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Adolphus Washington Greely: Encyclopedia Arctica 15: Biographies
Stefansson, Vilhjalmur, 1879-1962

Adolphus Washington Greely

EA-Biography
(John J. Teal, Jr.)

A(DOLPHUS) W(ASHINGTON) GREELY
Contents

Page
U.S. Expedition to Lady Franklin Bay 2
International Polar Conference and its Objective 2
Expedition Plans and Organization 3
Trip to Lady Franklin Bay 6
Organization of Camp Life at Fort Conger 10
Scientific Work of the Expedition 14
Geographical Explorations 17
"Farthest North" of Lockwood and Brainard 19
Greely's Trips to the Interior of Grinnell Land 22
Lockwood's Second Attempt at "Farthest North" 26
Lockwood-Brainard Trip Across Grinnell Land 27
Conclusion of Work at Fort Conger 29
Preparations for Retreat 30
Retreat Southward 32
"The End - by Death and by Rescue" 37
Subsequent Career 39
Greely's Work in Alaska 39
Greely as an Arctic Scholar 42

EA-Biography
(John J. Teal Jr.)

A (DOLPHUS) W(ASHINGTON) GREELY
Major General A (dolphus) W(ashington) Greely (1844-1935). Leader
of successful, though tragic, International Circumpolar Expedition to Lady
Franklin Bay, (1881-1884), builder of Alaska telegraphic communications,
and accomplished scholar of arctic affairs.
A.W. Greely was born in Newburyport, Massachusetts, March 27, 1844,
the son of John Balch and Frances (Cobb) Greely, each a lineal descendant
of the earliest settlers of Plymouth Colony. Raised by hard-working and
enlightened parents in the classical tradition of a New England whaling town,
and educated in the public schools, Greely early acquired a foundation in
such stern Yankee virtues as honor, piety, industry, and love of country.
At the outbreak of the Civil War he was too young for service, but by chalk–
ing the number "18" on the soles of his shoes he could truthfully say that
he was "over eighteen," and was sworn in as a private foot soldier. Serving
with gallantry amid great hardships, and several times wounded, he rose
through the ranks to a commission. He saw final war service in command of
Negro troops in New Orleans where, following the surrender, he remained for
the early years of the Reconstruction.
In 1867 Greely was commissioned in the infantry of the regular army
assigned to the new-born Signal Corps, and was sent to the West to guard the
mail routes and pioneer families from marauding Indians. Later he was given

EA-Biog. Teal: A.W. Greely

the task of building the first telegraph lines through the Southwest and
Northwest, and frequently found himself detailed to the organization and
development of the Weather Service. It was while performing these duties
that Greely acquired two advantages which later had a direct bearing upon
his career as an arctic explorer: first, a reputation for resourcefully
drawing success form the failure of others in field work (the Dakotas were
then considered the training ground for American arctic explorers); and
second, a wife, the beautiful and intelligent Henrietta Nesmith. U.S. EXPEDITION TO LADY FRANKLIN BAY
International Polar Conference and its Objectives
In 1879, acting upon the suggestion of a lieutenant in the Austrian
Navy, and former explorer of Franz Josef Land, Charles Weyprecht, the Inter–
national Polar Conference meeting in Hamsburg, Germany, agreed that scien–
tific investigations of the Arctic, rather than geographical discovery, were
of primary importance. In a romantic period in which the attainment of either
the North Pole or the Northwest Passage was popularly deemed the most valid
excuse for arctic exploration, the decision represented a marked scientific
advance. Accordingly, the participating nations committed themselves to
establishing a series of circumpolar stations to carry out a certain minimum
set of simultaneous meteorological, magnetic, and other observations.
To the United States fell the task of outfitting two stations, one at
Point Barrow, Alaska, and the other in Lady Franklin Bay, Grinnel Land,
Ellesmere Island. Lady Franklin Bay was the most northerly post in the
program, but possessed no special characteristics which gave it an advantage
over other more easily accessible locations in the general area. It was
chosen because several years previously Capt. Howgate, U.S. Army, had

EA-Biog. Teal: A.W. Greely

attempted to persuade Congress to establish a "polar colony" there,
later to be used as a base for reaching the North Pole. Failing in this
plan, he succeeded in having it designated as a circumpolar station.
Expedition Plans and Organization
The expedition was authorized by Congress in 1880, and the command
was offered to Lt. Greely, who declined it, however, when the Navy refused
to accept the ship Gulnare for the work. Sailing without him, the expedition
got as far as Disko Island where the Gulnare became disabled and returned home,
leaving the surgeon, Dr. Octave Pavy, in Greenland.
On March 3, 1881, Congress appropriated $25,000 for the station which
it had already authorized, and the command was again offered to Greely. How–
ever, due to the avowed hostility to the work of Secretary of War Lincoln,
the whole matter was held in abeyance until April 1st, over the protestations
of Senator Conger and General Hazen, new Signal Corps head. With scarcely
two months before the scheduled departure, with no board of arctic experts to
advise him, and with only seventy-two hours to make out his full requisitions
for supplies, the whole work of organizing and outfitting the expedition fell
upon Greely. Secretary Lincoln would not even facilitate the requisition for
the appropriation, which was not available until July 1st, and it was neces–
sary to have many bills privately guaranteed. Over three-quarters of the
scanty appropriation went for the charter of the seven-year-old Newfoundland
steam sealer Proteus, especially fitted for ice navigation, leaving less
than one-quarter for the equipment and provisioning of twenty-six men for
a two-year period. In spite of these obstacles, it was remarkable that
Greely forgot no article of serious importance and, indeed, thought of
many considerate luxuries.

EA-Biog. Teal: A.W. Greely

With the exception of Dr. Octave Pavy, Mr. Henry Clay, and two
Eskimo hunt o e rs, the members of the expedition were volunteers from the
U.S. Army. They were Lieutenants Kislingbury and Lockwood, each with con–
siderable frontier service and highly recommended; Sergeants Israel and Rice,
each of whom accepted service as an enlisted man in order to accompany the
expedition; Sergeants Jewell, Ralston, Gardiner, Cross, Brainard, and Lynn;
Corporals Schneider, Starr, Salor, and Elison; Privates Henry, Connell, Bender,
Long, Whisler, Biederbick, Frederick, Ryan, and Ellis. Israel and Rice were
astronomer and photographer, respectively, while Jew e ll, Ralston, and Gardiner
were experienced meteorological observers. According to Greely, "long and
hazardous duty on the Western frontier had inured the greater part of the
men to dangers, hardships, and exposure, and developed in them that quality
of helpfulness so essential in Arctic service." But none had had arctic
experience.
Greely's orders for the expedition were signed by Brigadier General
W. B. Hazen, Chief Signal Officer, U.S.A., and, in view of their later
significance, are worth examining in detail. They specified that a perma–
nent station should be established "at the most suitable point north of the
eighty-first parallel, and contiguous to the coal seam discovered near Lady
Franklin Bay by the English expedition (Nares) of 1875." After departure
from St. John's, Newfoundland, the Proteus was to proceed northward without
other delay than those necessitated by stops in Greenland to pick up
Dr. Pavy, the Eskimos, and dogs, by ice conditions, and by examinations
and supplements of old depots and caches. Upon arrival at the permanent station,
the Proteus was to be unloaded as quickly as possible, leave behind a coal
supply if needed, and be sent back to St. John's.
The orders further stated that sledge parties from the permanent station

EA-Biog. Teal: A.W. Greely

should actively engage in accurate geographical exploration, that animal,
plant, and mine e ral collections should be made, and that the procedures
outlined by the Hambur International Polar Conference should be followed.
It was then stated how connections with the outside world would be carried
out.
"It is contemplated that the permanent station shall be visited in
1882 and in 1883 by a steam, sailing, or other vessel, by which supplies
for and such additions to the present party as are deemed needful will be
sent.
"In case the vessel is unable to reach there in 1882, she will cache
a portion of her supplies and all of her letters and dispatches at the most
northerly point she attains on the east coast of Grinnell Land , and estab–
lish a small depot at Littleton Island. Notices of the locality of such
depots will be left at one or all of the following places, viz., Cape Hawks,
Cape Sabine, and Cape Isabella.
"In case no vessel reaches the permanent station in 1882, the vessel
sent in 1883 will remain in Smith Sound until there is danger of its closing
in by ice, and, on leaving, will land all her supplies and a party at Littleton
Island, which party will be prepared for a winter's stay, and will be in–
structed to send sledge parties up the east side of Grinnell Land to meet
this party. If not visited in 1883, Lieutenant Greely will abandon his
station not later than September 1, 1883, and will retreat southward by boat,
following closely the east coast of Grinnell Land until the relieving vessel
is met or Littleton Island is reached.
"In view of the familiarity of Lieutenant Greely with the methods
pursued by previous expeditions, and of the confidence reposed in his judge–
ment and discretion, it is not thought necessary to furnish him more definite

