tv American Artifacts CSPAN February 7, 2016 10:00pm-10:31pm EST
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[drums] >> you are looking at a funeral procession at arlington national cemetery held in march 8, 2013. the full military honors ceremony is for two civil war sailors that went down the uss monitor ironclad and in 1862 storm up the coast of cape hatteras, north carolina. the remains of the sailors were recovered by the national oceanic and atmospheric administration and the u.s. navy in 2002. in this "american artifacts," we will observe the ceremony and learn the history of the monitor and the efforts to identify the remains of the recovered sailors. we spoke after the burial with david alberg, superintendent of
the monitor national marine sanctuary. mr. alberg: i'm responsible for the daily management and protection and long-range preservation of the shipwreck that was 16 miles off of cape hatteras, north carolina. as well as the artifacts. ultimately my job is about managing the sanctuary which protects the shipwreck, america's first national sanctuary, established in 1975 to protect the wreck of the monitor. today's ceremony was the culmination of more than a decade's worth of work. it started in 2002 when the remains of two u.s. sailors were recovered from the turret of the uss monitor by noah and navy divers. those remains of been in hickam air force base in hawaii at the joint pow mia accounting command. they have been working to identify these two men and return them to their families. and although they got great information on the age, and the height, and some of the ailments, and even some of the things the habits.
for instance, one individual smoked a pipe which is very clear by the wear in his tooth. they were not able to provide a dna match. so, the secretary of the navy made the decision that these men were to be honored at the arlington national cemetery with the burial. and today we did that. mr. mabus: we thank you for being with us today to honor the two sailors we inter and the 14 others perished so long ago aboard monitor. but in a larger sense, this ceremony also offers every individual who ever put to sea in defense of our country. from the marblehead men who rode washington across the delaware , to these brave souls, to those who serve today in nuclear powered carriers and submarines. sailors have always been the same. they are at heart, risk takers.
willing, even eager, to brave the unknown and peer past distant horizons. it is fitting that we hold the ceremony on the 151st anniversary of the battle of hampton roads, where the monitor engaged the virginia for control of the james river in the southern chesapeake bay. the outcome that day was a draw. the battle enshrined each ship in naval immortality. mr. alberg: the monitor was a
revolutionary type of ship. it changed modern naval warfare in a single day. the ship was different from its predecessors because it was an iron ship, made entirely of iron. it was a transition from the wooden warship to the age of iron. but, probably more significant than that was its revolving gun turret. it was designed by the swedish engineer john erickson who designed this vessel with two guns. its contemporaries had as many as 40 guns or more, but it had two guns protected in a heavily
armed turret that could rotate 360 degrees. for the first time in history it separated the navigation from the ship from the firing of the weapons, and this changed everything. and on march 9, 151 years ago tomorrow, the monitor met on the field of battle the css virginia and for four hours these two ships slugged it out, pretty much to a draw. but what changed that day was the course that naval warfare would take in every navy in the world. the north's entire strategy was based on the war between the states on victim will choke the south economically. it was an economic strategy to keep the south from bringing in supplies that were necessary for the war effort, and just as important to keep them from shipping cotton which was its primary revenue stream. by choking mobile bay, charleston, and preventing the south and getting the things in
in and out, the belief was the south would eventually crumble. critical to that was the ability to do that. the north established blockading squadrons at all these major ports. so, the news of the confederates were creating an ironclad that could jeopardize that strategy and break the blockading approach to the war was terrifying. in fact, the navy and lincoln and many people have this vision of the virginia being constructed and destroying this blockade squadron and hampton roads and sailing of the potomac and shelling washington and the war would be lost in a matter of days. the monitor was the underdog, the last line of defense. as james mcpherson said, march 8, 1862 was the worst day in naval history until pearl harbor. hundreds of united states sailors killed. all in one day by a ship that
was seemingly unstoppable. ♪ >> range? ♪ mr. alberg: and as often happens in history, these moments of serendipity and fate, the monitor arrives in a heavy fog that evening, and much to the concern of the navy that was observing this little tiny ship who believed she was not going to be able to do anything. >> sir, the merrimack is sweeping the union fleet before her. she will besiege the northern cities and levy tribute from each of them. why, even the capital will be at the mercy of the guns of the merrimack. >> what of the monitor? >> the monitor? if it ever reaches hampton roads, which i doubt, the merrimack will blow her out of the water. >> so that is the monitor? ♪ >> fire! [cannon fire] ♪
