Confederate memorabilia and ammo were pulled Tuesday from a 19th century time capsule that had been embedded in a massive pedestal under a Robert E. Lee statue in Richmond, Va.
Preservationists found Confederate money, a carved Confederate flag and an apparent Masonic symbol stuffed into the 36-pound copper box alongside a Christian Bible, old newspapers and other items.
The 1887 time capsule was the second found in the pedestal, which is being dismantled after authorities removed the statue of Confederate Gen. Lee in September. Plans to remove the statue were announced in 2020, in the wake of national protests sparked by the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.
The first time capsule, a lead box, was recovered several weeks ago but didn’t match historical records of the time capsule put in the pedestal during the statue’s dedication. Experts now say that was likely an unofficial capsule that may have been placed by someone who worked on the construction of the monument.
The second capsule was recovered this week and had to be inspected by a bomb squad due to historical newspaper accounts that said it contained a shell from a battle in Fredericksburg.
“We don’t trust what they wrote in the newspaper back then so we wanted to make sure it wasn’t live before anybody came into the lab,” Kate Ridway, lead conservator of the state Department of Historic Resources, told reporters as the capsule’s water-damaged contents were removed.
They did find what appeared to be Minie balls, Civil War-era bullets. But some history buffs may be disappointed with the haul because it didn’t include a photo of President Abraham Lincoln in his coffin that some believed had been placed in the box because of contemporary newspaper accounts.
Instead, an image of someone grieving over Lincoln’s grave was found in the capsule. It was apparently a two-page centerfold from an 1865 edition of Harper’s Weekly – but it was not as historically significant as an actual photo of the slain president would’ve been. Only one photo of the president after his death is known to exist, a historian told The Associated Press.
With Post wires