EA-Biog. Teal: A.W. Greely

instructions...While he is at full liberty to vary the details accord–
ing to circumstances, yet the main points here given should be held in
view as of predominant importance."
With these orders in hand Greely reported to his waiting ship in
Newfoundland. The expedition itself, hurriedly prepared in the face of
opposition and scant appropriation, composed of men inexperienced in the
ways of the arctic, was the most important which had been sent out form the
United States up to that time. For a leader it had a man who had been
educated and had spent his entire mature life in the military, who gave
unswerving and literal interpretation to all orders, inclined to be somewhat
pompous and stubborn, but nevertheless efficient almost to a fault.
Trip to Lady Franklin Bay
At noon on July 7th, 1881, the Proteus steamed out from Newfoundland
bound for Disko Island. Northwesterly gales, fog, and occasional streams
of drift ice made the passage unpleasant, but on the 15th the ship dropped
anchor in Godhavn. There Greely and his men were sumptuously entertained
by Herr Krarup Smith, the Royal Inspector of North Greenland, and visited the
various local Eskimos. The house originally intended for the abortive
Howgate expedition of 1880 was loaded on board along with twelve dogs, dog
food, and pemmicans. While at Godhavn the expedition was joined by Dr. Pavy
who had spent the previous year at Ritenbenk as naturalist for Howgate.
On the 21st the Proteus sailed to Ritenbenk where Henry Clay, grandson
[: ] of the great commoner and "a cultivated, refined gentleman, an ardent
sportsman...thoroughly imbued with a longing for Arctic experiences," joined
the expedition. Parties were sent to the great guillemot loomeries to collect
eggs, which proved to be a "great addition to our table the following spring."

EA-Biog. Teal: A.W. Greely

Ritenbenk, hidden deep in Vaigat Strait amid snowy mountains, was for Greely
the most idyllic of his arctic experiences, and in 1885 he advises his
readers, "If you go to Ritenbenk, you must see the garden."
At Upernivik the expedition was entertained by Gov. Elberg, who had
been unable to provide two local Eskimos as dog drivers. However, he knew
of two at Proven, fifty miles to the south, and went in the launch Lady Breely ,
with Lockwood, to pick them up. While they were gone Greely and his men
busied themselves by filling out their provisions, buying fur clothing, and
shooting more auks and guillemots for their larder. Two days later the launch
returned, bringing the Greenlanders Thorlip Christiansen and Jens Edward,
together with their kayaks and hunting equipment.
Before leaving, Greely settled his accounts with Gov. Elberg, whom he
describes as a man whose "greed for gain appeared to have overcome the sense
of honesty which is so general in Danish Greenland. His prices for supplies
were very high, and his sale of infected dogs caused the loss of the greater
part of my draught animals, and later seriously affected our geographical
success. I suspected disease from a dog hung up by the neck, but its existence
was denied by him."
Proceeding northward, the Proteus encountered no sea ice. Therefore
Captain Pike chose the "middle passage" across Melville Bay to Cape York,
making the trip in thirty-six hours.
On August 1st the Proteus dropped anchor off the southeast island of the Cary
group, and the cairn and depot left by Sir George Nares in 1875 was inspected.
Its thirty-six hundred rations and whale boat were found to be in good condition,
although bread in casks which were left standing was mouldy whereas that in
casks lying i o n their sides was in good condition. The quantity of driftwood
located here indicated the extent of a possible northwest current in Baffin Bay.

EA-Biog. Teal: A.W. Greely

Efforts were made, but in no significant manner, to locate the natives
of Etah as the party sailed north from Cape Chalon. However, they were un–
successful. To the serious negligence of not contacting these Eskimos, and
informing them of the expedition's plans, must be attributed in large part
the eventual fate of Greely and his men.
At Littleton Island, Lockwood landed a small supply of coal, while
Greely searched for Nares' mail. While there it was noted that walrus were
abundant, along with eider ducks.
Northward the sea was open for at least forty miles. "Aware of the
extreme rapidity with which ice conditions change in that sea, I decided not
to touch at Cape Sabine to examine the sledging depot at that point
, but to
shape a direct course for Cape Hawks."
At Cape Hawks Greely inspected the English depot at Dobbin Bay, finding
it generally in good condition, and took away the cached jolly boat with him.
From that point northward, with the exception of a miniature depot placed in
Carl Ritter Bay, no effort was made to look for other caches, or to establish
depots. The Proteus sailed along unhindered, while its passengers noted with
amazement the prevalence of land and sea animals, until when within two miles
of Cape Baird it was halted for the first time by sea ice. After a week of
waiting and drifting the ice conditions permitted the ship to enter Lady
Franklin Bay and tie up to the pack in ice-clogged Discovery Harbor.
No sooner had the ship tied up that a black speck was discovered to be
a musk-ox, and a wild scramble was made to get him. During the next four days
fifteen musk-oxen were killed, so that finally Greely was compelled to order
that, in the interests of conserving game for the station, no more were to be shot.
Meanwhile Lockwood was sent to examine the proposed location near the coal

EA-Biog. Teal: A.W. Greely

seam on Watercourse Bay. He reported the coal seam to be of excellent quality
and easily accessible, but that the harbor was ice-jammed and provided no
sheltered anchorage.
Therefore it was decided to land where t hey were, at the former winter
quarters of the Discovery , [: ] which offered the further attraction of enabling
comparative records to be obtained. Captain Pike immediately set about break–
ing up the ice in Discovery Harbor, and within seven hours was anchored off the
English post-office cairn. The men were divided into two parties and a site
for the main building was chosen and named Fort Conger, in honor of the senator
who had played a significant role in out sending the expedition.
This work was completed by the 18th, and the Proteus was discharged
although unable to leave because of ice. But by that time Corporal Starr and
private Ryan were found to be physically unfit for the expedition; Mr. Clay
requested his return to the States due to his inability to get along with
Dr. Pavy (Greely said of this, "I could not but concur in his opinion, as the
surgeon of the expedition had shown a marked disposition to extreme measures
if Mr. Clay remained."); and Lt. Kislingbury, unable to get along with Greely,
requested his release. However, this was on the 20th and Kislingbury stood on
the shore watching the Proteus steam away unable to hear his calls. He remained
with the expedition until the end, required to perform no duty.
Aboard the Proteum were Greely's final instructions to his chiefs in
Washington. He requested that seven additional men be sent as replacements
the next year, and outlined a procedure to be followed in the event a relief
vessel could not get through. This consisted of establishing depots (the
provisions for which were given in detail), one on the east coast of Grinneell
Land as far north as possible, and another on Littleton Island. Boats were
to be left at the northernmost depot and at Cape Prescott, but not at Littleston

EA-Biog. Teal: A.W. Greely

Island. If a relief party did not arrive in 1883, it should establish two more
big depots between Cape Sabine and Bache Island. Thus the Grinnell Land coast
would be covered with eight depots. The relief party should then winter in
Life Boat Cove with telescopes trained on Cape Sabine and the country north,
and send out sledge parties as far as Cape Sollinson to locate Greely.
Organization of Camp Life at Fort Conger
With the departure of the Proteus the expedition settled down to its
scheduled observations and the preparations for its geographical field work.
The first job was to move into their house, a building 60 by 17 feet, well
insulated and warm, divided into three rooms. There was one large room for
the enlisted men, a kitchen, and a room for the officers and Dr. Pavy. The
building was erected on about the only level ground in the neighborhood.
A military camp, Fort Conger was governed by a rigid schedule and dis–
cipline which by present-day standards seems bizarre in such isolation. At
the permanent station it was generally effective in maintaining a high morale.
The men were required to retire at eleven each night, and breakfast was at
seven. There was a general inclination on the part of the men to sleep long
hours daily, especially during the winter, and it became necessary to forbid
any person to be in bed between eight and three, except on Sundays. The working
day for each man was eight hours on duty, sixteen off. A minimum of one bath
a week was taken by every man. Bed and blankets were aired daily, and the
quarters thoroughly swept out. On Saturdays there was a complete overhauling,
followed by a stiff Sunday inspection.
Exercise was encouraged, but not enforced. "My personal distaste to
exercise for its own sake was so marked, that I hesitated to insist on it
for others." Instead, ingenious details were devised to provide the men with

EA-Biog. Teal: A.W. Greely

vigorous outdoor activity. Instruments were placed at a distance from the
house, and ice needed to be hauled from the harbor.
Greenly himself took personal supervision of the diet, and his success
is attested by the fact that during the entire stay at Fort Conger there were
no ailment which could be traced to food, such as dysentery, or scurvy.
Since this was a rather remarkable achievement in the days when the English
expeditions (but not the American) were suffering a heavy toll from scurvy,
his methods are worth examining.
Greely had prepared himself by reading widely in dietetics and by
studying the recommendations of other explorers. In drawing up his menus
attention was paid as well to the morale factors as to the nutritional values
of food, and variety was made more effective by not allowing any men to know
what the next day's meals would consist of. The average daily ration was
about seventy ounces, of which 26.8 ounces were fresh meats, fish, dairy
products, etc.; 10 were canned vegetables; 5.3 saccharine; 13.6 farinaceous
foods; 4.7 fresh fruits; and the rest made up of preserves, coffee, tea,
chocolate, dried fruits, etc. For eighteen of the twenty-four months at
Fort Conger drinking water was obtained by melting paleocrystic ice from the
harbor. (This water was used for all camp purposes except photography, for
which it contained too much saline.) In the beginning water was obtained
from shallow ponds, and although the considerable quantities of animalculae
were strained out, the men suffered headaches from drinking it. This free
use of paleocrystic ice (without scurvy) for drinking it. This free
use of palecocrystic ice (without scurvy) for drinking purposes contrasts
notably with De Long's labored efforts to boil all water obtained form ice.
Greely later said: "My dietary list was shaped on the assumption that
scurvy is a disease resulting from malnutrition, which would be fostered by
dampness, uncleanliness, mental ennui, too strict discipline, excessive
exercise or labor, and by regular and systematic use of alchoholic beverages.

