West Point Discovers Time Capsule In Monument Base

By West Point Public Affairs

Date: Tuesday, Aug 15, 2023 Time: 16:48 EST RELEASE NO: 19-23


WEST POINT, N.Y. – The U.S. Military Academy will open and unveil the contents of a nearly 200-year-old time capsule during a ceremony on August 28 at 10:30 a.m. in Robinson Auditorium at Thayer Hall. 

The sealed lead time capsule measuring about one square foot was discovered in the Thaddeus Kosciuszko monument's base during recent renovations. Academy officials determined the capsule was placed in the base of the Kosciuszko monument 26 years after the academy’s founding by cadets in 1828. 

“This time capsule is truly a unique discovery, and we are excited to open it and see what the cadets left us nearly two centuries ago,” said U.S. Military Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Steve Gilland. “The capsule’s contents will certainly add to the West Point story and is another example of past generations of cadets gripping hands with present and future generations.”  

The original base and column were designed by John H.B. Latrobe, an ex-cadet from the Class of 1822, and paid for by cadets. The eight-and-a-half-foot bronze statue of Thaddeus Kosciuszko was mounted on the column 85 years later and donated by the Polish Clergy and Laity of the United States in 1913. 

In 2021, during an inspection, the column and base had structural cracks and the statue was removed and placed in storage. The capsule was found in 2023 when the monument's base was removed from the site.  X-rays of the container conducted by the academy’s Department of Physics and Nuclear Engineering were inconclusive.  

The academy plans to continue the tradition by placing a time capsule into the rebuilt base of the monument. 

About West Point: 

The U. S. Military Academy at West Point is a four-year, co-educational, federal, liberal arts college located 50 miles north of New York City.  It was founded in 1802 as America's first college of engineering and continues today as the world's premier leader-development institution, consistently ranked among top colleges in the country. Its mission remains constant-to educate, train, and inspire the Corps of Cadets so that each graduate is a commissioned leader of character committed to the values of Duty, Honor, Country and prepared for a career of professional excellence and service to the nation as an officer in the U. S. Army. For more information, go to www.westpoint.edu

About Thaddeus Kosciuszko: 

Andrzej Tadeusz Bonaventura Kościuszko (1746-1817), more commonly known as Thaddeus Kościuszko, was a Polish general, military engineer, and revolutionary. He fought in the American Revolutionary War, as well as an uprising in his home country. He was known for his bravery, kindness, patriotism, likeability, and unwavering strength of character.