-Grenville Weeks, “Late Surgeon, U.S. Str ‘Monitor’ “
Letter to Nicklis family. January 11, 1863
Norman Knox Attwater. Acting ensign and acting master’s mate. Last seen while attempting to board the USS Rhode Island.
George Frederickson. Acting ensign. Last seen manning the pumps.
Robinson Woollen Hands. 2nd assistant engineer . Last seen at his post in the engine room.
Samuel Augee Lewis. 3rd assistant engineer. Last seen in his bunk suffering from seasickness.
William Allen. Landsman.
William Bryan. Yeoman.
Robert Cook. 1st Class Boy.
William H. Eagan. Landsman.
James R. Fenwick. Seaman and quarter gunner. Swept overboard while cutting a towline.
Robert H. Howard. Officer’s cook.
Thomas Joice. 1st Class Fireman.
George Littlefield. Coal heaver.
Daniel Moore. Landsman.
Jacob Nicklis. Seaman.
Wells Wentz (alias John Stocking). Boatswain’s mate. Swept overboard while cutting a towline.
Robert Williams. 1st Class Fireman.
On March 8, 151 years to the weekend of the Battle of Hampton Roads, two of our Monitor crew made their final journey. The two unidentified sailors who arrived in the turret at The Mariners’ Museum in August of 2002 have recently been buried with full honors by our colleagues with the US Navy. Many of our staff were present for the day of ceremonies that included a luncheon for descendants, a service at the Fort Myer Chapel, and then final procession and graveside service. Below are some beautiful pictures courtesy of the US Navy.
Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus
Honor Guard escorting the caskets.
Procession to the grave site.
Monitor Crew descendants
Her legacy lives on….
The shipwreck of the Monitor is a deep, dark place. But luckily, here in the lab, we can illuminate the world with our findings, and we have so many stories to tell.
We are fortunate to have a part in the greater legacy of the USS Monitor. Our daily lives are connected in such an intimate way to the people who designed this ship. The people who mined the iron and those that melted it down, and the people who rolled the iron plates into shape. The craftsmen who fabricated, cast, and milled mechanical parts. The workers that put it all together. The families that supported our brave “Monitor Boys”-a mostly volunteer crew. As well as their descendants and relatives today, with whom we have had such wonderful experiences.
The crew themselves, who occupy our many thoughts.
We wonder who was the last person to look at the surface of an artifact we are deconcreting? Who left their coat in the turret, maybe in a desperate attempt to escape the ship? Who left the red marks on a piece of paper in a hydrometer? Who used this comb, this wrench, this spoon last….
I like to think that they are watching our every move, from a place where there are no storms, and perhaps are happy that we are keeping their story very much alive.
As Grenville Weeks also eloquently said:
‘…so long as we remain a people, so long will the work of the Monitor be remembered, and her story told to our children’s children…The “little cheesebox on a raft” has made herself a name which will not soon be forgotten by the American people.’
I wonder if he really knew exactly how true those words would prove to be….