ARLINGTON, Va. - As the sun set at Arlington National Cemetery, the U.S. Navy buried two unknown sailors,their families and names long lost to history and a bloody, violent war.

The sailors died when the USS Monitor sunk during the Civil War off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, in a storm as the ironclad was trying to head south for further operations.

Late Friday afternoon those sailors were laid to rest as U.S. Navy Ceremonial Guard conducted military honors. A three rifle volley went off in the background as white gloves neatly folded the American flag over shining caskets.

Originally, the USS Monitor sailed from port in February 1862 and would engage theConfederate ironclad Virginia in March. The battle against the ship Virginia, which had sunk two Union ships the day before, was a tactical draw. Among its battles is one that took place on July 2, when Monitor teamed up with USS Galena to bombard the Confederate forces as General McClennan army withdrew. That was the Battle of Malvern Hill.

On Dec. 31, 1862, the USS Monitor foundered, succombing to a storm and taking with it 16 sailors to the depths of the Atlantic. Remains of two of those sailors were recovered in 2002 from the Monitor’s turret.

Historical information from the Naval History and Heritage (

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