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Full text of "Our lost explorers : the narrative of the Jeannette Arctic expedition as related by the survivors, and in the records and last journals of Lieutenant De Long"

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Jeannette Arctic Expedition. 



















Rev. W. L. GAGE, D.D. 






Copyright, 1882, 


Bancroft Library 


The Arctic Ocean has been for years the nursery of heroic 
deeds. And had the results of enterprise been even less than they 
have been in that region of frost and ice, and months-long night, 
what has been shown there of that which is noblest and most ad- 
mirable in man would have been worth all that it has cost. The 
story of war and of battle brings to light much bravery, much en- 
durance, of ten much magnanimity ; yet the record is stained with 
so much of bloodshed, and of cruelty, that not infrequently it 
seems more like a transcript of the baser human passions than of 
heroic courage and noble achievement. And Arctic discovery, 
too, is full of pain, for its course is tracked with hardships, and its 
field is sown with graves. Yet there is so much ol brightness, of 
hope, of mutual helpfulness, and of novel experience in the record, 
that we turn to the stories of polar adventure with the same zest 
with which boys breathe in the probabilities and glorious reckless- 
ness of such adventurers as Tom Sawyer. 

The book now "before the reader falls not a whit behind its 
predecessors. Indeed, as an unbroken current of hardship, dis- 
appointments, perils, and final disaster, uncheered with scarce a 
gleam of that success which was fondly hoped at the outset, the 
work is without a rival. From the time when this little company 
of about one-third of a hundred souls, became entangled in thfc ice 
masses off Herald Island and Northeastern Siberia, and then em- 
bedded in the floes, on and on, through the long winters of 1879, 
1880, and 1881, and through the brief summers of 1880 and 1881, 
down to the discovery of some of the survivors, and in their im- 
mense and unparalleled feats of courage, strength, and endurance 
in crossing the ice-fields after the Jeannette went down, till they 
reached the Siberian villages and towns, there is one continuous 
strain of heroism, one incessant and good-humored story of that 
which is best and most hopeful in the human soul. And so the 
book becomes in its revelations of character, a work of singular 


and thrilling interest. Those sturdy men of many nationalities and 
many languages, embracing not only the best known European 
people, but the Chinese and the North American Indians, all work- 
ing in harmony, and for the common good; those rude and primi- 
tive Tunguses of Northern Asia, hospitable and kindly; the Cos- 
sacks, and even the exiles who had been driven to Siberia for 
their offences, warming into charity and hospitality towards the 
sufferers from a distant land ; the zeal of the surviving men of 
the Jeannette to learn, to the last particular, the fate of DeLong 
and of Chipp; the earnestness and eagerness of the officers to attain 
to all possible scientific results; the loyalty of all to their superiors 
in office, and the fidelity to the great fact of law, all this invests 
the book with a delightful and incessant charm. 

And as the interest of the world grows breathless to catch the 
last words of this intrepid band, and the remotest whispers of their 
fate, the sense of their endurance, their courage, and their high 
and manly hope, becomes more inspiring. No audience is larger than 
that which now awaits each voice that can tell us of the fortunes 
of the Jeannette and her crew. The discovery of the dreadful 
fate which met the DeLong party comes to us as the crowning 
agony of a long series of distresses. But while such disasters win 
universal sympathy, the story of such a retreat as that of the boat- 
loads of men whose untiring efforts during the summer of 1881, 
after they left the Jeannette, this volume records, will be read with 
the interest which is only given to deeds of sustained courage 
and manly striving. And we have no fear that the modest tale 
will fail of finding its thousands of readers. 





The Pandora bought, renamed, and fitted out Officers and Crew 
Departure from San Francisco Anequin and Alexai Arrival 
at Northeastern Siberia Good-bye to Civilization Last tidings 
of the Jeannette 17 



The Mt. Woolaston and Vigilant Reminiscence of Captain Nye 
Sailing of the Corwin Indian Village at St. Michaels Bear- 
hunters of Alaska The starved Islanders Deserted Villages 
Capture of whisky-trading schooners Cruise in Arctic waters 
Interesting incidents The northern pack and its fatal drift. . . 28 



Search Expeditions of 1881 The Jeannette Relief -Board The Cor- 
win starts north Landing of search party on Siberian coast 
Fate of the lost whalers discovered Exploration of Herald 
Island Professor Muir's narrative Landing on Wrangel Island 

Wreck of the Webster The Golden Fleece and Ray's Expedi- 
tion Excursion to the Reindeer Chukches The Diomedes An 
Esquimaux Long Branch No traces of the missing explorers. . . 39 



The Mary and Helen renamed the Rodgers Officers and crew 
Departure from San Francisco The 180th Meridian Description 
of the Bay of Avatcha, Petropavolvsk, and Commander's Island 
Slaughter of sea-bears at Copper Island Voyage to Cape Serdze 

Visit to a Ckukcke village Wrangel Island explored An ex- 
citing bear -hunt Waring's adventures Putnam's winter camp 

The Rodgers goes into winter quarters in St. Lawrence Bay. . . 54 





The Steamship Alliance and her officers The start from Norfolk 
Navy- Yard Voyage to Iceland and Norway Exciting news 
Voyage to Bear Island and Spitzbergon The midnight sun as seen 
near Horn Sound White whales Walrus hunters at Bell Sound 

Beyond the 80th Parallel In a fog A fairy -like scene View 
from the crow's nest Exciting times at Dane's Island Return 
to Hammerf est, and home A phenomenal cruise Results of the 
Voyage 71 



No news from the Jeannette Lost in ^he Arctic Lehigh Hunt's 
Expedition Action of London Geographical Society Reminis- 
cence of the Franklin Search Plans of operation Opinions of 
Arctic travelers 79 



Startling news from Irkutsk Arrival of some of the Jeannette's 
crew on the Siberian coast Official telegrams Prompt action 
of Russian officers Second Cutter missing A season of sus- 
pense "By Baikal's Lake." .83 



A land of desolation The Tundra in summer An animated scene 

Arctic moss Graphic description of the Tundra in winter 
Dreariness, cold, and solitude Frozen in mammoth and rhinoce- 
.ros Curious legends of the natives Fossil ivory The "isle 

of bones." W 



A mighty river Its head- waters and tributaries Ledyard's travels, 
and voyage down the stream Hospitable Russians Valley of the 
Lower Lena, and its inhabitants Description of the Delta Im- 
mense sea-coast Seven great arms of the Lena A wonderful 
sight The Vega and Lena A disappointing pilot Johannesen's 
voyage up the river Amusing incidents Curious customs and 
ceremonies Ludicrous thanksgiving service Extinguishing a 
clerk.' 98 





Melville in command of whale-boat His story of the voyage and 
sinking of the Jeannette, the retreat south, the separation of the 
boats, and the landtog of his party The discovery by natives, 
who conduct them to a village where startling mews from Ninder- 
mann arrives Searches for De Long The survivors at Yakutsk. Ill 



Copies of four records found in huts along the North channel of the 
Lena, which were left there by De Long as he retreated southward. 125 



Verbatim copy of Nindermann's letter written at Bulun Noros's 
story of his parting with De Long when he and Nindermann were 
sent on for relief The narrative of Mr. Leach 130 



The ' City of the Yakuts ' The Cossack conquerors of Siberia The 
Province of Yakutsk Natives, Russian peasants, and exiles 
Yakuts and Tonguses Ostyak tents Winter dwellings Cus- 
toms of the country Priests The ' Pole of Cold ' Interesting 
notes of travelers A story of Russian jealousy Ledyard's 
eulogy of women Life at Yakutsk 140 



The capital of Eastern Siberia A cheerful resting-place Descrip- 
tion of the city and its suburbs Lake Baikal Valley of the 
Angara Account of the great fire of 1879 The fire brigade 
Ludicrous scenes and incidents Religious processions Mr. 
Jackson's journey to Irkutsk Meeting with the Jeannette crew. 154 



The story of the expedition Sailing of the Jeannette Daring the 
ice-pack Frozen in Drifting Life on ship A break-up 
Anequin's discovery Tremendous pressures Severe gales A 
bad leak Starting the pumps Hunting excursions Chipp'6 
experiments Exciting bear chases De Long's adventure. . . 169 





The Jeannette in winter quarters Constant danger Bear-hunting 
on the floes Melville's Canal Scurvy Discovery of Jeannette 
Island An excursion to Henrietta Island A curious mistake 
Mount Sylvie Breaking up of the ice An even keel A fas- 
cinating danger The hunters' recall A fatal nip Abandoning 
the ship Encamped on the ice Sinking of the Jeannette. . . 191 



Preparations for a long journey Sleds, boats, and outfit Order of 
march The start southward A discouraging outlook Start- 
ling discovery Ferrying the fissures The hospital tent Hero- 
ism of men Land ahead A dash for the shore Annexation of 
Bennett Island Land-slides Dunbar's exploring trip 207 



Launching the boats Start for Bennett Island Deserting dogs 
"Working south between ice-fields Fatal delay at Ten Day Camp 

Among the New Siberian Islands Hunting on Thaddeoffsky 
A terrible situation Halt on Kotelnoi Hunting parties Stal- 
bovoi Hunting on Semenoff ski Last interview with Chipp A 
start for Siberia Fearful gale, which separates the boats 
Launching a drag An eventful night Another day and night. 222 



Off the coast Attempts to reach shore Enter and proceed up a 
river A night of agony in a hunting-camp A delightful Sunday 

Reconnoitering First meeting with natives Piloted south by 
Cut-eared Wassili At Spiridon's village The voyage continued. 238 



Arrival at Geemovialocke The chief's house Visited by a Rus- 
sian exile Attempt to proceed Return to the village Decayed 
geese Sojourn at the Tunguse village A native feast day 
Arrival of another exile Entertained at Kusmah's house The 
exile starts for Bulun Danenhower's search for De Long Start- 
ling news Melville starts to search for De Long Arrival of 
Oossack commander Journey to Bulun and Yakutsk 253 





A copy of the Jeannette's log kept by the commander from May 17th 
to June 12th, 1881, when the ship sunk 262 



Report of the Ispravnik of Verkhoyansk Nicholai censured Gen- 
erous natives, exiles, and officials Danenhower's letter. . . . 270 


Incidents of the voyage north Ougalgan Island Kolyutschin Bay 
Skating off Herald Island Adventure with bears Singular 
phenomenon Sea-gulls Grand auroral display Christmas and 
New Year's entertainments Indian superstitions At the pumps 
Dangerous excursion Entomological specimens 277 


Conflict of the floes Jeannette Minstrel Troupe Christmas enter- 
tainment Fac-simile of programme Mr. Collins's poem A 
dream of home Discovery of new lands Animal life A tre- 
mendous nip The Jeannette doomed and deserted A night on 
the ice The ship sinks A dreadful blank. 292 



Appearance of camp The retreat begun Landing on American 
soil Tramps on Bennett Island Among the birds Interesting 
volley Building a cairn Sailing southward Adventures 
among the New Siberian Islands Start for Siberia Gales and 
tempests On the big land once more A luxurious hut. . . . 308 


A start up the Lena Meet natives A dinner with Theodore, 
Tomat, and Carinie Pictures of ' saints ' Horse-hair nets Old 
Bushielle A voyage south Arrival and long residence at a Tun- 
guse village Friendly exiles Dwellings, dress, and customs 
Routine of life Religious feasts Kusmah, the exile A present 
from the Pope of Bulun De Long in distress Melville's depar- 
ture Journey to Bulun by dog-teams 320 




Good-bye to Bulun Reindeer teams Nights in a povarnia Las- 
soing reindeer Experiences on the road Meeting with exiles 
Arrival at Verkhoyansk Russian officials The outposts of 
civilization The famous vodka A village of exiles Customs 
of the country Journey resumed Cross the Arctic Circle 
Retrospective Exiled Poles Russian traders Descending the 
mountains Novel sight Fine scenery Accidents Visit to 
Reindeer Tunguses A night attack Curious scenes and inci- 
dents along the road by night and day Odd customs ..... 332 



Approach to Yakutsk The Mecca of my hopes Hospitable recep- 
tion Sight-seeing An old fortress . Life at Yakutsk Evening 
recreations New Year's day The Russian Christmas Churches 
and priests Curious fire-engines A peculiar people The start 
homeward ' Jining the army ' Reception at Irkutsk Dr. 
Ledyard Life in the metropolis Arrival of Jackson Noros 
returns east A sample of the 'boys.' .......... 343 


Leave I^utek Meet Harber and Scheutze Seamen turn back 

through Siberia Sights at Tomsk The Siberian women 

Omsk Life on the Kirghesian steppes Easter Sunday at 
Throisky Village entertainments Russian superstitions A 
wedding Fanciful dresses A capsize The Ural River Osk 
The Ural Mountains Fine views Kirghese hunters Cossack 
villages Orenburg and the 'iron horse' An interesting city 
Ride along the Volga Agricultural scenes Moscow St. Peters- 
burg Interview with the emperor and empress Cronstadt 
Hull Liverpool ' Home again. ' ........... 853 



The search renewed Melville at Cath Carta Visit to Cape Bykoff 

Fearful storms An account of the search for and finding of 
De Long and his men The rifle in the snow ' All dead ' 
Removal of the lost explorers Description of their mausoleum 
Inscription on the cross The tragedy on the Delta Strange 
incidents The nightly alarm fire De Long's last effort. . . . 366 





A melancholy relic Copy of De Long's diary extending from 
October 15th to the end A terrible story of hardships, sufferings, 
and death, and of heroic bravery and Christian resignation. . . . 379 



The search for Chipp Travelers from the East and the West 
Berry, Hunt, and Gilder Harber and Scheutze's expedition 
Preparations at Vitimsk Hunt and Bartlett join Harber Meeting 
of steamers Homeward journey of the returning explorers. . . 394 



The Rodgers at St. Lawrence Bay ' Fire ' ! Burning of the Ship 

Escape to the shore A grand sight At home with the Chuk- 
ches Grace's narrative Putnam missing Alarming discovery 

Drifting on the ice Putnam's sad fate 401 



Hunting for a living Fisherwomen, medicine-men, dwellings, cus- 
toms and superstitions Visit to Reindeer Chukches Death of 
a girl Li^ at Camp Hunt Three strangers Zane's adventure 
Retreat south Arrival of the North Star and Corwin Rescue 
of the castaways Loss of the North Star 414 


The start from Camp Hunt Traveling companions Waiting for 
Wanker Chukche amusements Dancing girls Love-sick Con- 
stantine Journey to Cape North A genuine ' poorga' A night 
in the snow The Chukche caravan A brilliant sight Orna- 
mental bells Lost in a snow-storm Carried over a precipice 
Badly frozen Loss of dogs On the borders of civilization A 
night in a deserted hut An abandoned village Picture of life 
in a cottage Down the Kolyma Arrival at Wanker's house 
Surprising changes An old hypocrite The powerful stranger 
Escape from Wanker Friendly villagers Arrival at Nishni 
Kolymsk Journey to Middle Kolymsk Description of the town 
and its people Curious sights Antiquated implements Inside 
the houses Interesting exiles An unpardonable offence A 



convenient religion Pictures of saints Household devotions 
'Dear little Nanyah' and her guardian A beautiful sight 
'Vodka,' and the custom of the country Journey to Verkhoy- 
ansk 428 



Additional particulars respecting the parting of Nmdermann and 
Noros from De Long, and of their journey to Bulun 449 



The voyage from Semenoffsky and separation of the boats The 
November search for De Long Opinion as to Chipp's fate Find- 
ing of the first cutter 462 


An account of the arrival and reception of Melville and his com- 
panions 470 



ARCTIC STEAMER JEANNETTE,' .... Frontispiece. 














SAMOYEDES OF ARCHANGEL, . . . . . . . . . 78 


LIMIT OF TREES IN SIBERIA, . . . . . :'"" . 92 










SIBERIAN VILLAGE CHURCH, . . . . . . . . 141 
















THE ICE IN MOTION, . . . 178 






ARCTIC GLACIER, .......... 197 











FISHERMAN'S HUTS, .......... 249 






GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULLS, . . ." . . . . 278 

WALRUS, 281 






A VISION OF HOME, .......... 303 


MUSEUM, . 307 

















GRAPH, 347 






THE GREAT BELL OF Moscow, 363 




THE TOMB ON THE LENA, ........ 371 



















PLANS OF THE BOATS, - ... 228 











THE American Arctic Expedition, commanded by Lieu- 
tenant George W. DeLong of the United States Navy, 
which left San Francisco, July 8th, 1879, was projected by 
James Gordon Bennett, proprietor of the New York Herald. 
After the return of the last of the two successful expeditions 
which lie had sent to Africa under Henry M. Stanley, Mr. 
Bennett longed for new worlds to conquer, and decided to 
send out, at his own expense, an expedition to attempt to 
reach the North Pole by way of Bering's Straits. Lieuten- 
ant DeLong became interested in the undertaking, and the 
Pandora, owned by Captain Allan Young, was selected and 
bought as a suitable vessel to convey the explorers. 

The Pandora was built in England in 1862. She was a 
bark-rigged steam yacht of 420 tons burden, with an engine 
of 200 horse-power, and a wide spread of canvas. She was 
strongly constructed, and had seen considerable service in 
the northern seas. In 1873 she conveyed her owner to the 
Arctic regions for the purpose of searching for records of 
Sir John Franklin's expedition ; and in 1876 Captain Young 
cruised in her about the northern part of Baffin's Bay, 
having been deputed by the English Admiralty to search 
for Captain Nare's expedition. 

By special act of Congress the vessel was allowed to sail 

under American colors, to assume a new name the Jean- 

nette and to be navigated by officers of the United States 

Navy, with all the rights and privileges of a government 



vessel. The Secretary of the Navy was authorized to accept 
and take charge of the ship for the ue of the proposed 
expedition, and to use any material on hand in fitting her 
for the voyage; but upon condition that the Department 
should not be subjected to any expense on account thereof. 

The Jeannette was taken from Havre, in France, through 
the Straits of Magellan to San Francisco, by Lieutenant 
DeLong, with Lieutenant Danenhower as navigating officer, 
and there delivered to the naval authorities at Mare Island. 
After a thorough examination it was deemed advisable, on 
account of the hazardous nature of the contemplated voyage, 
that her capacity to resist the pressure of the ice should be 
increased. "This conclusion," says the Secretary of the 
Navy, " was precautionary, merely, inasmuch as she had 
been well constructed, and was believed to possess ordinary 

A large amount of work was subsequently done upon the 
ship at the expense of Mr. Bennett. She was furnished 
with new boilers ; iron box beams were put in abaft and 
forward of the boilers to strengthen her sides ; trusses were 
strengthened ; additional wooden hooks were introduced and 
fastened through and through ; her extreme fore end, to the 
extent of about ten feet from the spar deck down, was filled 
in with solid timber and caulked; additional strakes and 
planks six inches thick were introduced to strengthen her 
bilge ; and her deck frame was renewed wherever required. 
The cabin and forecastle were padded with layers of felt to 
keep out the cold, and the poop deck was covered with 
several thicknesses of stout painted canvas. Boats, tents, 
extra sails, two extra propellers, extra pumps, a distilling 
apparatus, a hoisting engine rigged on the spar deck to be 
employed in warping, all kinds of machinery that might 
possibly be of use, and everything that could be devised to 
give safety to the explorers and efficiency to the expedi- 
tion, were provided. The vessel was fully provisioned and 
equipped for a three years' voyage. 


The following letter was written by Lieutenant DeLoiig 

just before the expedition started : 

Hon. R. W. THOMPSON, Secretary of the Navy : 

SIR^ I have the honor to inform you that the Jeannette, 
being in all respects ready for sea, will sail at three o'clock 
this afternoon 011 her cruise to the Arctic regions. 

I have also the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your 
orders of the 18th of June in relation to the movements of 
the Arctic expedition under my command ; and while I 
appreciate the grave responsibility intrusted to my care, I 
beg leave to assure you that I will endeavor to perform this 
important duty in a manner calculated to reflect credit upon 
the ship, the navy, and the country at large. 

I beg leave to return thanks for the confidence expressed 
in my ability to satisfactorily conduct such a hazardous 
expedition, and I desire to place upon record my conviction 
that nothing has been left unprovided which the enterprise 
and liberality of Mr. James Gordon Bennett and the experi- 
ences of our Arctic predecessors could suggest. 
Your obedient servant, 

Lieutenant United States Navy, commanding Arctic steamer 

The officers and crew of the Jeannette were as follows : 

Lieutenant George W. DeLong, U. S. N., Commander. 

Lieutenant Charles W. Chipp, U. S. K, Executive Officer. 

Lieutenant John W. Danenhower, U. S. N., Navigator. 

George W. Melville, Chief Engineer. J. M. Ambler, Surgeon. 

Jerome J. Collins, Meteorologist. Raymond L. Newcomb, Naturalist. 

William M. Dunbar, ice Pilot. James H. Bartlett, First-class Fire- 
man. John Cole, Boatswain. Walter Lee. Machinist. Alfred Sweet- 
man, Carpenter. George Lauderback, Walter Sharvell, Firemen. 

George W. Boyd, Adolf Dressier, Hans IT. Erickson, Carl A. Gortz, 
Nelse Iverson, Peter E. Johnson, George H. Kuehne, Henry II. Kaack, 
Herbert W. Leach, Frank Mansen,.Wm. F. C. Nindermann, Louis J. 
Noros, Edward Star, Henry D. Warren, Henry Wilson, Seamen. 
. Ah Sam, and Charles Ton** Sing (Chinese), Cook and Cabin Stewards. 


Lieutenants DeLong and Chipp were officers of the U. S. 
steamer Juniata on her northern cruise in search of the 
crew of the lost Polaris. Mr. Melville was engineer of tho 
steamer Tigress when she went north on the same errand. 
All of the crew were volunteers, selected with great care 
from many applicants. Ninderman was a member of the 
Polaris ice-drift party. 

A complimentary reception was given by the California 
Academy of Sciences to the officers of the Jeannette, a few 
days before their departure. The meeting was largely at- 
tended, and many eminent scientists of the Pacific coast were 
present. In response to' an invitation to address the audi- 
ence, Lieutenant DoLong spoke as follows : 

" When the officers of the expedition which I have the 
honor to command were invited to be present this evening 
to listen to the discussion of the Arctic problem, I replied for 
them and myself that nothing would give us greater pleas- 
ure than to be present. At the same time, however, I asked 
that we might be excused from any active participation in the 
discussion until after our return from within the Arctic circle. 
This humble peculiarity of ours, it would seem, is not to be 
tolerated ; and however unfit I am to reply with any degree 
of propriety to the very kind remarks that have been made 
to us this evening, it seems that it is one of the duties that 
is forced upon the commander of the expedition, as well as 
a great many other duties. As far as this part of the expe- 
dition is concerned, there is really very little to say. By the 
act of Congress it has been placed under the charge of naval 
officers, and it has, since the passage of tho act of Congress, 
received the fostering care and encouragement of the Navy 
Department. It is peculiar as being the first expedition fitted 
out to penetrate the highest regions of the north by way of Ber- 
ing's Straits. Ships have heretofore passed through Bering's 
Straits, rounding Point Barrow, and going to the northward 
to rescue and relieve Sir John Franklin ; but this is the first 
purely polar expedition that has ever been despatched by 
way of Bering's Straits. 


" I dare say that after we have left San Francisco, in our 
passage to the northern seas, we shall experience very much 
the same difficulties and hardships and trials that have been 
experienced by everybody who has gone before us. It is one 
of the most difficult things in fact, it is an impossible 
thing for one starting out on an expedition of this kind to 
say in advance what he is going to do. The ground which 
we are going to traverse is "an entirely new one. After 
reaching the seventy-first parallel of latitude we go out into 
a great blank space, which we are going to endeavor to de- 
lineate and to determine whether it is water or land or ice. 
You will excuse me, therefore, from attempting to explain 
what we are going to do. If you will be kind enough to keep 
us in memory while we are gone we will attempt to tell you 
what we have done on our return, which, I dare say, will be 
more interesting than attempting to tell you what we hope 
to do. I can only return to you my sincere thanks for the 
kind reception you have given us and for the interest you 
manifest in our peculiar undertaking." 

On the 30th of June the San Francisco Chamber of Com- 
merce, specially convened for the purpose of expressing the 
deep interest felt in the expedition by that body, adopted 
the following resolutions : 

" Whereas the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce is 
desirous of expressing its deep interest and good-will toward 
all measures calculated to forward and extend any scientific 
explorations likely to benefit the commerce, navigation, or 
agricultural interests of our country ; therefore, on behalf of 
the mercantile industry of the Pacific slope of the United 
States of America, be it 

"Resolved: That we earnestly offer our cheering words of 
hearty approval to encourage the well-planned American 
Arctic expedition about to prosecute from our Pacific coast a 
continuance of that noble work of polar exploration so gal- 
lantly inaugurated and fearlessly advanced by the nations 
bordering on the Atlantic. On behalf of our city, as a future 


seat of national wealth and extended commerce, we desire to 
foster scientific enlightenment ; and this Chamber views with 
marked interest an enterprise of national importance, sailing 
from its Golden Gate, fully equipped with a picked band of 
brave and resolute men possessed of Arctic experience, whom 
we feel are capable of winning a successful and glorious rec- 
ord for the nation whose banner floats over them, and whose 
blessing goes with them. While recognizing with admiration 
the fact that this expedition is wholly paid for and supported 
by private munificence, we rejoice that this enterprise is offi- 
cially endorsed by the United States government, who accord 
it the national rights necessary to proper discipline, and the 
suitable dignity intrusted by a great and growing nation 
whose knowledge it will increase, and to whose honor it will 
redound. Asa national work it will extend the geograph- 
ical survey and topographical knowledge of our northern 
boundary ; in the interests of commerce, navigation, and na- 
tional agriculture it may determine laws of meteorology, 
hydrography, astronomy, and gravitation, reveal ocean cur- 
rents, develop new fisheries, discover lands and people hith- 
erto unknown ; and by extending the world's knowledge of 
such fundamental principles of earth-life as magnetism and 
electricity, and various collateral branches of atmospheric 
science, solve great problems important to our common 

"Resolved : That as the well-merited offering of an appecia- 
tive nation, our people would most heartily approve of and 
endorse the use of a national vessel to convoy the Jeannette 
to her most northern port of departure, whence, leaving the 
shores of solemn pine, she will traverse the northern seas 
alone, followed by the earnest hopes of friends to progress 
and the world of science. 

