MACON, Ga. (AP) — Concealed in the base of a Confederate statue in central Georgia is a trove of historic artifacts and documents from the years soon after the battle between the states.
Among them: an 1878 letter from Confederate President Jefferson Davis, ahead of the monument's dedication in Macon.
Examples of coins from the era and other artifacts are contained in a copper box - a time capsule of sorts - inside the statue in downtown Macon.
The statue was erected a decade after the Civil War, The Telegraph of Macon reports.
It's one of several Confederate monuments at the heart of a nationwide debate about whether they should be removed.
The monument was moved to its present site in 1956 to make way for better traffic flows near the county courthouse.
When it was relocated, the copper box beneath the monument was unsealed for the first time since the statue's completion in 1879.
When the box was unsealed, The Telegraph reported on the contents in a front-page article. It said the items inside were "still white and crisp after their long stay under the monument." They had been packed in Georgia cotton, "which has remained pure white for 77 years," the newspaper reported in its story then.
The letter from Davis had been written to members of the Ladies Memorial Association.
The box also contained "copies of newspapers, several pictures, two city directories, examples of currency, coins and bonds of the Confederacy," The Telegraph reported.
There was also a roll of honor bearing the names of Confederate soldiers buried at Rose Hill Cemetery and what was described as "a circular order on recruiting regiments" by Lt. Gen. Stonewall Jackson.
Copies of the items were made, and the originals were returned to the box and resealed in the monument after its move to its present site on Cotton Avenue.