Crews dismantling the towering bronze statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee discovered a time capsule last week in Virginia that was buried more than 130 years ago, but for some historians, this recent discovery was not exactly what they were expecting.
Based on historical records from the Library of Virginia, many believed that the capsule would contain Civil War memorabilia. Some of these items would be a “picture of Abraham Lincoln lying in his coffin,” and nearly 60 artifacts relating to the Confederacy given by dozens of Richmond residents, organizations, and businesses that had some connection to the Confederacy, CBS News reported.
However, what was found was very different. In the time capsule was a 1887 almanac, a cloth envelope, silver coins, a pamphlet regarding water power facilities for the city of Manchester, and an edition of “The Huguenot Lovers: A Tale of the Old Dominion,” by Collinson Pierrepont Edwards Burgwyn, the news outlet reported.
Devon Henry, the contractor who helped in the removal of the Lee statue and one of the people who located the container, said the capsule they found “doesn’t match the description of the time capsule they were expecting.”
He said he is “as intrigued as everyone” and spoke of another time capsule that may need to be located. He said his crew is continuing their search and stressed how careful they are being in the process.
The time capsule that they hope to locate was believed to be a copper box measuring 14-by-14-by-8 inches, and larger than the lead box pulled from the pedestal last week. which measured 4-by-8-by-11.5 inches. CBS reported.
“We were really surprised to find something lead,” Julie Langan, the director of the state’s Department of Historic Resources said.
The team at the Department of Historic Resources plan to catalog and research the items in hopes of finding out more information.
The statue of Lee on his horse was dedicated in 1890 and became a scene of protests following the murder of George Floyd.
In September after a Supreme Court ruling, the process began on the removal of the Gen. Robert E. Lee statue, the last Confederate statue on Richmond’s historic Monument Avenue, that had been at the center of much intense national debate.
Virginia’s Governor Ralph Northam tried to remove the statue but was met with legal challenges going back to June 2020. When the ruling finally happened, Northam said “pulling down the statue would help move the state and Richmond into a more inclusive, just future,” according to a previously reported CNN story.
Currently, that partial statue is being stored and it is undecided what the state plans to do with the monument at this time.