EA-Biog. Teal: A.W. Greely

I by no means assume that our exemption from this disease resulted from my
dietary list and hybiene rules, but let who will pass on the question. I
believe, however, that our large supply of fresh meat played a most important
role in our freedom from scurvy.
" During the first autumn over six thousand
pounds of ovibos and other fresh meats were secured by hunting near Fort
Conger, with an equal weight of offal going to the dogs.
Liquor was considered by Greely to have a deleterious effect on health
in general and immunity from scurvy in particular. This idea he derived from
reasoning that the Americans, a relatively non-drinking nation, had not suffered
from scurvy in the Arctic. A ration of one and one-half gills of rum weekly
was allowed each man, but was not served regularly either in quarters or on
sledge journeys. However, Greely recommended that future expeditions supple–
ment this ration by one-half pint of light wine weekly.
The amusements of the party were well diversified. A library of over
one thousand volumes was brought along, comprising books on the Arctic,
scientific, historical, and other works. Games were in good supply, but no
gambling, except for tobacco, was allowed. A semi-monthly newspaper was
published for a short while, and hunting was followed assiduously. Musical
entertainments, lectures, and dramatic programs were often held, and the men
even went skating on the harbor ice. On Sundays, however, no games were
allowed, and all were required to attend a Sabbath service which consisted
of a Psalm, read without comment by Greely. The doctor made regular examina–
tions, reporting in writing at each Sunday's inspection on the expedition's
health. Holidays, such as Christmas, and all birthdays were celebrated by
a banquet, special entertainment, and gifts from home which Greely had
collected beforehand.
Peary and other explorers have since criticized the Greely expedition
for failing to utilize the natural resources in the area of Fort Conger.

EA-Biog. Teal: Greely

Actually, however, in view of the adequate supplies, such resources as were
obtained to supplement the stores make an impressive list. Over seventy
ovibos were killed along with seals, ptarmigans, ducks, geese, bears, foxes,
hares, etc. Native coal was used, as was local driftwood. Berries, shrimps,
fish, etc., were also put to good use. Several of the men became good hunters,
particularly Sergeant Long, who often stayed out for several days under severe
conditions, and who had a dressed meat per dartridge ratio which appears to
be superior to Peary's best efforts. The two Eskimos also proved to be
efficient and indefatigable hunters.
Members of the expedition acquired many pets, including owls and foxes.
The latter became quite tame, afraid only of the dogs, but snapping at the
men's faces when they were bent over. The most interesting pets were obtained
on June 10th, 1882, when a hunting party captured alive four young musk-ox
calves, "which soon became tame and tractable. They ate mail, corn-meal,
and almost any food that was given them. They grew finely, except one whose
th r oat was torn open by the dogs. In a short time they became very fond of
Long and Frederik, who generally cared for them, and would follow them around
and put their noses into the men's pockets for food...when the long nights
came it was impracticable to give them exercise, and probably form this cause,
despite our care, they died."
Actually, the weakest was killed for food, another died, and on October
6th: "...I sent the others to Bellot Island today on dog-sledge. We tried,
first, driving them over the ice, but were unable to do so. When they reached
the island and one was untied, he died immediately. The other was taken up
into the ravine, following Long like a dog, but, despite all efforts, the men
were unable to leave him there; he ran after the sledge and returned to the
station. After arriving near the house, he followed Long everywhere, and
was finally carried to his old pen. He died the next day, from what cause we

EA-Biog. Teal: A.W. Greely

could not ascertain." These comments from Greely are further evidence that
should the domestication of the ovibos ever be attempted, the experimenters
need anticipate no trouble in taming the animals.
The clothing of the men was standard U.S. Army woolen winter issue,
occasionally supplemented by homemade blanket clothes, and in 1881 and 1882
was thought to be thoroughly adequate.
The first year the approach of the long winter night, sunless from
October 16th through February 28th, was viewed with considerable anxiety.
Tales of "Arctic madness" were familiar to all the men. It was soon discovered,
t h ough, that not darkness but monotony of routine had the adverse affect on
morale. Gloom, irritation, and depression were evidenced, but to a more
marked extent by the Eskimos than by the other men. Indeed, Jens Edward
once wandered off in the darkness in a seemingly dazed state of mind, and
was rescued only after great excitement. An increase of duties, variety in
schedules, and entertainments reduced this condition to a minimu m The appear–
ance of a band of wolves, aurora displays, and the discovery of a petrified
forest nine hundred feet above sea level helped to stimulate interest and
actual enjoyment of the night. The second year, no ill effects were noted.
Scientific Work of the Expedition
The program of observations by the Lady Franklin Bay Expedition were
commenced as soon as the party landed, and very soon thereafter was proceeding
on a full scale. These were divided as follows: meteorological, 234; tidal,
28; magnetical, 264-aggregating 526 daily. Twice each month magnetic observa–
tions were made every five minutes a day, increasing the number to over
twelve hundred. These observations were continued until within forty-eight
hours before the rescue at Cape Sabine in June, 1884.

EA-Biog/ Teal: A.W. Greely

Temperature was recorded in a shelter of the Louvre pattern by ther–
mometers mounted on a revolving sheet-iron drum. February and July were
found to be the coldest and warmest months, respectively. The anmometer
and wind vane were mounted on the ridge pole of the main building. The
barometers were located in several places with the admonition to the ob–
server that a change of over .03 inches an hour was to be reported to Greely,
either day or night. Over a two-year period the total precipitation was but
7.77 inches, and the sky but 28 per cent clouded. Solar and terrestrial
radiation thermometers supplied to the expedition were found to have such
limited range as to be useless between October and March. Maximum and minimum
thermometers were also placed at frequent interval e s in the territory of the
expedition.
The magnetic observatory, a wooden structure built entirely without metal,
was located two hundred yards north of the main building. The magnetometer
was mounted on a tripod frozen in the earth, and ten readings of the declination
of the magnetic needle were made hourly. In 1882 this declination was found
to
average about 100° 13′ W. However, magnetically there was never a "calm" day.
Also in this building was a dip-circle to measure the inclination of the
magnetic needle, found to be in the neighborhood of 85°.
The expedition took two years' unbroken tidal observations form a fixed
gauge located in the harbor. In winter the tidal hole was covered by a snow
house, but the ice within, which grew eight feet thick, and moving of the
harbor floe made for great difficulties. These readings, supplemented by
simultaneous recordings at Black Horn Cliffs, Rynke Harbor, Capes Sumner,
Baird, Beechey, Cracroft, and Distant, made it possible to work out a cotidal
curve for Robeson and Kennedy channels.

EA-Biog. Teal: A.W. Greely

Time observations were made regularly, and a special house was built for
a pendulum. This latter was an extremely intricate and bulky affair, the
success of which depended upon uniformity of temperature and solid mounting.
Forty-eight successful swings of the pendulum were made which later proved
of great value to geodesy.
Air samples and astronomical readings were also obtained, and many
comparative experiments were carried out, wuch as measuring the velocity
of sound at low temperatures, and defining the actual as opposed to the
theoretical dew point. All of the observations were later worked out in
detail and published.
The scientific collections of the expedition were copious, well-annotated,
and reasonably complete. They were ornithological, zoological, geological,
ethnological, botanical, and hydrographical. Notes were made concerning the
habits and seasons of all northern fauna and flor encountered, which, since
there was no trained naturalist, have since been praised for their scientific
worth. Many of these observations were precursers to later "discoveries,"
for example, hares which ran on their hind legs only, and large petrified
forests high above sea level. These collections, except for botanical, were
for the most part necessarily abandoned before the retreat and presumably
remain at Fort Conger to this day. Fortunately complete notes, drawings, and
photographs were saved.
In scientific terms, both quantitatively and qualitively, the Lady
Franklin Bay Expedition more than fulfilled its best expectations. Techniques
and classes of observation were not then as satisfactory as at present, but
there can be little doubt that up to its time, in spite of severe hardship,
it was the most scientifically successful of all expeditions in that wide
area.