"Resolved : That we tender to her brave and accomplished 
commander, Lieutenant George W. DeLong, United States 
Navy, to his efficient staff of able specialists in various de- 
partments of science, and to his hardy and gallant crew, one 


and all, our hearty good wishes for their safe return, and 
for the entire success of the American Arctic Expedition from 
the Pacific," 

The departure of the Jeannette from San Francisco, on 
the 8th of July, 1879, was a notable event in the history of 
that city. As the vessel moved slowly toward the Golden 
Gate, the friendly waving of hats and handkerchiefs from 
the wharves, the shipping, and Telegraph Hill, told the ex- 
plorers that the good people of the city, as well as the men 
of the sea, were giving them a hearty send-off. A salute of 
ten guns fired from Fort Point greeted them at the Narrows, 
and several steamboats crowded with spectators, and the 
white-sailed craft of the San Francisco Yacht Club convoyed 
the Jeannette till she was out on the bosom of the broad Pa- 
cific, and fairly started on her voyage to the unknown north. 
Mrs. DeLong, the devoted wife of the commander, remained 
on her husband's ship till the last mo'ment, and received his 
parting farewell as he assisted her from the Jeannette's boat 
to the deck of the last returning craft. 

The Jeannette proceeded direct to Otmalaska, one of the 
Aleutian Islands, and anchored in the harbor of Illiouliouk, 
August 2d. This place is the headquarters of the Alaska 
Commercial Company, and its agent 'and other officials 
showed the explorers much kindness and attention. Addi- 
tional stores and supplies of coal and fur from the store- 
houses of the company were taken on board. 

On the 6th of August the Jeannette resumed her course, 
and on the 12th of August anchored opposite the little set- 
tlement and blockhouse known by Americans as St. Michael's, 
Alaska, and by Russians as Michaelovski. The explorers 
were welcomed by Mr. Newmann, agent of the Alaska Com-, 
mercial Company, and by Mr. Nelson, an employee of the 
Smithsonian Institute and observer of the U. S. Signal Ser- 
vice, who were philosophical enough to live contentedly in 
that isolated place. A drove of about forty trained dogs, 
three dog-sleds, and fur clothing were here taken on board 


ship, and two native Alaskans, named Anequin and Alexai, 
were hired to accompany the expedition as dog drivers and 
hunters. Alexai was a married man, and both could speak 
a little English. 

" Mrs. Alexai," wrote Mr. Collins, " a chubby-faced, shy, 
but good-humored looking young female, came on board 
to see her husband off on his long cruise. She behaved with 
great propriety under the circumstances. Alexai behaved 
also with stolidity tempered by affection for his spouse. 


They sat together, hand in hand, on some bags of potatoes 
near the cabin-door, and probably exchanged vows of eternal 
fidelity. I was greatly touched, and got up on the bridge 
with my sketch-block, on which I outlined their figures. I 
had to take them as they sat with backs toward me, for Mrs. 
Alexai was too modest to face the pencil. Before leaving 
the ship Captain DeLong gave the bereaved one a cup and 
saucer with gilt letters on it. She seemed overpowered with 


emotion at the possession of such unique treasures, and at 
once hid them in the ample folds, or rather stowage-places, 
of her fur dress." 

On the 18th of August the schooner Fanny A. Hyde, con- 
veying coal and extra stores for the expedition, arrived from 
San Francisco, and on the evening of the 21st both vessels 
resumed the voyage northward. As they started out, the 
guns at the old Russian fort and at the Agency of the Wes- 
tern Fur and Trading Company belched forth a parting 

On the 25th the Jeannette arrived at St. Lawrence Bay, 
East Siberia, some thirty miles south of East Cape, where 
DeLong learned from the natives that a steamer, supposed to 
be the Vega, had gone south. The schooner arrived the 
next day, and her stores were transferred to the Jeannette. 
In a letter dated August 26th, Engineer Melville wrote home 
as follows : 

" We did not send our convoy back from St. Michael's 
as we expected, because we were too deeply laden already 
to take on our stores. It was very fortunate for us we had her 
to carry our extra coal and stores over here, for on the way 
we were caught in a terrible gale of wind, and, owing to the 
condition of the ship, and deeply laden as we were, the sea 
had a clean sweep over us. It stove in our forward parts., 
carried away the bridge, caved the bulkheads, and in fact 
just drowned us out. Had we the other stuff on board we 
must have foundered, or else got it overboard in time. We 
leave here for East Cape to-day, having taken on board all 
our stores, and we are in even much worse sea-condition 
than we were before ; but we think that maybe, when we get 
into the ice where the wind can't raise a sea, we will be all 

From St. Lawrence Bay the Jeannette continued her jour- 
ney alone. Just before starting, Mr. Collins, as special 
correspondent of the New York Herald, wrote to that journal 
as follows: 


" All before us now is uncertainty, because our movements 
will be governed by circumstances over which we can have 
no control. If, as I telegraphed, the search for Nordenskiold 
is now needless, we will try and reach Wrangel Land, and 
find a winter harbor on that new land, on which, we believe, 
the white man has not yet put his foot. At the worst, we 
may winter in Siberia, and ' go for ' the Wrangel Land mys- 
tery next spring. I am in great hopes we will reach there 
this season. 

" We are amply supplied with fur clothing and provisions, 
so that we can feed and keep warm in any event for some 
time. Our dogs will enable us to make explorations to con- 
siderable distances from the ship and determine the charac- 
ter of the country. Feeling that we have the sympathy of 
all we left at home, we go north, trusting in God's protection 
and our good fortune. Farewell." 

After rounding East Cape, Lieutenant DeLong touched at 
Cape Serdze, on the northeast coast of Siberia, and left his 
last letter home. It was dated August 29th, and reached 
Mrs. DeLong over a year afterward. In this letter lie ex- 
pressed his intention of proceeding to the southern end of 
Wrangel Land, touching on the way, if practicable, at Kol- 
yutschin Bay, where the natives informed him Nordenskiold 
had wintered. " If," he wrote (referring to the probability 
that a ship would be sent to obtain intelligence of him the 
following year), "the ship comes up merely for tidings of us, 
let her look for them on the east side of Kellet Land and on 
Herald Island." 

On the 2d of September, 1879, when about fifty miles or 
so south of Herald Island, Captain Barnes, of the American 
whale-bark Sea Breeze, saw the Jeannette under full sail 
and steam, and attempted to communicate with her, but both 
vessels were in heavy ice, and a dense fog was setting in, 
which prevailed up to the following day. These vessels, 
having approached to within less than four miles of each 
other, held their courses without communication. On the 


following day, September 3d, 1879, Captain Kelley, of the bark 
Dawn, Captain Bauldry, of the Helen Mar, and several oth- 
ers of the whaling fleet, then somewhat northward of the 
Sea Breeze, saw smoke issuing from a steamer's smoke-stack, 
in range of Herald Island. The Jeannette, having pressed 
forward, was hull down north of these whalers ; hence they 
only saw her black smoke. She was standing north. The 
weather was quite clear at this time. These were the last 
tidings of the Jeannette, or any of her crew, received for 
over two years. 

Lieutenant DeLong's plans were to reach Wrangel Land 
the first season, spend the winter in exploration there, and 
then to push on northwardly as far aS possible. " I shall 
go," he said, before starting, " to the extreme limit of possi- 
ble navigation that I am able to attain. If the current takes 
me to the west, you will hear of me through St. Petersburg ; 
but if it takes me eastward and northward, there is no say- 
ing what points I may reach ; but I hope to come out 
through Smith's or Jones's Sound." 

From Ounalaska Lieutenant DeLong sent to his friend, 
Lieutenant Jacques, a long letter, teeming with the interest 
and enthusiasm his great work had inspired. " We are 
started," he wrote, " and we shall try to do our best. We 
have a good, solid ship, and everything that money and ex- 
perience could provide. We go to Ounalaska, thence to St. 
Paul's Island, thence to St. Michael's, and thence to as high 
a latitude as God will let us reach in two years keeping 
the third year in reserve to get back. Keep us in mind, old 
fellow, and pray for my success, for my heart is set on this 
thing. Ninderman is with me, and keeps the bridge watch. 
Have a good time, and be careful of your health, and I pray 
God to bless you." 



IN the autumn of 1879, two whaling ships, the Mt. Wol- 
laston, commanded by Captain Nye, and the Vigilant 
which, with a score of others, left San Francisco in the 
spring failed to return, and were reported as having been 
seen entangled in the ice by Captain Bauldry, whose bark, 
the Helen Mar, was the last to get away. Another vessel, 
the Mercury, was also caught in the ice, and her crew were 
rescued by the Helen Mar. 

Tempted by favorable weather and the hope of success in 
catching whales, these vessels had prolonged their stay in 
the Arctic Sea till after the middle of October, and Captain 
Bauldry escaped with difficulty, forcing a passage through 
the new ice which formed rapidly around him. A sudden 
change of wind drove the missing whalers northwesterly 
into open water, while a heavy body of ice south of them 
prevented all escape. Their crews numbered about twenty 
men each, and the desperate condition in which they were 
placed may be inferred from the fact that during the eight 
previous years no less than thirty-three vessels, out of the 
small fleet there engaged in whaling, had been caught in the 
pack and drifted to the northeast, carrying with them sixty 
men who had remained by their ships in the vain hope of 
saving them, and of whom nothing has since been heard. 
During the same period, over thirty other whalers of the 
same fleet had also been crushed or otherwise wrecked. 

The following reminiscence of Captain Nye is furnished 
by Mr. William Bradford, the eminent marine artist : 



"A short time before Lieutenant DeLong's departure I 
suggested to him that we call together all the whaling cap- 
tains then in port most of whom I knew well personally 
and avail ourselves of whatever information their experience 
might afford and 'suggestions they might have to make. He 
accepted the idea and arranged the meeting, and they all 
attended. One by one they gave their opinions, mainly upon 
the point of their greatest interest, the probable direction of 
the winds and currents at the time when Lieutenant DeLong 
expected to reach Wrangel Land. But there was one among 
them who kept ominously silent, not venturing an opinion or 
offering a suggestion. I finally said : ' Captain Nye has not 
given us his opinion, and we would like to hear from him.' 
He said : 4 Gentlemen, there isn't much to be said about this 
matter. You, Lieutenant DeLong, have a very strong vessel, 
have you not ? Magnificently equipped for the service, with 
unexceptionable crew and aids ? And you will take plenty 
of provisions, and all the coal you can carry?' To each of 
these questions, as it was asked, Lieutenant DeLong replied 
affirmatively. 4 Then,' said Captain Nyc, ' put her into the 
ice and let her drift, and you may get through or you may 
go to the devil, and the chances are about equal.' Poor 
Captain Nye ! He ventured in there after Lieutenant DeLong 
into those same Arctic regions, in the prosecution of his 
enterprise as a whaler and was never heard of again. He 
was from New Bedford, Mass., was one of the oldest, bravest, 
and best men in the service, and there was no man sailing 
to the frigid seas who knew more of their perils than he who 
made that ominous forecast of the probable fate of the Jean- 
nette, if not of her commander." 

Much anxiety for the missing barks was felt in San 
Francisco, and merchants and citizens of that city petitioned 
the Secretary of the Navy to send out a government vessel 
to search for the whalers, and also for the Jcannette, as in 
the opinion of returned whalemen Captain DeLong had not 
succeeded in reaching Wrangel Land when winter set in. 

Subsequently, Captain C. L. Hooper, of the revenue cutter 


Corwin, was ordered on a trip northward to search .for 
tidings of the missing vessels. He was also instructed to 
cruise in the waters of Alaska for the enforcement of the 
revenue laws, to visit St. Lawrence Island, where many 
natives had died of starvation, and to endeavor to suppress 
the traffic in whiskey, which was the principal cause of so 
much misery. 

Captain Hooper sailed from San Francisco, on his mission 
of good-will, May 22d, 1880. After touching at Ounalaska, 
June 9th, the Corwin met heavy ice pitching and grinding 
along the edge of the pack, and found refuge in a good 
harbor on the north coast of Nunivak Island, off a native 

" The inhabitants/' says Captain Hooper, " all ran away 
to the hills as we approached, but on the next day we suc- 
ceeded in capturing them one man, three women, and three 
children. They were very much alarmed, and evidently 
thought they were to be killed. A present of some tobacco 
soon quieted their fears, and the man was persuaded to 
come on board, and seemed very much interested in all he 
saw. A looking-glass astonished him more than all the 
rest. At first lie was alarmed at it, and then, after over- 
coming his fears, was greatly amused. He did not know 
the taste of brandy or whiskey, and when offered some 
made a wry face and spat it out in evident disgust. Hav- 
ing lived away from civilization, his tastes had not been 
educated to such a degree. He put his hands upon the 
stove, and seemed astonished that it burned him, and even 
tried it a second time to make sure. The houses of the 
settlement, ten in number, were built of mud and all con- 
nected by a subterranean passage. They were arranged in 
a circle, with a common entrance to the passage in the 

Following the track of the Jeannette, Captain Hooper 
next visited St. Michaels, June 22d, where he met Messrs. 
Newman and Nelson, two Americans residing there. " These 
gentlemen," wrote Hooper, " live quite comfortably. They 


have about a dozen log-houses, which they use for dwellings 
and storehouses, enclosed in a stockade. Some of the more 
civilized natives are employed as domestics. An Indian 
village about half a mile from the trading-post consists of 
about thirty houses and a dance-house. These houses con- 
tain two rooms. The first, or outer one, is built half under 
ground and has a frame roof covered with earth. The inner 
room is entirely under ground, and is reached through a 
small opening in the back of the front room. These natives 
are a lazy, worthless people. The only sign of civilization 
noticeable among them is their fondness for whiskey and 

Two weeks later Captain Hooper again visited St. Michaels, 
and found the place much changed in appearance. The 
snow and ice were all gone, the hillsides were covered with 
wild flowers, and the air was thick with mosquitoes. The 
traders of the two companies located here had also arrived 
from the different trading-posts of the interior, some of 
which are 2,000 miles from the coast. These traders come 
to St. Michaels every spring as soon as the ice leaves the 
rivers ; they bring in the furs purchased during the winter, 
get a new supply of trade goods, and return apparently 
satisfied with their lot. 

"I was," says Captain Hooper, "particularly impressed 
with the fine physique of the Indians whom they brought 
down with them. They are very much superior to the coast 
Indians, resembling more in appearance the Indians seen on 
the plains, having piercing black eyes, long, muscular limbs, 
and erect figures, showing courage, strength, and endurance. 

" These Indians live by hunting bears, moose, wolves, and 
reindeer, and trap mink and foxes. In the summer they 
hunt with guns ; in the winter, when game cannot run fast 
on account of the snow, the bow and arrow are used. Black 
bears are killed with a knife or spear. It is considered dis- 
graceful to shoot them. When an Indian meets a black bear, 
he approaches within a few feet ; the bear stops, faces him, 
and rises on his haunches, prepared to give him a hug. The 


Indian then draws his knife with great deliberation, and ad- 
dressing the bear says : ' I know you are not afraid ; but 
neither am I. I am as brave as you arc.' Then advancing 
cautiously, he improves the first opportunity when Bruin is 
off his guard to give him a thrust with the knife in a vital 
spot, and the savage has one more deed of valor to boast of 
to his friends when they gather in their dance-house to 
'ung-to-ah,' a ceremony which consists of dancing around 
the fire and relating, in a kind of song or chant, to the music 
of a drum, their deeds of daring in the past, and indulging 
in promises of still more glorious ones in the future. 

" The result of the conflict, however, is not always entirely 
in the Indian's favor; the bear sometimes gets the best of it, 
and handles the savage very roughly. We saw several 
natives who bore the marks of very severe scalp wounds re- 
ceived in encounters with bears." 

After his first visit to St. Michaels, Captain Hooper 
steamed westward to St. Lawrence Island, to investigate the 
reported wholesale starvation of the natives during the two 
or three preceding winters. 

" We stopped," he says, " off the first village, about mid- 
night of June 25th, and found the village entirely deserted, 
with sleds, boat-frames, paddles, spears, bows and arrows, 
etc., strewn in every direction. We found no dead bodies, 
probably missed them in the faint twilight, as we subsequently 
learned at the west end of the island that they had all died. 
From the number of houses, boats, etc., we estimated the 
number of those who had died to be about fifty. 

" On the 26th we followed along the north side of the 
island, examining the villages as we came to them. At Cape 
Siepermo we found the village deserted, not a sign of life re- 
maining. I counted fifty-four dead bodies, and as these were 
nearly all full-grown males, there can be no doubt that many 
more died. The women and children doubtless died first, 
and were buried. Most of those seen were just outside the 
village, with their sleds beside them, evidently having been 
dragged out by the survivors, as they died, until they, becom- 


ing too weak for further exertion, went into their houses 
and, covering* themselves with skins, lay down and died. In 
many of the houses we saw from one to four dead bodies. 

" About fifteen miles west of Cape Siepermo we found 
another village, also entirely deserted. Here we saw twelve 
dead bodies, all full-grown males. As at the other villages, 
the women and children had probably been buried, as we 
saw none. The number of dead at this place was estimated 
at thirty. At a large settlement on the northwest end of the 
island, which we next visited, we found about three hundred 
natives alive. Two hundred had died, and the entire popu- 
lation had barely escaped starvation by eating their dogs and 
the walrus-hides covering their boats and houses. At a set- 
tlement on the northwest end the natives said a large num- 
ber had died, but how many they could not tell. They said 
the weather was cold and stormy for a long time, with great 
quantities of ice and snow, so that they could not hunt wal- 
rus and seal; and as they make no provision for the future, 
but depend upon what they can get from day to day, of 
course failure means starvation. 

" These people live directly in the track of vessels bound 
into the Arctic Ocean for the purpose of whaling or trading. 
They make houses, boats, clothing, etc., of the skins of wal- 
rus and seals, and sell the bones and ivory to traders for rum 
and breech-loading arms. As long as the rum lasts they do 
nothing but drink and fight. They had a few furs, some of 
which we tried to buy to make Arctic clothing ; but, notwith- 
standing their terrible experience in the past, they refused to 
sell for anything but whiskey, rifles, or cartridges." 

It is gratifying to know that Captain Hooper succeeded in 
capturing two whiskey-trading schooners, and that they were 
dealt with according to law. 

The season for northern search having now arrived, Cap- 
tain Hooper passed through Bering's Straits into the Arctic 
Sea, and made five distinct attempts to reach high latitude, 
but without extraordinary success. On the 20th of August 


he was within three miles of Herald Island, and on the llth 
of September he was within twenty-five miles of Wrangel 
Land ; but even these positions were only attained after 
steaming long distances through labyrinthian lanes, and 
coming in contact with large bodies of floating ice. 

The Corwin sailed hither and thither, across the open por- 
tions of the Arctic basin, and much interesting information 
relating to the native tribes, natural history, and geology of 
the region was gathered ; but no trace of the Jeannette or 
missing whalers was found, and at the close of the Arctic 
summer the Corwin returned to San Francisco. 

The following extracts are from Captain Hooper's account 
of his voyage : 

"In that part of the Arctic visited by the Corwin the ice 
is quite different from the ice in the vicinity of Greenland. 
No immense icebergs raise their frozen peaks hundreds of 
feet in the air. The highest ice seen by us during the sea- 
son would not exceed fifty feet in height. The average 
height of the main pack is from ten to fifteen feet, with 
hummocks that rise twenty or thirty feet. The specific 
gravity of sea ice is 91 ; hence only about a tenth is visible 
above the surface of the water. A field of twenty feet in 
height may have a depth of nearly two hundred feet. This 
enormous thickness is caused by one layer of ice being 
forced upon another by the action of wind and current. Tho 
greatest thickness it attains by freezing is about eighteen 
feet. At that depth ice ceases to be a conductor of tem- 

"Along the edge of the pack, during the summer, is gen- 
erally found a belt of drift ice varying in width according to 
the direction of the wind. When the wind blows off the 
pack, drift ice is frequently found fifteen or twenty miles 
from the main body. At times the pack itself opens in 
leads, by which it may be penetrated for several miles. In 
venturing within the limits of the pack, however, a sharp 
watch must be kept on the movements of the ice, and a re- 
treat made at the first indication of its closing. 


" A vessel beset in the pack is as helpless as if she were 
far inland, while there is imminent danger of being crushed 
at any moment. When the wind blows on the pack, the 
drift ice becomes as close as the pack itself. In addition to 
the constant twisting, turning, breaking, and piling up of 
the ice, the whole body has a northern set, moving very 
slowly, but none the less surely. 

" Having visited every part of the Arctic that it was pos- 
sible for a vessel to reach, penetrating the icy regions in all 
directions fifty to one hundred miles further than any vessel 
succeeded in doing last year, without being able to find the 
slightest trace or gain the least tidings of the missing 
whalers, we were forced to the conclusion that they had been 
crushed and carried north in the pack, and that their crews 
had perished. Had any of them survived the winter it seems 
almost certain that they would have been found either by the 
Corwin or by some of the whalers, all of whom were on the 
lookout for them during the summer. It was thought possi- 
ble that the crews might have escaped over the ice and 
reached Herald Island, but a sight of the perpendicular sides 
of that most inhospitable-looking place soon banished even 
this small hope. 

" I have no fears for the safety of the officers and crew of 
the Jeannette. The fact that they have not been heard from 
seems to indicate that the vessel is safe, and that they 
consider themselves able to remain another year at least." 

Many of the desolate places which the Corwin sighted or 
touched at had been visited and named by English naviga- 
tors in search of Franklin. A correspondent of the New 
York Herald speaks of some of them as follows : 

" Notable among those on the Asiatic coast is Emma Har- 
bor, Plover Bay, Siberia, where Captain Moore wintered in 
the Plover in 1848-49. It is surrounded on nearly all sides 
by lofty, barren mountains, whose summits, reaching into the 
clouds, give them an air of desolate grandeur. Their geolo- 
gical formation is quite remarkable, seemingly nothing more 
than colossal piles of broken bowlders and fragments of rock. 


"On the American side, the western extremity of the New 
World, Cape Prince of Wales, terminates as a bold, ragged 
promontory, whose celebrated peak, being joined to the main- 
land by a low ridge of hills, gives it at a distance the appear- 
ance of standing alone in the ocean. 


" Near the head of Kotzebue Sound we found on Chamisso 
Island, about two hundred feet above the sea level, an astro- 
nomical station, composed of a mound of earth and stones, 
on the top of which was a wooden shaft about twelve feet 
high, and bearing carved inscriptions of several English 
ships Blossom, Herald, Plover. To these was added the 
'Corwin 1880.' Near by was another shaft with the names 
of some Russian vessels. 

" About forty miles south of Bering's Straits is a remarka- 
ble rocky island, named King's Island by Captain Cook. Its 
cliffs, almost perpendicular on all sides, rise to the height of 
750 feet. It is surrounded by bold water, enabling ships to 


approach to within a very short distance of the shore. This 
Arctic Gibraltar minus the fortifications has a ragged out- 
line, and its surface is composed principally of stone covered 
with mosses and lichens, but neither tree nor shrub nor 
grass is to be found. Noticeable on the most elevated points 
are a number of stone columns resembling the remains of a 
Druidical place of worship, or the ruins of some old feudal 

" But the most noteworthy feature of the island is the 
village, composed chiefly of houses excavated in the rocks 
on a slope of somewhat less than forty-five degrees, and "from 
one to two hundred feet above the sea. At a distance it 
looks not unlike the resort of some of the sea-fowl who 
choose these isolated spots to hatch and rear their young. 
The wonder naturally arises, what are the attractions and 
capabilities of such a place, that the simple-minded Esqui- 
maux should select it as an abode ? All of which can be 
answered in one word walrus. Near the village is a cave, 
used by the natives as a store-house or crypt for food, the en- 
trance to which is not unlike an immense gable window. 

" More space might be devoted to a detailed description of 
what may not inappropriately be called an Esquimaux eyrie, 
rivaling in interest the lacustrine villages of Switzerland, so 
remote and unique is its position ; but we will only conclude 
by saying that the traveler and the archaeologist may go far 
in their journeyings and researches before finding a place 
that shall equal in grotesqueness this far away Walhalla of 
the walrus family." 

The fact that nothing was heard of the Jeannette during 
the season of 1880 did not cause general serious apprehen- 
sions for her safety, and some Arctic navigators considered 
it a good omen a promise that the expedition would be a 
successful one, and that the purposes for which it was sent 
out would be accomplished. On this subject Lieutenant 
Weyprecht, of the Austro-Hungarian Arctic expedition of 
1872, wrote as follows : 

"I cannot see any reason for being more anxious about 



the Jeannette now than on the day when she entered tho 
ice. A ship, whose object is discoveries in uninhabited re- 
gions, cannot be expected to remain in communication with 
home. I know the Jeannette to be well adapted for Arctic 
service, and she is provisioned for three years, so Mr. 
DeLong has no reason to linger about the outer ice for the 
benefit of those who are expecting news. The absence of 
news, and the failure of the Corwin to obtain information, 
must be contemplated as a symptom of success, the Jean- 
nette having probably wintered in regions inaccessible to 
trading ships. With all the resources at his disposition, Mr. 
DeLong cannot be expected to return so early without hav- 
ing completely fulfilled his task, if not compelled by very 
pressing motives, such as scurvy among his crew, or the loss 
of the ship." 




