| Hartford |
view large image
| || WELD MONUMENT |
Old North Cemetery
1741 Main Street, between Mather Street and Mahl Avenue
Type: White marble stele, embellished
Supplier: James G. Batterson
Height: 6', 8"
WELD MONUMENT, Old North Cemetery, Hartford, is significant historically because of its relationship to black troops in the Union forces during the Civil War. After much controversy, the War Department on May 22, 1863, established the Bureau of Colored Troops which, among its other duties, commissioned officers, almost all white, to command the troops. The 41st Colored Infantry, Lewis Ledyard Weld's regiment, was organized in the fall of 1864, with men from Pennsylvania, and was mustered out December 10, 1865. Fourteen states raised volunteer units that eventually were transferred to U.S. status, as was the case with the 41st. Three states retained their state designations; Connecticut was one of the three. The number of enlisted men who served in U.S. Colored Troops was 178,975; 9,695 served in the navy.
Lewis Ledyard Weld was born in Hartford on May 13, 1833, to a distinguished New England family. A forebear was a member of the Harvard class of 1650. After graduating from Yale in 1854, Weld went west. He was Acting Governor of Colorado for four months in early 1862. When he returned to the East in 1863, Weld was appointed Captain in the 7th Regiment, U.S. Troops, transferring to the 41st in October 1864, at the time it was formed. Early in 1865 he caught a severe cold which did not yield to treatment, leading to his death January 10, 1865, at Point of Rocks on the Appomattox River. His body was returned to Hartford and the monument raised by "EARLY FRIENDS" as noted by the lettering in the base.
Charles Theodore Weld (1831-1863) was a brother of Lewis Ledyard Weld. Charles enlisted from Hartford on April 18, 1861, becoming a first lieutenant in the 17th U.S. Infantry when he was mustered in on May 14, 1861. He died, with the brevet rank of captain, from wounds received at the battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia, on May 14, 1863.
WELD MONUMENT is significant artistically because it is an example of a classical theme executed in marble. The draped female figure and the symbolism of broken life indicated by the column pieces are typical of classical Italian sculpture of the mid-19th century. Cemetery monuments of this character were regularly imported from Italy, although seldom as Civil War memorials; WELD MONUMENT appears to be an exception in this respect, perhaps because it is not a public memorial. James G. Batterson, whose name is on the base, probably was the supplier, rather than the managing force in creating the monument design. Batterson was a stone importer, in addition to his other activities, and presumably imported this monument. The possibility exists, however, that Batterson imported the stone and had it cut in his own shop, or perhaps completed the lettering in his shop.
WELD MONUMENT is an embellished white marble stele erected in memory of Charles Theodore and Lewis Ledyard Weld. It is located in Old North Cemetery on north Main Street, facing north toward the roadway about 40 feet in from the main entrance. The base of the monument has a large crack at the back; the marble is sugaring and displays a spider web of surface cracks; the base, stele, and figure are partially covered with heavy black crusts.
The two-stage base of the monument is serpentine in plan, with lettering (see below) in the face of the upper stage. The base supports a rectangular stele with slight entasis. The lower half of the stele is embellished with a 30"-tall sculpture of a female figure in high relief. She rests her left elbow on the top of an architectural reeded column, while broken column pieces are at her feet. Her left leg is bent at the knee to permit her left foot to rest on a column fragment. Funerary drapery covers the top of the stele, extending half-way down its sides. Objects positioned in the drapery may be articles of military iconography such as a sword, scabbard, etc.
Left side of base of stele toward the rear, small incised caps:J.G. BATTERSON
Front (north) face of base of stele, incised caps:ERECTED / IN TOKEN OF THEIR AFFECTION BY THEIR EARLY FRIENDS
Front face of stele, incised caps (in half circle):CHARLES THEODORE WELD
(in straight lines):1ST LIEUT.
17TH U.S. INFANTRY
DIED MAY 14, 1863.
AGED 32 YEARS
LEWIS LEDYARD WELD
LIEUT. COL. 41ST. U.S. COLORED TROOPS.
DIED JAN. 10, 1865.
AGED 31 YEARS
William Gladstone, United States Colored Troops (Gettysburg: Thomas Publications, 1990), pp. 10, 11, and 103.
Record of Service of Connecticut Men in the Army and Navy of the United States During the War of the Rebellion (Hartford: Case, Lockwood & Brainard Company, 1889), p. 5.
Charles Frederick Robinson, Weld Collections (Ann Arbor: 1938) pp. 12, 55, 162, and 208.