[cannon fire] mr. alberg: the virginia was never able to get out of hampton roads and eventually was destroyed by the confederates, falling into the hands of the union. the strategy was intact and that is what made monitor a significant. it wasn't she had a superior, clear victory at the battle of canton roads. but it was able to stop the virginia for doing what she had done and that changed everything. >> so what happened? mr. alberg: december 29, 1862, monitor leads hampton roads for north carolina, hopefully down to charleston where she will participate in the blockade of charleston. she encounters one of these typical nor'easter storms the builds up quickly out of cape hatteras. the ship, which was designed to operate in shallow coastal areas was overwhelmed by the season
claimed by it. >> the painting shows monitor in uss randolph, swept up in a perilous winter gale. as the night of december 30, 1862 progressed, and the storm worsened, monitor begin to take on water. her pumps began to fail and the 62-man crew decided to abandon ship. william keeler, one of the 46 survivors, wrote to his wife once he was safely ashore, saying, "a heavy seas rolled over our bow, dashing against the pilot house and surging out. they would a strike with a force that would make it tremble. words cannot depict the agony of those moments as our little company gathered on top of the
turret with a mass of sinking iron beneath us." crews from the randolph ventured into the storm and their lifeboats to say the men of the monitor. sailors struggling to save other sailors. at 1:00 in the morning, in the pouring rain and pitch blackness, monitor slipped below those raging seas. 16 men went with her. ♪
>> when was it discovered and how was it discovered? mr. alberg: it was discovered in 1973 by researchers from duke university under john newton, horton watts, and another gentle man named sheridan. they were out testing a new kind of sonar, side scan sonar. they were looking for a target that would be clearly identifiable. they picked the monitor as a way to test this equipment. in august of 1973, they identify the target that had this unique shape that was similar to the monitor.
what they had not expected was that the ship had flipped over. on the seabed this target has a little bump coming out of it, which ultimately found to be the turret. what is more amazing is that within about six months after that, congress established it as the first marine sanctuary. >> what is the story after that? in 1998, a project began between the navy and noah, is that correct? mr. alberg: congress asked what was the plan to reserve the monitor? can you raise the shipwreck? do you leave it in place and do nothing or is there a third option? the third option was selective recovery of these iconic pieces that were representative of the technological advancement the monitor had. the gun turret, the engine, the propeller.
in 1998 they partnered together to recover the artifacts and provide the navy and commit is training opportunity for the deep saturation program which they had gotten away from for many years. it was a great way for them to use this as a training opportunity, recover their heritage, support the national effort to preserve the monitor. in 2000 to the turret came up and the rest is history. [drums] >> ready, 2. [drumroll] >> ready! >> order!
anthropologist with us in case of body was found. the first skeletal remains were found. excavation stopped at that point and the decision was made to raise the turret at that point. it was brought to the surface, and as they were recovering those remains, a second sailor was found lying below him. since recovered and they were sent immediately to hawaii. the chances of that happening were always thought the be fairly high. the turret would have been the last bastion of safety. we were not certain, but it was not a surprise. >> how do we get from 2002, to today, to what happened today? mr. alberg: j-pac worked for about six years on the forensic work to determine age, height, ailments. taking dna samples. and doing the rough scientific work to narrow the field down.
for instance, we know three african-americans died, but 16 were lost. these were clearly caucasian. that eliminated three of the crew's possibilities. we believe based on the artifacts it was highly likely they were enlisted rather than some of the four officers. that takes you down to nine. then, based on enlistment records of age and height, assuming those were correct at the time they were taken down, it further narrows it down to about six. that was the first step. the second step is the tougher part. that is finding a living descendents somewhere in the world. many of these crews were immigrants. they could be ireland, wales, england, scotland. there would come forward and provide a dna sample that can be compared to the dna recovered from the remains. although a number of families did, none came forward that provided a positive match. mr. mann: my name is robert mann. i'm a forensic anthropologist
and also the director of forensic science academy for j-pac. what is difficult to see is there is a round spot right here in the teeth. it's a little semicircle on top and a semicircle on the bottom. you put the teeth together and it looks like this. and what would that be? it's a pipe stem groove. back in the civil war a lot of sailor smoked pipes. they were smoking pipes are very abrasive. they put this clay pipe in your teeth, they grind on it and after a while it actually sandpaper. it wears a groove in the teeth. what we know about this individual, nasa mission the bones and not that these bones are talking to us saying i was a pipe smoker, though we have evidence in his teeth. there is no doubt about it. this individual smoked a pipe. what we actually can tell from this individual is this is somebody who is in his 30's. could be 30-40 years old.