AS the spring of 1881 drew on without bringing any news 
of the Jeannette, it was deemed wise to carry out some 
concerted plan of action for the discovery of the whereabouts 
of the ship and her crew. Petitions for government aid and 
action were presented to Congress, and Hon. Charles P. 
Daly, President of the American Geographical Society, in an 
eloquent letter to the President of the United States, urged 
the sending out of a search expedition. 

Subsequently, early in March, Congress authorized the 
Secretary of the Navy to expend $175,000 for a suitable ship 
and its equipments, to be manned wholly by volunteers from 
the navy, and to be sent north to search for the Jeannette. 
A little later, Secretary Hunt convened at the Navy Depart- 
ment a board of officers, to whom the duty was intrusted of 
suggesting and advising as to the best plan for conducting 
the government searches for the Jeannette. 

The Jeannette Relief Expedition Board was composed of 
Rear-Admiral JohnRodgers, Captain James A. Greer, Lieu- 
tenant-Commander Henry C. White, Lieutenant William P. 
Randall, Lieutenant R. M. Berry (recorder), Paymaster Al- 
bert S. Kenny, and Surgeon Jerome S. Kidder. They were 
officers of great experience, and most of them had been 
identified with earlier Arctic expeditions and explorations in 
that region. After thoroughly investigating the whole sub- 
ject, they made a full report, in which they stated their views 
as to the direction of the search, and the best means for car- 
rying it out. 



During the summer of 1881, three well-appointed expedi- 
tions in the Corwin, the Rodgers, and the Alliance sailed 
northward from the United States expressly to search for 
the Jeannette. Two other expeditions, also, which went out 
primarily for scientific purposes, were instructed to keep a 
sharp lookout for the Jeannette, and to consider it an im- 
portant part of their duty. The first of these was under the 
command of Lieutenant Greely, with a station at Lady 
Franklin Bay, in Smith Sound ; and the second was located 
at Point Barrow, the northern extremity of Alaska, under 
command of Lieutenant Ray. 

Nor were the Search Expeditions of 1881 confined to the 
United States. England was represented by Mr. Leigh 
Smith, a private gentleman, who, in his little yacht, the Eira, 
gallantly took upon himself the task of searching in the re- 
gion of Franz Josef Land ; an exploring expedition under 
Dutch auspices, in the ship Wilhelm Barentz, volunteered to 
make the search for the Jeannette a part of its programme ; 
Russian men-of-war were directed to do what they could for 
the discovery and relief of the lost explorers ; the nomad 
inhabitants of Northern Siberia were requested to be on the 
lookout for any survivors of the expedition who might reach 
their coast ; and M. Soulkowsky, a Russian, traveled over- 
land from Irkutsk to Bering's Strait, through Siberia, on 
the same errand. 

The first Jeannette Search Expedition to leave the United 
States in the year 1881, steamed out of San Francisco harbor 
in the revenue steamer Corwin, on the 4th day of May. The 
occasion was one of much friendly interest, and thousands 
of people assembled to witness the departure of the explorers. 
The officers of the Corwin on this voyage were as follows : 

Captain Charles L. Hooper, Commander. 

First Lieutenant, W. J. Herring. Second Lieutenant, E. Burke. 
Third Lieutenants, O. B. Myrick, George H. Doty, Win. E. Reynolds. 
Chief Engineer, J. T. Wayson. Assistant Engineers, C. A. Laws, E. 
Surgeon, Irving C. Rosse. Scientist, Professor John Muir. 


Ten days after leaving San Francisco the Corwin was 
within sight of the Aleutian Islands, and a little later was 
anchored in the bay at the southern end of Ounalaska, to the 
leeward of a high mountain. The natives came out from 
the shore to welcome back the little cutter which had visited 
them the preceding year. 

The next halt was made at Seal Islands, May 23d ; ice was 
sighted on the 24th ; and the Corwin arrived at St. Lawrence 
Island on the 28th. The natives appeared to be well sup- 
plied with food, but lamented the non-arrival of trading ves- 
sels with whiskey, as in former years. The voyage was re- 
sumed the same night. 

Having been informed that a story was in circulation 
among the natives along the coast to the effect that a party 
of seal-hunters, while on the ice near Cape North, in Novem- 
ber, 1880, had discovered and boarded two wrecked vessels 
(supposed from the description given of them to be the 
missing whalers, Mount Wollaston and Vigilant), Captain 
Hooper resolved to fit out a land party to follow the coast 
north and west, to investigate this report, and search for the 
Jeannette. He stopped at St. Lawrence Bay to procure dogs 
for the party, but the natives would neither sell nor lend 
any. When told of the object of the excursion, they shook 
their heads, and said : " No use ; all dead " ; and would have 
nothing to do with it. At a village a little beyond Cape 
Serdze, Captain Hooper was more successful. 

" Following the coast," he says, u to the westward, we 
came to a settlement of Chukches, behind an island called 
by the natives Tupkan, which is about one mile long, one- 
fourth of a mile wide, and 150 feet high. It lies a mile off 
shore. Along the coast we found a rim of ice from five to 
thirty feet high, and extending from two to ten miles off 
shore. At our landing-place it was quite narrow, but so 
rough and hummocky that it seemed to us impassable, and 
we were about to give up the attempt and return to the ships 
when we saw some natives going in the direction of the 
vessel, about a mile further north. Taking our boat we 


rowed to a point opposite them, and getting out on the ioe 
we waited for them to approach, which they did with some 
caution, as if they were not quite sure what our intentions 
were. However, a few words from our interpreter, Joe, and 
a present of some tobacco, soon quieted their fears and 
established friendly relations between us. At first they 
denied all knowledge of the report in regard to the wrecks, 
but subsequently, having acknowledged that they had heard 
of it, they told so many wonderful tales that we were in- 
clined to doubt them all. 

"After some persuasion and promises of liberal rewards, 
two of them consented to accompany us if we would shoot 
walrus for their families to subsist upon during their absence. 
This we readily promised, provided we could find the walrus; 
but as none were in sight, and we could not spare the time 
to hunt for them, we compromised by giving them a few 
pounds of tobacco. One of them proved to be such a great 
talker that Joe, who was a man of very few words, said, 
after listening to him awhile, * I think its more better we 
don't take this fellow; too much talk,' and in deference to 
Joe's wishes the loquacious Tupkan was left behind. Tho 
other, a large, quiet, good-natured fellow, accompanied us, 
and was found useful, although given to romancing. He 
seemed to think we were in search of information which it 
was his special province to supply, and some of the flights of 
imagination he indulged in were truly surprising, consider- 
ing that he had never received any of the advantages of a 
civilized education." 

The Corwin now steamed northward through a lane of open 
water, between the pack and the shore ice, until June 1st, 
when, in latitude 68 10' north, longitude 176 48' west, the 
end of the lead was reached. They had run up this lead for 
over one hundred miles, and it had been foggy or snowing 
most all of the time since they entered it, so that often they 
could not see more than the length of the vessel. . 

The Corwin now stood to the eastward under sail. No 
land could be seen, a dense snow-storm prevailed, and a hard 


gale from the north brought down large quantities of ice. 
During the night the rudder was broken off by coming in 
contact with heavy ice. 

The next day the explorers steamed southeast along the 
edge of the shore ice, keeping a sharp lookout for land. The 
lead was closing rapidly behind them, and there was dan- 
ger of being frozen in. Toward night it stopped snowing, 
and an island was in full view. The ship was stopped, and 
the land party, consisting of Lieutenants Herring and Rey- 
nolds, one seaman, and two natives, were put ashore. They 
took with them twenty-five dogs, four sleds, a skin boat, pro- 
visions for two months, etc. They were directed to go as far 
westward as Cape Yakan, if possible, and to rejoin the Cor- 
win at Cape Serdze. 

After seeing the party fairly started, the Corwin was 
headed south for Plover Bay, Siberia. The approach to this 
place, and the appearance of the coast, is thus described : 
" In the afternoon of the 12th the sea became smooth and 
glassy as a mountain lake, and the clouds lifted, gradually- 
unveiling the Siberian coast up to the tops of the mountains. 
First the black bluffs standing close to the water came in 
sight, then the white slopes, and then one summit after an- 
other until a continuous range, forty or fifty miles long, could 
be seen from one point of view, forming a very beautiful 
landscape. Smooth, dull, dark water in the foreground ; 
next a broad belt of ice, mostly white like snow, with numer- 
ous masses of blue and black shade among its jagged, up- 
lifted blocks. Then a strip of comparatively low shore, 
black and gray ; and then back of that the pure, white moun- 
tains, with only here and there dark spots, where the rock 
faces are too steep for snow to lie upon." 

After visiting St. Michael's, Norton Sound, Captain Hoop- 
er returned to Cape Serdze, and took the land excursionists 
on board. " They had been absent twenty-eight days, and had 
been along the Asiatic coast to a place called Cape Wanker- 
em, where they found the parties who had boarded the wreck, 
and obtained from them a number of articles taken from it, 



which have since been identified as belonging to the missing 
whaling-bark Vigilant, and others to Captain Nye, of the 
Mount Wollaston, which would seem to indicate that both 
crews had been on board the Vigilant. It is not unlikely 
that, both vessels being caught, it was decided by their cap- 
tains, who were both skillful sailors and men of great courage 
and energy, to unite their forces on the best vessel, and that a 
subsequent break-up of the ice released it, and enabled them 
to reach some point near where the wreck was discovered 
before again becoming embayed. 


" The statement made by the natives was, that they were 
out sealing on the ice, when, seeing a dark object, they ap- 
proached it, and it was found to be the hull of a vessel, -with 
masts, bulwarks, and boats gone, and the hold partly filled 
with water. In the cabin were four corpses, three on the 
floor and one in a berth. After taking what they could carry 
home, night coining on, they left the wreck, with the inten- 
tion of returning in the morning ; but during the night the 
wind, which had been from the northward, changed to south- 
west, and the wreck was not seen again, having drifted away 
or sunk. 

" The sledge party had also met traveling parties of Chuk- 


ches from the vicinity of Cape Yakan, on their way to 
: East Cape, and from them learned that no white men had 
been seen on the coast. These people are constantly travel- 
ing back and forth, and it would be almost impossible for 
any one landing on the coast to escape their notice." 

From Cape Serdze Captain Hooper went to Cape Lisburne, 
a bold, rocky promontory on the northwestern coast of 
Alaska, to get a supply of coal from a mine in that vicinity. 
He then headed northwesterly, and succeeded in getting 
within half a mile of Herald Island. The ship was an- 
chored to the shore ice July 30th, and a party immediately 
landed. Professor John Muir, the scientist of the expedition, 
describes the exploration of the island as follows : 

" After so many futile efforts had been made to reach this 
little ice-bound island, everybody seemed wildly eager to run 
ashore and climb to the summit of its sheer granite cliffs. 
At first a party of eight jumped from the bowsprit chains 
and ran across the narrow belt of margin ice, and madly 
began to climb up an excessively steep gully, which came to 
an end in an inaccessible slope a few hundred feet above the 
water. Those ahead loosened and sent down a train of 
granite bowlders, which shot over the heads of those below 
in a far more dangerous manner than any of the party 
seemed to appreciate. Fortunately nobody was hurt, and 
all made out to get down in safety. 

"While this remarkable piece of mountaineering and 
Arctic exploration was in progress, a light skin-covered boat 
was dragged over the ice and launched on a strip of water 
that stretched in front of an accessible ravine, the bed of an 
ancient glacier, which I felt assured would conduct by an 
easy grade to the summit of the island. The slope of this 
ravine, for the first one hundred feet or so, was very steep ; 
but, inasmuch as it was full of firm, icy snow, it was easily 
ascended by cutting steps in the face of it with an axe that 
I had brought from the ship for the purpose. Beyond this 
there was not the slightest difficulty in our way, the glacier 
having graded a fine, broad road. 


"Kellet, who discovered this island in 1849, and landed 
on it under unfavorable circumstances, describes it as an 
inaccessible rock. The sides are, indeed, in general, extremely 
sheer and precipitous all around, though skilled mountain- 
eers would find many gullies and slopes by which they might 
reach the summit. I first pushed on to the head of the gla- 
cier valley, and thence along the backbone of the island to 
the highest point, which I found to be about one thousand 
two hundred feet above the level of the sea. This point is 
about a mile and a half from the northwest end, and four 
and a half from the northeast end, thus making the island 
about six miles in length. It has been cut nearly in two by 
the glacial action it has undergone, the width at this lowest 
portion being about half a mile, and the average width about 
two miles. The entire island is a mass of granite, with the 
exception of a patch of metamorphic slate near the center, 
and no doubt owes its existence with so considerable a height 
to the superior resistance this granite offered to the degrad- 
ing action of the northern ice sheet, traces of which are 
here plainly shown. . . . This little island, standing, as it 
does, alone out in the Polar sea, is a fine glacial monument. 

"The midnight hour I spent alone on the highest summit, 
one of the most impressive hours of my life. The deepest 
silence seemed to press down on all the vast, immeasurable, 
virgin landscape. The sun near the horizon reddened the 
edges of belted cloud-bars near the base of the sky, and the 
jagged ice-bowlders crowded together over the frozen ocean 
stretching indefinitely northward, while more than a hun- 
dred miles of that mysterious Wrangel Land was seen blue 
in the northwest a wavering line of hill and dale over the 
white and blue ice-prairie and pale gray mountains beyond, 
well calculated to fix the eye of a mountaineer; but it was 
to the far north that I ever found myself turning, where the 
ice met the sky. 

"I would fain have watched here all the strange night, 
but was compelled to remember the charge given me by the 
captain, to make haste and return to the ship as soon as I 



should find it possible, as there was ten miles of shifting, 
drifting ice between us and the open sea. I therefore began 
the return journey about one o'clock this morning, after tak- 
ing the compass bearings of the principal points within 
sight on Wrangel Land and making a hasty collection of 
the flowering plants on my way. . . . 



"Innumerable gulls and murres breed on the steep cliffs, 
the latter most abundant. They kept up a constant din of 
domestic notes. Some of them are sitting on their eggs, 
others have young; and it seems astonishing that either 
eggs or the young can find a resting-place on cliffs so 
severely precipitous. The nurseries formed a lively picture, 
the parents coming and going with food or to seek it, thou- 


sands in rows, standing on narrow ledges like bottles on a 
grocer's shelves, the feeding of the little ones, the multitude 
of wings, etc." 

Another member of the exploring party described his 
experiences as follows: "Selecting what was conceived to 
be the most favorable spot for ascending the cliff, several 
persons made the attempt, occasionally detaching huge bowl- 
ders, which came bounding down like a bombardment, and 
recalling some old army experiences. The attempt had to 
be abandoned after getting up a few hundred feet. In com- 
pany with several others, the writer tried what seemed to be 
a more practicable way a gully filled with snow up which 
we had gone scarcely a hundred feet when, looking back 
with affright and forward with despair, we literally backed 
down with failing hearts and trembling limbs. In the 
meantime the skin boat had been brought over the ice; and, 
one of the men pointing out another place where he thought 
we might ascend, it was the work of but a few minutes to 
cross a small bit of open water which led to the foot of a 
steep snow-bank, somewhat discolored from the gravel 
brought down by melting snow from above. We climbed 
several hundred feet up the snow and ice, having to cut 
steps before reaching the top. It was like scrambling over 
the dome of the Washington capitol with a great yawning 
cliff below. A ravine was next reached, through which 
tumbled, with loud noise and wild confusion, over broken 
rocks and amid some scant lichens and mosses, a mountain 
stream of pure water, which had hollowed out a shaft or 
tunnel, forming a glacier mill or moulin. It was over the 
roof of this tunnel that we had passed. 

" All sense of fatigue vanished on reaching this summit. 
The grand view there revealed like an apocalypse made one 
halt with feelings of mingled delight and astonishment. In 
front the midnight sun shone with gleaming splendor, color- 
ing all the waste of ice, sea, and granite. To the left 
Wrangel Land appeared in well-defined outline, and to the 
northward an open sea led we knew not whither. From the 


middle of the island two or three points of the land bore 
southwest by west deceptively. In shape the island is 
something like a boot, with a depression at the instep. In 
the extreme west were seen a number of jagged peaks and 
splintered pinnacles of granite, some of them resembling 
giant remains of ancient sculpture, all worse for exposure 
to the weather." 

The island was searched carefully for traces of the miss- 
ing ships, but none were found, or anything to indicate that 
the island had ever before been visited. The only signs of 
life seen, excepting the birds, were a small fox and a polar 
bear. On a high promontory, at the northeast point, a 
cairn was erected, in which was placed a bottle containing 
written information and a copy of the New York Herald. 

After leaving Herald Island, July 31st, the Corwin cruised 
for several days off the coast of Wrangel Land, following 
along the edge of the ice-pack, running into leads, and trying 
to reach the land, but never being able to approach nearer 
than twenty miles. As it was impossible to effect a landing 
until there was a decided change in the 'condition of the ice, 
Hooper withdrew southerly, moving through floating ice, and 
reached the mouth of Wankerem River, on the Siberian 
coast. While skirting along the coast they fell in with a 
number of wandering Yoraks, who had herds of reindeer. 

The 10th of August found the explorers again on the edge 
of the ice-pack, off the south end of Wrangel Land. On the 
evening of the llth they entered a lead, and had approached 
to within eight miles of land, when a dense fog stopped fur- 
ther progress. The next morning, after squeezing through 
heavy ice for two hours, they reached a small space of open 
water, and anchored about three hundred feet from the 
beach. The cutter was lowered, and Captain Hooper, Lieu- 
tenant Reynolds, Engineer Owen, and others started for the 

The party landed, and looked anxiously around for traces 
of the missing seamen, but they looked in vain ; their own 


voices alone broke the solitude. On a high cliff Lieutenant 
Reynolds set up a pole of drift wood, to which was attached 
an American flag, and a bottle containing a record of the visit. 
The country was taken possession of in the name of the 
United States of America, and rechristened New Columbia. 
As the flag fluttered in the breeze a salute was fired from the 
ship, and cheers were given by the crew and the land party. 

" The great distance to which slight sounds are sometimes 
transmitted in the Arctic regions is remarkable. Amid the 
grim silence of Wrangel Land, at a time when the air was 
acoustically opaque for that latitude, the voice of the boat- 
swain giving orders two miles away was distinctly heard by 
the land party, while laughter and words spoken above the 
ordinary tone were heard with such amazing distinctness as 
to suggest telephonic communication." 

The river where the Corwin anchored was named Clark 
River, in honor of Mr. E. W. Clark, the Chief of the Revenue 
Marine. It was about one hundred yards wide, and deep 
and rapid, and from the top of the cliffs near by it could be 
seen extending back' into the mountains a distance of forty 
miles. The mountains, devoid of snow, and seen under very 
favorable circumstances through a rift in the clouds, ap- 
peared brown and naked. 

" Our stay on shore," says Captain Hooper, " was necessa- 
rily short, on account of the strong northerly current which 
was sweeping the ice-pack along with irresistible force. 
At half-past nine A.M., being unable to hold our position any 
longer, we commenced to work out toward the lead, which 
we reached at eleven A.M. We examined the shore line with 
our glasses while approaching and leaving the land, north 
and south, and saw nothing but perpendicular cliffs of slate, 
from one to three hundred feet high, the sloping banks of 
the river being the only place for miles where a party travel- 
ing over the ice would be able to affect a landing." 

Captain Hooper now sailed to the eastward, and on the 
16th reached Point Barrow, where lie found a portion of the 
crew of the whaling-ship Daniel Webster, which had been 


crushed by the closing of a lead, to the north end of which 
it had sailed. The captain of the Webster only realized his 
danger when it was too late. In half an hour after the lead 
began to close behind him, his ship was crushed, and thrown 
over on the ice, a wreck. The crew escaped to the shore, 
and some of them had gone overland to Icy Cape. Nine of 
the crew were taken aboard the Corwin. 

Leaving Point Barrow, August 18th, the Corwin ran south- 
erly to Plover Bay, Siberia, a distance of 600 miles, and ar- 
rived there the 24th. The Golden Fleece was anchored in 
the harbor, having on board Lieutenant Ray and his party, 
bound for Point Barrow to establish a signal station, and 
from them Captain Hooper first learned of the assassination 
of President Garfield. The natives were very friendly, and 
reported that the Rodgers had been there eight days previous, 
and that a Russian man-of-war had gone up the coast. 

An excursion up the bay is thus described by the Herald 
correspondent : " Having turned over to Lieutenant Ray two 
of our dog-sledges and a quantity of furs, we towed his ves- 
sel to sea, and returning took the steam-launch, with two 
natives, and started up the bay to visit some Reindeer Chuk- 
clies, about twenty miles off. Soon the busy little launch 
was spinning through the water, and the rhythmic* grind of 
her machinery greatly astonished the natives. I asked one 
of them, by way of banter, ' Why don't you people build a 
boat like this ?' To which he replied, pressing his hand on 
his forehead, ' Ah, too much think too much think." 

" Arrived at the deer-man's, we found his house, or rather 
his ovoidal tent, between two high mountains, and at the foot 
of a valley, which extended back in the clear air many miles 
of picturesque distance amid other mountains, remarkable if 
not unique on account of their desolate grandeur. On mak- 
ing known the object of our visit, the old man despatched 
two of his sons, lithe, nimble fellows, who started off in a 
trot, each with a long spear, over the mountains in the di- 
rection of the deer pasture. As they were gone some five 
or six hours, I amused myself in the meantime by climbing 


over 2,000 feet up the steep side of the nearest mountain. It 
may be the amusement of a small mind, but it was great fun 
to detach several large bowlders of a ton or more and see 
them go tearing and thundering down the rocky incline. 
Among other things there was noticeable on the side of this 
mountain a tunnel under the snow of several hundred feet in 
length. It had been caused by a brisk stream, and reminded 
one of a sewer some eight or ten feet in height. 

" After exploring this somewhat curious sight, my atten- 
tion was next directed to the herd of deer coming slowly 
down the valley. Pretty, quiet, meek-looking animals they 
were as they stood chewing their cuds", and allowing them- 
selves to be photographed without the least fear. So tame 
and gentle were they that I patted and stroked a number of 
them. The herd, numbering something less than two hun- 
dred, were of different colors, several being perfectly white, 
and others fawn-colored, while several were spotted like cir- 
cus-horses, and most of them were shedding the hairy muffle 
from their horns, which, in several instances, was hanging 
in shreds, and obstructing their eyesight. 

" Selecting two young males from the herd, they were 
killed and skinned, and one of the young men, stripping 
himself tt> the waist, and being assisted by two others, took 
the carcasses to the boat for us ; and after paying him in 
tobacco, flour, and several small articles, we hastened down 
the bay as fast as the little launch could run." 

August 27th found the Corwin returning northward. A 
short stop was made at the Diomedes on the 28th. Over 
the tops of these islands hung dense, misty clouds, unmoved 
by a sharp northeast gale, which seemed only to have the 
effect of producing the phenomena known as cloud banners. 
Among other things seen at the Diomedes was a collection 
of ivory carvings toys, spinning-tops, chairs, etc. As the 
boat approached shore a number of girls stopped playing, 
and sat their dolls up in a row, so that they might get a 
good look at the strangers. 

At noon, on the 30th of August, the blue peaks of Wran- 


gel Land were again in view ; but progress toward them 
was stopped by ice when twenty miles distant from land. 
During the night the Corwin stood along the ice-pack, and 
the next morning found her hove to off Herald Island. A 
fierce gale was blowing, during which the iron ice-breaker 
was lost ; and as the oak sheathing was entirely gone around 
the bows' (leaving nothing to break ice with but three-and- 
one-half-inch Oregon fir plank), it was not deemed prudent 
to venture into the ice again. The gale lasted several days, 
and, after it had subsided, the Corwin cruised leisurely east- 
ward, into the vicinity of Kotzebue Sound. 

Near the entrance of Hotham Inlet is an Esquimaux Long 
Branch, where the natives resort in summer for trade and 
pleasure, and about six hundred were there assembled when 
the Corwin arrived. 

" Here the Captain and the Herald correspondent, enter- 
ing into competition with the natives in several kinds of 
,' athletics, and coming out ahead, were invited to shoot with 
a bow and arrow at a mark which had been missed several 
times. It was not an archery club, composed of young 
ladies and spooney men, against which we had to contend, 
but the real live, primitive man, who procured his dinner by 
means of the spear and feathered shaft. So the captain, 
resolving himself into a toxopholite, and pulling himself 
together for a mighty effort, discharged his arrow, and, 
through pure accident, succeeded in driving it into the tar- 
get the first shot of course refusing to shoot a second 
time to the great surprise of the unsuspecting bystand- 

On the 14th of September the voyagers left the Arctic 
sea and started for home. At St. Michaels they were obliged 
to take on board the already over-crowded ship a party of 
shipwrecked men, who, after twenty-one days of privation, 
had reached St. Michaels from Golovin Bay. On the 21st 
of October they arrived at Sari Francisco. 




ON the 16th day of June, 1881, two United States steam- 
ships, commanded and manned by officers and seamen 
of the United States navy all of whom had volunteered 
for the perilous service started north to join in the search 
for DeLong. One of them the Alliance went from Nor- 
folk navy yard, on the Atlantic, and the other one the 
Rodgers steamed out through the Golden Gate of the 
Pacific coast. 

Only three months before her departure, the Rodgers was 
known in San Francisco as the Mary and Helen, a staunch' 
and ice-tried steam-whaler of 420 tons. She was built in 
Bath, Maine, in 1879, was bark rigged, and carried a great 
spread of canvas. Her length was one hundred and fifty- 
five feet, breadth of beam thirty feet, depth sixteen feet. 
She was bought by the Secretary of the Navy for 1100,000, 
and re-named the Rodgers, in compliment to the distin- 
guished naval officer who was the president of the Jeannette 
Relief Board. 

