The time capsule found on the site where Richmond, Virginia's famous Robert E. Lee statue once stood appears to be the relic historians were looking for.
Opened Monday afternoon, the copper box included items that match descriptions from 1887 newspaper archives. Workers found a piece of wood with a bullet in it and a Confederate button, both of which were noted in an 1887 list of 60 items placed in the box. They also removed papers described as constitution and bylaws of Lee Camp, another match.
Workers in Richmond are continuing to slowly remove items from the box and attempt to preserve them.
A crew found the box Monday around noon underground near the northeast corner of where the Robert E. Lee pedestal once stood.
It was the second time capsule discovered. Two weeks ago, workers found a lead box containing three books, a pamphlet, a photo and a British coin.
The second box more closely resembled the time capsule description published in two newspapers in 1887. It was copper colored and 14" x 14" x 8" in size. It was also discovered where Masonic tradition indicated it would be — the northeast corner.
According to the newspapers, there were 60 items placed inside. The most notable item to historians is a potentially rare photo of Abraham Lincoln in coffin.
Placing a picture of a dead Lincoln beneath a Confederate hero was another way for the South to give its middle finger to the north, said Dale Brumfield, an author and historian who has studied the time capsule. The contents of the box, which are largely related to the Confederacy, have been described as propaganda of the Lost Cause.
"The Indiana Jones archeology side of all this is fun to watch and hard not to get caught up in, but the important thing to remember is that this is exactly what the people who placed the box hoped for," said Sarah Driggs, a historian and author of "Richmond's Monument Avenue." "That their version of history would continue to be poured over and discussed — 131 years later."
Monuments often are propaganda, Driggs said. The only difference in the case Monument Avenue is that monuments are usually erected by the winners.
The 60 items placed in the box, according to the Oct. 26, 1887 Richmond Dispatch:
1. Compiled history of the Monumental Church
2. Roll of Company B, Twelfth Virginia Infantry
3. Statistics of the city of Richmond
4. Constitution and bylaws of Lee Camp, Confederate Veterans
5. Programme of banquet to Lynn Post, No. 5
6. Virginia Confederate buttons
7. Battle-flag and square and compass made from the tree over Stonewall Jackson’s grave
8. Twelve copper coins
9. Muster-roll of Richmond Sharpshooters, Twenty-first Virginia regiment
10. Badge of the Association of Army Northern Virginia
11. Circular advertisement
12. Copy of Emigrant’s Friend
13. Genealogical tree of the Lee family
14. Confederate treasury notes
15. Copy of seal of the Adjutant-General of the Confederate states
16. A $100,000 Confederate bond, registered
16. $1 Confederate note
18. English penny of 1812
19. Roll of officers and members of Richmond Commandery, No. 2.
20. Individual card of Edward W. Price, general commander, New Jersey
21. Programme of the Ancient Order of Nobles of the Mystic Shrine on the occasion of the laying of the corner-stone
22. Reports of the Chamber of Commerce for 1886 and 1887
23. Constitution and by-laws of the Virginia Mechanics’ Institute
24. By-laws of Richmond Commandery, No. 2
25. Warrock-Richardson Virginia Almanac for 1887
26. Report Mount Vernon Ladies Association, 1887
27. Picture of Lincoln Lying in his coffin
28. Programme Ancient Order Nobles of Mystic Shrine laying corner-stone of Lee Monument
29. Soldiers’ Life Army of Northern Virginia (by McCarthy)
30. Memorial volume of the Army of Northern Virginia
31. A Guide to Richmond, with maps of Richmond and Virginia
32. Badge corner-stone parade
33. History of First Battle of Manassas
34. Grantham’s Historical Account of Some Memorable Actions in Virginia, 1716
35. Weekly Dispatch October 21, 1887, containing letter of Hon. W.W. Corcoran on General Lee
36. W. Gordon McCabe’s address at the reunion of Pegram’s battalion
37. Picture of memorial window of Pegram’s battlefield at Soldier’s Home
38. Gray and Blue badge
39. Piece of a stone wall, Fredericksburg, Va.
40. Three bullets from battlefield of Fredericksburg
41. One piece of shell from Fredericksburg
42. One piece of wood with Minnie-ball in it from battle-field at Fredericksburg
43. A cut from a tree at the Bloody Angle, Spotsylvania
44. Individual card
45. Programme of three exhibitions by Bremond Institute for the benefit of Lee Monument fund
46. A button from coat of Capt. Bremond
47. Individual card
48. Assortment of United States silver and copper coins
49. Richmond directory
50. One United States silver dollar, 1886
51. Copy of paper 23rd October, 1887
52. Assortment of United States fractional coins
53. One Holy Bible
54. Copies of charters issued by Grand Lodge, Grand Chapter and Grand Commandery of Virginia to its subordinates (on parchment).
55. Fourth edition of Grand Lodge Text-book
56. Copy of Text-Book Grand Chapter of Virginia and Digest
57. Copy Grand Constitution of Grand Encampment United States Knights Templars and proceedings 1886.
58. Copy of Proceedings, 1886, Grand Lodge, Grand Chapter, and Grand Commandery of Virginia
59. Programme of exercises observed on occasion of laying of Lee-monument corner-stone.
60. Reprints of proceedings of Grand Lodge of Virginia from 1877 to 1822, containing steel engravings of all grand masters during that period, and also engravings of Dr. John Dove and Hon. R.E. Withers