Jim was honored and privileged to take part in the 150th anniversary of the USS Monitor celebrations and to be involved in the work of trying to identify two of the sailors whose remains were found inside the famous turret.
Jim’s esteemed NOAA colleague, Dr. John Broadwater (now retired) has authored a new book on the famous ironclad, called USS Monitor: A Historic Ship Completes Its Final Voyage published by Texas A&M University Press. Your support in the ongoing preservation of USS Monitor is very welcome. When you buy the book, all proceeds go to that good cause.
Can You Help Solve A Mystery?
Can you help solve the mystery of the USS Monitor’s unknown sailors? Check out this great video put together by UPS as part of their efforts to assist NOAA and the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries with identifying the remains of two sailors from the USS Monitor.
The Civil War ironclad USS Monitor—best known for the Battle of Hampton Roads—sank during a storm in 1862. The skeletal remains of two sailors were found off the coast of Cape Hatteras in the ship’s gun turret in 2002. After years of research failed to reveal the sailors’ identities, NOAA asked forensic anthropologists at Louisiana State University to recreate the men’s faces. NOAA hopes the reconstructed faces will be recognized by members of the public and lead to the positive identification of the two men.
Please share the video to help solve the mystery of the sailors’ identities.
In a longshot bid that combines science and educated guesswork, researchers hope the reconstructed faces of two remains found in the USS Monitor will help someone identify the unknown Union sailors.
Watch geneaologist Lisa Stansbury and other experts explain more about this fascinating project.
Excerpts: 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.
“We just did a match up of the photo of Robert Williams with the older sailor’s facial reconstruction and it is very close,” James P. Delgado, director of NOAA’s Maritime Heritage Program, wrote in an e-mail Monday. “I wish I could Photoshop in the mustache and hat.”
“To see him in the group photo, standing on that deck, arms crossed … is why we have tried to literally put a face to these guys and move them from the anonymity [where] death and time have placed them,” Delgado wrote.
In 1862, the USS Monitor sank off Cape Hatteras. Experts used plaster models of the skulls of two sailors to create facial reconstructions that could provide clues to their identities.
Marine archaeologist James Delgado, right, studies the facial reconstructions of two skulls found in the wreckage of the USS Monitor. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration unveiled them in Washington on March 6. In the background are three sailors in period dress from the USS Constellation.
Excerpts: When the turret of the USS Monitor was raised from the ocean bottom, two skeletons and the tattered remnants of their uniforms were discovered in the rusted hulk of the Union Civil War ironclad, mute and nameless witnesses to the cost of war. A rubber comb was found by one of the remains, a ring was on a finger of the other.
Now, thanks to forensic reconstruction, the two have faces.
“After 10 years, the faces are really the last opportunity we have, unless somebody pops up out of nowhere and says, `Hey, I am a descendant,'” James Delgado, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Maritime Heritage Program, said in an interview with The Associated Press.