The Rodgers was overhauled and strengthened at the navy 
yard, Mare Island, and ample provisions and supplies for her 
own crew during a long voyage, and for the relief of any ship- 
wrecked seamen who might be fallen in with, were taken on 
board. The command of the expedition was given to Lieut. 
Robert M. Berry, a native of Kentucky, an officer in whom 
the Navy Department had the greatest confidence.' All of 
the officers, as well as the crew, were volunteers ; and, as 
on previous occasions, when bold and hazardous services 
have been required of our naval officers, it was difficult for 



the Department to make a selection out of the many gallant 
men who volunteered for this adventurous expedition. 
The officers and crew of the Rodgers were as follows: 

Lieutenant Robert M. Berry, Commander. 

Master Howard S. Waring, Master Charles F. Putnam. 

Ensigns, Henry J. Hunt, George M. Stoney. 

Surgeons, Meredith D. Jones, Joaquin D. Castillo. 

Engineer, Abraham V. Zane. Pay Clerk, W. H. Gilder. 

H. P. DeTracey, Joseph F. Quirk, W. F. Morgan, Frederick Bruch, 
Joseph Hodgson, W. Rohde, Frank Burk, Hans Schumann, Fred Smith, 
Patrick Cahill, George Gardner, S. W. Morrison, Richard Bush, Julius 
Huebner, Jacob Johansen, Thomas Loudon, Frank McShane, Frank F. 
Melm, Olaf Petersen, Otto Polte, Owen McCarthy, W. H. Derring, 
Edward O'Leary. 

Dominic Booker, steward. Robert Morelli, Wm. Grace, cooks. 

Mr. Gilder, the pay clerk, who was also the special corres- 
pondent of the New York Herald, accompanied Lieutenant 
Schwatka on his overland journey in King William's Land 
in 1879, and was the historian of that expedition. Frank 
F. Melm was also a member of Schwatka's party. The 
crew were fine-looking, hardy men, and most of them 
crossed the continent by railroad to join the expedition. 

A short time before starting on his voyage Lieutenant 
Berry received a letter from the Hon. W. H. Hunt, Secreta- 
ry of the Navy, from which the following is an extract : 

" In the pursuit of your adventurous and arduous voyage 
you carry with you the sympathy and entire confidence of 
the department. Nothing that can be done to contribute to 
your well-being and success shall be omitted. As soon as you 
are fully ready you will sail. 

" The eyes of your fellow countrymen, of the scientific 
men of all the world, and especially of those interested in 
Arctic explorations, will follow you anxiously on your way 
through the unknown seas to which you go. May Heaven 
guard and bless you and your officers and men, and crown 
your heroism with success and glory." 

The Rodgers was escorted out to sea by a fleet of pleasure 
yachts, steamboats, and tugs. Thousands of eager specta- 


tors witnessed her departure, waving handkerchiefs and giv- 
ing cheers, while the whistles of the steamers in the harbor 
and factories along the shore sounded out their noisy 

On the 27th of June the Rodgers was on the Pacific 
Ocean, one thousand miles from San Francisco. " On the 
29th," wrote a correspondent, " we sighted Ounalaska's high 
mountains, and on the next day passed within fifty miles of 
Umnak, and saw the peak of its snow-crested volcano, 5,000 
feet high, burst through a cloud and tinged with the glory of 
the setting sun. It was a gorgeous spectacle. Near it we 
saw the smoke arising from one of the burning volcanoes of 
the Four Mountains. The following day we passed into 
Bering's Sea. 

" On the 14th of July we crossed the 180th meridian, and 
were in east longitude. Here is where the mariner takes 
up one day when sailing toward the west, or drops one if 
going east. As we were to recross the same meridian in a 
few days, Lieutenant Berry concluded that we might as well 
retain our old reckoning. The only difference it made was 
that we found the religious people of Petropavlovsk holding 
service on Saturday instead of Sunday, and we were con- 
stantly in doubt as to whether to-day was really to-day or to- 

The Rodgers arrived at Petropavlovsk July 19th, and 
found anchored there the Alaska Commercial Company's 
steamer Alexander, Captain Sandman, arid the Russian 
corvette, the Strelock, commanded by. Captain DeLivron. 
DeLivron informed Lieutenant Berry that he had been di- 
rected to assist the searchers for the Jeannette in every way 
in his power; and during the stay of the Rodgers the Rus- 
sians extended to her officers the most cordial hospitality. 
At this place a native was hired as dog-driver, and forty- 
seven dogs were taken on board, whose howls for many 
hours afterward were something to be remembered by all 
who heard them. 

Petropavlovsk (Ports of Peter and Paul) is 'the capital oi 



the Kamchatdales, and the only town on the eastern coast of 
the Kamchatka peninsula. It is situated on the right shore 
of the splendid Bay of Avatcha, which may claim, with that 
of San Francisco, to be one of the finest harbors in the world. 
This little town of 500 inhabitants points with pride to its 
two monuments of Bering and La Perouse ; and its old forti- 
fications, now covered with grass and flowers, serve to recall 
the defeat of the English and French allies, who attacked 
the village during the Crimean war. 


It was from Avatcha Bay that Captain Titus Bering, the 
first Russian navigator of the strait which bears his name, 
sailed, in June, 1741, on his last voyage. After discovering 
the American coast, and the magnificent peak which he 
named Mount St. Elias, scurvy broke out among his crew, 
and his ship drifted about at random until November, when 
it was wrecked on the uninhabited island which still bears 
his name. Bering and many of his men died on this island. 



in December, and the survivors, thanks to the invincible en- 
ergy and sanguine disposition of Steller, the physician of the 
expedition, escaped to Kamchatka, the next summer, in a 
little ship which they built from the wreck of the St. Paul. 
Bering Island lies to the northeast of Avatcha Bay, and, 
together with Copper Island and some small islands and 
rocks lying round about, forms a peculiar group of islands, 
separated from the Aleutian Islands proper, named, after the 
rank of the great seafarer who perished there, Commander's 
Islands. Though belonging to Russia, the American Alaska 


Company has acquired the right of hunting there, and main- 
tains on the main islands two commercial stations, which 
supply the inhabitants, several hundred in number, with 
provisions and supplies ; the company buying of them in ex- 
change, furs principally the skin of an eared-seal (the sea- 
cat or sea-bear), of which from 20,000 to 50,000 are killed 
annually in this region. Some Russian officials are also set- 
tled on the island, to guard the rights of Russia, and pre- 
serve order. 

Leaving Petropavlovsk, July 24th, the vessels in the har- 


bor dipping their flags as a parting salute, the Rodgers 
headed for St. Michael's, Alaska, and came to anchor toward 
night, August 3d, under the shelter of Stuart Island, in Nor- 
ton Sound, to wait for daylight, as the wind was blowing a 
gale, and the sea was running high. 

"The next morning," wrote the Herald correspondent, 
" we got under way and steamed slowly on our course, in a 
dismal rain and fog. The lead was kept going constantly, 
the quartermaster calling in a dreary, monotonous voice the 
depth of water found at each cast of the lead. Again we 
were compelled to drop anchor on account of shallow water 
and the concealment of the few known landmarks under the 
mist. About eleven o'clock the fog lifted a little, and we 
could see the small settlement of St. Michael's about seven 
miles distant, and shortly afterward dropped anchor beyond 
the point of land that forms a shelter for the harbor, a few 
antiquated iron guns bellowing forth a salute. The fort of 
St. Michael's, as it is called, is an enclosure of dwellings and 
warehouses, the interstices filled with a high wooden fence, 
that was originally erected as a protection against the as- 
saults of hostile Indians. The fence of the present day is, 
however, maintained rather as a shelter against the wind 
than to guard against savages." 

From St. Michael's Lieutenant Berry crossed over to 
Plover Bay, Siberia, and then proceeded north to St. Law- 
rence Bay, where he found the Strelock anchored in the 
harbor. After taking on board two Chukches, as hunters 
and dog-drivers, the Rodgers again started north August 
19th, accompanied by the Russian corvette. The next day 
was stormy, and the wind blowing so hard that it was diffi- 
cult to make any headway against it. The Strelock was 
seen working in shore, but was soon lost sight of, and was 
seen no more by the crew of the Rodgers. 

The following morning was clear and pleasant, and Cape 
Serdae Kamen so%n appeared in view. " When we came 
near the land," says the correspondent, " a skin boat filled 
with Chukches came alongside for the purpose of trading. 



They took us to a place which proved to be Kolyutschin 
Island and bay, where there is a large Chukches settlement. 
The village consisted of seven large circular dome-like 
tents, of about twenty feet in diameter, made of seal-skins 
sewed together, and supported by an intricate arrangement 


of poles of drift-wood. On the side opposite the entrance 
were arranged three or four sleeping apartments, shut off 
from the main tent and each other by curtains of reindeer 
skins. These were the separate tenements of as many fam- 
ilies, the savage semblance of flats in an apartment-house. 
The skin drapery of several of these rooms was raised, and 
upon the beds, which were also of reindeer skins and cov- 
ered the entire floor of each, sat women engaged in house- 
hold duties or attending to the wants of a colony of dirty, 
half nude children. 

" We sailed the same evening for Herald Island, and at 
seven P. M., August 23d, obtained our first view of Cape 
Hawaii, Wrangel Island, about twelve miles distant to the 
northwest, with the ice extending about ten miles off the 
shore. The next morning both Wrangel Island and Herald 
Island were in plain sight, and we arrived off the latter at 


noon the same day. A boat was sent on shore to search for 
tidings of the Jeannette and missing whalers. An examin- 
ation of the western extremity of the island was made, and 
the remainder scanned from the summit of the highest land 
with glasses without discovering any traces. 

"The island was found to be a narrow ridge, between five 
and six miles long, and not over a quarter of a mile wide at 
the base. The crest of the western half of the island was 
so narrow that one could straddle it, while the eastern por- 
tion was lower and more rounded at the top. The island is 
not more than about six hundred feet high at the highest 
point, but from it, the atmosphere being perfectly clear, we 
could see a long distance. Wrangel Island was in plain 
view, but no land could be seen to the northward of it as 
far as the eye could reach. 

" After the return of the boat we steamed along the south- 
ern shore of the island without discovering any cairn, and 
then headed for Cape Hawaii. We sighted the cape at ten 
A. M., August 25th, and shortly after made the ice along the 
starboard beam, densely packed ; skirted it, and at four P. M. 
discovered from the masthead a lead, and followed it in. 
At ten P. M., having passed through about ten miles of ice, 
we dropped anchor about half a mile from shore in six fath- 
oms of water. Two boats were lowered at once, and sev- 
eral of the officers landed on a low, gravelly beach, and gave 
three hearty cheers, which were responded to by those on 
board. Two sky-rockets were sent aloft, and when the party 
returned, one of the officers cut a Christmas cake in honor 
of the event." 

Early the next morning, 26th, a boat was sent in to exam- 
ine a lagoon which had been seen by the landing party, and 
at its mouth was found an excellent small harbor. The ves- 
sel was moored in this harbor, and preparations made for 
the exploration of the island. 

Three search parties were organized. Lieutenant Berry, 
Surgeon Jones, and four men were to proceed overland to 
the northern coast; Master Waring was to go north in a 



whale-boat and skirt the eastern coast; and Ensign Hunt, 
with a whale-boat, was to explore the southern coast. The 
boat parties were provided with fifteen days' provisions, and 
instructed to encircle the island if possible. The three par- 
ties got off August 27th, between three and four P. M. 5 and 
three cheers were given by those remaining on board as 
each one left the ship's side and started upon its separate 


The vessel was left in charge of Master Putnam, who was 
also intrusted with the magnetic observations, assisted by 
Ensign Stoney, to whom was assigned the task of surveying 
the harbor and adjacent coast lines. 

"The next day, Sunday, the 28th of August," says the 
correspondent, "was one of the most delightful days ever 
experienced in this land of storms. 

" About six o'clock, September 3d, we were about to sit 


down to dinner, when two white objects were seen on the 
mainland near the shore, which the glass showed to be a she 
bear and her cub. In a short time the dingy was lowered, 
and two of the officers jumped in, armed with rifles, and 
were rowed ashore against a strong gale. When the boat 
struck the beach all jumped ashore and started in pursuit, 
headed by Mr. Tracey, the carpenter, who, though drenched 
to the skin in effecting a landing, abated not his energy in 
the chase. After going several miles with little prospect of 
coming up with the game, all returned to the ship except 
the carpenter, who, pointing ahead and shouting, ' Excelsior/ 
kept up the pursuit. Success attended his efforts, and he 
returned at ten o'clock at night, after traveling about ten 
miles and killing both bears." 

At eleven o'clock the same night a voice from the sand 
spit hailed the ship, and was recognized through the howling 
of the gale as that of Captain Berry, who had just returned 
from his inland journey. He was accompanied by one of 
the men, and said the others of his party were suffering 
from lame feet, and had lagged behind. A boat crew, in 
charge of Mr. Hodgson, pulled to the beach and started to 
find the wayfarers. A severe snow storm and hard gale 
tended to make the search a difficult one ; but they returned 
at three o'clock in the morning with two of the men (Dom- 
inic and Petersen), who were found sleeping about five miles 
from the ship. 

As nothing had yet been seen of Dr. Jones, Ensign Stoney, 
with a boat's crew, landed at the head of the bay, some four 
miles from the ship, and searched the shores for several 
miles in each direction. They got back to the ship in the 
afternoon. Meantime Dr. Jones, accompanied by Melms, 
had reached the harbor and been taken on board ship. He 
had passed the night without much discomfort, under a shel- 
ter which Melms had constructed. 

Lieutenant Berry had reached a point about twenty miles 
inland, where, from a mountain 2,500 feet high, he was ena- 
bled to see open water entirely around the island, except 


between west and south-southwest, where his view was 
obstructed by a high range of mountains, which, however, 
appeared to terminate the land in that direction. The inte- 
rior, was found to be entirely devoid of animal life and of 
other plants than those growing near the coast. Two ridges 
of mountains followed the trend of the northern and south- 
ern shores, between which a rolling country existed, trav- 
ersed by small streams, evidently fed by the melting snow 
from the mountains. 

Master Waring was accompanied on his expedition by Dr. 
Castillo and a crew of five seamen. He started off toward 
the east with a breeze which sent him swiftly along under 
reefed mainsail; but the wind soon died out, and he 
encamped on shore for the night. After rounding Cape 
Hawaii, the following morning, 28th, he pulled up to a small 
island near the mouth of a creek, where were the skeletons 
of a whale and walrus. "His attention was attracted by 
some pieces of wood sticking up in the sand, evidently by 
intention^ and he then noticed footprints leading to the cliff 
near by. Following them, he came upon a flag-staff, from 
which drooped what appeared to be a United States flag, 
and attached to the staff was a bottle containing documents 
which had been left by the officers of the Corwin." 

After leaving copies of the originals, which were brought 
away, Waring continued on, and in the afternoon " rounded 
a point marked by a perpendicular column of rock about one 
hundred feet high. Here heavy pack ice was encountered, 
extending as far to the eastward as he could see. Near the 
shore it was somewhat broken, and permitted his advance 
through a narrow channel where only short paddles could be 
used. At a quarter to six o'clock the ice drew so close that 
he was compelled to haul up on the beach and encamp for 
the night. The next day, 29th, the ice still held him, and, 
accompanied by Dr. Castillo, he scrambled to the top of a hill 
north of his camp, from which his eyes were rewarded by 
observing the trend of the coast toward the west. This he 
found to be the extreme northeast cape, and no land could 


be seen to the northward. Toward the west the land was 
low near the water, and ran out in long, low points, forming 
deep bays, which held the ice packed in dense masses against 
the shore. 

" The following morning the weather was clear, and Her- 
ald Island appeared in plain view from the beach. By nine 
o'clock the ice opened sufficiently to allow the boat to move 
slowly by the aid of paddles, and, after six hours' hard 
work, they had rounded the cape, and made about five miles 
to the westward. 

" At five o'clock another effort was made to proceed, but 
after laboring an hour and a half, and narrowly escaping 
being crushed by two large masses, by backing out from be- 
tween them just as they came together with a force that no 
boat could have withstood, a narrow lead let them in to the 
beach. Within five minutes after they landed not a vestige 
could be seen of the opening by which they had so narrowly 
escaped. Nothing but a grinding and crunching sea of ice 
met the view." 

The next day, 30th, opened with a strong northerly wind 
and flurries of snow. The ice remained densely packed 
against the shore opposite the camp, and a reconnoissance 
along the beach showed that it was in the same condition 
both to the northward and westward. 

September 1st was a gloomy day for the party ; no move- 
ment of the ice occurred to indicate the liberation of the 
boat, and its abandonment and a march overland to the ship 
seemed the only alternative. 

Early the next morning a party went westward about fif- 
teen miles to a point from which they could see the land 
trending to the south and west. Preparations were made 
fer abandoning the boat, which was hauled high up on the 
beach and turned bottom side up. The boat mast was 
erected on a neighboring hill, and a record deposited indi- 
cating the route taken by the retreating crew. 

" A dismal snow storm was prevailing when, at five o'clock 


on the morning of the 3d inst., they started upon their 
journey. It was intensely cold, and the wind blowing in 
squalls. Their course was directed toward the eastern coast, 
where they could find shelter behind the hills, and driftwood 
from which to make a fire and cook some food on reaching 
camp at night. The traveling, with heavy loads on their 
backs, was intensely disagreeable, while, to add to their dis- 
comfort, the snow changed to rain, which drenched their 
clothes and increased the weight of their burdens. The 
route lay over a series of hills, which were very fatiguing to 
men unaccustomed to land journeys. At night they rested 
only a few hours, when it was too dark to see to travel. 

" As soon as it was sufficiently light to see, they started 
again, with sore and stiffened limbs, and feet torn by the 
sharp stones that covered the ground. At seven A. M. they 
reached the beach, where a rousing fire was started and a 
hot breakfast prepared, which put new life into the weary 
travelers, and then, through the snow and rain, they plodded 
until reaching the head of the bay, where they were over- 
joyed to find a boat, which hacl gone there to bring in the 
skins of Mr. Tracey's bears. An hour later they were 
welcomed on board ship. 

"Almost at the same time that Waring started toward the 
east with a fair wind, Ensign H. J. Hunt pulled away upon 
his course to the westward. He was accompanied by En- 
gineer Zane, and his crew consisted of five men. It was 
hard pulling against the wind, and at nine o'clock, when he 
encamped for the night, he was not more than about nine 
miles from the harbor. The oars were brought into requi- 
sition the following day, but the progress was not very 

" During the day they saw what looked like a cairn upon 
the beach, and Hunt landed to examine it. His praiseworthy 
curiosity came near bringing him into trouble, however, for 
he found himself within about six feet of a huge polar bear 
taking a siesta, before he was aware of it. As the ponder- 
ous brute raised his head and turned toward the intruder, 


they gazed at each other in a dazed sort of way for a few 
minutes, when Hunt cut short the interview by facing about 
and starting for the boat at a marvelous speed, shouting 
loudly for his rifle. In the meantime the bear arose in a 
dignified and leisurely manner, and slowly walked toward 
the sea, when Hunt sent a bullet through him that caused 
him to turn again for the beach ; another shot brought him 
to the ground, and a third so disabled him that Johansen ran 
up and gave him the coup de grace with the muzzle of his 
rifle at the animal's ear. 

"The third day out they rounded the southwest point of 
the island, and their course lay somewhat east of north. 
The wind was strong and carried away their main boom. 
Plenty of ice was encountered the next day, and, though 
working hard, they only succeeded in making about four 
miles upon their course by paddling and hauling. Next day 
they could only proceed by towing along shore and cutting 
a way through the ice, and were finally compelled to tie up 
in lee of a large piece of ice and bail out. They had finally, 
however, accomplished about four miles after a hard day's 
work. Day after day this labor was repeated until they 
reached the northern point of the island, where they en- 
countered a succession of sand spits running toward the 
north and east beyond the mainland, and with miles of open 
water between, which proved to be only shallow lagoons, 
where they constantly grounded, and extricated themselves 
with difficulty. In some instances the spits extended be- 
tween twenty and twenty-five miles from the land. 

" September 5th, they reached the most northerly point 
of Wr angel Island, and could distinctly see the northeast 
cape bearing to the southward and eastward of their posi- 
tion ; but the same heavy pack that brought Waring' s party 
to grief, baffled their most strenuous efforts to encompass the 
island. Often, while working through the ice, they found 
themselves compelled to follow leads that carried them far 
out from the land, and closed behind them. Sometimes 
midnight found them still at their oars, or wading through 


lagoons, sounding in that way for a channel to reach the 
land, or cross the water in the direction of their course. 

The run home, when reluctantly enforced, was made in 
five days. The 10th of September, the day assigned for re- 
porting back, had passed, and the day of grace was drawing 
to a close, when a little whale-boat was seen beating in from 
the south and west, and we were soon cheering the returned 
explorers as they drew along side. The result of their labor 
was perfectly satisfactory, as they had reached positions 
within easy view of each other's furthest points, and, though 
110 traces that we could identify as of the Jeannette or the 
lost whalers were found, an accurate survey had been made 
of this land, and its character ascertained. The necessary 
scientific data had been collected, and a harbor found which 
may sometime be of inestimable value to ice-imprisoned 

Along the sand spit, near the Rodger's harbor, as well 
as on the entire coast of Wrangel Island, is strewn drift- 
wood, among which may often be found utensils of wood, 
made by the natives of the Siberian or American coast, and 
some are of very ancient date, as are attested by their ven- 
erable appearance. A number of specimens were gathered 
by members of the expedition as relics. Among them can be 
recognized portions of vessels and articles of civilized man- 
ufacture, but whether keeping the sad tale of wrecks and 
human suffering, or merely washed from the deck of some 
passing whaler, it would be difficult to tell. 

The explorers left Rogers Harbor, September 13th, and 
the same evening visited the bay, where the whale-boat had 
been left, but were unable to get near the land owing to 
ground ice and shoal water. 

An attempt was made to examine Herald Island, but no 
landing could be effected. The ship was then- headed due 
north, and, on the morning of the 16th, ran into loose ice, 
and soon came up to a dense pack. A lead to the northwest 
was entered, but it ended in an impenetrable pack, with 
smooth, new, unbroken field ice beyond, as far as the eye 


could reach. A retreat into open water was effected, and 
the pack ice was skirted to the eastward. 

On the 17th another lead was entered, and the ship forced 
its way through floating ice for fifteen miles, when, at five 
p. M., a dense pack was again encountered. As darkness 
came on the ship was secured to a floe. During the night 
the temperature fell to eight degrees below freezing, and 
new ice, from one to three inches thick, was formed, cement- 
ing the floes together. 

At three A. M., 18th, the ship was cast loose, and, after 
steaming for more than an hour through the ice which had 
closed around it, a lead was reached which brought the 
explorers to open water. Another lead was entered and 
followed to its end on the 19th. 

Having now reached latitude 73 deg. 44 min. north, longi- 
tude 171 deg. 48 min. west, without discovering any traces 
of land ; and, finding that the main pack from that point 
trended well to the southeast, Lieutenant Berry returned to 
Wrangel Land, and, on the 22d, succeeded in picking up 
the abandoned whale-boat. He then headed to the north 
and west, and reached a position, the latitude of which is 
73 deg. 28 min. north, and the longitude 179 deg. 52 min. 

It was now late in the season, and, as a longer stay would 
have endangered the ship, Lieutenant Berry turned south to 
search for winter quarters. The Siberian coast was sighted 
just east of Cape Jakan ; but a strong northwest wind was 
blowing at the time and a heavy sea running, so that it was 
not possible to send a boat on shore. Berry then coasted to 
the eastward, examining the shore from the ship. Toward 
evening the wind freshened, and falling snow shut out the 
land altogether. 

After standing off from the coast and laying to for forty- 
ei<rht hours without any improvement in the weather, Lieu- 
tenant Berry gave up the attempt to examine the shore at 
that place, and headed for Tiapka Island, situated about 
twenty miles west of Cape Serdze, where he succeeded in 



putting up a house ; and at this place he left Master Putnam 
in command of a party, consisting of Surgeon Jones, Pay- 
Clerk Gilder, Petersen, Melms, and Constantine Taternoff. 
The party was fully supplied with Arctic clothing and pro- 
visions for one year, besides a large quantity of pemmican. 
They had also a boat and a supply of dogs and sledges, with 
which they were expected to make journeys westward along 
the shore of the Arctic Ocean. Lieutenant Berry and the 
balance of the officers and crew left Putnam's winter camp 
October 8th, and steamed southeasterly to St. Lawrence 
Bay, experiencing stormy and thick weather throughout the 
voyage, and a violent gale from the westward on the 13th 
and 14th. In a letter to the Secretary of the Navy, written 
at St. Lawrence Bay, October 16th, 1881, Lieutenant Berry 
said : 

" I shall now proceed to put the ship into winter quarters 
here, and render all as comfortable as possible. Our provi- 
sions have all proved to be of excellent quality, and we are 
in every respect well provided for the winter. All well on 



rTlHE sending out by the Secretary of the Navy of a 
JL United States ship to cruise in the waters of Spitzber- 
gen in search of the missing expedition, was one of the 
results of the labors of the Jeannette Relief Board. It was 
supposed that if DeLong had landed on Wrangel Land 
and sledged his way to the Pole, he would return by the 
way of Smith's Sound or Spitzbergen, where he would be 
likely to meet whalers and walrus-hunters much sooner than 
he would if he returned to Wrangel Land, as the first- 
named places are several hundred miles the nearest ttf the 
Pole. An expedition in that direction, to ask the co-opera- 
tion of the whalers and walrus-hunters, and to bring home 
the Jeannette's men if they were found, was accordingly 
decided on. 

