The time capsule was discovered at the base of the Confederate General’s statue in September, renewing hopes of finding a photo of Abraham Lincoln eagerly awaited by collectors.
Read more: The uncut statue does not reveal its mystery
“They found it!” Ralph Northm, Governor of Virginia, a week after opening the first capsule, disappointed experts.
“This is probably the time capsule that everyone is looking for,” he added in his message on Monday with photos of the thirty-centimeter-long rectangular metal box.
The box will open at 1pm on Tuesday, he later said, indicating that the capsule was x-rayed.
“Experts believe there may be civil war coins, books, badges and even ammunition,” he tweeted.
The time capsule is a container containing the objects or documents of an era designed for future generations.
It was discovered in 1890 under the pedestal of the horse statue of General Robert Lee, leader of the Confederate Army that defended slavery during the Civil War (1861-1865) in Richmond, the former separatist capital of Virginia.
The statue, which was seen by many Americans as a symbol of the country’s slavery, was removed in September, against the backdrop of questioning Confederate monuments.
After the statue was removed, experts began searching for a mysterious time capsule placed on its pedestal in 1887, which was believed to contain civil war memorials such as buttons or bullets, the Confederacy coin, a Bible, but above all a photograph. Showing President Abraham Lincoln in his coffin is a clich presented as a historic bombshell that will panic the collector’s market.
A first box was dug up, then carefully opened, but it contained only a cloth envelope with three books and a photograph, all damaged by water, as well as a coin of unknown origin.
Workers involved in the construction of the statue appear to have placed it at the base of the capsule.
One of the works has been a guide for astronomers and navigators since 1875.
But two years after the capsule was supposed to be buried, another one seems to have been published in 1889, suggesting that another such container might be under the pedestal.
The statue of General Lee in Richmond became the target of anti-racist protests in Minneapolis in May 2020 after the death of an African-American, George Floyd, who suffocated below the knee of a white police officer and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement.
During the Civil War, the Southern Confederation fought to maintain slavery, which had been abolished during the conflict in other parts of the country.