Local woman has connection to military ship that sank in 1862 - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Local woman has connection to military ship that sank 150 years ago

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The Navy ceremonial guard conducted a dignified transfer of remains Thursday The Navy ceremonial guard conducted a dignified transfer of remains Thursday

ARLINGTON, VA (WECT) - The military will honor those who were killed when a civil war ship sank off the North Carolina coast more than 150 years ago.

The remains of two USS Monitor sailors will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery on Friday.

Cindi Nicklis Neumann, who lives in St. James, is likely the great grandniece of one of the men, who was killed when the ship sank off of the coast of the Outer Banks in 1862.

Cindi will be there tomorrow when the military remembers all 16 crew members who died.

"You develop a connection," she said. "Obviously, I did not know this person. I just have a family connection to him but I am so honored that they're going to the lengths of honoring all of the 16."

In the 1970s, the wreckage was found on the ocean floor.

Years later, in 2002, the remains of only two of the crew were found when part of the ship was brought to the surface.

Although DNA testing from military forensic scientists was inconclusive, it is likely that Cindi is the relative of one of the two sailors. The remains of one of the men matches a description of her great grand uncle and a spoon with his initials was found nearby.

"I think it's pretty inspiring that they have gone to this length to even identify these soldiers because they deserve the same proper burial as any other soldier," she said. "It's almost like we know the story about him from all these records. From the census records, from the 1800s, we know he was the second of seven children. You begin to create a fantasy story about this young man."

The USS Monitor was involved in history's first battle between ironclad warships.

Ten months later, it sank during a strong storm off the coast.

The ship and its crew were national heroes on the Union side; President Abraham Lincoln even toured the ship during the civil war to thank its crew.

For more on the history of the ship, go to this site.

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