For 140 years the two Yankee sailors lay entombed in the turret of the USS Monitor, doomed shipmates aboard the sunken Civil War vessel 40 fathoms down and 16 miles off Cape Hatteras.
Their remains were recovered when the turret was brought to the surface in an amazing feat of marine archaeology and engineering in 2002.
Next month, after a decade of trying to learn their identities, the Navy plans to bury the comrades as unidentified in Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors.
The funeral, scheduled for March 8, will mark 40 years of research into the Monitor by the Navy, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Mariners’ Museum in Newport News, Va., and many other organizations.
And it will lay to rest perhaps the last of the over 600,000 soldiers, sailors and Marines who perished in the long ago war for the Union. The nation is currently commemorating the sesquicentennial of the war, which ran from 1861 to 1865.