Ask Mount Vernon

Is George Washington's body above ground? In pictures, we see a white casket-like object just inside the tomb?

Mary V. Thompson

Mary V. Thompson

Research Historian

Yes, George Washington's body is inside a lead coffin (dating to the time of his death in 1799), which is inside the white marble sarcophagus seen in the vestibule of the New Tomb. The New Tomb, a brick building built into the side of a hill, was constructed in 1831, at which time all of the bodies at the Old Tomb, including those of George and Martha Washington, were moved to the new structure. The vestibule was constructed a few years later in 1837, when George Washington's body was placed in the marble sarcophagus. Martha Washington's body was placed in another marble sarcophagus in the vestibule in 1838.

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