EA-Biog. Teal: A.W. Greely

Geographical Explorations
Autumn Sledging. A major part of the assignment of Greely's expe–
dition was the accurate exploration of northern Ellesmere Island and the
adjoining coasts. Consequently, as soon as the party was settled in Fort
Conger, preparations began for future field work. Autumn travel in this
part of the Arctic is both trying and hazardous. The snow so necessary
for sledgers is absent or inadequate, the new ice is generally too thin
or broken to support much weight, and sea fogs, abetted by rapidly lengthen–
ing nights, out down the visibility. Nevertheless, the expedition began a
program of local exploration, visiting sites occupied by the British expedi–
tion (Nares), and laying out caches to support the heavy field work of the
following spring.
The first such trips, which commenced in late August, were made on
foot with back packs. Lt. Lockwood explored to St. Patrick Bay; and Dr. Pavy
and Sergeant Rice were sent northward toward Cape Joseph Henry, with orders
to look for traces of the missing steamer Jeannette among their assignments,
Returning from this latter trip, Rice broke through the ice-foot and suffered
severe frostbite which necessitated a difficult rescue operation. He lost
twenty-four pounds of weight in his suffering. Other parties, on foot and
using boats, established a large supply depot at Cape Beechey (later referred
to as Depot "B"), and examined the area about Cape Murchison, Depot "A."
During this work they found quantities of driftwood high above sea level,
and a cart and sledge abandoned by the English. Greely himself led a trip
to the westward. As soon as the snow and ice were proper, these field parties
traveled by sledge, gaining valuable experience.
The result of these first autumn trips, which were temporarily suspended

EA-Biog. Teal: A.W. Greely

in mid-October pending better traveling conditions, were four depots estab–
lished to the northward, the stores at Lincoln Bay ascertained, new territory
discovered in the interior, and three tons of fresh meat added to the larder.
Winter and Spring Sledging . In early November sledge parties were
sent out, again under Lt. Lockwood. The first was to add supplies, four
hundred pounds of coal, a stove, and to build a snowhouse at Depot "B"; and
to mine a half tone of coal for Depot "A". On other trips attempts were made
to cross Robeson Channel, but open water and thin ice prevented this. The
lessons learned are summarized by Greely; "Along such a bold coast no satis–
factory sledging work can be done until the citter cold of winter has bound
into a secure and solid mass the sea-floes — the only true Arctic highway."
In early February preparations started for spring sledging. Of the
twenty-seven dogs originally brought to Fort Conger but fifteen were living
at the end of 1881 — thus permitting two teams of seven dogs each. Clothing
of heavy wool was selected) "fur clothing was not highly valued by the members
of my party"); and field rations were made up consisting of 22 ounces of meat,
2 of butter, 4 of vegetables, 10 of bread, 2 of sugar, 1/2 of milk, 1 of tea
and chocolate, and 6 of fuel alcohol. Efforts were made to reduce the constant
weights to a minimum by double or triple buffalo sleeping bags, a small collap–
sible stove which brought a pint of water to a boil on the expenditure of
1/2 ounce of alcohol.
For sledges Greely ignored the advice of earlier explorers and adopted
the Greenland Eskimo sledge, replacing pine slats with ash or hickory.
Support-party sledges were of the light Hudson Bay pattern, and were to be
abandoned when their supplies became exhausted. Thus only thirty-five
pounds of dead-weight was hauled as compared with the one hundred and eighty
of a McClintock sledge.

EA-Biog. Teal: A.W. Greely

Even before the return of the sun, sledge parties took the field,
establishing depots to the eastward, and crossing over to Cape Summer, Thank
God Harbor, and Hall's grave. On this latter excursion, Lockwood and his
men, traveling in more extreme conditions, halved the time required for the
same distance by the experienced Hall.
"Farthest North" of Lockwood and Brainard
On the 3rd of April, Lt. Lockwood, with Sergeant Brainard, the Eskimo
Frederik, and four supporting sledges, set out to explore the northern coast
of Greenland. Traveling amidst great hardships of driving blizzards and
extreme temperatures, they picked up depots on their way and departed the
Ellesmere Island coast at Cape Beechey for Greenland and the Polaris Boat
Camp, arriving on April 9th. During this trip Lockwood several times returned
to Fort Conger to replace broken equipment needed by the main party. At
Boat Camp they were held by a storm until April 16th when, with a reduced
party, they started north.
The weather was bad and frequently forced them to their sleeping bags
for hours, during which they shivered from the cold but nevertheless conserved
rations. On the 24th, while near Black Horn cliffs, Lockwood opened a letter
from Greely in which rewards above $900 were offered, "oontingent upon making
a northing surpassing any ever before attained." Lockwood offered to increase
the amount by half. Their route sometimes led them inland through gorges and
ravines, deep with snow, whose vertical sides were but a few feet apart; at
others along the dangerous ice-foot, broken by tides. Occassionally they
examined cairns left by Lt. Beaumont of the Nares expedition, or placed caches
for use on their return journey.

EA-Biog. Teal: A.W. Greely

On April 20th the party was at Cape Bryant, from which could be seen
Cape Britannia, the farthest land sighted by Beaumont, lying far to the
northeast. At this point the supporting party turned back, leaving Lockwood,
Sergeant Brainard, and the Eskimo Frederik to continue. Its accomplishments
were remarkable, compared with the records of McClintock and Beaumont.
Those who were to proceed northward made up a supply of seventy-five
rations, sufficient for twenty-five days' absence from Cape Bryant, and took
a course for Cape May. The snow crust was weak and the sledge repeatedly
broke through, entailing laborious hauling. Beaumont's sketches appeared
accurate, but could not account for the changing sea ice, which continually
forced them to alter their direction. In the evening of May 3rd Brainard wrote
in his diary: "Cape Britannia is now within our grasp...we got into our damp,
cheerless sleeping bag with lighter hearts and in a more amiable frame of
mind than for weeks. Even the dusky Greenlander has imbibed some of our
spirit [doubtless inspired by Lockwood's recent promise of a hundred crowns
if he reached Cape Britannia], and, sitting up in his dog-skin bag, takes
mental note of everything which passes, with a delighted grin overspreading
his shining, good-natured countenance...The remainder of the coast to Britannia
is broken and mountainous, with two or three glaciers."
May 7th brought them to Low point, 83° 07′, N., the equal latitude of
the previous farthest land northing — Lt. Archer at Cape Columbia in 1876.
From that point onward every step forward was setting a record. However,
the weather was bad and travel conditions were rendered difficult by the
approach of summer. They became worried that too long a delay would out
off their retreat across Robeson Channel. On May 13th they arrived at a
large island, later named Lockwood Island, and determined themselves to be
at 83° 23.8′ N Brainard wrote in his journal: "We have reached a higher

EA-Biog. Teal: A.W. Greely

latitude than ever before reached by mortal man, and on a land further
north than was supposed by many to exist. We unfurled the glorious Stars
and Stripes to the exhilarating northern breezes with an exultation impos–
sible to describe." They had surpassed even Markham's record on sea.
Their rations being almost exhausted, they decided to make this their
last camp. There they remained until the 15th, making sketches of the
surrounding land and sea, scientific observations, and peering to the north–
east where they distinguished a headland which they named Cape Washington.
Unknown to them this was but a few short miles from Cape Morris Jesup the
most northerly land in the world.
Then the three men turned about and made a dash for home, wallowing in
soft snow, being continually robbed by the starving dogs. On the way they
picked up the depot at Cape Bryant and then swung around to Beaumont's ill–
fated and scurvy-ridden camp at Repulse Harbor, finding notes which described
the suffering. At Polaris Boat Camp they rejoined their supporting party,
left seven hundred pounds of rations for the next year's work and returned
June 1st to Fort Conger in the face of a driving snow storm after an absence
of sixty days.
This explicit exploit of Lo k c kwood, Brainard, and Frederick ranks with
the greatest of all sledge journeys in which provisions were hauled and no
reliance was placed on hunting or natural resources. Lockwood had covered
1,070 statute miles in forty-six marches, attaining the farthest north and
extending the Greenland coast for ninety-five miles. If he had had snow–
shoes and steel-runnered sledges, he thought he might have got farther, and
arrangements were made for the following year based on these experiences.
However, the vital matter of rations was not considered from the point of
view of living by hunting. By such a method Lockwood could have gone on
indefinitely.

