| Waterbury |
view large image
| || CHATFIELD MONUMENT |
496 Riverside Street
Erected: ca.late 1870s
Type: Bronze figure on granite pedestal
Sculptor: George E. Bissell
Foundry: Gruet Jnr Fondeur
Height: 12', 5"
CHATFIELD MONUMENT, Riverside Cemetery, Waterbury, is significant historically because it memorializes a Civil War officer from Waterbury who died of service-connected causes. Colonel John Lyman Chatfield was wounded in action at Fort Wagner and invalided home. He returned to the South, apparently too soon, for he came home to die of gangrene. His date of death was August 9, 1863. Riverside Cemetery records show that he was re-interred at the present location on April 22, 1864, having earlier been buried in Riverside lot 22M. When the monument was erected is unknown. Since George E. Bissell was not well established as early as 1864, conjecture suggests that he may have sculpted CHATFIELD MONUMENT after his first European trip, 1875-1876, by which time he would have had the expertise consistent with European study as demonstrated here.
CHATFIELD MONUMENT, Waterbury, is significant artistically because it is a realistic representation rather than a stylized allegorical image. The officer purposefully strides forward with sword and spurs, easily an action figure. Bissell sculpted a similar action pose for the standard-bearer at WINCHESTER SOLDIERS' MONUMENT, Winsted in Winchester. Whether the figure of CHATFIELD MONUMENT is a faithful likeness of Colonel Chatfield is unknown. American preference for realism rather than idealistic figures found expression in the work of American sculptors who studied abroad. They adopted the modeling techniques which could be learned only in Europe to American taste. CHATFIELD MONUMENT is an early example of the genre.
George E. Bissell (1839-1920) was a Connecticut native who served as a private in the Civil War. He later studied in Europe and became a well-known sculptor. He was the artist responsible for the Elton Vase in Riverside Cemetery, SOLDIERS' MONUMENT, Waterbury, WINCHESTER SOLDIERS' MONUMENT, Winsted in Winchester, and UNION MONUMENT, Colchester. Nothing is known of Gruet Jnr Fondeur, but presumably the Paris foundry was one Bissell knew from his period of studies in Europe.
CHATFIELD MONUMENT is a bronze figure of a cavalry officer standing on a granite pedestal. It is located in Section G of Riverside Cemetery, on the south side of the principal roadway toward the western end of the cemetery. The figure faces southwest about half way up a steep slope. The name CHATFIELD appears in raised caps in a recessed panel on the front of the base of the pedestal. The surfaces of the dado are polished raised panels. The plinth of the monument shows black streaks, particularly on the west side.
The figure stands on 15 layers of thin stones with jagged edges, an unusual arrangement. His left leg is forward. An object that may be an ordnance canister is behind the left foot. The uniform is riding boots flared at the knees, trousers, jacket buttoned to the neck, sword (missing), and soft broad-brimmed hat, with gloves. His right hand, at the side, holds the handle of the sword. His left hand is at the belt buckle. The officer wears a full beard and moustache. Two parts of the composition are missing, the sword (his right hand holds only the handle of the sword) and a spur from his right boot.
Base, left side, incised caps:G.E. BISSELL
Base, right side, incised caps:GRUET JNR FONDEUR PARIS.
Front (south) face of base, raised polished caps:CHATFIELD
Above, front of dado, raised polished caps:JOHN LYMAN CHATFIELD.
COL. 6TH CONN. VOLS.
BORN AT OXFORD, SEPT. 13. 1826
DIED AT WATERBURY. AUG. 9. 1863.
RECEIVED AT FORT WAGNER.
"FIDUS AD EXTREMUM."
East face of dado:SILVIA ANN AINSWORTH
JOHN LYMAN CHATFIELD
JULY 8, 1828-JAN. 7, 1917
"FIDUS AD EXTREMUM."
North face:WILLIAM EDWARD BROWN
MARCH 29, 1877-MAY 8, 1950PAULINE AINSWORTH BATES
WIFE OF/WILLIAM E. BROWN
OCT. 21, 1884-
West face:MINNIE CHATFIELD BATES / FEB. 23, 1882-APR. 8, 1968
Gravestones bearing initials of other members of the Chatfield family surround the monument, from north to south:W.E.B.; M.C.B.; J.L.C.; S.A.C.
Book of the Riverside Cemetery (Waterbury: Press of the Waterbury Printing Company, 1889), p. 52.
Riverside Cemetery Association, card index of interments.