Confederate Time Capsules

The Robert E. Lee memorial in Richmond was recently pulled down with no ceremony. It was erected in 1890 on Monument Avenue in Richmond. It was an equestrian statue depicting Lee on his horse, Traveler. Beneath the memorial were two time capsules. Both time capsules were buried within the monument. Now that the memorial has been removed, the two capsules have been uncovered.

One of the Lee statue time capsules included an 1865 Harper’s Weekly article showing a person weeping over Abraham Lincoln’s grave. According to contemporary news articles, there should also a picture of Lincoln lying in his casket. That picture has not yet been uncovered. If found, that would represent a wholly unknown Lincoln picture. But, the second time capsule, a copper box, was found full of water. Many papers in that state will not survive. See AP news report here.

San Antonio

In the Confederate memorial in San Antonio, there was also a time capsule. Within that box was a paper written by a young Harry Hertzberg. Hertzberg was a state senator from San Antonio, who gained renown for attacking the Ku Klux Klan in a speech in 1922. This was a time when the KKK had a great deal of acceptance across mainstream Texas society. It was said the KKK included some 20% of the white businessmen in any given Southern city at the time. See more about Harry Hertzberg here.

Young Mr. Hertzberg was just a student when his paper on Jefferson Davis was selected for inclusion in the San Antonio time capsule.  He was a prominent member of the Jewish community. His family operated the long-time San Antonio business known as Hertzberg Jewelers.

Both the San Antonio memorial and the Lee Memorial were erected by Confederate veterans and by members of the Daughters of the Confederacy. The Daughters of the Confederacy was founded as a way to support destitute Confederate veterans and to remember those who did not return from combat. Erecting memorials across the South lead to the creation of the Daughters of the Confederacy.


San Antonio Daily Express, June 4, 1899, p. 1, col. 3

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s