Under ideal circumstances, living relatives of both Williams and Bryan could provide DNA reference samples to compare against the remains to make the final assessment, but the obstacle is Williams' name.
The USS Monitor remained at the bottom of the ocean until 10 years ago when recovery efforts succeeded in bringing the ship to the surface. Along with the vessel was a surprise -- a pair of skeletons in the turret. But which of the 16 were they?
Daniel Moore was one of the 16 sailors who went down with the USS Monitor. A former slave from Virginia, he enlisted in the Navy but would sadly have little time to enjoy his freedom before sacrificing his life in the service of his country.
Thomas Joice (who sometimes went by Joyce) was one of the 16 men who went down with the USS Monitor on Dec. 31, 1862. Some years ago, I researched him for a documentary and have continued to look into his past from time to time.
The right's twist of history to please its backers and fuel its agenda is a vigorous enterprise. Serious history, serious scholarship and serious discussion of facts and ideas are dismissed with tunnel vision.
Congress is considering a resolution to declare November U.S. Military History Month. The truth is, soldiers are returning to a nation that no longer embraces their service as a serious educational subject.