An image of the memorial to commemorate the USS Monitor dedicated on December 29, 2012, in Hampton, Va. The USS Monitor's wrecked remains now rest on the sea floor in 240 feet of water, 16 miles south of Cape Hatteras.
On December 29, NOAA's Monitor National Marine Sanctuary, the U.S. Navy, and the Department of Veterans Affairs dedicated a memorial to commemorate the Civil War ironclad, USS Monitor, and its crew. The USS Monitor memorial, located in Hampton National Cemetery in Hampton, Va., honors the iconic vessel that sank in a New Year's Eve storm 150 years ago, carrying 16 crew members to their deaths.
The USS Monitor was designed by Swedish inventor John Ericsson and is best known for its Civil War battle with the Confederate ironclad, CSS Virginia in Hampton Roads, Va., on March 9, 1862. The engagement marked the first time iron-armored ships clashed in naval warfare and signaled the end of the era of wooden ships.
Less than a year later, while being towed to a new field of battle, the Monitor capsized and sank off Cape Hatteras, N.C. The skeletal remains of two sailors were found in the ship's turret during a recovery operation in 2002 by NOAA and the U.S. Navy. The remains were turned over to the Joint POW-MIA Accounting Command in Hawaii, which is working to try and identify the sailors. To date, no trace of the other 14 missing members of the crew has been found.
The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation paid for the memorial's design and installation at Hampton National Cemetery, which is located near the site of the historic clash between the Virginia and the Monitor. The cemetery's first burials took place in 1862 and the cemetery is among numerous national cemeteries with origins that date to the Civil War.