The steamship Alliance, having been designated for the 
service, was hastily equipped at the Norfolk navy yard, and 
started on her long voyage June 16th, 1881 the same day on 
which the Rodgers left San Francisco. Drawing away from 
abreast the famous frigate Kearsarge, which fought the rebel 
cruiser Alabama outside Cherbourg, she passed gracefully 
down the stream, while the sailors of the receiving-ship 
Franklin and other war-vessels manned the rigging and 
cheered her adventurous crew. The officers of the Alliance 
were as follows : 

Captain George H. "Wadleigli, Commander; Lieutenant C. H. West, 
Executive Officer; Lieutenant C. P. Perkins, Navigator; Lieutenant 
Elliott, Master Schwenk, Chief -Engineer Burnap, Surgeon Eckstein. 

The crew numbered nearly two hundred men. Mr. Harry 



Macdonna accompanied the expedition, and from his very 
interesting letters to the New York Herald the following 
account of the voyage is principally compiled. 

The Alliance touched at St. Johns, N. F., and her officers 
there gave a farewell breakfast to Lieutenant Greeley's party, 
who were awaiting transportation to their station at Lady 
Franklin Bay, to which place they were subsequently taken 
by the steamer Proteus. 

Starting onward, June 29th, the Alliance proceeded to 
Reykjavik, Iceland, and was the first American man-of-war 
to enter that harbor. The Icelanders were much interested 
in their visitors, and particularly so in the colored men 
among the crew, several of whom went galloping through 
the town on ponies, to the great delight of the youth of the 
ancient capital. " One of the negro sailors who went ashore 
became a victim to the seductions of Danish whiskey. For 
two days he was missing, and the master-at-arms went 
ashore and advertised a reward of ten dollars for the lost 
man. The town turned out to find him, and he was found. 
Subsequent to this, every time a negro seaman appeared on 
shore he was hunted as a lost man or as an escaped curiosity 
from a museum." 

From Iceland, the Alliance went to Hammerfest, Norway^ 
the most northern city of Europe. "Here," wrote Mr. 
Macdonna, "we heard of the shooting of President Garfield. 
The first news we had of the event was from a captain who 
came up from Tromsoe, and told some one on board that 
the president was recovering slowly. 

" 'You mean the president's wife, don't you?' said the 
party informed. ' She was quite ill when we left the States.' 

" ' No ; I mean the president himself,' said the skipper, 
with decision. ' He has been shot, and it is feared he may 

"< When was he shot ? Who shot him? What for? How 
did it happen ? Where was he shot ? ' and a volley of other 
questions were launched at the almost bewildered captain, 
who could give no further information than that President 



Garfield had been shot by some one where he did not 
know, and for what he could not tell. He had just one 
cheerful fact, that the President was recovering." 


On the 29th of July the travelers left Hammerfest and 
started north. On the second day out they sighted Bear 
Island, and endeavored to work around to the westward of 
it, but were stopped by ice. Turning back, they cruised 
westward, but what seemed an impenetrable barrier of ice 
opposed their passage to the north. They then returned to 
Bear Island, and finally made their way slowly north to 
Spitzbergen and along its western coast. When near Horn 
Sound they had their first view of the midnight sun. It 
was on a clear, bright night, with not a fleck of cloud as big 
as a mustard-seed in the amber sky. In the clear water 
astern, several white whales sported about. 

"The sun looked like a great disk of molten gold, which 
seemed, through the smoked snow-glasses, to throb and pul- 
sate, sending waves of light from its center to its rim. 



These soft 'rolling, ripples of light seemed to depart from the 
periphery with irregularity, although they started from the 
center as if a pebble had been dropped there. Sometimes 
they would depart from the rim with the same regularity as 
they started; and then again they seemed to hurry oft' on 
one side and delay 011 the other, giving the sun, for an 
instant, an oblong appearance. This midnight sun was not 
alone sensible to the eye ; one could feel" its rays, which 
burned the skin with the copper warmth of Indian summer 

At Bell Sound, where they arrived August 3d, three wal- 
rus-hunting schooners were anchored in the gale that was 


blowing on a lee-shore, just in front of a magnificent gla- 
cier; and, viewed across the bay. they seemed mere specks 
against the marble-white face of the towering ice. A whale- 
boat was sent to one of them to deliver circulars respecting 
the Jeannette; and then the Alliance steamed onward to 
Green. Bay, Ice Fiord, where a Norwegian steamer and sev- 
eral sailing vessels were anchored. Another vessel, which 
had been wrecked only two days previously, lay stranded on 


the shore near by. The sunshine was warm and bright, the 
bay was clear of ice, and the mountains around were decked 
in green. 

Continuing on to a position northwestward of Spitsbergen, 
the ship again approached the ice-pack, and steamed slowly 
forward in a dense fog. As it grew colder the fog condensed 
on the ship's rigging, froze, and hung in fringes of icicles 
from every rope. About ten P. M. the fog suddenly disap- 
peared, and the soft sunlight illuminated the glistening 
fringes of icicles, arid seemed to change them into raining 
diamonds. The scene was dazzling and fairy-like. 

The ship was now at the foot of the ice-pack, and the 
navigator announced a latitude of 80 deg. min. 55 sec. 
north, longitude 11 cleg. 22 min. east. "The effect of this 
news on a company of men who were informed before they 
left the States that they could not get to Iceland, and when 
they got to Iceland were told they would never reach Spitz- 
bergen, and who in Norway were pleasantly smiled at and 
told they would be back there again in a fortnight, was quite 

"We were," says Mr. Macdonna, "in fact, 590 geograph- 
ical miles from the North Pole ; but who that has seen this 
desert of ice, piled up in hummocks and forced into moun- 
tainous ridges by a force that the mind cannot comprehend, 
will venture an opinion as to the years of dreary endeavor 
yet to be endured before man shall reach that supreme 

" Of all the desolate sights the human eye has rested on, 
this desert of ice, stretched out like a gaunt, bleached beg- 
gar, hand to heaven, is the most subduing. Even the sea 
loses its music as it beats against the barrier. It moans 
monotonously and melancholy all the dreary years, and frets 
against a hydra-like impediment that, in centuries flown, 
was overcome and overcome only to present itself again, 
season after season, rejuvenated and incorrigible. The 
dominion of the ice is not disputed here." 

From his elevated position in the crow's nest Captain 


Wadleigh could see no opening to the north or northeast, 
and, after moving up and down the edge of the pack for a 
few hours, he turned back and anchored near Dane's Island, 
off the northwest coast of Spitzbergen, August 6th. " Dur- 
ing the second day of the stop at Dane's Island loud noises 
were constantly heard, which reverberated through the val- 
leys inland and over the great interior sea of ice, until lost 
in the distance. The first noise was like the rattle of artil- 
lery, and then it boomed along to thunder loudness, and so 
decreased again. Investigation proved that the noise pro- 
ceeded from the great glaciers abutting into South Gat, and 
those around in Smeerenburg Bay, twenty miles away. The 
third day of the stop here, in addition to other excitements, 
afforded one from danger of being run into by icebergs, that 
came rushing down with the swift current through the Gat. 

"The Alliance remained in South Gat until the 12th, 
when, having completed the collecting of 'specimens' 
and done much dredging for deep-sea organisms, Com- 
mander Wadleigh weighed anchor and sailed north again. 
For six weary days we groped about in the fog, which came 
down upon us as soon as we were off shore, occasionally 
meeting great isolated ice-floes, which caused considerable 
anxiety. On the seventh day out the 19th of August we 
encountered the first heavy snow-storm, accompanied with a 
brisk breeze and considerable floating ice. 

" The 21st came clear and bright, with a cloudless sky 
and warm sunlight, and from the crow's nest the ice-pack 
could be seen far away on the northern horizon. Com- 
mander Wadleigh resolved to make for the ice again ; and 
during the afternoon we fell in with the advance floes just 
south of the eightieth parallel. Several promising openings 
appeared, however, and, as it was suggested by the ice pilot 
that there was open water beyond this belt to the north, the 
captain resolved to make an attempt to reach it. He only 
succeeded in making twelve miles through the ice, however, 
when the way was blocked again by the solid pack, in which 
not an opening could be seen. Far as the eye could reach 


to the northward, one flat, monotonous expanse of ice was 
all that could be seen, with here and there a seal or a walrus 
basking in the sun." 

From this position, in latitude 80 deg. 10 min. north, Cap- 
tain Wadleigh turned back and went to Hammerfest for a 
supply of coal. On the 16th of September he again started 
north, and proceeded to Spitzbergen, cruising under sail, 
and getting as far north as 79 deg. 36 min. The weather 
for several days was a succession of gales, snow, sleet, and 
dense fogs. On the 25th he headed for Reykjavik, and 
arrived there October 10th. Five days later he started 
homeward by way of Halifax, and reached New York in 

Mr. Macdonna considers the cruise of the Alliance the 
most phenomenal one ever made in the Arctic seas. He 
declares that the ship was utterly unfit for the dangerous 
work ma'pped out for her, and that no sufficient preparation 
for the voyage had been made notwithstanding which, she 
reached the highest point ever attained by a man-of-war. 
This success he regards as an evidence of good luck rather 
than anything else, and he thinks that experience in Arctic 
explorations is no guarantee against failure. " If," he wrote, 
"Commander Wadleigh had had a ship that could have 
withstood the ice, there is no doubt, under the favorable cir- 
cumstances, that we could have carried the American flag 
beyond the eight first parallel of latitude. Tempting as 
was the chance, Commander Wadleigh did not take the risk ; 
for had any accident overtaken the ship, its results would 
have been without parallel in the history of Arctic naviga- 
tion. Never before has any ship with two hundred souls on 
board ventured so far north as the Alliance; and, with such 
a number to feed, in case the ship was lost and the crew 
compelled to winter, famine would have had a race with 
scurvy for the men and officers." 

In summarizing the results of the voyage Captain Wad- 
leigh says : " At sea, near the land or ice, a careful watch 
has been kept for anything that would throw any light on 


the object of the cruise, and fishing vessels have been com- 
municated with and furnished with a description of the 
Jeannette. The ship's position in a sealed bottle has been 
thrown overboard every day, the temperature and specific 
gravity of the water noted every two hours, and all observa- 
tions made as carefully as possible with the means at our 
disposal. Great interest in the search has been shown by 
the officers and generally by the crew ; and I think it my 
duty to ask the attention of the department to the unusual 
expense to which they have been subjected. The ship has- 
been particularly fortunate in having the services of Lieu- 
tenant C. H. West, executive officer, Lieutenant C. P. Per- 
kins, navigator, and Chief-Engineer Burnap. I take plea- 
sure in commending them to the department for the very 
efficient manner in which their duties have been performed." 




THE several United States expeditions which went north 
to search for the Jeannette in' the year 1881 had 
returned home or gone into winter quarters, and not the 
slightest clue to the whereabouts of the missing ship or to 
the fate of the adventurous men who sailed in her so gaily 
out through the Golden Gate nearly two and one-half years- 
previously had been discovered. As cold weather came on 
the thoughts of all friends of humanity turned painfully 
northward, in sympathy with DcLong and his men, who, if 
still alive, seemed doomed to pass a third weary and sunless, 
winter amid the cold, darkness, and desolation of the 
remorseless frost-land which held them in its icy grasp. 

Meantime new plans for solving the mystery which sur- 
rounded the lost explorers were being projected and dis- 
cussed both at home and abroad, and it was felt that, owing 
to the failure thus far of all attempts to gain any informa- 
tion respecting them, nothing less than international search 
could cover the field. 

The fact that Leigh Hunt had not returned home and 
might himself need relief, and gratitude for the part taken 
by the United States in the search for Franklin, served to- 
intensify the feeling of the English people. The Colonial 
Department addressed a letter to the governors of the Hud- 
son Bay Company, urging upon them the importance of a 
thorough search by the trappers and employees of the com- 
pany along the northern coast of North America ; and the 
Geographical Society of Great Britain was actively engaged 
in devising plans for relief expeditions. At a meeting of 
the society, held in the London University, December 12th, 
1881, Mr. C. R. Markham, C. B., spoke as follows: 



" The deepest sympathy has been felt here for the miss- 
ing expedition. We cannot forget the noble way in which 
Mr. Grinnell and the United States government and people 
came forward, not merely with sympathetic words, but active 
deeds, during the search for Sir John Franklin and his ill- 
fated but heroic followers. I was myself on board one of 
the English searching ships that were moored to the ice-floe 
barring the way westward on September 10th, 1850, and well 
remember our feelings of grateful admiration when the two 
gallant little American schooners, the Advance and Rescue, 
put out their ice anchors alongside us and remained there 
during a gale of wind, and then beat up through the fast- 
closing ice to the western end of Griffith Island, in company 
with our squadron.* DeHaven, Dr. Kane, and the others 
nobly represented the feeling of their country that feeling 
of generous sympathy which is filling our hearts now, and 
making us as anxious for news of the Jeannette as Amer- 
icans were then about the fate of Franklin. 

" The American people may be assured that not only do 
English geographers feel the deepest sympathy for the gal- 
lant explorers on board the Jeannette, but that we shall 
gladly and actively do what lies in our power to make the 
search complete, and give any aid that may, after due con- 

*The Englishman's memory is good, as the following extracts from Dr. 
Kane's history of the First United States Expedition, commanded by 
Lieutenant Edwin DeHaven, will show. These extracts are copied from 
"The Frozen Zone and its Explorers," published at Hartford : 

"September 10. Here we are again all together, even Ommanney with 
the rest. The Resolute, Intrepid, Assistance, Pioneer, Lady Franklin, 
Sophia, Advance, and Rescue; Austin, Ommanney, Penny, and De- 
Haven, all anchored to the 'fast' off Griffith's Island, the way to the 
west completely shut out. 

"September 13, 10 A. M. We are literaliy running for our lives, sur- 
rounded by the imminent hazards of sudden consolidation in an open 
sea. All minor perils, nips, bumps, and sunken bergs, are discarded. 
We are staggering along under all sail, forcing our way while we can. 

"4 P. M. We continued beating toward Griffith's Island, till, by doub- 
ling a tongue of ice, we were able to force our way. The English seemed 
to watch our movements, and almost to follow in our wake a compli- 
ment, certainly, to DeHaven's ice-mastership." 


sideration, appear likely to be useful. The debt of gratitude 
which we owe to the nation which sent the Rescue and 
Advance to search for Franklin can never be forgotten." 

The probability that DcLong would retreat to the coast 
of Northern Siberia, in case of disaster to his ship, had been 
repeatedly affirmed by Mr. George Kennan, author of "Tent 
Life in Siberia," who has traveled over four thousand miles 
in' sledges in Northeastern Siberia. As early as November, 
1880, Mr. Kennan suggested that the Secretary of the Navy 
should request the governor of Eastern Siberia to take 
measures to have natives of the North Siberian coast look 
out for the Jcannettc and her crew; and, in subsequent let- 
ters, he earnestly urged the importance of making prepara- 
tions on the coast for the prompt discovery and relief of the 
Jeannette's survivors, in case thoy landed there. 

Lieutenant Howgaard, a Danish naval officer who had 
made the northeast passage with Nordcnskiold, also believed 
that the Jeannettc should be looked for in that direction, 
and was actively engaged in collecting funds to enable him 
to go over the track which he had sailed in the Vega, for 
the purpose of searching the northern coast of Siberia. He 
laid his plans before the Royal Geographical Society, at 
their meeting above referred to, December 12th, and soon 
afterward started for the United States on the same errand. 

"For a second time," wrote a correspondent of the New 
York Herald, "in the history of polar research, an expedi- 
tion is probably lost in the Arctic. There is to be another 
great Franklin search, with this difference., that was an 
English and American search of a limited segment of the 
polar circle ; this will be a universal search of the whole 
border of the * unknown region,' participated in by nearly all 
the civilized nations of the earth. The whole Siberian coast 
will probably be searched by Captain Berry, Nordenskiold, 
Lieutenant Howgaard, and the Russians. The Russian 
international polar station, at the mouth of the Lena or at 
the New Siberian Islands, will be very important; for I 



believe De Long built cairns and left notice of his progress 
there, if he was not prevented from landing by heavy 
weather or ice. Spitzbergen and Nova Zembla will be inter- 
national stations, and England will search Franz Josef Land 
on all its coasts and sounds with a large government expe- 
dition, for the Jeannette and for Leigh Smith. Five hun- 
dred whalers, walrus-hunters, and sealers will search for 
the Jeannette at the edge of the pack in all the seas that 
they frequent, from the Kara Sea to Spitzbergen and East 
Greenland, up Lancaster Sound, and in Bering Sea. Lieu- 
tenant Ray, at Point Barrow, will probably be able to search 
half way to the mouth of the Mackenzie River, and Lieu- 
tenant Grcely, at Lady Franklin Bay, will probably go 
northwest to Cape Joseph Henry." 

Only three days after the above extract was published, 
tidings of the missing explorers startled the civilized world 
and rendered further search for the Jeannette unnecessary. 



A LMOST two and one-half years had elapsed since the 
-\- sailing of the Jeannette, when, near the close of the 
year 1881, dispatches from an inland Siberian city, coming 
nearly ten thousand miles by telegraph and cable, via St. 
Petersburg, London, and Paris, were received by the New 
York Herald, as follows : 

LONDON, December 20th, 1881. 

The Central News 9 London correspondent has called at 
the Herald office, and has given us a copy of a telegram 
from the Central News' 9 St. Petersburg correspondent, which 
reads as follows : 

"Gouverneur Sibe*rie Orientale annonce bateau polaire 
Americain Jeannette trouvd. Equipage secouru." 

[The Governor of Eastern Siberia announces that the 
American polar vessel Jeannette has been found, and that 
its crew has been saved*.] 

PARIS, December 20th, 1881. 

Our St. Petersburg correspondent telegraphs this morning, 
that General Ignatieff has just received the following tele- 
gram, which I transcribe literally : 

U !RKUTSK, Dec. 19th, 6.55 P. M. 

" The Governor of Yakutsk writes, that on the 14th of 
September three natives of Hagan Oulouss de Zigane, at 
Cape Barhay, 140 versts north of Cape Bykoff, discovered a 
large boat with eleven survivors from the shipwrecked 
steamer Jeannette. They had suffered greatly. The Adjunct 
of Chief of the District was immediately charged to proceed 
with a doctor and medicines to succor the survivors at 
Yakutsk, and to search for the rest of the shipwrecked 



crew. Five hundred rubles have been assigned to meet the 
most urgent expenses. The engineer, Melville, has sent 
three identical telegrams, one addressed to the London 
office of the Herald, one to the Secretary of the Navy, 
Washington, and the third to the Minister of the United 
States at St. Petersburg. The poor fellows have lost every- 
thing. Engineer Melville says that the Jeannette was caught 
and crushed by the ice on the 23d of June, in latitude 77 
degrees north, and 157 degrees east longitude. The sur- 
vivors of the Jeannette left in three boats. Fifty miles from 
the mouth of the Lena they lost sight of each other during 
a violent gale and dense fog. Boat No. 3, under command 
of Engineer Melville, reached the eastern mouth of the 
Lena on the 12th of September, and was stopped by icebergs 
near to the hamlet of Idolaciro-Idolatrc. On the 29th of 
October there also arrived at Bolencnga boat No. 1, with the 
sailors, Nindermann and Noras. They brought the inform- 
ation that Lieutenant DeLong, Dr. Ambler, and a dozen 
other survivors, had landed at the northern mouth of the 
Lena, where they are at present in a most distressing state, 
many having their limbs frozen. An expedition was imme- 
diately sent from Bolonenga to make diligent search for the 
unfortunates, who are in danger of death. No news has as 
yet been received of boat No. 2. In the communication 
addressed to Mr. Bennett, Melville adds a request that money 
should be sent immediately, per telegraph, to Irkutsk and 
Yakutsk. Will you urgently request that 6,000 rubles be 
transmitted immediately to the Governor of Yakutsk for 
researches for the dead and assistance and care, as well as 
for the return and conveyance of the shipwrecked men to 
the house of the governor. There is a surgeon who will 
bestow upon them all possible care. 


LONDON, December 22d, 1881. 

The following telegram was received at the London office 
at twenty minutes past two this morning : 


" IRKUTSK, December 21st, 2:05 P. M. 
" Jeannette was crushed by the ice in latitude 77 deg. 15 
min. north, longitude 157 deg. east.- Boats and sleds made 
a good retreat to fifty miles northwest of the Lena River, 
where the three boats Avere separated in a gale. The whale- 
boat, in charge of Chief-Engineer Melville, entered the east 
mouth of the Lena River on September 17th. It was stopped 
by ice in the river. We found a native village, and as soon 
as the river closed I put myself in communication with the 
Commandant at Bolonenga. On October 29th I heard that 
the first cutter, containing Lieutenant DeLong, Dr. Ambler, 
and twelve others, had landed at the north mouth of the 
Lena. The Commandant at Bolonenga sent instant relief to 
the whaleboat party, who are all well. Nindermann and Noros 
arrived at Bolonenga on October 29th for relief for the first 
cutter, all of whom are in a sad condition and in danger of 
starvation, and all badly frozen. The Commandant at Bolo- 
nenga has sent native scouts to look for them, and will urge 
vigorous and constant search until they are found. The 
second cutter has not yet been heard from. Telegraph 
money for instant use to Irkutsk and Yakutsk. The list of 
people in the boats is as follows : 


Lieutenant George W. DeLong, Dr. James M. Ambler, Je- 
rome J. Collins, William Nindermann, Louis Noros, Hans 
Erickson, Henry Kaack, Adolf Dressier, Carl Gortz, Walter 
Lee, Nelse Iverson, George Boyd, Alexai, Ah Sam. 


Lieutenant Charles W. Chipp, Captain William Dunbar, 
Alfred Sweetman, Henry Warren, Peter Johnson, Edward 
Star, Sharvell, Albert Kuehne. 


Engineer Geo. W. Melville, Lieutenant J. W. Dancnhower, 
Jack Cole, James Bartlctt, Raymond Newcomb, Herbert 
Leach, George Landerback, Henry Wilson, Mansen, Ancquin, 
Tong Sing. (Signed), MELVILLE." 


A cable message from Engineer Melville, identical with 
the one copied above, was also received by the Secretary of 
the Navy, and he replied to it by cable as follows : 

WASHINGTON, D. C., December 22d, 1881. j 
To Engineer MELVILLE, U. S. N., IRKUTSK: 

Omit no effort, spare no expense, in securing safety of men 
in second cutter. Let the sick and the frozen of those 
already rescued have every attention, and as soon as practi- 
cable have them transported to milder climate. Department 
will supply necessary funds. . 

HUNT, Secretary." 

A dispatch from Mr. Hoffman, charge d'affaires of the 
United States at St. Petersburg, conveying the news and the 
assurance that the most energetic measures would be taken 
by the Russian authorities for the discovery and relief of the 
missing men, was received by the Secretary of State at 
Washington, December 20th. On the next day the Herald 
correspondent at St. Petersburg telegraphed as follows : 

" General Anutschin, the Governor-General of Eastern 
Siberia, who happens to be at present in St. Petersburg, 
having received information of the arrival of the shipwrecked 
crew of the Jeannette in the region under his command, im- 
mediately proceeded to Gatschina and saw the Emperor, who 
personally ordered that all supplies that were necessary for 
food, clothing, money, and transportation should be placed 
at their disposal." General Anutschin also gave orders by 
telegraph that the inhabitants of the shores of the provinces 
of Yakutsk and Yeniseisk should be at once informed of the 
loss of the Jeannette, and requested to make active research 
for the discovery of the missing shipwrecked men. 

Messages from General Pedaschenki, subsequently received 
by Governor Anustchin, gave assurance that the search 
would be continued during the winter by the Cossack com- 
mandants of Bulun and Yakutsk, under direction of Gen. 
Tschernieff, the Governor of Yakutsk, and that nothing that 


could be done for the relief of the distressed seamen would 
be omitted. 

Immediately upon receipt of the first news about the 
Jeannette, Mr. James Gordon Bennett, who was residing in 
Paris at that time, transferred the sum of 6000 roubles by 
telegraph, through the Messrs. Rothschilds, to General Igna- 
tieff at St. Petersburg, with a request that he would draw on 
Mr. Bennett for any further sums required for the succor 
and comfort of Lieutenant DeLong and his party. About 
the same time Mr. Bennett received from General Ignatieff 
the following telegram : 

"Have hastened to communicate to your correspondent 
the news received from Yakutsk, and have given orders to 
the governor to take the most energetic measures for the 
rescue of the shipwrecked crew, together with authority to 
undertake all necessary expenses, for which I have promised 

to reimburse him. 


The following are copies of dispatches from the State 
Department, transmitted by cable, to Mr. Hoffman, at St. 

Petersburg : 

WASHINGTON, December 20th, 1881. 
HOFFMAN, Charge*, St. Petersburg: 

Tender hearty thanks of President to all authorities or 
persons who have in any way been instrumental in assisting 
unfortunate survivors from Jeannetto, or furnishing informa- 
tion to this government. 


WASHINGTON, D. C., December 23d, 1881. 
HOFFMAN, St. Petersburg : 

Convey the thanks of the President to the imperial govern- 
ment for its liberal and generous action in advancing the 
necessary funds to render assistance to the members of the 
Jeannette expedition, and inform Mr. DeGiers that you are 


authorized to draw on me to reimburse that government if it 
will kindly inform you of the amount. 

FRELINQHUYSEN, Secretary of State." 

The opening months of the new year were a season of 
painful suspense as to the fate of the gallant commander of . 
the Jeannette, his brave first officer, and other missing men 
of the expedition. Briefly stated, about all that was known 
of them in the United States was as follows : 

Three boats, carrying the Jcannette's crew, left Semenoff- 
ski Island, September 12th, for the mouth of the Lena, and 
were separated during a hard gale when about fifty miles 
from land. The whale-boat party, commanded by Engineer 
Melville, landed near the east mouth of the Lena, September 
16th, and on the 26th reached a native settlement called 
Bykoff, where they had to wait till the river was frozen over 
solid before proceeding south. 

