1875 almanac, other books found in a time capsule in US' Richmond

WION Web Team
Washington, United States Published: Dec 23, 2021, 12:24 PM(IST)

Statue of General Robert E. Lee which was pulled down in September (L), and the time capsule that was opened on Wednesday at the Department of Historical Resources in Richmond. It contained only three water-logged books, a photograph in a damp cloth envelope, and an unknown coin. Photograph:( WION Web Team )

Story highlights

Richmond, which served as the capital of the South during the bloody 1861-65 conflict, pulled down Lee's statue in September, joining a growing number of monuments to the pro-slavery Confederacy being demolished

130 years ago, the US government buried a time capsule in the base of a sculpture of a Confederate general. On Wednesday, the time capsule revealed its secrets and gave rise to another mystery.

Last week, a shoebox-sized container was found near a granite pedestal of a statue of General Robert E. Lee, commander of the Army of Northern Virginia during the Civil War.

Richmond, which served as the capital of the South during the bloody 1861-65 conflict, pulled down Lee's statue in September, joining a growing number of monuments to the pro-slavery Confederacy being demolished.   

Also read | Memorial commemorating victims of Tiananmen Square massacre removed from Hong Kong varsity

A newspaper article from 1887 reported that a time capsule was hidden in the massive stone base of the bronze statue. The time capsule contained items from the Civil War such as buttons, bullets, Confederate currency, maps, a Bible, as well as a picture of Abraham Lincoln's coffin.

In contrast, the time capsule opened Wednesday at the Department of Historical Resources in Richmond contained only three water-logged books, a photograph in a damp cloth envelope, and an unknown coin.

Among the books was the 1875 American Ephemeris and Nautical Almanac, which acted as a guide for astronomers, surveyors, and navigators.

Also read | Researchers discover world's oldest family tree, by analysing DNA from 5,700 years old tomb

There was also a book published in 1889, two years after the time capsule mentioned in the 1887 newspaper article was thought to have been buried, raising questions about its whereabouts and even if it ever existed.

The book titled "The Huguenot Lovers: A Tale of the Old Dominion" was written by C.P.E. Burgwyn, who listed himself on the title page as a consultant engineer with the Lee Monument Association.

Watch | Statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee removed

In the wake of the murder of George Floyd by a white Minnesota police officer, Lee's statue became the focus of protests for racial justice in Richmond last year.

Confederate South seceded from the United States during the Civil War and fought to maintain slavery that was abolished in the rest of the nation.

(With inputs from agencies)

Read in App