we note this is a white individual because of the nasal opening is very narrow and tall. this little spine of bone is very prominent, typical of white. these large bulbs you can grab hold of it your fingers like this, that is typical of a white individual. we talk about sex of the individual. it's sloping forehead is a male. we have no question about it. this is a white male, a young white male disease over the development of the teeth and the growth caps on the skull. we have a 17-24-year-old white male. and we have a 30-40-year-old white male. and that shortlist included, how many 17-24-year-old white males were there? how many 30 have four-year-old white males were 5'7" and the same height. how many were missing out of the
16? we got it down to two. lsu volunteered to do the facial reproduction. it's a science and an art. they can be reconstruct it based on averages and on the expertise of whoever it is the artist is doing it. we have gone back and looked at many, many photographs of the monitor sailors sitting out on the deck. hopefully we will find out some day, will be actually identify these individuals. if we could get photographs, that would be so cool to do and make a comparison. we are hopeful, but we don't know what they look like. >> honor guard! attention! present!
[gunshots] [gunshots] >> so, for yourself, today, what was the experience like? mr. alberg: peaceful. a feeling of real peace and tranquility. the thought that these men are being honored by the nation 150 years later and we have not forgotten them. we collectively, as a country, value the sacrifices they made 150 years ago to make a nation we enjoy today. and knowing that these men are finally at rest, and that noah's work will continue to identify the men and make sure the story is passed on to the next generation.
>> there was a lot of press attention today. did the amount of attention surprise you? mr. alberg: no, the monitor is one of those stories that for whatever reason has this amazing ability to captivate and interest people of all generations. i was not surprised by that. >> was there ever a consideration of returning them to their comrades at the monitor site? how was that decision made? mr. alberg: ultimately the decision on what to do with the men lies with the secretary of the navy. he has the authority over them because they are u.s. naval personnel. we internally talked about the possibility of returning the remains back to the wreck site when petitioning the navy to consider that. in thinking about it, arlington is where the nation buries its heroes.
it's hallowed ground. as are all the national cemeteries. if you were to weigh the value and the contribution of their sacrifice, we felt the most important place for them, the rightful place would be at arlington. ao, we have, for awhile, tried to encourage the navy that when the day came to make a decision on what should be done with the remains, that arlington should be heavily considered. and in fact it was. >> how was that specific spot chosen? mr. alberg: that spot was chosen by the navy and arlington national cemetery. for those that will visit the site you will know immediately this is one of the most special places within arlington. the challenger memorial is there. the mass of the uss maine. the apollo 1 astronauts. this is one of the most honorific places that the men could have been laid to rest. it's just steps from the tomb of the unknown soldier, right by the amphitheater.
>> order! >> order! >> today not be the last time we buried naval personnel who fought in the civil war at arlington. we do not hesitate to keep faith and honor this tradition even more than 150 years after the promise was made. our nation honors our fallen sailors, soldiers, airmen, marines, and coast guardsmen because we do not want their
>> ladies and gentlemen, this does conclude the service. >> this closes one chapter but is no means the end of our work. noah will continue to protect and study the shipwreck. we have buried two men today, and 14 others were lost at sea. at least some of this may still be inside the wreck itself. it will always be a grave site, hall of the to be protected and treated with dignity. so, our work will continue. >> you can learn more about the uss monitor at monitor.noah.gov. weekend, vietnam
hearings, 50 years later. to critics ofme the war and members of the johnson administration in hearings that were televised live to the nation. here is a preview. the vietnam hearings were probably some of the most extraordinary hearings ever held by congress. they were hearing an investigation into a war that was still being fought. congress, and particularly the senate, wanted to know why we were in vietnam. what the in ministrations policies were, and they wanted to hear from opponents of the war. --y gave equal statics status to critics as well as a supporters of the war. it was kennan who wrote an
article for the embassy of a foreign affairs, and assigned it mr.x. theory,he containment which was the rationale for the united states to send troops to vietnam. and here was the author of the containment dairy saying, no, it doesn't apply here, it is a mistake. justified our actions may be in our own eyes, it has failed to gain enthusiasm or confidence. our motives are widely spectacleeted and the emphasized and reproduced in thousands of press photographs and the stories that the year in the press of the world, the spectacle of americans inflicting grievous injury.
to people of ay different race and color. no matter how wanted a bike military -- wanted by military accessory. this spectacle produces reactions among millions of people throughout the world, profoundly detrimental to the image we would like them to hold of this country. i am not saying this is just or so andying that this is it is bound in the circumstances to be so, and the victory purchased at the price of further such damage would have been a hollow one in terms of our world interests. earrings, 50 years later. watch more of the senate foreign relations committee hearings chaired by senator fulbright saturday, february 13 at 10 p.m. eastern and