Workers find a box believed to be the 1887 time capsule that was placed under the statue pedestal of Confederate General Robert E. Lee in Richmond, Virginia, Dec. 27, 2021. Photo: Eva Russo/Richmond Times-Dispatch (AP)
Workers dismantling the pedestal of a statue of Robert E. Lee currently being removed in Virginia discovered a second time capsule Monday, raising hopes that the 1887 box might contain something interesting. The discovery comes after another time capsule was opened at the site last week but was filled with nothing but dull documents and soggy envelopes, an alas common event for many time capsules opened here in the 21st century.
The statue of Robert E. Lee, a Confederate general and traitor to the United States, was removed in September and workers are dismantling the site, including a pedestal that allegedly held a time capsule. Workers now believe this second time capsule discovered Monday is the one that could hold some interesting bits of history, according to the Richmond Times Shipping.
The time capsule will open at 1:00 p.m. ET, according to Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam. The governor’s office notes that a live video will be provided, but it is not clear where people can watch the event.
What could be inside this strange time capsule? Historians believe there are about 60 items of the Confederacy, including a rare photo of assassinated President Abraham Lincoln lying in his coffin. Why would a bunch of Confederate losers put a photo of Lincoln in his coffin in a time capsule that honored Lee? Because they celebrated the twisted ideals of the Confederacy, especially slavery.
Of the Richmond Times Shipping:
Historians have described the articles as Southern propaganda. The statue of Lincoln in his coffin was another way for the South to hate the Union and carry on the idea of the Lost Cause, said Dale Brumfield, an author and historian who has studied the history of the capsule.
There is only one real photo of Lincoln after his death, Brumfield wrote in a 2017 Richmond Magazine article:. It was taken in New York in 1865 by Jeremiah Gurney while Lincoln’s body was en route to be buried.
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The Richmond Times-Dispatch published a list of possible items in the time capsule discovered in an 1887 newspaper article when the capsule was first buried, including:
- A photo of Abraham Lincoln lying in his coffin donated by Pattie Leake;
- A History of the Monumental Church Donated by George Fisher;
- A collection of Confederate buttons by Cyrus Bossieux;
- A copy of Carlton McCarthy’s “Detailed Minutiae of Soldier Life in the Army of Northern Virginia”, edited by JW Randolph & English Publishers;
- A Guide to Richmond with a map of the city and a map of Virginia;
- Three bullets, a piece of grenade and a Minié ball in a piece of wood from a battlefield in Fredericksburg, given by Frank Brown;
- A Bible by Thomas J. Starke;
- City of Richmond Statistics by JB Halyburton;
- A battle flag and square and compass made from a tree over the grave of JW Talley Confederate General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson;
- A $100,000 Confederate Bond from John F. Mayer;
- An 1812 English penny of WT Moseley;
- October 26, 1887 edition of The Richmond Dispatch.
Time capsules tend to disappoint people in the future for two reasons: 1) People of the past often overestimate how fascinating we will find their lists of prominent businessmen and political leaders, various coins and countless bibles. And 2) Burying something in the ground is one of the worst ways to preserve something for history. As a result, they are often a soggy mess because water typically permeates any box that has been used, no matter how carefully constructed.
Photo: Eva Russo/Richmond Times-Dispatch (AP)
But there’s still the possibility that this time capsule isn’t the “right” one either. Its dimensions are still slightly different from the time capsule dimensions described in an 1887 newspaper article, which stated that a 14-by-14-by-8-inch copper box was buried at the site. The dimensions of the copper box discovered Monday were 13.5 by 13.5 by 7.5 inches and were not in the exact location described in the article.
Whatever happens at the opening ceremony of today’s time capsule, at least Robert E. Lee is dead and his modern-day followers are crying their little tears over the removal of his statue. Former President Donald Trump, to cite just one example, whined about the… removal of the statue.
The Confederacy is dead. Get over it, losers.
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