27 October 2023
The US Military Academy at West Point, New York, recently opened a one-cubic-foot lead time capsule dating from 1828 that had been discovered during recent renovations to a monument to Thaddeus Kosciuszko (1746–1817).
Kosciuszko was a Polish general, military engineer and revolutionary, who fought in the American Revolutionary War, as well as an uprising in his home country.
The lead box had been placed at the base of the monument and contained six American silver coins and a commemorative medal. Dating from 1795 to 1828, the following items were discovered inside the capsule: Liberty dollar (1800); 50 cent (1828); 25 cent (1818); 10 cent (1827); 5 cent (1795); 1 cent (1827); and an Erie Canal commemorative medal (1826).
Initially, the box was thought to be empty when it was opened by the US Military Academy’s archaeology team during a livestreamed ceremony. However, further investigations revealed the coins in the sediment at the bottom of the box.
US Military Academy’s Dean of the Academic Board, Brigadier General Shane Reeves, said: ‘This is an incredible story that involves so many of West Point’s heroes and many of them are the Army’s and our nation’s heroes. We should reflect upon and be inspired by our history to pause and realise we have the immense honour and responsibility to continue the legacy that Kosciusko started, and that West Point continues to live up to his vision from so long ago.’ He added: ‘There is no better opportunity to take a moment and be inspired by our Army and academy’s connection through time that is represented by that capsule and one of our nation’s true heroes.’