On the 29th of October a native arrived from Bulun (a 
settlement further south) with a letter written by Norosand 
Nindcrmann, two of the men who accompanied Lieutenant 
DeLong in the first cutter. This letter stated that DeLong 
had landed on the Siberian coast and needed prompt assist- 
ance. Melville went to Bulun, where he saw the two men, 
and learned that when they left their comrades, October 9th, 
they were out of food and in a deplorable condition, and one 
of them had died. Mr. Collins had volunteered to stay 
behind with the sick man, but they had all kept together. 

Mr. Melville immediately procured the services of some 
natives with dog-sledges, and went north to search for his 
distressed comrades. He visited the place where the first 
cutter landed, and found some records which DeLong had 
left behind as he retreated slowly south. The last of these 
records was dated October 1st. He traced the party to the 
edge of a desolate and uninhabited region, which the natives 
refused to enter, and was then obliged to return to Bulun. 
Thence he proceeded to Yakutsk, 1,200 miles distant, and 
after organizing several search-parties and arranging a plan 


of operation he started to return north with two of his own 
men, Russian, a CossacK, and some natives. 

Meantime Lieutenant Danenhower, the second officer of 
the Jeaunette Expedition (who had been relieved of his com- 
mand by DeLong on account of the bad condition of his 
eyes), had arrived at Yakutsk with his eyes badly affected, 
and acting under orders from the Secretary of the Navy, and 
against his own wishes, had started homeward with nine of 
his companions. 

It was apparent that DeLong and the balance of his boat's 
party when last heard of, way back in October, were even 
then in imminent danger of speedy death from cold and 
starvation, and that one of their number had died from expo- 
sure. Nothing had been heard of Lieutenant Chipp, and it 
was supposed that his boat with all on board had gone down 
in the gale which separated him from his commander, or 
that a worse fate had befallen him if he reached the land. It 
was just the time of year when the Arctic storms begin to 
sweep down on the Siberian coast, and all living things move 
toward the interior to escape their fury. It is no trifle to be 
thrown on this coast without food and shelter or means of 
transportation, even in summer. It is vastly worse in winter, 
when the sea and river channels are closing with ice, and 
when heavy storms and falling snow obscure the landscape. 

Months elapsed before a tolerably full, connected and intel- 
ligible account of the voyage of the Jeannette, and of the 
adventures and sufferings of the survivors of the expedition, 
was received at home. Meantime the Lena became a familiar 
word where it had never been spoken before, and its fatal 
delta the subject of deep interest and scrutiny. During this 
period of weary waiting the following verses were contrib- 
uted to the Philadelphia Times: 

By Baikal's lake, on wild Siberia's plain, 
Where howling blasts from Arctic's frozen main 

Sweep over the arid wastes; 
Where zero marks the mild degrees of cold, 
And man to live must be of native mold, 

A shipwrecked boat's crew rests. 


By Lena's tide, whose waters never sleep, 
And hyperborean blasts perpetual revel keep, 

And cold and death combine ; 
Where nature spreads her icy mantle o'er 
The desert steppes and wilds forever more, 

DeLong and Melville pine. 

Two nations vie in competition brave 
The lost to trace, the rescued few to save, 

Frost-bitten, maimed and blind ; 
Whilst far away, where western breezes blow, 
Where Minnesota's fertile prairies glow, 

A woman waits resigned. 

A world looks on with sad and anxious gaze, 
And Science gropes anew in troubled maze, 

And men begin to doubt ; 

Since Norsemen sailed, full twice five hundred years 
Have rolled away, and strewn the floes with tears, 

To trace the pole about. 

And still they die, and still the years roll on ; 
Bold Franklin erst, and now perchance DeLong 

Two of a burdened roll. 

' Fair Science ' mourns, but must not, cannot stay 
In such a strait, nor falter in the way, 

Till found the Northern pole. 

Before continuing the narrative, it will be well to saj 
something of the great Siberian river, which DeLong chose 
as his objective point on leaving the New Siberian Islands ; 
and of the Siberian tundra, on whose northern edge he was 
thrown by the fortunes of exploration at an inclement season 
of the year. 



THE shores of the Arctic Ocean lying between Nova Zem- 
bla and Bering's Strait are perhaps the most desolate 
on the whole Arctic circle. The great Siberian rivers the 
Obi, the Yenisei, the Lena, the Indigirka, and the Kolyma 
rise in the Altai Mountains, and flow, in their upper courses, 
through forests of tall trees. But before they reach the Arctic 
Ocean they traverse, for hundreds of miles, a dreary and 
barely habitable region of frozen deserts and swamps 
great desolate steppes, known to the Russians as tundras. 

In summer these tundras are almost impassable wastes of 
brown Arctic moss saturated with water ; and in winter 
trackless deserts of snow drifted and packed by northern 
gales into long, hard, fluted waves. The ground is frozen to 
a great depth, but in summer thaws out for a distance of 
from two to three feet. 

Nothing can be more melancholy than the aspect of tho 
tundra, where, says Wrangel, endless snows and ice-covered 
rocks bound the horizon, nature lies shrouded in all but per- 
petual winter, and life is an unending struggle with privation 
and with the terrors of cold and hunger ; where the people, 
and even the snow, emit a constant smoke, and this evapora- 
tion is immediately changed into millions of icy needles, 
which make a noise in the air like the crackling of thick 
silk ; where the reindeer crowd together for the sake of the 
warmth derivable from such contiguity ; and only the raven, 
the dark bird of winter, cleaves the sombre sky with slow- 
laboring wing, and marks the track of his solitary flight by 
a long line of thin vapor. 

" The tundra," says another writer, " is the very grave of 
nature, the sepulchre of the primeval world, which occasion- 




ally reveals to the astonished gaze the forms of colossal ani- 
mals long since extinct. Often trunks of trees split asunder 
with a loud noise ; masses of rock are loosened from their 
sites ; the ground in the valley is rent with yawning fissures. 
Dense grows the atmosphere ; the stars wane and flicker ; 
all nature sleeps a sleep that resembles death, and which is 
only interrupted in the summer by a short interval of spas- 
modic activity. 


" In winter, when animal life has mostly retreated south 
or sought a refuge in burrows or in caves, an awful silence, 
interrupted only by the hooting of a snow-owl or the yelping 
of a fox, reigns over the vast expanse ; but in spring, when 
the brown earth reappears from under the melted snow and 
the swamps begin to thaw, enormous flocks of wild birds 
appear upon the scene and enliven it for a few months. 
Eagles and hawks follow the traces of the natatorial and 
strand birds ; troops of ptarmigans roam among the stunted 
bushes ; and when the sun shines, the finch or the snow- 
bunting warbles his merry note. About this time, also, the 


reindeer leaves the forests to feed on the herbs and lichens 
of the tundra, and many smaller animals migrate thither. 

" Thus during several months the tundra presents an ani- 
mated scene, in which man also plays his part ; for birds, 
beasts, and fishes must all pay tribute to his various wants. 
But as soon as the first frosts of September announce the 
approach of winter, all animals, with but few exceptions, 
haste to leave a region where the sources of life must soon 
fail. The geese, ducks, and swan return in dense flocks to 
the south ; the strand bird seeks in some lower latitude a 
softer soil ; the water-fowl forsakes the bays and channels 
which will soon be blocked by ice ; the reindeer once more 
returns to the forest ; and in a short time nothing is left 
that can induce man to remain. Soon a thick mantle of 
snow covers the hardened earth, the frozen lake, the ice- 
bound river, and conceals them all under its monotonous 
pall, except where the furious northeast wind sweeps it away 
and lays bare the naked rock." 

The following graphic description of the region of the 
Lower Lena is from the pen of Mr. George Kennan, author 
of " Tent Life in Siberia " : 

" Underlying the great moss tundras which border the 
Lena River north of Yakutsk, there is everywhere a thick 
stratum of eternal frost, beginning in' winter at the surface 
of the earth, and in summer at a point twenty or thirty 
inches below the surface, and extending to a depth of many 
hundred feet. What scanty vegetation, therefore, the tundra 
affords, roots itself and finds its nourishment in a thin layer 
of unfrozen ground a mere veneering of arable soil resting 
upon a substratum five or six hundred feet in depth of per- 
manent and impenetrable ice. This foundation of ice is im- 
pervious, of course, to water, and as the snow melts in sum- 
mer the water completely saturates the soil to as great 
a depth as it can penetrate, and, with the aid of the continuous 
daylight of June and July, stimulates a dense luxuriant 
growth of gray Arctic moss. This moss in course of time 
covers the entire plain with a soft, yielding cushion, in which 


a pedestrian will sink to the knee without finding any solid 
footing. Moss has grown out of decaying moss year after 
year and century after century, until the whole tundra for 
thousands of square miles is a vast, spongy bog. Of other 
vegetation there is little or none. A clump of dwarf berry 
bushes, an occasional tuft of coarse swamp-grass, or a patch 
of storm-and-cold-defying kedrovnik, diversifies, perhaps, 
here and there the vast brownish-gray expanse ; but, gener- 
ally speaking, the eye may sweep the whole circle of the 
horizon and see nothing but the sky and moss. 

" An observer who could look out upon this region in win- 
ter from the car of a balloon would suppose himself to be 
looking out upon a great frozen ocean. Far or near he would 
see nothing to suggest the idea of land, except, perhaps, the 
white silhouette of a barren mountain range in the distance, 
or a dark sinuous line of dwarfed bushes and trailing pine 
stretching across the snowy waste from horizon to horizon, 
and marking the course of a frozen Arctic river. 

"At all seasons and under all circumstances this immense 
border-land of moss tundras is a land of desolation. In 
summer its covering of water-soaked moss struggles into 
life only to be lashed at intervals with pitiless whips of icy 
rain until it is again buried in snow ; and in winter fierce 
gales, known to the Russians as ' poorgasj sweep across it 
from the Arctic Ocean and score its snowy surface into 
long, hard, polished grooves called ' sastrugi.' Through- 
out the entire winter it presents a picture of inexpress- 
ible dreariness and desolation. Even at noon, when the 
sea-like expanse of storm-drifted snow is flushed faintly by 
the red gloomy light of the low-hanging sun, it depresses the 
spirits and chills the imagination with its suggestions of infi- 
nite dreariness and solitude ; but at night, when it ceases to 
be bounded even by the horizon, because the horizon can no 
longer be distinguished when the pale green streamers of 
the aurora begin to sweep back and forth over a dark seg- 
ment of a circle in the north, lighting up the whole white 
world with transitory flashes of ghostly radiance and adding 



mystery to darkness and solitude, then the Siberian tundra 
not only becomes inexpressibly lonely and desolate, but 
takes on a strange, half terrible unearthliness which awes 
and yet fascinates the imagination." 

In the region of the Lower Lena, and to the westward, 
have been found specimens of a huge rhinoceros, and of an 
elephant larger than that now existing popularly called the 
mammoth. It is so named from the Russian mamont, or Tar- 
tar mamma (the earth), because the heathen Yakutes be- 


lieved that this animal always lived in the earth, and worked 
its way around like a mole, however hard the ground was 
frozen. They also believed that it died on coming in contact 
with the outer air. As for the rhinoceros, the natives sup- 


posed that its horn was the talon of a species of gigantic 
bird, regarding which many wonderful stories were told in 
the tents of the Yakuts, the Ostyaks, and the Tunguses. 
Their legends tell of fearful combats between their ancestors 
and this enormous winged animal. 

In the year 1799, a Tunguse found on Tamut Peninsula, 
which juts out into the sea from the delta of the Lena, a 
frozen-in mammoth, and he waited patiently five years for the 
ground to thaw so that the precious tusks could be uncovered. 
The skeleton of this mammoth is now in the Imperial 
Museum at St. Petersburg. Its tusks are remarkable for 
exhibiting a double curve, first inward, then outward, and 
then inward again. They are each nine and one-half feet in 
length (measured along the curve), and the two weigh 360 

The tundra is in summer completely free of snow, but at a 
short distance from the surface the ground is always frozen. 
At some places the earthy strata alternates with strata of 
pure, clear ice, and it is in these frozen strata that the carca- 
ses of mammoths and rhinoceroses are found, " where," says 
Nordenskiold, " they have been protected from putrefaction 
for hundreds of thousands of years." 

The nearer we come to the Polar Sea the more plenty are 
the fossil remains of the mammoth, but nowhere are they 
found in such quantities as on the New Siberian Islands. 
Every year, in early summer, fishermen's boats direct their 
course from the Siberian rivers to the " isle of bones" ; and 
during winter, caravans drawn by dogs take the same route, 
and return with loads of fossil ivory, which finds its way in- 
to China and Europe. 



rriHE head waters of the Upper Lena have their sources 
-i- spread out for 200 miles along the counter slopes of the 
hills that form the western bank of Lake Baikal, and the 
main stream rises within seven miles of that lake, and not 
far from Irkutsk, the capital of Eastern Siberia. At 
Kaclmgskoe, about sixty miles from Lake Baikal, the Lena 
is as wide as the Thames at London, and in spring time its 
deep and clear waters have a very rapid current. The next 
station after Kachugskoe is Vercholensk, a town of 1,000 

After flowing 500 miles further through a hilly country, 
with high banks always on one and sometimes on both sides, 
on which are thirty-five post-stations and more villages, the 
river passes Kirensk, the chief town of the section. Here 
cultivation of the ground practically ceases, except for vege- 
tables. At this point, too, the river receives on its right the 
Kirenga, which has run nearly as long a course as the Lena. 
The stream thus enlarged now flows on for 300 miles to 
Yitimck, where it is joined by its second great tributary, the 
Yitim, from the mountains east -of Lake Baikal. Another 
stretch of 460 miles, through a country still hilly, but with 
villages less frequent, brings the traveler to Olekminsk, a town 
of 500 inhabitants, where the Lena receives from the south 
the Olekma, which rises near the Amoor River. It then con- 
tinues on for 400 miles through a sparsely-populated district 
till it reaches Yakutsk, where it is four miles?, wide in sum- 
mer, and two and one-half in winter. At this place it is 
usually frozen over about the first of October, and not free 




from ice till near June. The course of the river thus far 
has been northeasterly. 

Nearly one hundred years ago, John Ledyard, the great 
American traveler of that period, after walking from London 
to St. Petersburg, through Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and 
Finland, made his way to Irkutsk, where he became ac- 
quainted with a Swedish officer. > On the 26th of August, 
1787, the two travelers embarked on the Upper Lena in a 


small boat, at a point 150 miles distant from Irkutsk, with 
the intention of floating down with its current 1,400 miles to 
Yakutsk just as Ledyard, in his college days, had floated 
down the Connecticut River in a small canoe, from Hanover, 
N. IL, to Hartford. 

When they started, says Sparks, there had been a hard 
frost, and the forest trees had begun to drop their foliage 
and put on their garb of winter. The stream was at first no 
more than twenty yards broad, with here and there gentle 
rapids, and high, rugged mountains on each side. They 
were carried along from 80 to 100 miles a day, the river 
gradually increasing in size, and the mountain scenery put- 


ting on an infinite variety of forms, alternating sublime and 
picturesque, bold and fantastic, with craggy rocks and jutting 
headlands, bearing on their brows the verdure of pines, firs, 
larches, and other evergreens and Alpine shrubs. 

All the way to Yakutsk the river was studded with islands 
which added to the romantic appearance of the scenery. The 
weather was growing cold, and heavy fogs hung about the 
river till a late hour in the morning. They daily passed 
small towns and villages, and went ashore for provisions as 
occasion required. The following are extracts from Led- 
yard's journal : 

" August 80th. We stopped at a village this morning to 
procure a few stores. They killed for us a sheep, gave us 
three quarts of milk, two loaves of bread, cakes with carrots 
and radishes baked in them, onions, one dozen of fresh and 
two dozen of salted fish, straw and bark to mend the cover- 
ing of our boat, and all for the value of about fourteen pence 
sterling. The poor creatures brought us the straw, to show 
us how their grain was blasted by the cruel frost, although 
it had been reaped before the 21st of August. 

" September 4th. Arrived at the town of Keringar at day- 
light, and staid with the commandant till noon, and was 
treated very hospitably. Some merchants sent us stores. It 
is the custom here, if they hear of the arrival of a foreigner, 
to load him with their little services. It is almost im- 
possible to pass a town of any kind without being arrested 
by them. They have the earnestness of hospitality ; they 
crowd their tables with everything they have to eat and 
drink, and, not content with that, they fill your wallets. I 
wish I could think them as honest as they are hospitable. 
The reason why the commandant did not show his wife was 
because he was jealous of her. I have observed this to be a 
prevailing passion here." 

On the 18th of September, Ledyard arrived at Yakutsk, 
after a voyage of twenty-two days, during which he had 
passed from a summer climate to one of vigorous cold. 
When he left Irkutsk it was just in the midst of harvest 



time, and the reapers were in the fields ; but when he entered 
Yakutsk the snow was six inches deep, and the boys were 
whipping their tops on the ice. He debarked from his batteau 
two miles above the town, and there mounted a sledge, 
drawn by an ox, which had a Yakute on his back, and was 
guided by a cord passing through the cartilage of his nose. 


At Yakutsk the Lena makes a bend and runs due north, 
receiving on its right, 100 miles below Yakutsk, one of its 
largest tributaries, the Aldan, which rises in the Stanovoi 
range, bordering on the Sea of Okhotsk. Yakutsk is only 
270 feet above the sea, and the current, henceforth, is slug- 
gish. About fifty miles further the Lena receives its largest 
tributary from the left, the Vitui, and then proceeds majesti- 
cally through a flat country, with an enormous body of 
water, to the Arctic Ocean, into which it enters among a 
delta of barren islands formed of the debris brought down by 
the river. In times of flood, uprooted trees and driftwood 


are swept down in vast quantities, portions of which are left 
upon the labyrinth of islands which form the delta, and the 
remainder are carried into the Polar Sea, to be drifted away 
with the current which flows from east to west along the 
Siberian coast. 

The delta of the Lena has a frontage on the sea, from the 
eastern channel around to the western channel, of nearly 200 
miles, and, according to Latkin, it is crossed by seven great 
arms. The westernmost arm is called Anatartisch, and it 
debouches into the sea at a cape fifty-eight feet high, named 
Ice Cape. Next comes the river arm Bjelkoj ; then Tumat, at 
whose mouth a landmark erected by Laptev in 1739 is still 
in existence. Then come the other three main arms, 
Kychistach, Trofimov, and Kischlach, and finally the very 
broad east-most arm, Bychov, which is fouled by shoals. The 
river divides into these several arms at a point distant about 
100 miles from the sea. 

The total length of the Lena is about 2,500 miles, with a 
fall of 3,000 feet. Its waters are drained from an area of 
800,000 square miles, and the river, with its numerous afflu- 
ents, occupies an area, of over 40,000 square miles. 

North of Yakutsk, in the valley of the Lower Lena, there 
are no towns, but only a few miserable settlements or villages, 
hundreds of miles apart, and scattering huts, in which a com- 
paratively few natives ^ Yakuts, Tunguses, and Yukaghirs 
hibernate through the long winter, and wait for the return 
of summer, when they can renew their hard-earned supplies 
of provisions by hunting and fishing. There are also a few 
unhappy exiles, banished mostly for their crimes, and some 
Russians. Bulun, Schigansk, and Kumak Surka are the best 
known of the settlements. Tas Ary is on the delta, and is 
the most northern fixed dwelling-place on this part of the 
coast ; it is inhabited entirely by Tunguses. Bulun is about 
100 miles further south, and boasts of a priest and two Crown 

Between Bulun and Yakutsk are stations at intervals, con- 
structed of logs. Lieutenant Danenhower describes one of 


these stations, only seventeen miles from Yakutsk, as a 
small building of only one room, with a cow-shed attached. 
When the travelers arrived there were about twenty people 
in the room, and also the carcass of a horse which had been 
killed for food, and brought into the room to thaw out. 

The shores of the Siberian tundra witnessed a wonderful 
sight in 1878, when, for the first time in the history of tho 
world, two steam vessels ploughed their way from Europe 
around Cape Chelyuskin. A brief account of the naviga- 
tion of the Lena by one of these vessels will be of interest, 
when taken in connection with events which transpired along 
the river three years afterward. 

When Nordenskiold made his famous Northeast Passage, 
his ship, the Vega, was accompanied as far as the mouth of 
the Lena by a small steamer of the same name, owned by 
Mr. A. Sibiriakoff, and commanded by Captain Johanne- 
sen. Leaving Tromsoe, Norway, July 21st, 1878, they 
arrived at the mouth of the Yenisei, August 6th, and on the 
18th were anchored in a splendid harbor situated between 
Taimyr Island and the main-land. The ground was free of 
snow, and covered with a gray-green vegetation consisting of 
grasses, mosses, and lichens. 

On the 19th the vessels continued their course along the 
coast of the Chelyuskin Peninsula, through a dense fog, 
which occasionally lightened up so that the contour of the 
land could be distinguished. They steamed past an exten- 
sive field of unbroken ice occupying a bay on the western side 
of the peninsula, and at length an ice-free promontory glinted 
out through the fog in the northeast. In a short time the 
Vega and Lena were anchored in a little bay, open to the 
north and ice-free, that cuts the promontory in two. Flags 
were hoisted and a salute fired. The first object of the voy- 
age had been attained ; the northernmost point of the old 
world, variously called Cape Chelyuskin, Cape Severo, and 
Northeast Cape, had been rounded by vessels for the first 

The air had cleared, and the cape lay before them lighted 


up by the sun and free from snow. A large Polar bear was 
seen parading the beach, with eyes and nose turned toward 
the bay to inspect the new arrival ; frightened by their salute, 
it took to flight and escaped the balls of the Swedes. 

At noon on the 20th the vessels sailed on, meeting with 
much drift-ice, and the floes soon increased in size till pro- 
gress through them was almost impossible. Open water was 
again reached on the 23d, and with a fresh breeze the vessels 
moved rapidly along without the aid of steam, over a perfectly 
Smooth sea. High, picturesque mountains were seen inland. 
On arriving at the mouth of the Lena, a favorable wind and 
an open sea induced Nordenskiold to continue on without 
stopping, and the Vega and the Lena accordingly parted on 
the night of August 27th the former to continue its east- 
ward course ; the latter to ascend the Lena. 

Before the Lena left Tromsoe, the agent of the owner 
entered into a formal contract with a Yakut pilot, who agreed 
to meet the vessel at the north point of the delta and take it 
up the river to Yakutsk. He was to travel to the Arctic 
Ocean in May, and to erect on some eminence near the shore 
of Tumat Island a signal-tower of drift-wood or earth, like a 
Cossack mound, not lower than seven feet. On this founda- 
tion he was to erect a pyramidal frame of three or more 
thick logs, on the top of which was to be fixed a flag-staff 
with a pulley-block for a flag, which was to be hoisted at least 
42 feet from the ground. He was to guard the landmark 
thus erected until the river froze in the autumn, and when 
the nights became dark he was to light fires on the land and 
hang lanterns to the flag-staff. 

It was also provided in the contract, that during his whole 
term of service the pilot, and his interpreter, "must be 
always sober (never intoxicated), behave faithfully and 
courteously, and punctually comply with the captain's orders." 
He was to receive as pay for all these services and self-deni- 
als the sum of 900 roubles, one-third of which was to be paid 
in advance. 

The contract had been entered into with the friendly co- 


operation of the Governor and Bishop of Yakutsk, who were 
much interested in the proposed voyage. But notwithstand- 
ing all this, the affair was attended with no better success 
than that the pilot celebrated the receipt of the large sum of 
money by getting thoroughly intoxicated ; and while in that 
state he broke one of the bones of the fore-arm, and was 
unable to start for the appointed rendezvous. 

After the Lena had parted with the Vega she steamed 
toward land, and came the same day to the northernmost 
cape of the Lena delta, where the pilot's landmark was to 
have been erected ; but there was no pilot there, and no flag- 
staff was visible. Johannesen then sailed westward. along 
the shore, but as his search in this direction was not attended 
with success, he turned back to the first-mentioned place and 
landed there. On the shore stood a very old hut, already 
completely filled with earth. It probably dated from some 
of the expeditions which visited the region in the beginning 
of the century. Wild reindeer were seen in large numbers. 

Left thus to his own resources, Captain Johannesen 
steamed again to the westward, as near to the land as pos- 
sible, but as the water became shallower and shallower he 
determined to search for the broad easternmost arm of the 
river (named Bychov), and on the 1st of September he 
anchored ill a bay on the main-land in the neighborhood of 
its mouth. 

On the 3d of September, Johannesen continued his course 
up the river, but the Lena soon got aground, and it was sev- 
eral hours before the water rose enough so it could be got 
off. While the vessel was aground, nine Tunguses came on 
board. They paddled small boats,which were made of a single 
log of soft wood, hollowed out, and could just carry a man 
each. Johannesen endeavored in vain to induce some of the 
Tunguses to pilot the steamer. He did not succeed in 
explaining his wish to them, notwithstanding all the attempts 
of the Russian interpreter a proof of the slight contact 
these Tunguses had had with the rulers of Siberia, and also 


of the difficulty and unwillingness with which the savage 
learns the language of the civilized nations. 

The sailing through the delta was rendered difficult by the 
maps, which were made 140 years ago, being now useless ; 
for the delta has undergone great alterations since then. 
Where at that time there were sand-banks, there are now 
large islands, overgrown with wood and grass. At other 
places, again, whole islands have been washed away by the 
river. It was not until the 7th September that the delta 
was finally passed and the Lena steamed in the river proper, 
where the fair-way became considerably better. Johannesen 
says, in his account of the voyage, that it is improbable that 
any of the western arms of the Lena are of importance ; 
partly because the mass of water which flows in an easterly 
direction is very considerable in comparison with the whole 
quantity of water in the river ; partly because the western 
and northern arms, which Johannesen visited, contained 
only salt water, while the water in the eastern arm was com- 
pletely free from any salt taste. 

