150 years after the USS Monitor sank off the coast of North Carolina, a new memorial in Virginia honors the crew of the civil war ironclad. And researchers are still working to identify the remains of two sailors who died when the ship went down.
16 members of the crew died on December 31, 1862, when the Monitor sank about 16 miles south of Cape Hatteras. The remains of two sailors were recovered 10 years ago, when the ship's turret was lifted from the ocean floor.
Sculptures of the two sailors were unveiled in Washington last spring, but the effort to identify the men continues. Shannon Ricles is the Director of Education and Outreach for the Monitor National Marine Sanctuary. "Because it's 150 years later, it's going to be very difficult," Ricles told us in an interview, "but there are some good possibilities." "And as you know we had a geneologist who did some work on studying the background of all 16 sailors," she said, "so there are some real good possibilities."
The battle between the Monitor and the confederate ironclad CSS Virginia in March, 1862 changed the course of naval warfare.
On Saturday, the Navy and the Monitor National Marine Sanctuary dedicated a monument to the crew at the Hampton National Cemetery. If the Secretary of the Navy approves, the remains of the two sailors will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery later this year.