EA-Biog. Teal: A.W. Greely

Besides establishing Lockwood as an exceptional sledge traveler, and
Brainard as the best of the expedition's enlisted men, the journey produced
several important scientific results. Among these is Greely's accurate
conjecture that the condition of tides and sea ice at Lockwood Island estab–
lished both the insularity of Greenland and the unlikelihood of land beyond
85° N. in that region.
Greely's Trips to the Interior of Grinnell Land
While Lockwood was attaining his "farthest north," other field parties
were being sent out from Fort Conger. In mid-March Dr. Pavy, with Sgt. Rice
and the Eskimo Jens Edward, left by sledge in an attempt to find land to the
northward of Cape Joseph Henry. Proceeding by way of the Alert's winter
quarters, they arrived at Cape Joseph Henry and, despite Edward's warnings
of disintegrating ice and open water, went north on the ice to 82° 56′. Then
they were cut adrift, regaining land only after a long and difficult struggle.
Greely had been especially eager to explore the interior of Grinnell
Land, believing the distance to the opposite coast of but limited extent.
Therefore, on April 26th he set off with Bender, Connell, and Whisler. Taking
a route across Basil Norris Bay and over the divide to Sun Bay, they saw a
wolf, an event which was illustrative of the limiting factors of the Lady
Franklin Bay expedition, both in field work and in the fateful retreat.
Greely writes: " The gun had been left behind , but we had two revolvers, with
one of which Private Connell fired at the wolf without success." Later on
Connell saw four more wolves together with a musk-ox calf; and in one valley
a musk-os trail which appeared to be similar to the "buffalo trails" of
the West.
Sun Bay, which was first sighted by Archer in 1876, was found to be

EA-Biog. Teal: A.W. Greely

the mouth of a large fjord, later named Chandler. As the party followed
it to the west, "the deep interest with which we had hitherto pursued our
journey was not greatly intensified. The eye of civilized man had not seen,
nor his foot trodden, the ground over which we were travelling." In order
to expedite the trip of the main party, Greely frequently set off in one
direction or another at a dog-trot to determine the best routes. By this
method he was able to cover 5 to 6 miles an hour, and add many details to
the surroundings.
After turning northward they came to the end of Chandler Fjord and a
glacier. The best route before them lay up a river to the west which drained
through a valley about a mile wide. The ice was level and smooth, enabling
rapid progress. Shallow pools of fresh water were found on the ice, and on
the banks were many signs of musk-oxen. On the evening of April 30th they
were startled to come upon open water, and were forced to follow the thin and
hazardous ice-foot By this method they struggled along until, "a sharp
turn brought in sight a scene which we shall all remember to our dying day.
Before us was an immense ice-bound lake."
Lake Hazen proved to be an arctic paradise, about 40 miles long to 7 or
8 at its widest, surrounded by rich vegetation which served as pasturage for
a large amount of game, and bordered to the west and south by mountains.
Across from the mouth of Ruggles River, from which point it had been discovered,
lay a large glacier with a vertical front of 175 feet, and five miles wide.
Greely names this glacier for his wife, Henrietta Nesmith.
The next few days were spent in sketching, taking notes, and collecting
specimens. At one time a beautiful parhelion, or mock sun, appeared; and at
another great fun was had potting away at rabbits with the revolvers. Then
the party returned to Fort Conger, arriving on May 7th after twelve days'

EA-Biog. Teal: A. W. Greely

absence and 250 miles of travel, an average of over twenty miles a day or
the equvalent of McClintock's best journeys.
Encouraged by the results of this excursion and the ease with which it
had been made, Greely determined to renew his explorations of the interior
during the summer. On June 24th he left by sledge with Lynn, Bierderbick,
Salor, and Whisler, bound for the already established depot at Basil Norris
Bay. There the sledge was sent back and the party proceeded with back-packs
and pulling a heavy cart. Their route to Lake Hazen was up Black Rock Valley.
Not much ground had been covered when a musk-ox was seen, but not pursued.
Greely remakrs, "hunting was quite apart from the object of the journey, as
fresh meat in great quantity was yet on hand at our home station".
By June 28th they were on the shores of Lake Hazen after having passed
large numbers of grazing musk-oxen, some foxes, geese, ducks, the trunks of
pine trees, and reindeer antlers. Only birds were shot. The wagon proved to
be a "man-killer," but was hauled along anyway. Once while collecting driftwood
on the shores of Lake Hazen six musk-oxen were seen, but were ignored in
preference for two ptarmigan which were shot. Also on the shores Greely dis–
covered the site of an old Eskimo summer encampment with four tent rings, and
the whalebone runners of a sledge. On the bank facing Ruggles River he found
three abandoned Eskimo houses, made of slate and sod, which evidently had been
permanent abodes. They were three feet high, six by ten in area, and contained
an abundance of bones and other relics. These included carved walrus combs,
a needle, fishhooks, and wood carvings.
Continuing westward along the shores, a herd of thirty musk-oxen was
seen, containing many calves, but was untouched. Another Eskimo house was
discovered, this one seventeen feet by nine, with a long entrance way, a store–
house, two fireplaces, and Greenland-type sleeping platforms. Nearby was

EA-Biog. Teal: A.W. Greely

another but smaller one. Among the relics found were narwhal horns, ivory
toggles for dog traces, and a skinning knife with bone handle and iron blade .
On June 30th the wagon was left behind, and Greely went on with Lynn
and Bierderbick. They carried knapsacks and accordingly out down their
rations to a minimum. At the western end of Lake Hazen they turned south,
traveling in warm weather among bees and flowers. Bierderbick, however, became
sick and was sent back alone to the wagon. Greely and Lynn continuing south
entered a mountainous region and discovered a large glacial cap which stretched
as far as they could see. Then Lynn was injured crossing a stream, and Greely
went on alone to climb a mountain, Mount Arthur, about 4,500 feet high, from
which he could view the country. As far as he could see in every direction
were mountains, rounded hills, lush valleys, and glaciers — none of which had
been seen before by white man. After drawing sketches and maps he returned to
Lynn, and the two turned back toward Fort Conger because their supplies were
running low.
Had any of the hundred or more musk-oxen seen on the journey
been killed, the party could have stayed in the field an unlimited amount of
time, continuing its valuable and excellent exploration of unknown country.
As it was, it returned to Fort Conger July 10th after having covered 352 miles
in nineteen marches.
The results of these trips to the interior by Greely were the observation
and mapping of about five thousand square miles of territory, the confirmation
of Nordenskjöld's guess that the interior of Grinnell Land held verdant valleys,
the finding of huge ovibos herds, and the important evidence of former Eskimo
habitation. However, Greely, like Nordenskjöld, erroneously reasoned that
the interior of Grinnell Land and Greenland must be similar.

EA-Biog. Teal: A.W. Greely

Lockwood's Second Attempt at "Farthest North"
The end of that second summer was utilized by making loca l explora–
tion trips, hunting and fishing. The winter passed more monotonously than
the first, but was enlivened by the discovery by Brainard of a petrified
forest and more Eskimo ruins, by the first case of serious discipline breach
(Cross stealing alcohol and getting drunk), preparations for the spring sledge
work, and, towards the end, by the laying out of depots as far as Greenland.
On March 10th Lockwood set out to better his previous northing on the
Greenland coast. Accompanied by Brainard, Jewell, Elison, and the two
Eskimos, he moved rapidly to the Polaris Boat Camp, there accumulating sizable
stores. A new batch of dogs, born at Fort Conger, facilitated the work. The
field plan called for Jewell's supporting sledge to return by April 23rd, and
that of Lockwood by June 1st.
This was an extremely bad year for ice travel. "On our arrival at
Drift Point," writes Lockwood, "there was a continuous belt of young ice a
hundred yards or more wide between the polar pack and the shore, with many
water holes and small cracks in it. Thick water clouds were visible to the
north." Nevertheless the party struggled to move on. But a stone would go
through the ice almost anywhere, and the sea ice was in violent motion,
moving away from the shore. Finding it impossible to get around Black Horn
Cliffs, Lockwood decided to turn back before it was too late to cross Robeson
Channel, and arrived home on April 12th.
This trip to Black Horn Cliffs had been made in the swift time of six
days, as compared with twenty-two the year before. Even if they had traveled
thereafter at the former rate, they would have had seventeen days beyond
Lockwood Island and good reason to believe it possible to reach 85° N.
Accurate tidal readings and the recovery of instruments left at Repulse

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Harbor by Beaumont in 1876 rendered the journey partially fruitful. Com–
menting on the direction of ice drift observed by Lockwood, Greely formed
the opinion of a moderately open polar sea, surrounded by a one hundred–
mile-wide ice belt, and surrounding a small polar land, glacier covered.
Navigation in such a sea could be carried out only, and but rarely, north
from Svalbard.
Lockwood-Brainard Trip across Grinnell Land
Disappointed at the failure of his second Greenland attempt, Lockwood
requested permission to try again, but instead was ordered by Greely to cross
Grinnell Land to the western sea, by way of Archer Fjord, if possible. Lock–
wood was pessimistic about both the feasibility and the route, but set out
with Brainard, Christiansen, and ten good dogs on April 25th. Nine hundred
and fifty pounds were on the sledge when it left Depot Point, three marches
out.
At the end of the fourth march they were at the end of Ella Bay, having
covered in that time with dogs a distance which had taken Archer fourteen days
by man-hauling. The country around Ella Bay was found to contain numerous
tracks of large and small game, and was walled in by mountains and cliffs.
Traveling south through a river valley, the snow and projecting stones made
the going difficult. Finally they came to a 200-foot-high glacier across
the valley, and there camped for two days.
To the east of the glacier was a high peak, Mount Difficult, which
Lockwood and Brainard climbed to get a wider view. It proved to be 4,444 feet
high. To the south were cone-shaped mountain peaks, covered with ice and snow,
and several glaciers. To the west and southwest were isolated peaks and vast
expanses of glacial ice.

