Civil War sailors to rest near memorials to Challenger, Columbia at Arlington Cemetery


Conservators work inside the recovered USS Monitor turret on Feb. 27, 2012. (NOAA)
February 26, 2013

The remains of two sailors from the USS Monitor will be buried not far from the memorials to the space shuttles Challenger and Columbia in section 46 in Arlington National Cemetery, the Navy said Tuesday.

The funeral for the two unidentified crewmen is scheduled for March 8 at 4 p.m. Their remains were recovered in the turret of the pioneering Civil War vessel when the turret was raised from the bottom of the ocean in 2002.

The burial is open to the public.

The sailors are two of the 16 men who perished when the Monitor sank in a storm off Cape Hatteras in 1862. Lt. Lauryn Dempsey, a Navy spokeswoman, said a gravestone bearing the names of all 16 men will be erected later.

The bodies of the other 14 crewmen were not recovered. Most of the 63-man crew survived.

The Monitor is famous for fighting the Confederate ship CSS Virginia, formerly the USS Merrimack, on March 9, 1862, at Hampton Roads, Va., in the first naval battle between ironclad warships.

The Challenger exploded shortly after launch Jan. 28, 1986, killing all seven crew members. The Columbia broke apart just prior to landing on Feb. 1, 2003, killing all seven crew members.

Mike is a general assignment reporter who also covers Washington institutions and historical topics.
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