Forensic Case Files: Arlington Burial for U.S.S. Monitor Sailors

Last May, we brought you a story about the remains of two U.S.S Monitor sailors, recovered in 2002 when the turret of the disintegrating wreck was recovered off the coast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. While forensic anthropologists were able to determine important information about both men, conclusive identifications remain elusive more than a decade later.

Last Friday, more than 150 years after their deaths, those two soldiers were finally laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery. They are likely to be the final Civil War soldiers buried there. Only two were buried on the grounds that previously belonged to Confederate General Robert E. Lee, but the ceremony honoured all sixteen sailors lost when the Monitor sank on December 31, 1862. Members from the sixteen families attended the ceremony, many travelling across country to be present. The public event was very well attended, some even appearing in full period dress in honour of the occasion.

A monument will be erected near the graves, honouring the sixteen sailors. The body of the ironclad warship will remain where it lies in 260 feet of water, possibly still containing the remains of her fourteen missing men.

Photo credit: U.S. Navy, Alex Brandon/Associated Press, Win McNamee/Getty Images, and Linda Davis/The Washington Post


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