodwin Batterson

Examples of his early design and building work include the 1854 Gallaudet Monument located at the American School of the Deaf in West Hartford, as well as the 1857 Major General William Jenkins Worth monument now located at Worth Square in New York City.

Gallaudet Monument, American School for the Deaf, West Hartford, CT
Worth Monument, Worth Square, New York, NY

After the Civil War, Batterson was one of the first to realize the need that the nation had to memorialize those who had given their lives to save the Republic. By 1869, Batterson’s granite company, Batterson & Canfield, received the commission for a colossal monument to be erected at Antietam National Cemetery in Sharpsburg, Maryland, scene of the bloodiest single day of fighting in the Civil War. Batterson would use his Rhode Island Granite Works, located in Westerly, Rhode Island to build the over 20 foot pedestal and over 20 foot statue from the fine grain Westerly White granite found in the quarry his company had purchased.

View in Batterson, Canfield & Co’s Monumental Works, Hartford, CT. (circa 1870)

Batterson used some of his best workmen to produce the statue. He put his architect, George Keller, and sculptor, Carl Henry Conrads, in charge of the design while using two of his best young carvers, James William Pollette and Joseph Bedford to work on the two piece statue (the two pieces joined at the waist). The colossal monument was finished in 1874 at a cost of $30,000.

The Antietam National Cemetery Soldiers’ Monument, RI Granite Works, Westerly, RI (circa 1874)

These workmen would later be known as part of Batterson’s Capitol Gang. The Capitol Gang referred to the design and building team Batterson used between 1871 and 1879 to work on the Connecticut State Capitol. Much of the exterior used Westerly granite, including many statues.

Connecticut State Capitol, Hartford, CT.

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