EA-Biog. Teal: A.W. Greely

Their route then led them westward until they reached a point where
they discovered an extraordinary physical condition of the country. A
vertical wall, up to 200 feet high, of solid ice extended across the land.
They christened it wi the "Chinese Wall." but it was later named Mer De
Glace Agassiz. On mountaintops or in valleys it seemed to run with unvarying
height. Along its front were many lakes and rivers.
Following the face of the wall through ravines and over ridges, their
sixth march brought them to salt water and the head of a fjord, later named
Greely Fjord. They knew they had successfully crossed Grinnell Land and
that their mission was complete. However, they continued down the fjord for
about 26 miles and made camp in a snowstorm. Confined in their fed-rolls
they fasted for nineteen hours and reduced dog rations to permit further
investigation. By climbing a high cliff they determined that Greely Fjord is
between 60 and 80 miles long, "the south shore being considerably longer than
the north. Whether the furthest cape [Lockwood] on the south side was on the
same or another land could not be determined." From the ice with a telescope
Lockwood thought he discerned an even farther cape, but was undertain of it.
On May 16th, with rations running low, they started home, arriving May
26th in a state of great exhaustion and near starvation. Had this party,
traveling through country heavy with game, relied on hunting, it could have
remained in the field longer and continued its exploration of land which has
never since been trod by man.
As it was, the trip was a fitting conclusion to the brilliant sledging
careers of Lockwood and Brainard, and the excellent field work of the expedi–
tion. Grinnell Land had been crossed, a whole new swath of territory explored,
and an amazing glacier, running from coast to coast, discovered. Like the
other journeys of the expedition, it was carried out by men inexperienced in

EA-Biog. Teal: A.W. Greely

in arctic travel before arriving at Fort Conger, but who bettered the times
and distances of their predecessors. It is only to be regretted that these
men did not shoot the many animals they saw in the field and thus extend the
work. Much of our present knowledge of these regions, sixty-five years later,
is based solely upon the work of these soldiers.
Conclusion of Work at Fort Conger
The last days at Fort Conger in the summer of 1883 were spent in
preparing the scientific notes and collections of the expedition for trans–
portation to the United States. Greely reduced all the observations and had
several copies made. The collections of rocks, plants, animals, and other
natural phenomena were packed in watertight boxes, and completely annotated.
However, this latter task was not achieved without difficulty.
Greely wrote, "The Lady Franklin Bay Expedition was not happy in its
surgeon; Dr. Pavy was an excellent physician, but his prebious Bohemian life
made restraint irksome and subordination to military authority obnoxious...
his lack of any order or system proved most injurious to the natural history
interest, which were in his charge." On June 1st it became necessary to
transfer the natural history work to Lt. Lockwood. It was then found that
complete chaos reigned, and every man on the station was pressed into service
to complete the work.
In July Dr. Pavy refused to renew his contract or to turn over his
diary for transmission to the chief signal officer, falsely claiming that
it contained private letters. It was necessary to arrest hime and limit his
wanderings to within a mile of the post, but he broke his parole.
The work of the expedition at Fort Conger was then concluded. It had

EA-Biog. Teal: A.W. Greely

been remarkably successful. No case of scurvy or other illness had occurred,
and every man was in fine health. Over 500 observations a day had been
recorded in accordance with the International Polar Conference requirements.
Geographical exploration had covered 3 1/2° of latitude and 45° of longitude,
a large piece of the unknown Arctic. Ethnological, fossil, and natural
history discoveries had gained a large new body of knowledge for science.
It had also demonstrated the great latent abilities of several men, especially
Brainard's
Preparation for Retreat
When a relief ship had not arrived in the summer of 1882, Greely
naturally turned his energies to preparing for the eventuality that no ship
would get through in 1883 either. What he did not know, of course was that
the summer before, in accordance with his instructions, the sealing vessel,
Neptune , under the command of a U.S. Army private, William M. Beebe, Jr.,
had attempted to get through to him.
The ship got as far as Cape Hawks after a two months' fight with the
ice in Kane Basin, and was there beset. Breaking loose after a week, the
ship went to Cape Sabine where Beebe examined the small English cache of 1876,
but added nothing to it. More fruitfuless attempts were made to get north,
but finally a retreat was made to Littleton Island where the presence of
Etah Eskimos prevented him from landing his stores. He then went back to
Cape Sabine and placed a depot of 250 rations, one eighth cord of birch wood,
and a whaleboat. Returning to Littleton Island he established another 250–
ration depot, concealing it from the Eskimos and not telling them about
Greely's expedition to the north. Then he returned to St. John's with his
shipload of supplies. Unable to land the northern depots requested by Greely,

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he should have placed his supplies at Cape Sabine — the only intelligent
course of action.
As early as January 1883, Greely began the establishment of a large
depot at Cape Baird which would permit the party retreating by boat to leave
that point with as many rations as it had upon leaving Fort Conger. Dr.Pavy
opposed this work on the ground that it would be injurious to health, but really
only to be a nuisance. Five thousand pounds of bagged coal were also trans–
ported to Dutch Island where the launch lay. Twelve men were sent over to
Thank God Harbor to bring back the ice boat left by Beaumont in 1876.
All notes, records, the 48 photographic negatives, the botanical collection,
the diaries of all the men were placed in watertight boxes. The valuable hundred–
pound pendulum was also crated, and four rifles with a thousand rounds, two
shotguns with "ample" ammunition were selected. The personal baggage of every
man was reduced to eight pounds, but such articles as needles and yarn were
packed for possible trade with the Etah Eskimos. Greely also arranged to carry
his sword and epaulets.
The plan was to abandon Fort Conger by August 8th if no ship arrived.
Although supplies were adequate for another year's stay, and the local hunting
was good enough to support the party indefinitely, there was no question about
leaving. Greely had specific orders to do so, and presumed that arrangements
were being actively pursued to intercept his party to the south. Even so,
Greely did not kill his dogs because he deemed that, if any contingency forced
them back to Fort Conger, they would be invaluable for hauling in game and
fuel. Peary's later criticisms in this regard were entirely inapplicable
to the circumstances.

EA-Biog. Teal: A.W. Greely

Retreat Southward
August 9th, 1883, the Lady Franklin Bay Expedition abandoned Fort
Conger, leaving behind such equipment and collections as could not be safely
transported, and several open barrels of food for the dogs. The bay was
clogged with ice in violent motion, but by weaving a perilous course the launch,
towing the whaleboat, iceboat, and jolly boat, made its way to Cape Baird,
arriving the next day. The party, provisions, and fuel were divided between
the boats to provide against the loss of any one of them. At Cape Baird the
depot was taken up and a cairn erected in which a record of the expedition's
past work and future plans were placed.
The party then steamed out into the stormy waters of Kennedy Channel,
with 40 days' full rations and 20 days' more rations cached between them and
Cape Collinson — enough to reach Cape Hawks with the same amount of supplies
as on leaving Cape Baird. "We then knew not that one relief steamer was on
the bottom of the sea, and that its consort, its commander 'convinced that
this frozen region is not to be trifled with,' was that very day steaming
safely southward, with undiminished stores, into the harbor of Upernivik."
At first they traveled in open water, but soon a stiff gale and snowstorm
drove them to shelter near Cape Lieber. The next day they went to Cape Cracroft,
where one hundred pounds of cached meat was picked up. Since open water then
extended to the Greenland shore, the party again set off immediately, but before
long they were enveloped off Cape Defosse in a dense fog. Slowing to half-speed
and threading through grounded floebergs, "we kept a couple of horns in service,
with which we hope to notify any passing vessel of our presence." Camp was made
in a safe harbor at midnight. The next morning, however, it was found that
the engineer aboard the launch, detailed as sentinal, had allowed her to ground.
Sgt. Cross had gotten drunk on fuel alcohol, endangering the whole party and
forcing the loss of several hours to free the boat. During the day, still

EA-Biog. Teal: A.W. Greely

under the influence of liquor, he allowed the towed boats to be nipped
several times, after which they had to be drawn up on the ice.
Greely's 1881 cache in Carl Ritter Bay was taken, and the party proceeded
in foul weather. On the 13th they were stopped by inpenstrable ice. From a
cliff they found that a narrow lead extended southward from which they were
barred by a big floeberg. Unable to delay, they found a split in the ice and
entered. "The narrow cleft presented to our fiew afforded perhaps the most
wonderful passage ever traversed by voyageurs. Scarcely a dozen feet wide,
it was over a hundred yards long, and its perpendicular walls of opaque ice
on each side reached full fifty feet skyward above our passing boats."
Thus did the party struggle south, amid snowstorms and crushing ice,
picking up one or two small depots, contending with a drunken engineer, be–
coming nipped in the day, shivering in wet sleeping bags at night, until on
August 26th they arrived at the Cape Hawks depot. No ship had visited it as
they had hoped, and on leaving they had but 60 days' provisions. "Beyond
that time we must depend upon the resources of the country...we may succeed in
reaching the Cary Islands...our situation is indeed dangerous." After a 300–
mile voyage, they could see Cape Sabine fifty miles farther to the south.
A foot of new snow covered the ground, obliterating many landmarks.
New ice was forming and the temperature had permanently fallen below
freezing. Losing no time, the party made a course directly toward Bache Island,
but seventeen miles off Victoria Head and a mile from a large southward lead
they were beset by ice and were forced to haul out the smaller boats. And there
they were trapped for fifteen days, drifting helplessly in every direction with
the ice, shooting seals for food, putting up with the mutinous actions of
Kislingbury and Pavy, buffeted by ice, storm, and blizzard. At time they
would drift near the Greenland coast, at others near Grinnell Land, their hopes