On the 8th, early in the morning, the first fixed dwelling- 
place on the Lena, Tas-Ary, was reached. Here the voya- 
gers landed to get information about the fair-way, but could 
not enter into communication with the natives because thej 
were Tunguses. In the afternoon of the same day they came 
to another river village, Bulun. Impatient to proceed, and 
supposing that it also was inhabited wholly by " Asiatics " (a 
common name used in Siberia for all the native races), Jo- 
hannesen intended to pass it without stopping. But when 
the inhabitants saw the steamer, they welcomed it with a 
salute from all the guns that could be got hold of in haste. 
The Lena then anchored. Two Crown officials and a priest 
came on board, and the latter performed a thanksgiving 

"Even at that remote spot," says Nordenskiold, "on the 
border of the tundra, the Asiatic comprehended very well 
the importance of vessels from the great oceans being able 
to reach the large rivers of Siberia. I. too, had a proof of 



this in the year 1875. While still rowing up the river in my 
own Nordland boat, with two scientific men and three hunt- 
ers, before we got up with the steamer Alexander we landed 
among others, at a place where a number of Dolgans were 
collected. When they understood clearly that we had come 
to them, not as brandy sellers or fish-buyers from the south, 
but from the north, from the ocean, they went into complete 


ecstacies. We were exposed to unpleasant embraces from 
our skin-clad admirers, and finally one of us had the misfor- 
tune to get a bath in the river, in the course of an attempt 
which the Dolgans in their excitement made to carry him 
almost with violence to the boat, which was lying in the shal- 
low water some distance from the shore. At Dudino, also, 
the priests living there held a thanksgiving service for our 
happy arrival thither. Two of them said mass, while the 
lerk, clad in a sheepskin caftan reaching to his feet, zeal- 


ously and devoutly swung an immense censer. The odor 
from it was at first not particularly pleasant, but it soon be- 
came so strong and disagreeable that I, who had my place in 
front of the audience, was like to choke, though the ceremony 
was performed in the open air. Soon the clerk was com- 
pletely concealed in a dense cloud of smoke, and it was now 
observed that his skin cloak had been set fire to at the same 
time as the incense. The service, however, was not inter- 
rupted by this incident, but the fire was- merely extinguished 
by a bucket of water being thrown, to the amusement of all, 
over the clerk." , 

At nine in the morning the Lena continued her voyage up 
the river, with the priest and the Crown officials on board, 
but they had soon to be landed, because in their joy they had 
become dead drunk. On the 13th, Schigansk was reached, 
and samples of the coal found there were taken on board. 
On the 21st the Lena reached Yakutsk. The first vessel 
which, coming from the ocean, reached the heart of Siberia, 
was received with great good-will and hospitality, both by 
the authorities and the common people. Johannessen con- 
tinued his voyage up the river until, on the 8th of Octo- 
ber, he came to the village Njaskaja. Here he turned back to 
Yakutsk, and laid up the steamer in winter-quarters a little 
to the south of that town. 



WHEN the Jeannette's crew was retreating over tho 
ice towards the New Siberian Islands, after the loss 
of their ship, Lieutenant Danenhower suffered severely from 
trouble with his eyes, and in consequence thereof was re- 
lieved from duty. Engineer Melville succeeded him as com- 
mander of the whale-boat party, and received orders from 
Lieutenant DeLong as follows : 

BENNETT ISLAND, LAT. 76.38, LON. 148.20 E., 

August 5th, 1881. 

SIR We shall leave this island to-morrow, steering a 
course (over ice or through water as the case may be) south 
magnetic. In the event of our embarking in our boats at 
any time after the start, you are hereby ordered to take com- 
mand of the whale-boat until such time as I relieve you from 
that duty or assign you to some other. Every person under 
my command at the time who may be embarked in that boat 
at any time is under your charge and subject to your orders, 
and you are to exercise all care and diligence for their pre- 
servation and the safety of the boat. You will under all 
circumstances keep close to the boat in which I shall em- 
bark; but if unfortunately we become separated you will 
make the best of your way south until you make the coast 
of Siberia, and follow it along to the westward as far as the 
Lena River. This river is the destination of our party, and 
without delay you will, in case of separation, ascend the Le- 
na to a Russian settlement from which you can communicate 
o? be forwarded with your party tc some place of security 



and easy access. If the boat in which I embark is sep- 
arated from the other boats, you will at once place yourself 
under the orders of Lieutenant C. W. Chipp, and so long as 
you remain in his company obey such orders as he may give 

Very respectfully, 

Lieutenant U. S. Navy, Commanding Arctic Expedition. 

Mr. Melville's personal narrative, made up from his letters 
and reports to the Secretary of the Navy, describes the 
voyage and wreck of the Jeannette, and subsequent events, 
as follows : 

We arrived in the harbor of Lutke, Bay of St. Lawrence, 
on the 25th of August, and on the 27th completed our supply 
of stores from the schooner, and sailed for the Arctic Ocean, 
to visit Kolyutschin Bay to search for Nordenskiold, and then 
to continue our voyage of discovery. We arrived at Kolyuts- 
chin Bay on August 31st, and having found satisfactory 
proof of the safety of Nordenskiold we continued our voyage 
to the northward. 

On September 3d we came up with the ice, and on the 4th 
sighted Herald Island. We continued to work through the 
ice until the 6th of September, when we became finally fixed 
in the ice. On September 13th an attempt was made to land 
on Herald Island, but it was unsuccessful, and the traveling 
party returned to the ship on the 14th. We continued to 
drift with the ice toward the northwest, and on October 21st 
sighted Wrangel Land, bearing south. We continued fast 
in close-packed ice until November 25th, when, after several 
days' severe crushing of the ice and nipping of the ship, she 
was forced into open water, and drifted northwest without 
control until the evening of the same day, when we brought 
up against a solid floe piece and made fast, where we again 
froze in, and remained until the vessel was eventually de- 

On January 19th, after several days' anxiety from the 
crushing strain of the ice on the ship and the noise made by 



the rising and bursting of the floe, we finally discovered that 
the ship, after receiving several severe shocks, was leaking 
badly. Steam was got on the engine boilers, and both steam 
and hand pumps were worked day and night until the ship 


was partially repaired. Stores were hoisted out of the hold, 
and all preparations made to make good our retreat to 
Wrangel Land if forced to abandon the ship. We continued 
to drift northwest, and steam was necessary to pump the ship 
until May 18, 1880. 

In the meantime a water-tight bulk-head had been built in- 
to the forward part of the ship, and the spaces between the 
ship's frames filled in with meal, tallow, ashes, and oakum 
to keep out the water. After May 18th, 1880, the water was 
pumped out night and day by hand pump or windmill pump 
until the ship was destroyed. 

Long and dreary months of close confinement to the ship, 
and anxiety for her safety continued until May 17th, 1881, 
when we were enlivened by our first sight of land since 
March, 1880, when we lost sight of Wrangel Land; and as 


no land was laid down in any chart in our possession, we 
concluded it to be a new island. The island was named 
Jeannette Island, though not landed upon. Its position was 
latitude 76 deg. 47 min. north, longitude 158 deg. 56 min. 

The ship drifted rapidly northwest, and on the 24th of 
May a new land was discovered, and as we were drifting 
toward it no effort was made at the time to land upon it. 
The ige in the vicinity of the ship was much broken up and 
thrown into chaotic masses in all directions and in all forms 
imaginable. Great anxiety was now felt for the safety of 
the ship, as the whole ice-field, pack and floe, seemed in 
rapid motion. We gradually approached the island until 
the 1st of June, when a party, consisting of C. E. Melville 
and five men, with a boat mounted on a McClintock sled 
drawn by fifteen dogs, and equipped with guns, ammunition, 
tent, and provisions for seven days, left the ship to make a 
landing, which was accomplished on the evening of June 3d. 
We hoisted the national standard, and took possession of the 
island in the name of the United States of America, naming 
it Henrietta Island. It is situated in latitude 77 deg. 8 min. 
north, and longitude 157 deg. 43 min. east. It is high, 
mountainous, and of volcanic origin, and is covered by a per- 
petual dome of ice and snow. The traveling party returned 
to the ship on June 6th. 

The ship and ice continued to drift to the west and north- 
west, the whole ice-field being broken up in all directions. 
On the night of June 10th several severe shocks were felt, 
and the ship was found to have raised several inches in her 
bed There was evidence of an approachjng break-up of our 
friendly floe-piece. At ten minutes past twelve A. M., June 
llth, the ice suddenly opened alongside the ship, completely 
freeing her, and she floated on an even keel for the first time 
in many months. 

The ice continued in motion, but no serious injury oc- 
curred to the ship until the morning of the 12th, when the 
ice commenced to pack together, bringing a tremendous 


strain on the ship, heeling her over to starboard, and forcing 
the deck-seams open. This continued during the day at in- 
tervals until evening, when it was evident the ship could not 
much longer hold together. The boats were lowered on the 
ice, and provisions, arms, tents, alcohol, sledges, and all nec- 
essary equipment for a retreat securely placed on the floe. 
By six P. M. the ship had entirely filled with water, and lay 
over at an angle of about twenty-two degrees, being kept 
from sinking by the opposing edges of the floe. On the 
morning of the 13th of June, about 4 o'clock, the ice opened 
and the ship went down, with colors flying at the masthead. 

We remained six days on the ice organizing our system 
and line of march south, during which time we had resumed 
a rapid drift to the northwest. On June 24th, having 
marched south one week and obtained observation for posi- 
tion, we found we had drifted to latitude 77 deg. 42 min. 
north a loss of twenty-four miles northwest. 

We continued our march south and west, and finally 
landed on Bennett Island, July 29th. Hoisted the national 
flag and took possession of the island. It is located in north 
latitude 76 deg. 38 min., east longitude 150 deg. 30 min. 
We traversed the eastern end of the island. Left it 
August 6th, and sighted the north side of Thaddeus (Fad- 
deyev) Island, one of the New Siberia group, and remained 
there ten days ice-bound. Landed on the south side of Thad- 
deus Island August 31st. Left south end of Ixotelnoi Island 
September 6th. Camped in sight of Stolbovoi Island Septem- 
ber 7th. Landed on Semenoffski Island September 10th. 

We left Semenoffski Island, September 12th, in three boats 
for Barkin, at the Lena's mouth. Separated by a gale of 
wind the same night. Made the shoals off Barkin on the 
morning of September 14th. Made eastern entrance of Le- 
na River September 16th, and camped in a vacant hut. 
Made two days' journey, and on the 19th fell in with three 
natives, who would not pilot us to a village. 

On the 20th I tried to proceed up the river, but found the 


shoals too difficult, and was compelled to return to the house 
where we slept on the 19th. On returning to the house we found 
Bushielle Koolgiak, who voluntarily offered to pilot me to 
Bulun, but after three days' hard work stopped at the house 
of Spiridon. Next day set out, and brought up at the house 
of Nicoli Chagre. The ice was forming in the river, and the 
natives informed me that we could not proceed south until 
the sledding season commenced, which would be in about 
fifteen days. 

On the next day I made an effort to get up the river with 
three native pilots, but after grounding very often the pilots 
insisted on returning, and the condition of the party did not 
warrant me in advancing, for most of us were very much 
exhausted, were suffering from frozen feet and legs, and lack 
of food, the majority being unable to walk. The natives 
gave us quarters, and a limited quantity of fish and decayed 

On October 8th a Russian exile, named Koosmah Ere- 
maoff, discovered us accidentally. He gave us salt and all 
the food his scanty supply allowed, and agreed to go to Bu- 
lun to inform the commandant of that place of our presence 
and distressed condition, and obtain food and transporta- 

Koosmah started for Bulun October 16th, and took 
Chagre with him, and was to have returned in five days ; but 
he did not return until the evening of October 29th, when he 
brought a small supply of food and a letter from Baishoff, 
Commandant of Bulun, who was to be at Bykoff on Novem- 
ber 1st, with reindeer and sleds to carry the whole party to 
Bulun. Koosmah also brought a letter from two of the 
first cutter's crew, whom Tie met at Kumak Surka in charge 
of three natives, who were transporting them to Bulun. 
This letter was the first intelligence I had of the first cutter ; 
the following is a copy : 


Arctic steamer Jeannette lost on the llth of June ; 
landed on Siberia the 25th of September, or thereabouts ; 


want assistance to go for the captain and doctor and nine 
other men. [Signed] 


Louis P. NOROS, 

Seamen U. S. N. 

Reply in haste ; want food and clothing." 

I immediately started with dog-sleds for Bulun, October 
30th, hoping to intercept the commandant on the way; but 
he had reindeer, and traveled by a different route. Master 
John W. Danenhower, having recovered the use of his eyes, 
had been placed in charge of my party, with orders to follow 
me to Bulun as soon as transportation could be obtained. 

I arrived at Bulun at five P. M., November 2d, and found 
the two men in a very exhausted condition. From them I 
learned the following particulars of what transpired subse- 
quent to October 1st, the date of the latest of Lieutenant 
DeLong's records. 

The party (DeLong's) crossed the Lena to the west bank 
on October 1st, at a summer hunting-lodge called Usterda. 
The toes of seaman H. H. Erickson having been amputated, 
he was placed upon an improvised sled, which was hauled by 
his comrades, several of whom were hardly able to walk, 
owing to frozen feet and legs. They proceeded south slowly 
for two days, and crossed a small branch of the Lena, which 
they had to wade. On October 6th they stopped at a small 
hut, where Erickson died the next day, and was buried in the 

By this time they were in a deplorable condition, having 
eaten their last dog-meat, and being on an allowance of three 
ounces of alcohol per man per day. They proceeded south 
until October 9th, when Lieutenant DeLong decided to send 
two men ahead to seek relief. 

The feet of Nindermann and Noros were better than those 
of the others, and they were supplied with blankets and a 
Remington rifle (forty rounds of ammunition), and six 
ounces of alcohol, which was a per capita division of the 
whole stock of the latter. They were ordered to proceed 


south on the west bank of the Lena, and to send relief if 
found, being told that the others would follow their foot- 
steps. When the two men started, the party was at a halt 
on the north bank of a large western branch of the Lena. 
The two men ascended that branch about five miles to make 
a crossing, and then traveled southeast to a hut situated on 
the Lena bank. After fourteen days of intense suffering 
and slow progress they reached Bulcour, and were found by 
three natives, who supplied them with food and transported 
them to Bulun by deer-sleds, arriving at that place October 

The commandant of Bulun took good care of Nindermann 
and Noros, but was unable to understand them. He gave 
them material, and they wrote a long dispatch addressed to 
the American Minister at St. Petersburg, which the com- 
mandant took with him to Bykoif. Mr. Danenhower imme- 
diately sent it to me by special courier, together with an 
order from the commandant to a subordinate at Bulun to 
furnish me with an outfit, and appointing Kumak Surka as a 
rendezvous, at which place I met him and the remainder of 
my party on November 5th. After a consultation, I ordered 
Mr. Danenhower to proceed south with all the party except 
James H. Bartlett, first-class fireman, who was to remain 
at Bulun to communicate with me. 

I started north on that evening, November 5th, to the 
relief of Lieutenant DeLoug, having with me two natives 
and two dog-trains, with provisions for ten days. Stopped 
at Kumak Surka, November 5th. Traveled fifty versts 
November 6th, and reached Bulcour.* Found two deserted 
houses and traces of the two men, Nindermann and Noros. 
Weather-bound November 7th ; traveled sixty-five versts on 
November 8th ; examined small hut where the two men had 
slept, and where a number of sleds were stowed. Slept in 
snow-bank that night. November 9th, travelled eighty-five 

* A verst is two-thirds of a mile. 


versts, visiting the huts at the two crosses, the shoal at Asto- 
lira, and reaching Mot Vai after midnight. 

The next morning I found in the hut a waist-belt that 
had been made on board the Jeannette, and there were good 
indications that one or two of Lieutenant DeLong's party 
had slept in the hut. On November 10th, our provisions 
running short, I decided to go to Upper Bulun, a distance of 
120 versts to the northwest, in order to renew them. 
Reached Upper Bulun about midnight on the llth, having 
stopped at the deserted hunting-station of Oath Conta on the 
llth, and also having visited eight huts on the route. Con- 
siderable stale fish and deer-meat were found at Oath Conta, 
but no signs of it or the huts having been visited by De- 
Long's party. 

On my arrival at Upper Bulun the natives brought in 
Lieutenant DeLong's record, dated October 1st, and I learned 
that others had been found. I sent to a neighboring village 
for them, and the next morning records dated September 
22d and 26th, with a Winchester rifle, were brought to me. 
On November 12th, we were weather-bound. The only pro- 
visions to be obtained were deer-meat and fish, there being a 
scarcity of the latter, the natives having to send 250 versts 
for their own supply. 

On November 13th I obtained four days' supply of fish, 
and with fresh dog-teams and natives started for Ballock, a 
hut in which record No. 3 and the Winchester rifle were 
found. Slept there that night ; found both huts filled with 
snow. On November 14th I followed the east bank of the 
Lena to the coast ; followed the coast about three miles to 
the east, and found the cache that had been made by Lieu- 
tenant DeLong on September 19th, 1881. I made a thorough 
search and gathered up everything. The sleighs being too 
heavily laden to carry it, I searched for the boat both east 
and west of the cache for a distance of five miles each way, 
and to a distance of one mile and a half off shore, and saw 
no signs of it. The ice was very much broken, and was 
shoved up in masses to within twenty-five feet of the cache. 


I returned about midnight to Ballock, and to Upper Bulun 
the next day, November 15th, during a heavy storm. Was 
obliged to wait there two days to rest and feed the dogs. 
During this time I overhauled everything obtained in the 
cache, and the following is a correct list, viz. : 

One box containing refuse medical stores; one box of 
small articles (mess-gear); one box for navigation books 
and sextant ; one box chronometer ; two tin cases containing 
four log-books ; two cook-stoves ; two pieces of rope ; seven 
old sleeping-bags, condemned ; one lot of old clothing (worn 
out) ; one Winchester rifle ; one repeating rifle (both bro- 
ken) ; one boat-breaker ; one boat-bucket ; one box speci- 
mens from Bennett Island. 

Some of these articles were left at Upper Bulun, and the 
others were taken to Yakutsk. There was no list of articles 
found in the cache, but record No. 1 was found in the navi- 

On November 17th I left Upper Bulun with fish for ten 
days' food, and with three dog-teams driven by three natives. 
I visited the place at which DeLong's party crossed the 
Lena, and traced the party to Sisteraneck, from which place 
I wished to search for the hut in which Erickson died ; but 
there was a storm raging, and the natives insisted on return- 
ing to either Bulun or Upper Buluri, because there was a 
lack of food and the dogs refused to work. We had only 
raw frozen fish to eat, so I determined to return to Bulun, 
and arrived there November 27th, in a nearly exhausted 
condition feet, hands, legs and face badly frost-bitten 
having been ten days in a continuous storm, remaining two 
nights and one day in one hole in a snow-bank without shel- 
ter of any kind. 

From my knowledge of the country, and from the evidence 
of Noros and Nindermann, I am convinced that Lieutenant 
DcLong and party are somewhere to the westward of the 
Lena, and between Sisteraneck and Bulcour, which are sep- 
arated by an extent of about one hundred and fifty versts of 
a barren and desolate region, devoid of sustenance. To 


search that region a large force will be required, with proper 
authority from the Russian officials. I therefore came to 
this place to communicate with the United States, and imme- 
diately, with the aid of the authorities, to organize searching 

In the meantime the commandant of Bulun is searching 
with all the force his small town affords. The governor of 
this province has sent a general order throughout the entire 
region, from the Lena to Kolyma, to search for and render 
assistance to both parties that are missing. I am now com- 
pleting my arrangements, and will start north in a few dayeu 
The Governor-General, G. Tschernieff, is rendering ever/ 
assistance in his power. 

The general health of the whole party is excellent, but Mr. 
Danenhower's eyes are badly affected. John Cole, seaman, 
suffers from aberration of the mind, and Herbert Leach, sea- 
man, from frozen toe. To-morrow, Mr. Danenhower, with 
nine men, will proceed to Irkutsk and thence to the Atlantic 

I will keep James H. Bartlett, first-class fireman, and W. 
F. C. Nindermann, seaman, with me. Mr. Danenhower will 
carry to the United States the records and the articles found 
in the cache. 

In conclusion, I call the attention of the department to the 
upright and manly conduct of Master J. W. Danenhower, who 
cheerfully rendered the most valuable assistance under the 
most trying circumstances, and whose professional knowl- 
edge I availed myself of on all occasions. We were in per- 
fect accord at all times, although an unfortunate circum- 
stance deprived him of his legitimate command. 

The conduct of first-class fireman James H. Bartlett is 
worthy of special notice. His superior intelligence, cheerful 
disposition and energy are highly commendable. Also sea- 
man Herbert Leach, who was at the helm for eleven hours in 
the gale, during which time his feet and legs were badl/ 


frozen ; after which he worked manfully at the oars without 
a murmur, enduring the most intense pain. 
Yours respectfully, GEORGE W. MELVILLE, 

Passed Assistant Engineer, United States Navy. 

Before leaving Bulun for Yakutsk in December, 1881, Mr. 
Melville gave Gregory M. Baishoff, the Russian commandant 
at Bulun, verbal directions to commence at once a search for 
the missing seamen ; and to stimulate the natives, a reward 
was offered for the recovery of the people, books and papers. 
While on his way to Yakutsk he also wrote to the command- 
ant a letter of instructions, which was translated by an exile 
and conveyed to Bulun. The following is a copy thereof : 

It is my desire and the wish of the government of the 
United States of America, and of the projectors of the 
American expedition, that a diligent and constant search be 
made for my missing comrades of both boats. Lieutenant 
DeLong and his party, consisting of twelve persons, will be 
found near the west bank of the Lena River. 

They are south of the small hunting-station which is 
west of the house known among the Yakuts as Qu Vina. 
They could not possibly have marched as far south as Bul- 
com. Therefore, be they dead or alive, they are between Qu 
Vina and Bulcour. I have already traveled over this ground, 
but I followed the river bank. Therefore, it is necessary 
that a more careful search be made on the high ground back 
from the river for a short distance, as well as along the river 

I examined many huts and small houses, but could not 
possibly examine all of them. Therefore it is necessary that 
all every house, large or small be examined for books and 
papers or the persons of the party. Men without food and 
with but little clothing would naturally seek shelter in huts 
along the line of march, and if exhausted, might be in one 
of the huts. 

They would leave their books and papers in a hut if 
unable to carry them further. If they carried their books 


and papers south of that section of the country between Mot 
Vai and Bulcour, they will be found piled up in a heap, and 
some prominent object erected near them to attract the atten- 
tion of searching parties. A mast of wood or pile of wood 
would be erected near them, if not on top of them. In case 
books and papers are found, they are to be sent to the Amer- 
ican minister resident at St. Petersburg. If they are found 
in time, and can be forwarded to me before I leave Russia, 
forward them to me. 

The persons of the dead I wish to have carried to a cen- 
tral position most convenient of access to Bulun, all placed 
inside of a small house, arranged side by side for future 
recognition, the hut then securely closed and banked up with 
enow or earth, and to remain so until a proper person arrives 
from America to make final disposition of the bodies. In 
banking up the hut, have it done in such a manner that ani- 
mals cannot get in to destroy the bodies. 

Search for the small boat containing eight persons 
should be made from the west mouth of the Lena to and be- 
yond the east mouth of the Yana River. After the separa- 
tion of the three boats no information has been received con- 
cerning the small boat, but as all three boats were destined 
to Barkin and then to go to the mouth of the Lena River, it 
is natural to suppose that Lieutenant Chipp directed his boat 
to Barkin if he managed to weather the gale. But if from 
any cause he could not find a Lena mouth, he would con- 
tinue along the coast from Barkin west for a north mouth of 
the Lena, or south for an eastern entrance or mouth of the 
Lena River. If still unsuccessful in getting into the Lena 
River he might, from stress of weather or other cause, be 
forced along the coast toward the Yana River. 

Diligent and constant search is to commence at once, 
and to continue till the people, books and papers are found, 
care being taken that a vigilant and careful examination of 
that section of the country where Lieutenant DeLong and his 
party are known to be is made in early spring-time, when 
the snow begins to leave the ground, and before the spring 



floods commence to overflow the river banks. One or more 
American officers will, in all probability, be in Bulun in time 
to assist in the search ; but the search mentioned in these 
instructions is to be carried on independently of any other 
party, and to be entirely under the control of the competent 
authority of Russia. 




T1HE records written by Lieutenant DeLong, which Mr. 
Melville secured during his November search, extend 
over a period of twelve days, and the last one was written 
eight days before Nindermann and Noros were sent ahead for 
assistance. The terrible story of hardships and privation 
told by these records, the statements of Nindermann and 
Noros as to the condition of the party eight days after the 
last record was written, and his own fearful experiences 
while searching for his comrades, must have extinguished 
in Melville's mind all hope that they would ever be rescued 
alive unless they had found food and shelter in some native 



[This record was found in the cache at the landing-place 
of the first cutter, by Mr. Melville, on the 14th day of 
November, 1881.] 

LENA DELTA, Monday, Sept. 19th, 1881. ) 
The following-named fourteen persons belonging to the 
Jeannette, which was sunk by the ice on June 12th, 1881 , in 
latitude north 77 deg. 15 min., longitude 155 deg., landed 
here on the evening of the 17th inst., and will proceed on 
foot this afternoon to try to reach a settlement on the Lena 

Lieutenant Commanding. 

