Silver coin, three books and envelope of documents. Those were the contents of a time capsule that was found last Friday during the dismantling of a statue of General Lee in Richmond, Virginia, USA. The researchers were hoping for more.
A statue of the most important military leader of the Confederate states in the American Civil War stood prominently in the city, once the capital of the Confederacy (of the Confederate states that seceded), for 130 years. Following the Black Lives Matter protests following the death of George Floyd, it was decided to remove the tribute.
Historians note that when the statue was erected in 1887, a time capsule was placed at the base. About sixty artifacts were collected by 37 public figures and local organizations, mainly related to the Civil War.
The top piece was a photograph of the corpse of President Lincoln in the state, newspapers reported in 1887, who was shot dead by a Southerner a few days after the end of the war. Such an image will be unique.
When a statue of Lee was pulled away in September, the wreckers searched for the 12-hour time capsule at the 12-meter-high base. Nothing was found, but last Friday they came across a pencil case, slightly larger than a shoebox, halfway up a pedestal.
It took the guards five hours to carefully open the box. The cover was eventually removed in a live broadcast, in the presence of Governor Northam. Next to the silver coin was a calendar from 1875, a novel by someone who worked on a pedestal and a kind of cash book, which is still too fragile to open.
Governor Northham was present when the capsule was opened:
“Infuriatingly humble social media buff. Twitter advocate. Writer. Internet nerd.”