Robert E. Lee’s coat button found in time capsule under removed Confederate monument

Statue of a Confederate soldier
The statue of a Confederate soldier and plinth sit on a flatbed truck June 21 at the Old Capitol in Raleigh, N.C.
(Allen G. Breed / Associated Press)

A button that experts believe was from Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s dress coat and a strand of hair from his horse are among the items found inside a time capsule discovered when workers removed the base of a Confederate monument from the grounds of the North Carolina state Capitol.

Workers found the time capsule while dismantling a 75-foot Confederate monument that stood on the state Capitol grounds for 125 years, Raleigh’s News & Observer reported Thursday.

Time had taken its toll on the capsule, according to the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. There was rust on the metal box that held the contents, which the department said were “severely damaged by the elements.”

Also, the department recovered Confederate money, songbooks and flags, and a stone believed to be from Gettysburg. The capsule also contained newspapers from across the state.

Gov. Roy Cooper had ordered the removal of that statue and others for safety reasons after protesters toppled other statues.


Following protests over the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died at the hands of police in Minneapolis, many Confederate monuments are being taken down as symbols of racial injustice.