Civil War remains to be buried at Arlington
RICHMOND — The remains of two unknown Union sailors recovered from the Civil War ironclad USS Monitor will be interred in Arlington National Cemetery on March 8, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said on Tuesday.
“These may very well be the last Navy personnel from the Civil War to be buried at Arlington,” Mabus said in a statement. “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.”
The two skeletons and the tattered remains of their uniforms were discovered in the rusted hulk of the Union Civil War ironclad in 2002 when its 150-ton turret was raised from the ocean floor off Cape Hatteras, N.C. Conservators of the wreck had a forensic reconstruction done on the two men's faces in the longshot bid that someone could identify the sailors who went down with the Monitor 150 years ago.
As a result, some families whose ancestors had served on the Monitor came forward, but DNA testing did not produce a match, said David Alberg, superintendent of the Monitor sanctuary. While efforts to identify to the two continue, he said, “Let's lay the men to rest.”
Alberg has pushed for the Arlington honors. So have the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Maritime Heritage Program and descendants of the surviving Monitor crewmembers.