By Michael E. Ruane, Published: March 6

Perhaps they were friends — the older sailor who walked with a limp and always had a pipe clenched in his teeth, and the younger salt with the busted nose and the beat-up, mismatched shoes.

If not comrades in life, they became so in death, drowning together in the iron tomb of the USS Monitor as it capsized off Cape Hatteras in 1862 and sank upside down in 40 fathoms of water.


 The discovery of the wreckage of the USS Monitor leads to new forensic revelations.

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The USS Monitor center at the Maritime Museum in Newport News, Va., helps visitors put the pieces together of the sunken ship.

The USS Monitor center at the Maritime Museum in Newport News, Va., helps visitors put the pieces together of the sunken ship.



Over a century later, their skeletons would be found, one atop the other — the younger man still with his shoes on — amid the guns, equipment and debris inside the famous ship’s turret.

And Tuesday, a few months shy of 150 years since their faces were last seen in the midst of the Civil War, likenesses of the noble Yankee seamen were unveiled at the Navy Memorial in downtown Washington.

Experts have used plaster models of the sailors’ skulls to create facial reconstructions that could provide clues to their identities.

The unveiling is the culmination of almost 40 years of research into the Monitor shipwreck by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Navy, the Mariners’ Museum in Newport News, Va., and many other groups
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