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and plans rising and falling accordingly. They made but twenty- five two miles
southward. These hardships, however, "had no power to dishearten or dis–
courage them [the men], and even failed to quench their exuberant spirits."
On September 10th they lay but a few miles from Bache Island and eleven
from Cocked Hat Island. It was therefore decided to try crossing the ice to
Cocked Hat Island by dragging the sledge, ice boat and whale boat. After an
all-day battle with tons of weight and many doubtle trips, they had made
good a mile and a quarter. This went on for days, with the ice drifting
them back twice the distance they had traveled on its surface, until the
whaleboat was necessarily abandoned. To add to their troubles, Dr. Pavy
sent about contradicting orders, claiming that Greely was determined to des–
troy the party and that he had advocated staying at Fort Conger.
Finally the northward drift forced them to built a semipermanent camp
on the ice in which to repair their equipment and decide on new plans. Some–
times during storms the men stayed in their sleeping bags 40 hours or more,
fasting. On September 26th a gale arose which "increased in violence, causing
such conflict between the heavy floes as it is beyond the power of language
to describe. Our own floe was from forty to fifty feet in thickness, and yet it
trembled and cracked like chalk under the tremendous pressure... Just as the
whale-boat party quitted their snow-house, one of these repeated shocks split
our floe again, opening a wide crack, which soon swallowed up a portion of the
abandoned house." The storm and blizzard continued unabated for two days,
after which they found themselves embayed in Baird Inlet. There was nothing
to do but make a valiant continuous effort to reach Cape Sabine over the
tossed-up ice and open leads. This was accomplished by dint of a perseverance
characterized by the men's refusal to leave behind the pendulum, as an action
unsuited to men. In the leads they had seen walrus, but they sank when shot.

EA-Biog. Teal: A.W. Greely

Thus after over five hundred miles of travel, (fully a hundred was by sledge),
and fifty-one days, shore was reached with all records, instruments, baggage,
and health intact.
When Greely landed on Cape Sabine he fully expected to fine either
adequate depots or news of where rescue would be had. However, such was not
to be the case. After the miserable failure of the Beebe relief expedition
some concern was felt in Washington as to Greely's fate. It was tempered
by the false impression created by the ease with which the Proteus had gotten
through to Lady Franklin Bay in 1881. In 1883, Lt. Garlington, an infantry
officer from the Dakotas, volunteered to lead the relief party on the Proteus ,
again under Captain Pike, The Navy ship Yantic, was to accompany them as a
tender as far as Littleton or the Cary Islands. If Garlington was unable to
get through to Greely he was to leave caches on the east coast of Grinnel Land
and winter in Life Boat Cove — all in accordance with Greely's instructions
and expectations.
The Proteus was nipped and sank in the ice off Cape Sabine and, in spite
of the lives dependent upon them, says Sch l ey, "the crew of the 'Proteus', freed
from the restraints of discipline, with one or two exceptions, lent no assist–
ance in saving the stores, and after securing their bags, spent their time in
plundering the property of the expedition." A cache of 500 rations was taken
ashore and left for Greely with a note that everything humanly possible would
be done to rescue him. Then the entire party set off for the Yantic . A
merry game of missed rendezvous was played in and about Littleton and the
Cary Islands until Commander Wildes, who had adequate provisions aboard to
supply a winter's party, learned of the fate of the Proteus and decided him–
self to turn south - leaving nothing behind for Greely. This whole expedition
was an inglorious chapter of our military and naval history, dedicated to
cupidity and cowardice.

EA-Biog. Teal: A.W. Greely

The forbidding condition of the ice in Smith Sound and the failure of
relief parties to reach him placed Greely in a critical position. Although
but about 25 miles separated him from Littleton Island, where chances for
supplies or meeting the Etah Eskimos were much greater, he felt that at the
time he had no alternative but to make camp near the Alfred Newton Glacier.
They started building winter quarters in a region which seemed to be fairly
well stocked with seals and walrus. Two walrus were shot, enough with other
supplies to have provided food for the year - but, like most of the seals, they
sank out of sight. The majority of cached supplies were nearer the promontory
of Cape Sabine, and since they were too difficult to haul, Greely decided to
move to them. This meant abandoning a hunting region for one more strategic
in terms of rescue.
A site was selected for a winter house, and in freezing weather with
poor tools a hut of stone and sod, with the whaleboat and tarpaulins for a
roof, was built. It was cramped to the extent that a man could not stand
upright and every sleeping bag touched another. A storehouse was outside
the entrance, and a stove without a chimney was in the center of the room.
Cold and damp, it leaked and formed frost on the inside.
While this hut, known as Camp Clay, was being built the hunters, (Lone,
Kislingbury, Christiansen, and Edward), were kept in the field - but without
luck. October 19th, with a week of sunlight left, the party moved into its
winter quarters, thankful at least to be out of the wind and blizzard. Food
was the most critical problem, and parties were sent out to pick up the various
caches. These were harrowing experiences, for the weather and traveling con–
ditions proved so arduous that even the best men became exhausted, and several
were severely frostbitten. Sgt. Elison lost both hands as a result of one
such journey.

EA-Biog. Teal: A.W. Greely

Rations were reduced to near starvation point [] to last until the
early spring, with everything depending upon shooting some large animals.
As time went on the sufferings increased, and the rations were further cut.
Those not hunters spent most of their days in their sleeping bags. In order
to conserve fuel the only light was during cooking time. To divert the men,
Greely lectured on the 48 states and other subjects, or spoke of projected
geographical exploration in the neighborhood. Some of the men, Lockwood
included, seemed to become effected mentally with a depression which might
be interpreted as an early symptom of scurvy. But while Dr. Pavy continued
to incite trouble, and others stole food or fought, Sgt. Long on his hunting
trips extended the knowledge of Hayes Sound by 30 miles. On January 18th,
Sgt. Cross, the engineer who had been so often intoxicated, died.
"The End - by Death and by Rescue"
It was Greely's plan to make an attempt at crossing Smith Sound on
March 1st, and for this purpose rations were husbanded. Nevertheless hunters
constantly in the field were allowed more, usually over their own protest.
However, when the day arrived conditions in Smith Sound did not permit crossing.
On the 13th Greely wrote, "The fates seem to be against us - an open channel,
no game, no food, and apparently no hopes from Littleton Island. We have been
lured here to our destruction. If we were now the strong, active men of last
autumn, we could cross Smith Sound where there is much open water; but we are
a party of twenty-four starved men, of whom two cannot walk and half a dozen
cannot haul a pound."
From then on their doom was certain. The party was being supported by a
few exceptional men especially Brainard, Long, and the two Eskimos. The
latter, incidentally, were no more successful at hunting than the others.

EA-Biog. Teal: A. W. Greely

Soon starvation began taking its toll, and the men began to die. Some
formed cliques and squabbled endlessly about food. Private Henry stole
food regularly from the commissary so that his comparative strength became
a serious threat to the safety of the other members of the party. He was,
therefore, after repeated warnings, shot. Dr. Pavy continued his insolence
and undermining of morale — in his case, unlike that of the other men, not
attributable to starvation and suffering. The inval i d Elison survived, with
spoons tied to his arm stumps, due to the generosity of the other men.
Toward the end of June the diet consisted of a few shrimps, a stew of
lichens and leather clothing. By June 22nd Greely, Brainard, Bierderbick,
Long, Connell, Elison, and Frederik were the only survivors. They had moved
out of the hut to a tent on dryer ground, and had been too weak to right it
when it blew over. About them lay the bodies of their comrades, buried
either shallow in the gravel or in the tidal cracks. Until that day the
survivors had maintained their meteorological observations and diaries, but
now they were too weak. Near midnight they heard a steamer's whistle echoing
over the hill from Payer Harbor.
The next day they were rescued by Commander Schley, leading a capable
and swift-moving rescue squadron. By skill and sheer determination he had
gotten farther north at that early date than was thought possible. Another
twenty-four-hour delay and he would probably have found only the dead awaiting
him. The Schley Relief Expedition cost about half a million dollars, (as
compared with the $25,000 of the Greely expedition), a sum appropriated
largely because of the national indignation which Greely's wife and others
were able to arouse over the negligence and inefficiency which had already
been shown. Unlike Lady Franklin, she was able to save her husband.
On the trip home Elison died of his wounds, but the others gradually

