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Civil War Round Table of Arkansas

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Louisiana's Old State Capitol
Baton Rouge, Louisiana

The Old Louisiana State Capitol was used as a prison for Confederate Soldiers during the Civil War.  Prisoners were kept in the "dungeon" beneath the Capitol.

Old State Capitol
1850 - 1862, 1882 - 1932

This Gothic Revival structure was designed by James Harrison Dakin. The Louisiana Secession Ordinance was adopted here in January 1861. The interior was burned in December 1862 while the building was occupied by Federal troops.

Reconstructed by William Freret in 1882, it served as the Capitol until 1932. The east iron fence dates from 1854.


Henry Watkins Allen
Brigadier General
in the Confederate Army and was a Governor of Louisiana under the old Regime.
Born
Prince Edward Co., Virginia 29th April 1820.
Died
In the City of Mexico 22nd April 1866.

To the Memory of Governor Allen
This last memorial of love and respect is erected by an association of his friends:
Jno. M. Sandridge
W.S. Pike,
J.S. Copes
W.I. Hodgson
W.C. Black
A.W. Roberts
Harry Hays
Horace Carpenter
J.H. Wingfield
Ali H. Isaacson, Committee



 


Statue of George Washington
By Hiram Powers
1854

A magnificent statue of George Washington once stood in this building. The sculptor, Hiram Powers, was one of the most celebrated artists of the 19th century. The state of Louisiana commissioned the statue in 1848 and Powers dedicated the next six years to crafting the likeness of Washington.

In 1855, the finished statue finally arrived from Powers' studio in Italy. But the great statue's tragic journey had just begun.

Craftsman took four years to prepare General Washington's pedestal inside the building while the statue weathered the elements outside. On January 5, 1859, Powers' work was finally unveiled in the rotunda.

It remained her a scant three years. In 1862, Federal Troops seized it, ostensibly to prevent "secessionists" from vandalizing it. Louisianans were enraged by this, but powerless to stop its transfer. One prominent citizen called the act, "...the most outrageous act of spoliation that ever made an American cheek tingle with shame."

And thus the journey continued.

The statue was shipped from Baton Rouge to New Orleans, then to New York and Washington where it was finally able to rest.

Seven years after leaving Baton Rouge, the statue was on the move again. In 1869, Louisianans hailed the return of the beloved statue. It was to be displayed at a fair in New Orleans and the returned to its rightful home in this rotunda.

Fate intervened. A fire raged through the New Orleans fair building, destroying the statue. Historians surmise that workers probably dumped the scorched remains of this glorious artwork into the Mississippi River.

The statue is no long with us, but its spirit continues to reside in this building and will always be remembered and missed by Louisianans.