Graveside Ceremony Held for Monitor Sailors

Graveside Ceremony Held for Monitor Sailors

The remains of two unknown USS Monitor sailors were buried March 8 with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Navy recovered the remains in 2002 from the ship's gun turret. The USS Monitor sank in a New Year's Eve storm just over 150 years ago, carrying 16 crew members to their deaths. NOAA and the Joint POW-MIA Accounting Command in Hawaii worked for 10 years to try to identify the sailors including trying to match DNA of family descendents with that from the recovered remains.

Last year, NOAA released forensic reconstructions of the sailors' faces, showing what they may have looked like while aboard the ship. Neither effort has resulted in identification of the remains to date but efforts are ongoing.

Designed by Swedish inventor John Ericsson, USS Monitor is best known for its Civil War battle with the Confederate ironclad, CSS Virginia, in Hampton Roads, Va., on March 9, 1862. The engagement marked the first time iron-armored ships clashed in naval warfare and signaled the end of the era of wooden ships. Less than a year later, while being towed to a new field of battle, USS Monitor capsized and sank 16 miles south of Cape Hatteras, N.C. in 240 feet of water. To date, no trace of the other 14 missing members of the crew has been found.