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Two US Sailors Killed in 1862 Buried With Full Honors

Diana Rambo and her husband pause at a casket of unidentified remains after services to honor two sailors from the USS Monitor, at Arlington National Cemetery, March 8, 2013 in Arlington. Mrs. Rambo is related to USS Monitor crew member Jacob Nicklis.
Two American sailors who died when their historic Civil War ship sank 151 years ago were buried with full military honors Friday at Arlington National Cemetery.

The remains were found in the sunken USS Monitor off the coast of North Carolina in 2002. Efforts to identify the skeletons were unsuccessful. But some of the descendants of all 16 crew members who died in 1862 attended the burial.

U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said it is important to honor those who represent the significant part the Monitor played in building the modern Navy.

The Monitor was the U.S. Navy's first ironclad ship when all other ships were made of wood. It successfully stopped a Confederate iron-built ship, the CSS Virginia, from breaking through a Union blockade of a Virginia port in 1862.

The Monitor survived the battle, but could not hold up against nature. It sank in a fierce winter storm off North Carolina on December 31 of that year.

Forty-seven crew members were rescued.

The U.S. Civil War pit Union northern states against secessionist Confederate southern states, which wanted to preserve slavery. The war lasted from 1861 until 1865, killing more than 600,000 people. The South was defeated and slavery abolished.