West Point cadets, historians and leaders gathered Monday for the big reveal. A time capsule found hidden in a Revolutionary War monument dating back to 1828 was finally going to be opened after months of waiting.
The high-profile event was streamed live on YouTube by the US Military Academy and featured a number of speeches before and after the capsule was opened.
The small lead box was found in May during the restoration of a monument honoring Revolutionary War hero Thaddeus Kosciuszko, who as a Continental Army officer designed wartime fortifications on the site along the Hudson River.
For months, questions swirled about what might be inside.
In pre-recorded videos shown during the live broadcast, the cadets guessed what the discoveries might be. A cadet spoke of a bayonet. Another cadet said a class was ringing. And another spoke about the utensils in the refectory.
It has even been speculated that Robert E. Lee, who frequented West Point at the time of the capsule’s placement, might be connected to what was inside.
After explaining that the x-ray images showed “abnormalities” inside the container, historians working at West Point carefully opened the top of the capsule.
Historians and the public were stunned as the capsule turned out to be virtually empty.
“There are some features on the object that appear to be…we don’t know if it’s dirt or mud or dust that has collected on it and hardened,” one said. historians analyzing the capsule.
Event organizers admitted the time capsule didn’t “live up to expectations,” but they remain hopeful. They don’t think whoever placed the capsule at the base of the monument would take the time to do so if it were empty, so they will assess and test the “silt” found to see what comes out.
They say the finds may be something “organic,” or not something that could have lasted more than 190 years since the capsule was buried.
The lid also bore a stamp for “EW Bank”, but it does not appear to be known what this stamp refers to at this time.