State Capitol statue of Civil War Union general vandalized

October 10, 2017 05:55 PM

ALBANY -- State employees found a message in red spray paint on the statue of famous Civil War Union Gen. Philip Sheridan Tuesday morning. Written on the base of the statue in front of the state Capitol was "F--- Colonization, no borders, no nations". 

It's unclear when the message was written, but it was found the day after Columbus Day -- a day a growing number of cities are now celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day.

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We've seen criticism of Confederate statues across the country this year, but it wasn't the Civil War that likely angered this vandal. It was Sheridan's time in the West.

Sheridan proved himself in the Civil War. Quickly rising to the rank of major general after many important victories that secured the North a victory over the Confederacy.  

After the war ended, Sheridan was sent west with orders to fight back Native American resistance. The goal was to force them to give up their land and live on reservations.

He implemented a "Total War" strategy. He surprised tribes in the winter, giving orders to kill all warriors, capture all women and children, and destroy all camps.

He also encouraged the indiscriminate killing of buffalo, a major food source for some tribes.

Sheridan was eventually named commanding general of the U.S. Army and even had a role in preserving Yellowstone to become a national park.

Once he died, the race was on across the country to name things after the popular general and Civil War hero. He was featured on a U.S. $10 bill. Counties, streets, a fort, and even a mountain in Yellowstone are named after him.

Sheridan claimed Albany as his birthplace. The statue went up 101 years ago this month.  

There will be no lasting damage to the monument, which is the work of Daniel Chester French, who is best known for the Lincoln Memorial.

OGS says this isn't the first time this has happened to the Sheridan statue. State Police are reviewing surveillance video. Two cameras sit atop the Capitol over the statue. State Police say the vandal could be charged with criminal mischief.



WNYT Staff

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