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DANVILLE, Va. _ ``Eye of the Storm: The Lost Drawings of a Union Officer,' an exhibition from the Virginia Historical Society, has opened at the Danville Museum of Fine Arts and History.

The exhibition will be on view until Oct. 25.Robert Know Sneden, born in 1832, was a native of Nova Scotia. He served the Union in the Third Army Corps as a map draftsman and topographical engineer.

He was captured by John S. Mosby and wounded at Brandy Station in 1863, and he spent a year as a Confederate prisoner in nine locations

Sneden used his skills in nearly 400 wartime watercolor sketches to record the landscape of Virginia and the violent changes wrought on it by the two armies. The exhibit includes 28 of the sketches.

A few of Sneden's sketches were engraved for the ``Battles and Leaders of the Civil War' series. The rest dropped from sight for nearly a century.

The artist died in 1918, and during the Depression, an heir offered the scrapbooks as collateral for a loan.

They languished in a Connecticut bank vault for 60 years until offered for sale in 1994. They were acquired by the Virginia Historical Society and are considered one of the most significant Civil War collections to be discovered in recent decades.

The Danville Museum of Fine Arts and History, 975 Main St. in Danville, is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

Admission is free. For more information, call (804) 793-5644.


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