In two weeks, the Navy will bury the last two sailors who died at sea during the Civil War. One of the sailors is believed to be survived by a great–great–niece from Fresno.
On Dec. 31 1862, the famed Civil War ironclad USS Monitor sank in a storm off the coast of North Carolina. Sixteen sailors went down with the ship.
"The interesting fact is that it was on its way south to do battle. It was being towed when it ran into this storm," said Diana Rambo a Fresno woman who learned long ago in history classes about the USS Monitor.
However, Rambo never imagined she might be related to one of the sailors.
Jacob Nicklis is believed to be one of the two mystery skeletons found in the ships turret when it was recovered ten years ago. Her late mother provided a DNA sample to the Navy in 2010. There was no positive identification.
But Rambo has been invited to attend the Navy's last official Civil War burial at Arlington National Cemetery.
"It's very, very touching," she said. "Not that we knew the relative but just thinking about these young men that were in the civil war and what an impact this ship had on naval warfare."
Rambo says her mother didn't grow up with her father so she too never knew sailor Jacob Nicklis.
"We didn't do anything but we had a relative that obviously served his country as many people do and we're proud of that."
On March 8, the Navy and the nation will finally bury two unknown sailors who represent 14 more lost at sea -- Freedom Fighters the Navy never forgot.