2nd time capsule found at site of Robert E. Lee statue

A second time capsule has been found where a statue of Robert E. Lee once stood in Richmond, Virginia. It’s believed the box was placed in the foundation of the statue back in 1887.


Workers removing chunks of granite that had once supported this city’s Robert E. Lee monument finally found what appears to be an elusive 1887 time capsule shortly before noon on Monday. It was in the spot where experts had looked for it unsuccessfully in September, but farther down in the ground.

This is the second time a capsule was discovered under the monument; a small lead box opened last week contained mementos of several men who had designed the memorial. 

The good news: The latest box was made of copper and is roughly the right dimensions to be the long-rumored official time capsule, which is expected to contain some 60 items of Confederate memorabilia — including, possibly, a rare photo of President Abraham Lincoln in his casket.

The bad news: It was found sitting in water. 

It’s not clear whether water is in the box or not,” said Grant Neely, a spokesman for Gov. Ralph Northam (D).

X-ray images released Monday evening by Northam’s office suggest that at least some items inside the box remain intact. Shapes that seemed to represent coins, buttons and Minié balls — or bullets — appear clearly outlined, along with at least one book.

The box is slated to be opened 1 p.m. Tuesday in a conservation lab at the state Department of Historic Resources.

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