- The Washington Times - Friday, August 9, 2002

RICHMOND (AP) More human remains were found inside the gun turret of the USS Monitor, raising the number of sailors found inside the Civil War artifact to perhaps three.

"We're very excited because it appears we may be bringing home more of our shipmates, which is wonderful news," Navy dive chief Cmdr. Bobbie Scholley said yesterday in a telephone news conference.

The discovery Wednesday came two days after a salvage operation run by the Navy and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration raised the 120-ton turret from the wreckage site off Cape Hatteras, N.C.

On Saturday, divers were able to remove much of a human skeleton found inside the turret.

In the latest discovery, another sailor was found near the first skeleton, while other human remains were uncovered about 15 feet away in another section of the 20-foot-wide cylinder.

"We know for certain we have at least two, and we have a few remains that may well be a third," said chief scientist John Broadwater of the Monitor National Marine Sanctuary in Newport News.

Sixteen Monitor sailors died when the Union ironclad sank in a storm on Dec. 31, 1862, and landed upside down in 240 feet of water. The storm might have led sailors to take cover in the turret, which was the only way out of the warship.

Still more remains may be inside the turret, Mr. Broadwater said.

The remains will be taken to the Army Central Identification Laboratory in Hawaii for analysis. If the remains can be identified, they will be returned to the sailors' families. If not, the Navy will bury them.

Archaeologists also found a well-preserved U.S. Navy overcoat button and a pocketknife in a fragment that appeared to be a pants pocket. They also discovered an empty leather boot in a nearby section of the turret.

"We're really hoping that the knife has some initials on it," Mr. Broadwater said. "It would really be a big help in getting an identification."

The Monitor and the much larger Confederate ship CSS Virginia an ironclad formerly named the Merrimack revolutionized naval warfare when they fought to a draw on March 9, 1862, near Newport News. It was the first battle of ironclads ships covered in iron plates to repel cannon balls.

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