Two sailors from the USS Monitor will finally be buried after more than 150 years. The two crew members were interred at Arlington National Cemetery on Friday.
They will also likely be the last Civil War soldiers to be buried at the cemetery. The soldiers were crew members of the ironclad USS Monitor.
The soldiers’ remains were discovered in 2002, but they have not been officially identified, because DNA testing has failed to find a conclusive link, reports MSN News.
The ceremony included some kin of the USS Monitor soldiers. The families have stressed that the internment pays homage to all of the men who died when the ship went down.
Andy Bryan is one of those family members. His DNA testing found a 50 percent likelihood that his great-great-great-uncle was one of the two soldiers found. Bryan stated:
“When I learned they were going to do a memorial and have the burial at Arlington, it was like, ‘I can’t miss that.’ ‘
Yahoo! News notes that the remains were discovered in the USS Monitor when its turret was raised off the coast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.
The wreck’s conservators did attempt to identify the sailors by having a forensic reconstruction done on the two men’s faces.
Some families came forward, but the DNA results did not give a positive identification. They will continue to identify the sailors, though their bones are being interred. The USS Monitor made history when it fought in the first battle between two ironclads in the Battle of Hampton Roads on March 9, 1862.
The ship went down off Cape Hatteras in rough seas when it was under tow by the USS Rhode Island. The wreck of the ironclad ship was discovered in 1973. The turret of the USS Monitor is currently on display at the USS Monitor Center of The Mariners’ Museum in Newport News. Anna Holloway, curator of the center, stated of the burial:
“It has long been our wish at The Mariners’ Museum to see these two men buried in Arlington. We are thrilled to know that these two heroes of the Monitor will be honored in this way.”
The rest of the remains of most of the 16 soldiers on the USS Monitor remain with the ship, interred underwater.