31 December 2012

The USS Monitor Sunk 31 December 1862

As I become more and more interested in American history and archeology, I found this latest news about the USS Monitor quite fascinating:

The Monitor finally sank around 1 a.m. on December 31. Twelve sailors and four officers would lose their lives. Periodicals like Harper's Weekly and Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper would later publish artists' renderings and poems about the tragedy, but for families of the victims there was little solace. The exact location of the Monitor's final resting place and the crewmen who perished would remain a mystery for more than a century . . . John Byrd, director of the laboratory, says that "sunken ships can be a very, very good environment for preserving remains" because of the protective coating of silt that forms over them. This was the case inside the Monitor, where tons of coal mixed with the silt, creating an anaerobic environment that prevented chemical reactions and animal activity from destroying the skeletons.

More here.

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