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Who stole Civil War portrait over urinal?

7:13 PM, Aug 2, 2012   |    comments
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  • Exterior of Marietta Museum of History, Kennesaw House
  • Museum founder Dan Cox
  • Sherman portrait at Marietta Musem of History
  • Portrait over museum's urinals
    

MARIETTA, Ga. -- Another Civil War related theft has hit the historic Kennesaw House in Marietta.

The first was in 1862 when some Union spies stole a steam engine parked in front of the hotel and lead Confederates on what became known as "The Great Locomotive Chase".

Now 150 years later, someone has stolen a Civil War portrait from what is now the Marietta Museum of History.

"Unfortunately somebody walked into one of our major rooms here and lifted a portrait, which I consider a dastardly thing to do," museum founder Dan Cox told 11 Alive News on Thursday.

Not just any portrait, but General William Tecumseh Sherman, the Union commander famous and infamous for cutting Georgia in two and burning down much of Atlanta.

It was on display in a special room that is labeled "Sherman's Headquarters".

"It's a room for men," explained Cox, "It's called a restroom."

"We had it mounted on the wall in a strategic place, just so it couldn't be harmed; it was above what we might call a wall unit in the men's room," he added.

In fact, both of the urinals in the men's room had portraits of Sherman just above them.

One vanished a few days ago.

"At first I thought it might have fallen off the wall and flushed down," Cox said.

He still doesn't know who pinched the general's likeness.

I asked him if it could have been a Southerner, still angry over Sherman's famous rampage?

"If it was a Southerner, they used it for some kindling, probably," he answered.

Or maybe a Northerner offended by its place of 'honor'?

"It's not hard to offend a Yankee," Cox replied, "so it could very well be a Yankee."

Fortunately, while the Marietta Museum of History has many valuable items in its collection, the Sherman portrait was not one of them.

"To tell you the truth, it's a computer printout," Cox said, laughing.

That means it's easily replaced, until it disappears again, of course.

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