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Man wants Civil War artifacts back from Cannonball House

By JOE KOVAC JR. - jkovac@macon.com

A Confederate naval ship captain’s Civil War sword that exchanged hands for the first time in surrender at the Battle of Mobile Bay is at the center of a lawsuit filed Thursday against the operators of Macon’s historic Cannonball House.

The suit also revolves around another sword. The second sword belonged to Capt. James E. “Fighting Jim” Jouett -- who later rose to the rank of rear admiral in the U.S. Navy -- who captured the Confederate captain’s steamship in 1864.

WOODY MARSHALL/THE TELEGRAPH An Atlanta man contends in a lawsuit that a flag, a sword and other Civil War artifacts loaned to the group that runs the Cannonball House, seen above, decades ago should be returned to him.

    Jouett, in the late 1800s, gave his own sword and that of the Confederate captain, Peter Umstead Murphey, who died in 1976, to Murphey’s daughter.

    The suit is being brought by Murphey’s great-great-great grandson, Michael H. Dunn of Atlanta, who contends that a flag, a sword and other artifacts loaned to the group that runs the house decades ago should be returned to him.

    Some of the items are now in bad shape, and others have been lost, Dunn contends in the complaint, filed against Friends of the Cannonball House.

    Both sides have also filed reports in the case with the Macon Police Department.

    The suit asks a judge to declare Dunn the rightful property owner, who claims the “family heirlooms” were willed to him by his father, who died two years ago.

    The swords and other Civil War keepsakes were handed down for generations in Murphey’s family before being loaned in 1967 to a local chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy for display in the Cannonball House.

    Read more: http://www.macon.com/2011/09/30/1725032/man-wants-civil-war-artifacts.html#ixzz1ZRfYVNvP

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