The USS Monitor Memorial: On March 9, 1862, the first fight between two ironclads took place at Hampton Roads, VA. Though the USS Monitor and CSS Merrimack ultimately fought to a draw, naval warfare would never be the same.
While it performed admirably in the harbor of Hampton Roads, due to its armored deck only being 18" above the waterline and its heavy turret, the Monitor, often called a cheesebox on a raft, wasn't designed to brave the high seas of the Atlantic. In fact, while being towed from NY to VA, it had almost sunk before its very first battle. On Dec. 31, the Monitor began its journey to Wilmington, NC, by being towed by the USS Rhode Island. A heavy storm soon hit the ships and only increased in ferocity. By late that night the ship sunk off Cape Hatteras with the loss of sixteen men, including four officers.
In 1973, the Monitor was officially rediscovered. To preserve the ship, the wreck, and everything around it, a .5-nautical-mile radius was designated as the Monitor National Marine Sanctuary, on January 30, 1975. In the 90s various parts of the ship were raised but it wasn't until 2002 that the 120 t turret was raised. It is now being restored in Newport News, VA. --
On March 18, 2013, the remains of two unknown USS Monitor sailors, recovered by NOAA and the U.S. Navy in 2002 from the turret, were buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.
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