150 Years Later, 2 Union Sailors Head to Arlington

Navy to honor 16 who died on USS Monitor

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 5, 2013 3:21 AM CST

(Newser) – A pair of Union sailors who perished on the battleship USS Monitor 150 years ago will receive heroes' burials at Arlington National Cemetery later this week, Fox reports. The burial will take place on the 151st anniversary of the Battle of Hampton Roads, in which the Monitor fought the Confederate vessel Merrimack in history's first clash between two ironclad ships. Some 16 of the Monitor's crewmen died nine months later when it sank off North Carolina in rough seas. Another 50 were rescued.

The wreck was discovered in 1973 and divers retrieved the two sailors' remains from the ship's turret in 2002. "These may very well be the last Navy personnel from the Civil War to be buried at Arlington," Navy Secretary Ray Mabus says. "It’s important we honor these brave men and all they represent as we reflect upon the significant role Monitor and her crew had in setting the course of our modern Navy." DNA tests narrowed the sailors' identities down to six men, but descendents of all 16 sailors lost on the Monitor will attend the ceremony. “It’s been interesting to be connected to something so momentous, and we’re looking forward to the ceremony," says one.

This photo released by the NOAA shows the USS Monitor.
This photo released by the NOAA shows the USS Monitor.   (AP Photo/NOAA, File)
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