Robert E Lee’s second time capsule does not contain a photo of Lincoln
Teams remove a towering statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee on Monument Avenue in Richmond, Va. On September 8, 2021.
Photo: Steve Helber / POOL / EPA-EFE / Shutterstock
George W. Bush once said, âDeceive me once, shame on – shame on you. Cheat on me, you can no longer go wrong. But despite those deep words, it appears that once again Virginians were tricked into thinking they had stumbled upon a photo of another Republican president lying in his coffin, only to come back empty-handed.
For those who haven’t followed this saga: Last week, curators from the Virginia Department of Historic Resources opened a time capsule that workers found during the dismantling of the pedestal of the six-story statue of Robert E. Lee in Richmond, which was dismantled in September. An 1887 newspaper article and Library of Virginia archives suggested that a capsule containing various Confederate paraphernalia and a “photo of Lincoln lying in his coffin” had been embedded in this pedestal during construction. But the location and appearance of the box the workers found did not quite match the description, and all they found inside were soggy books, a British coin and the photo of a living man who was not Abraham Lincoln.
So it seemed like we had all learned a lesson about the confidence of Confederate sympathizers. But on Monday, the crew removing the pedestal found a second box. And Governor Ralph Northam, for his part, was ready to believe:
However, the second capsule was a bit of a letdown as well. It appears that the box opened Tuesday afternoon was the official time capsule and there was no water inside other than condensation. âIt’s in much better condition than we expected,â said restaurateur Kate Ridgway. “We thought it would all be soup and it’s not soup, so that’s great.”
But so far they haven’t found a new photo of Lincoln’s corpse (which would be a huge historical find, as we’ve only seen one photo of the murdered president in his coffin), although the capsule contains a drawing of a character mourning Lincoln’s coffin from an 1865 issue of Harper’s Weekly. As the PA reports, the box only contained more Confederate documents and some ammunition:
Along with several waterlogged books, brochures and newspapers, the box contained an envelope of Confederate money, which the Conservatives carefully separated, and two carved artifacts – a Masonic symbol and a Confederate flag allegedly made from the tree that grew on General Stonewall Jackson’s original grave.
The Conservatives also removed MiniÃ¨ buttons, coins and bullets, a type of bullet used during the Civil War, from the box. A bomb squad had checked the capsule on Monday, in part to make sure there were no live ammunition.
Here are some pictures of the disappointing opening of the second capsule:
The Conservatives still have some work to do, but for now it looks like we have all been duped once again by the lost cause advocates. That’s the frustrating end to this little mystery, but on the other hand, it’s Dead Week – what else did we do?
This post has been updated.