EA-Biog. Teal: A.W. Greely

regained their health. When they arrived in the States great parades and
banquets were held, and Greely became an international here. At this time
many sensational pamphlets were written, some charging cannibalism to the
survivors. Certainly there was evidence that some of the bodies in the
graveyard had been fed upon; but if a starving man can maintain hislife by
means of his dead companion he would be a sentimental fool not to avail
himself. It has happened on many expeditions, and has no conceivable moral
connotations.
Thus the Lady Franklin Bay Expedition came to an end. In its assigned
work it had been eminently successful. Its failures were due to the c oward–
ice and apathy of others, and an inability to support itself by hunting.
SUBSEQUENT CAREER
Greely's Work in Alaska
Following the purchase of Alaska from Russia in 1867, an even dictated
by expediency and opportunism, the territory was abandoned to neglect. For
years only the most sporadic interest was shown in its gold, whales, and furs;
and that handful of soldiers which was sent as a token force to "protect"
Alaskan interests devoted itself almost exclusively to the manufacture and
sale of "hootchanoo" to the addicted natives. Nothing was done in the way
of establishing communications, facilities for settlers, in disease control,
education, or the establishment of law and order. When George Karluk dis–
covered rich colors in the Klondike in 1896, and a stampede of adventurous,
rough and inexperienced men from all over the world descended upon Alaskan
shores, the explosive situation forced immediate action upon the United
States Government.

EA-Biog. Teal: A.W. Greely

As in all such crises, the Government had recourse to the U.S. Army,
which was ordered to look to the needs and emergencies of the thousands
of new immigrants in a completely undeveloped land. Military districts
were established throughout the territory which, in the interest of speed
and efficiency, demanded telegraphic communications.
Upon his return from Lady Franklin Bay, Greely had been widely feted
and decorated in America and abroad. In 1886 he had been promoted to
captain and the following year (no doubt due to his wife's intimacy with
the Clevelands) he was appointed a brigadier general and Chief of the Sign a l
Corps - the first volunteer private to become a general officer in United
States history. In that new office he had resumed his former brilliant
work of constructing telegraph lines in the West, had laid oceanic cables
to the Philippines and the Caribbean countries, had developed the weather
service, and expanded his reputation as an arctic scholar. It was to Greely
and his department that the Army looked for a solution to its Alaskan problems.
With remarkable dispatch Greely set about the task of connecting the
seven military districts of Alaska by telegraph lines. Not in the least
discouraged by the failure of the Western Union Telegraph Company to build
lines connecting America and Europe across Bering Strait, he surveyed and
constructed in short order communications from the Panhandle to Nome. The
enormity of this task is realized only when one considers that in all Alaska there
were no roads over ten miles in length, and the main highways were the Copper,
Tanana, and Yukon rivers. To connect Nome with his system he had a wireless
set constructed which transmitted one hundred miles to St. Michael, the first
long-distance wireless section in the world that was operated as a regular
commercial line. The whole project was completed within its budget and the
time promised.

EA-Biog. Teal: A.W. Greely

However, these communications connected only Alaskan bases. Con–
nection with the United States was still carried on by slow steamers on
irregular schedules. The Canadians had built a telegraph line to Dawson,
but intense friction between the two countries over the Alaska boundary
made cooperation impossible. President McKinley then gave Greely unofficial
permission to see what could be done. Using his personal friendship with
Sir Wilfred Laurier, and placing the project on a basis of mutual financial
benefit to the two countries, Greely succeeded in persuading the Canadians
to extend their lines north from Dawson while he extended his south from
Eagle. Later, as the boundary controversy continued, and United States
officials objected to their communications passing through Canadian hands,
Greely laid an oceanic cable through unknown waters from Seattle to the
Panhandle, thus connecting Alaska directly with Washington.
From 1900 to 1908 Greely made six trips through Alaska, covering the
Cook Inlet and Lynn Canal regions, the valleys of the Yukon and Tanana, and
Seward Peninsula. (In 1907 the territory came under his command as a major
general.) On these trips he made it his special concern to investigate the
condition of the native population. Finding it disease-ridden, prone to
intoxication, and with a generally shattered morals due to white contact,
he took steps to establish hospitals, schools, and local industries. It
takes more than one man, however, to stem the devastating effects of white
civilization on primitive societies.
While in Alaska Greely made the acquaintance of many prospectors,
fishermen, and soldiers. One of these was the later famed Billy Mitchell,
whom Greely adopted as a protege, and who wrote a biography of Greely years
later. The book, however, was little more than an idolizing rewrite of
Greely's own Reminsicences of Adventure and Service.

EA-Biog. Teal: A.W. Greely

Greely as an Arctic Scholar
Greely's accomplishments were so many and varied that it would be
patently impossible to discuss them all. He was the motivating force in
Langley's experiments to develop a flying machine, he was the general in
charge during the San Francisco earthquake, he was largely responsible
for the capture of the Spanish fleet in Cuba, he was Taft's right-hand
man in the Philippines, and he was a founder of the National Geographic
Society.
Before Greely's famous expedition he had read widely of arctic
exploration and personally knew many of the great arctic explorers. It
was for this reason he was considered by the Army as an arctic expert.
After the expedition he naturally got to know and to be known by all the
prominent arctic specialists. Thus he rapidly grew in stature as the
foremost authority on arctic matters in the United States, and later as
America's "elder statesman" of the Arctic.
This reputation was fortified by Greely's assiduous research and
scholarship in arctic affairs. This scholarship took outward form in a
number of books and magazine articles on the Arctic in both English and
French, and the many translations of foreign scientific works which he made.
Three Years of Arctic Service he wrote in 1885 to describe his Lady Franklin
Bay Expedition. Two volumes, it was a fascinating record which, Greely
took price in noting, was read through at one sitting by Gladstone. American
Explorers and Travellers
and True Tales of Arctic Heroism were popular
books in which Greely sought to stimulate interest in the North. Each had
big sales, but managed to make the North seem a forbidding place to the
average man.

EA-Biog. Teal: A.W. Greely

Perhaps his most important contributions to scholarship were his
Handbook of Alaska and Handbook of Arctic [enlarged to Polar] Discoveries .
This latter volume progressed through five editions in which Greely summar–
ized and assessed polar problems. It is still invaluable to the scholar
as a source book. Greely said, "I have invariably confined my writings to
subjects with which I am thoroughly familiar," and his books invariably had
his own picture as a frontispiece. His arctic library was one of the
largest and best of its day, and is now the property of the National Geo–
raphic Society.
As a result of Greely's stature as "elder statesman" in arctic affairs
he often felt called upon to pontificate or give the last judgment in
arctic disputes. These occasions often proved extremely embarrassing to
him. For example, when the young Fridtjof Nansen proposed to cross Greenland
by skis, Greely said that it was an irresponsible and impossible project,
Nansen's success was disconcerting to Greely, and he therefore opposed
Nansen's next project, the b v oyage in the Fram . When this, too, proved
successful, Greely appraised the results in a popular magazine article by
saying that Nansen, in leaving his ship to attain a new "farthest north,"
had deserted the expedition and that the major credit should be given to
Otto Sverdrup for staying with the ship. Nansen retaliated by publishing these
words of Greely, without comment, in the opening paragraphs of his account
of the expedition. Greely then recognized his mistake and was big enough
to say later, "Of all Arctic explorers Nansen is especially noted, not only
for the variety, unique experiences and success of his explorations, but also
for his distinction in other lines..."
Not so amicable were his relations with Peary. Greely had encouraged
the young Peary and given him advice for his first attempts at the North

EA-Biog. Teal: A.W. Greely

Pole. When Peary went north he often used Greely's camp at Fort Conger
as one of his bases. However, Peary was injudicious enough (basing his
statements on his own experiences under different conditions, with different
techniques and purposes) to criticize publicly the Lady Franklin Bay Expedi–
tion as a needless waste of life. This criticism was as inapplicable as
it was unkind, and the sensitive Greely smarted under the abuse. Conse–
quently, a bitter enmity arose between the two men, in the course of which
Greely at one time supported Cook's claims over Peary's on the basis of
Peary's inaccuracies and congenital exaggeration, documenting his case.
Later Greely gave credit for first at the Pole to Byrd. It was altogether
an unfortunate situation to have two such excellent men at loggerheads. At
one time Stefansson was able to bring the two inadvertently together and
exchange pleasantries, an action which Gilbert Grosvenor characterized as
one of Stefansson's greater accomplishments. In his final writings Greely
did ameliorate his bitterness toward Peary by saying, "Pole or no Pole,
Robert E. Peary stands first in the prolonged siege for the conquest of the
North Pole."
On his ninety-first birthday, March 27, 1935, half a century after
his famous expedition, Greely was awarded the Medal of Honor from Congress
"for his life of splendid public service." Before the year was over he had
died.
John J. Teale, Jr.
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