1. Lieutenant DELONG. 6. AH SAM. 11. W. LEE. 

2. Surgeon AMBLER. 7. ALEXY. 12. N. IVERSOH. 

3. Mr. COLLINS. 8. H. H. EBICKBOX. 13. L. P. NoRoa, 

fc A. GORTB. 10. G. H. Bom 



Whoever finds this paper is requested to forward it to 
the Secretary of the Navy, with a note of the time and place 
at which found. 

[Copies of the above in six languages followed.] 
A record was left about one-half mile north of the south- 
ern end of Semenoffski Island, buried under a stake. The 
thirty-three persons composing the officers and crew of the 
Jeannette left that island in three boats on the morning 
of the 12th inst. (one week ago). That same night we were 
separated in a gale of wind, and have seen nothing of them 
since. Orders had been given, in the event of such an acci- 
dent, for each boat to make the best of its way to a settle- 
ment on the Lena River, before waiting for anybody. My 
boat made the land in the morning of the 16th inst., and I 
suppose we are at the Lena Delta. I have had no chance 
to get sight for position since I left Semenoffski Island. After 
trying for two days to get in shore without grounding, or to 
reach one of the river mouths, I abandoned my boat and 
waded one-and-a-half miles, carrying our provisions and 
outfit with us. We must now try, with God's help, to walk 
to a settlement, which I believe to be ninety-five miles dis- 
tant. We are all well ; have four days' provisions, arms 
and ammunition, and are carrying with us only ship's books 
and papers, and blankets, tents, and some medicines ; there- 
fore our chance of getting through seems good. 

Lieutenant United States Navy, Commanding. 


[This record was found in a hut by a Yakut hunter, and 
given to Mr. Melville at Upper Bulun, on the 12th day of 
November,, 188t] 


Thursday, 22d of September, 1881. 



The following-named persons, fourteen of the officers and 
crew of the Jeannette, reached this place yesterday after- 
noon, on foot, from the Arctic Ocean. 

Commander of Expedition, Lieutenant U. S. Navy. 

Whoever finds this paper is requested to forward it to 
the Secretary of the Navy, with a note of the time and place 
at which it was found. 

[Copies of the above in six languages followed.] 

Lieutenant BELONG. A. GORTZ, L. P. Nonos. 

P. A. Surgeon J. A. AMBLER. G. H. BOYD. W. LEE. 




The Jeannette was crushed and sunk by the ice on the 
12th of June, 1881, in latitude 77 deg. 15 min. north, longi- 
tude 155 deg., after having drifted twenty-two months in 
the tremendous pack-ice of this ocean. The entire thirty- 
three persons composing her officers and crew dragged three 
boats and provisions over the ice to latitude 76 deg. 38 min. 
north, longitude 150 deg. 30 min. east, where we landed 
upon a new island Bennett Island on the 29th of July. 
From thence we proceeded southward in boats, sometimes 
dragging over ice, until, the 10th of September, we reached 
Semenoffski Island, ninety miles northeast of this delta. 
We sailed from there in company on the 12th of September, 
but that same night we were separated in a gale of wind, 
and I have seen nothing since of the two other boats or their 
people. They were divided as follows : 

SECOND CUTTER. Lieutenant Chipp, Mr. Dunbar, A. Sweetman, 
W. Sliarvell, E. Star, H. D. Warren, A. P. Kuehne, and P. Johnson. 

WHALE-BOAT. Past Assistant Engineer Melville, Master Danenhower, 
Mr. Newcomb, J. Cole, J. H. Bartlett, H. Wilson, S. Lauderback, F. 
Mansen, Charles Tong Sing, Anequin, and H. W. Leach. 

My boat, having weathered the gale, made the land on 
the morning of the 16th inst., and after trying to get in 
shore for two days, and being prevented by shoal water, we 
abandoned the boat, and waded to the beach, carrying our 


arms, provisions, and records, at a point about twelve miles 
to the north and east of this place. We had all suffered 
somewhat from cold, wet, and exposure, and three of our 
men were badly lamed ; but having only four days' provisions 
left, reduced rations, we were forced to proceed to the south- 
ward. On Monday, September 19th, we left a pile of our 
effects near the beach, erecting a long pole, where will be 
found everything valuable chronometer, ship's log-books 
for two years, tent, &c., which we were absolutely unable to 
carry. It took us forty-eight hours to make these twelve 
miles, owing to our disabled men, and these two huts seeined 
to me a good place to stop while I pushed forward the sur- 
geon and Nindermann to get relief for us. But last night we 
shot two reindeer, which gives us abundance of food for the 
present, and we have seen so many more that anxiety for 
the future is relieved. As soon as our three sick men can 
walk, we shall resume our march for a settlement on the 
Lena River. 

Saturday, Sept. 248 A. M. 

Our three lame men being now able to walk, we are 
about to resume our journey, with two days' rations deer- 
meat and two days' rations pemmican and three pounds tea. 

Lieutenant Commanding. 


[This record, and a rifle, were found in a hut by a Yakut 
hunter, and given to Mr. Melville, at Upper Bulun, on the 
12th day of November, 1881.] 

Monday, Sept. 26th, 1881. 

Fourteen of the officers and men of the United States 
Arctic steamer Jeaunette reached this place last evening, 
and are proceeding to the southward this morning. A more 
complete record will be found in a tinder case hung up in a 


hnt fifteen miles further up the right bank of the larger 



Lieutenant Commanding. 

P. A. Surgeon J. M. AMBLEB* H. H. ERICKSON. L. P. NORO&, 






[This record was found in a hut by a Yakut hunter, and 
given to Mr. Melville, at Upper Bulun, on the 12th day of No- 
vember, 1881.] 

Saturday, Oct. 1st, 1881. 

Fourteen of the officers and men of the United States 
Arctic steamer Jeannette reached this hut on Wednesday, 
September 28th, and, having been forced to wait for the river 
to freeze over, are proceeding to cross to the west side this 
A. M., on their journey to reach some settlement on the Lena 

We have two days' provisions, but having been fortunate 
enough thus far to get game in our pressing needs, we have 
no fear for the future. 

Our party are all well except one man, Erickson, whose 
toes have been amputated in consequence of frost bite. 
Other records will be found in several huts on the east side 
of this river, along which we have come from the northward. 

Lieutenant U. S. N. 9 Commanding Expedition. 

P. A. Surgeon AMBLER. Mr. J. J. COLLINS. G. H. BOYD. 







IN Engineer Melville's narrative he refers to a letter, ad, 
dressed to the American Minister at St. Petersburg^ 
which Mr. Nindermann (who is a German) wrote at Bulun 
after he and Noros had arrived there in an exhausted condi- 
tion. The following is a verbatim copy thereof : 

" BULUN, October 29 To the American Minister St Peters- 

Please inform the Secretary of U. S. Navy of the loss of 
the Jeannette 

Arctic steamer Jeannette 

Crused in the ice June llth 1881 in lat 77 deg. 22 min. N., 
longitude 157 deg. 55 min. E or thareabout, saved three 
Boats, also from three to four mounths provisions, witli sleds, 
travilled S. W to to reach the New Siberian Islands, travilled 
two weeks or thareabouts then sighted an Island, the Captain 
determined reach it, and landed in about two weeks on the 
southern end and planted the Americkcn Flag and called it 
Bennett Island, Lieutenant Chipp was sent on the west side 
to determin the size with a Boats crew, Ice Pilot Dinbar with 
the two Natives on the East side, returned in three days, 
remained one week on the Island, took to the boats and 
started South, made the New Siberian Islands and camped 
on a couple of them, set our course from the most Southern 
Island to strike the North side of Siberia, to enter one of the 
small rivers to the Leana, on our passage a gale of wind set 
in, a sea running, lost sight of the Boats, one in charge of 
Lieut Chipp, the other Engr Melville, know not what has be- 
come of them, our boat almost swamped carryed away the 
mast lost the sail, hove too under a drag one night and a 



day, shipping seas all the time pumps and bailers gowing 
Night and Day all hands feet frostbitten when the gale was 
over the Captain had lost the use of \\isfeat and hands made 
the cost, struck one of the small rivers, not finding water 
enough to enter, the Ice making, beatting around for two 
days, the Captain determined to make the land, the boat 
struck two miles off shore the Captain made everybody that 
was able to stand on his feet to get over board, to lighten the 
boat and tow her in we towed her one mile, could not get 
her any further, took out the ship's papers and provisions, 
the Captain then had got the use of his hands and feat a 
little, in evening of the 25th of September. Names of boats 
crew Captain DeLong Surgeon Ambler Mr. Collins, W. T. C. 
Nindermann Louis P. Norris, H. H. Erickson, H. H. Kaack, 
G. W. Boyd, A. Gortz, A. Dressier, W. Lee, N. Iverson, 
Alexia, Ah Sam and one dog remained a few days on the 
seacoast on account of some of the mens feet being badly 
frost bitten, leaving behind the ships log and other articles, 
not being able to carry them, started to travel south with 
five days provisions. Erickson, walking on crutches a few 
days after made a sled to drag him, came to a hut on the 
5th of October. On the morning of the 6th the Dockter cut 
off all his toes, the Captain asked me if I had strength to goo 
to one of the settlements with one of the men to get assist- 
ance, as he was gowing to stay by Erickson. While 
talking about it Erickson Died, we Bured him in the 
river the Captain said we will all go together name of 
place Owtit Ary^ lat. 71 deg. 55 min. north, long, not 
known. Oct. 7th Eat our last Dog meat, started traville 
south with about one quart of Alkihall, and two tin cases of 
ships papers two rifles and little amunition, travilled until 
the 9th. Nothing to Eat, drank three ounces of Alkihall a 
day per man, the Captain and the rest of them got weak and 
gave out travilling he then sent me and L. P. Noros with 
three ounces of Alkihall and one rifle and 40 rounds of amu- 
nitions on ahead to a place called Kumak Surka. Dis- 


tance about 12 twelve miles to find natives, if not finding any 
to traville south until we did, took us five days to walk to 
Kumak Surka, found two fish took one days rest started 
south again nothing to eat, travilled untill the 19th getting 
weeker every day gave up in dispair, sat down and rested, 
then walked one mile found two huts and a storehouse, 
where there was about fifteen pounds of Blue moulded Fish 
stoped three days to regain strenth, boath beaing to weak to 
travill. On the afternoon of the 23d or thareabouts a native 
came to the hut, we tryed to make him understand that there 
was eleven more men north, could not make him understand 
he took us too his camp whare thare was six more, also a lot 
of sleighs and raindeer they travilling at the time south, 
next morning broak camp came to a settlement on the 25th, 
called Ajakit there tryed again to make the people under- 
stand there was more people north, did not succeed, Ajakit 
is lat 70 deg. 55 min. north, long, not known as the chart is 
a coppy, sent for the govener to Bulun, came 27th he knew 
the ships name, and knew about Nordenchawl, but could not 
talk English, we tried to make him understand that the 
Captain was in a starving condition or probably dead, and 
that we wanted natives, Raindeer and food to get them, as I 
thought that we could make it in five or six days to save 
them from starvation but the Govoner made signs that he 
had to Telegraph to St. Peter sberg, he then sent us on to 
Bulun. We stand in kneed of food and clothing at present 
our health is in a bad condition hoping to be well soon we 
remain your humble servants, 

Louis P. NOROS, 
Seamen of the U. S. Navy, Steamer Jeannette." 

The following are extracts from a letter which Mr. Noros 
wrote from Yakutsk, to his father who resides in Fall River, 
Massachusetts : 

" On the 4th of September we were frozen fast in pack 
ice, where we remained drifting north and west until the 


ship was crushed on June llth, 1881. While being held 
fast in our icy cradle we had a good time hunting bears, 
seals, walrus, and other game. We frequently had face, 
nose, and ears frozen, but thought nothing of it, as we had 
got used to the climate. 

After the ship went down we had a hundred days of hard 
dragging and sailing in open boats. On the night of Sep- 
tember 13th we had a gale of wind, and the boats got sepa- 
rated. The boat that I was in was the captain's boat. We 
had fourteen men and dogs, and were loaded quite deep. 
When we reached the Siberian coast we could not land on 
the beach from boats. We had to wade through ice and 
water up to our waists. We were nearly all day carrying 
our things to shore, and it was dark before we got through. 
This was on September 17th. On the 19th we commenced 
our march. We traveled until October 6th, when one of our 
men died from frozen limbs. We had killed and eaten 
our last dog on that day. 

On October 9th the captain sent Nindermann and myself 
on ahead to look for assistance and food, none of the party 
having had anything to eat for two days. We started with- 
out a particle of food. I had a pair of sealskin trousers. 
We cut pieces from these and chewed them until we were 
found by the natives. We were so weak we could hardly 
stand. I believe that if we had had to endure our sufferings 
for two days longer we would have shot ourselves. The 
natives took us to their camp and gave us plenty to eat and 
drink. The result was we were both quite sick for some 
time. We were taken to a village, and from there to Bulun. 

At Bulun we tried to get a telegram sent, but could not 
make them understand. We supposed that we were the 
only two men alive out of the whole expedition. Then we 
heard of a boat's crew landing at one of the mouths of the 
Lena. The boat proved to be Melville's, and as soon as they 
learned of our arrival at Bulun they joined us at that place, 
so there were thirteen of us alive." 

While at Irkutsk, Mr. Jackson, the Herald correspondent, 


learned from Mr. Noros the following additional particulars 
respecting Lieutenant DeLong and his men : 

The party made land at a point near the northernmost 
branch of the Lena, but found it impossible to enter on 
account of shoals. DeLong therefore determined to land 
at a point whence they could see this northerly outlet, but 
more to the east. Two miles from the beach, the captain 
ordered those of the men who could walk to get out and 
drag the boat nearer in shore. The captain, the doctor, 
Erickson and Boyd (both disabled) stayed in the boat, which 
the others were then enabled to drag a mile further toward 
the land, when they, too, waded to the shore. 

Collins had left the boat with the first lot and had made 
a fire on the shore. This was on or about the 16th of 
September, and the landing of articles was completed on the 
17th. There the party stayed two days to recuperate, all 
the men being badly frost-bitten ; the doctor alone was in 
comparatively good condition. Noros and Nindermann were 
the best conditioned among the men. 

The journey south was then commenced, the burdens 
being equally distributed. The captain bore his own blanket 
and some records. The burdens borne by 'some of the others 
'were heavy ; some complained of taking them further, but 
the captain insisted. The party then traveled south four 
days. On the way two deer were shot by the Indian Alexai. 
The party sat down and had a good feed, DeLong' s motto 
being, Noros says, to " feed well while they had it." 

Noros thinks they made twenty miles in the first ten days. 
The four next days brought them to the extremity of a 
peninsula, and after some delay, waiting for the river to 
freeze, they crossed the river to the west bank on or about 
the 1st of October. The width of the river was there about 
five hundred yards. Before crossing they got another deer. 
The captain's intention was to make for the place called 
Sagasta on the map. Erickson died. His toes had been 
amputated by the doctor during the retreat. After crossing 
the river he one night pulled off his mittens, and one of his 


hands became frost-bitten and circulation could not be 
restored in it. He died, and was buried in the river. 

Then it was that the captain decided to send Noros and 
Nindermann ahead. The food had been quite exhausted ; 
the party was existing only on brandy. Noros thinks it was 
a Sunday when they left. The captain had held divine 
service, the men seated on the banks of the river. After 
service he called the two men and told them he wanted them 
to push on ahead, and that he would follow with his party. 

"If you find game," were his last words, "then return to 
us ; if you do not then go to Kumak Surka." 

Noros thus describes the parting: "The captain read 
divine service before we left. All the men shook hands with 
us, and most of them had tears in their eyes. Collins was 
the last. He simply said : 

' Noros, when you get to New York remember me.' 

They seemed to have lost hope, but as we left they gave 
us three cheers. We told them we would do all that we 
could do, and that was the last we saw of them. Snow had 
fallen to a depth of a foot or a foot and a half." 

The river at this place was about five hundred yards wide, 
and the place was near where the mountains on the western 
side ended. There was one spot which remained distinctly 
impressed upon his mind namely, a high, conical, rocky 
island, which rose up out of the river, and which he called 
Ostava, or Stalboy. How he got the name is not quite clear. 
But the rock is a landmark in his memory, and it bore about 
east by north from the spot where they left the captain. 
The rock is just at the end of the mountains ; the mountains 
commence with that rock. 

After leaving this rock the two men traveled slowly and 
wearily. They sighted deer once, but could not get near 
them. They shot one grouse and caught an eel, which was 
all the food they had. They made a kind of tea from the 
bark of the Arctic willow, but often had only hot water to 
drink. They chewed and ate portions of their skin breeches, 
and the leather soles of their moccasins. About two days 


after leaving the captain they crossed the Lena to the east 
side, in the hope of finding game in the mountains, and it 
took them a very long time to cross the ice at that point. 

The following is a copy of a letter written by Seaman 
Leach to his mother at Penobscot, Maine, after his arrival 
at Irkutsk : 

MY DEAR MOTHER, Your welcome letter came to hand 
last night. I was at a party, enjoying myself as well as 
possible for me to do here, when one of the boys came 
running in and gave me nine letters from home. Oh, 
mother, you should have seen me dance around the room. 
The young ladies all thought I was crazy. They were about 
right. After nearly three, years without hearing a single 
word from home, the news, when it did come, quite upset 
me. Well, I will try to give an account of myself. I will 
begin at the beginning. 

After passing through Bering's Strait we stood north 
until we struck the ice. We ran into it and it closed around 
us. We had thirty-three of the best boys on board that ever 
walked a ship's deck. Poor fellows ! only thirteen are left 
to tell the sad tale. After getting into the ice we made 
preparations to spend the winter, expecting to get out the 
following summer. We spent the winter very pleasantly- 
had theatricals Christmas and New Year. It was very cold, 
but we all enjoyed it tip-top. The winter passed, and so did 
the summer, without any signs of our being released; so. we 
made up our minds to stay another winter. It passed quite 
pleasantly, although three months of the time we did not 
see the sun. It looked good when it did come up : I think 
it was worth waiting for. 

We laid in the ice until June, when our ship (our home) 
was taken from us. Then our hardships began. Oh, mother, 
you can have no idea of what we went through. When I 
look back it seems more like a strange dream than a reality. 
But it is over now, and we that pulled through are safe. 
About eight days before we reached the coast we encountered 
a heavy gale, which nearly put an end to our sufferings. 


When it commenced to blow the lieutenant put me at the 
helm. It was very cold, and the boat was nearly full of 
water all the time, in spite of the men's bailing for dear life. 
I sat at the helm about fourteen hours before the wind 
abated enough for me to be relieved. When the time came 
I rose up* and fell flat into the bottom of the boat. My feet 
were frozen stiff, and my legs were chilled up to my body so 
badly that I think they could have been taken off without 
my feeling it. 

When we got ashore I was in a tight fix. I could not 
walk, and was in much pain, and my feet had begun to 
putrefy. Bartlett, one of the men, took a knife and cut out 
the corrupt places, and cut about half of one of my great 
toes off, leaving about half an inch of. the bone sticking out 
of the end. About a month ago I found a doctor who took 
it off. It troubles me to walk now, and I think that it will 
for some time. 

Guess I have written enough about my trials ; will tell you 
something about the people I find here in Irkutsk. The 
ladies here call me the savior they have heard about the 
boat scrape. We are received by the best families in town. 
They seem to think it a feather in their caps to have the 
Americans call on them. I make myself as agreeable as 
possible. The life is not altogether crushed out of me if I 
am a little run down. By the way, they are going to form 
a search party, and I think it is my duty to join it and search 
for the poor boys that are left. I don't know yet whether I 
shall go or not. If I do you must not worry about me, for 
we shall not start before spring, and will get back next fall ; 
so you see it will not be long to wait, and no risk to run, and 
besides you want to see your son do by another as you would 
have another do by him. Gracious ! how I want to see the 
folks at home. Give my love to everybody, in town and 
out, keep the lion's share for yourself, and believe me, your 
loving son, HERBERT." 



"^TAKUTSK, or the < city of the Yakuts' as the natives 
JL proudly call it, where the survivors of the expedition 
found the first comforts of civilized life after their long 
journey, is situated on the Lena River near latitude 62 
north. It is the capital and chief town of the province of 
Yakutsk, one of the six into which Eastern Siberia is 
divided and a commercial center of the fur and ivory trade. 

The region of the Upper Lena has been subject to the 
Russian power for 250 years. After crossing the Yenisei, 
the Cossack conquerors of Siberia advanced to the shores 
of Lake Baikal, and in 1620 attacked and partly defeated 
the populous and warlike nation of the Buriats. Then, 
turning northward to the Lena, they descended the river to 
the principal town of the Yakuts, where, in 1632, they 
founded the city of Yakutsk, and after considerable resist- 
ance made subject the powerful nation of the Yakuts. 

The province of Yakutsk is the largest in Siberia, and 
covers an area of no less than a million and a half of square 
miles. The population, consisting almost wholly of natives, 
Tunguses, Yakuts and Yukaghirs is estimated at 235,000 ; 
making about one inhabitant to every seven square miles. 

The Russian population of the province is about 7,000 ? 
and is confined almost entirely to the valley of the Lena, 
Yakutsk, and its neighborhood. In the most northern 
villages of Siberia their dwelling places consist of cabins, 
built of logs or planks from broken-up lighters, and having 
flat, turf-covered roofs. Such carvings and ornaments as 
are commonly found on the houses of well-to-do Russian 
peasants are here completely wanting. 




Further south the villages are larger, and the houses of 
the Russians finer, with raised roofs and high gables richly 
ornamented with wood carvings. There is usually a church 


painted in bright colors, and everything indicates a degree 
of prosperity. In the center of the house is a brick stove, 
and the walls of the rooms are white-washed or papered, and 
adorned with pictures according to the means and taste of 
the owner portraits of the Imperial family, battle scenes, 
lithographs of the saints, and family photographs. Sacred 



pictures are placed in a corner, and before them hang small 
oil lamps or wax-candles which are lighted on festive 

The sleeping place is formed of a bedstead near the roof, 
so large that it occupies a third of the room. The top of 
the stove is also used- as a sleeping place at times. Food is 


cooked ill large baking ovens. Fresh bread is baked every 
day, and even for the poor, a large tea urn (samovar) is an 
almost indispensable household article. The foreigner is 
certain to receive a hearty welcome when he crosses the 
threshold, and if he stays a short time, he will generally, 



whatever time of the day it be, find himself drinking a 
glass of tea with his host. 

Along with the dwellings of the Russians, the tents of the 
natives, or "Asiatics," are often seen; and near them are 
generally a large number of dogs, which are used in summer 
for towing boats, and in winter for drawing sledges. 


Very little is known of the Yukaghirs, who roam over the 
northern portion of the tundra ; their numbers are few, 
although at one time, as their legend says, there were more 
hearths of Yukaghirs on the banks of the Kolyma than 
stars in the sky. They were no doubt once a powerful race, 
and on the rivers Yana and Indigirka tumuli and ancient 
burial-places are pointed out containing, with the remains of 
the natives, bows, arrows, spears, and the magic drum. 

The Tunguses wander over a larger area than any other 
tribe in Siberia, stretching through Manchuria across the 
district of the Amoor, and northeast and west to the sea of 
Okhotsk and to the Yenisei. Of the Tunguse family the 
Manchu is the most civilized, while in Siberia we have them 


in their extreme character of rude nomads, unlettered, and 
still pagan, or but imperfectly Christianized. The Tungusian 
approaches the Mongolian, the Ostjak, or the Eskimo, accord- 
ing as his residence is north or south ; within the limit of 
the growth of trees or beyond it ; on the champaign, the 
steppe, or the tundra. On the tundra the horse ceases to be 
his domestic animal, and the reindeer or the dog replace it. 
Hence we hear of three divisions of the Tunguse family, 
called by different names, according as they possess horses, 
reindeer, or dogs. 

In the center of the province, occupying the valley of the 
Lena, roam the Yakuts. They are of middle height, and 
of a light copper color, with black hair, which the men cut 
short. They belong to the great Turk family, and as a race 
are good-tempered, orderly, hospitable, and capable of endur- 
ing great privation patiently ; but they have not the independ- 
ence of character which distinguishes their Tunguse neigh- 
bors. Some travelers see in them a strong resemblance to 
the North American Indians. 

The winter dwellings of the Yakuts have doors of raw 
hides, and log or wicker walls calked with cow-dung, and 
flanked with banks of earth to the height of the windows. 
The latter are made of sheets of ice, kept in their place from 
the outside by a slanting pole, the lower end of which is 
fixed in the ground. They are rendered air-tight by pouring 
on water, which quickly freezes round the edges. The flat 
roof is covered with earth, and over the door, facing the 
east, the boards project, making a covered place in front. 
Under the same roof are the winter shelters for the cows 
and for the people, the former being the larger. The fire- 
place consists of a wicker frame plastered over with clay, 
room being left for a man to pass between the fireplace and 
the wall. The hearth is made of beaten earth, and on it 
there is at all times a blazing fire, and logs of larchwood 
throw up showers of sparks to the roof. Young calves, like 
children, are often brought into the house to the fire, whilst 
their mothers cast a contented look through the open door 


at the back of the fireplace. Behind the fireplace, too, are 
the sleeping-places of the people, which in the poorer dwell- 
ings consist only of a continuation of the straw laid in the 

In the winter they have but about five hours of day-light, 
which penetrates as best it can through the icy windows ; 
and in the evening all the party sit round the fire on low 
stools, men and women smoking. The summer yourts of 
these people are formed of poles about 20 feet long, which 
are united at the top into a roomy cone, covered with pieces 
of bright yellow and perfectly flexible birch bark, which are 
not merely joined together, but are also handsomely worked 
along the seams with horsehair thread. The houses are not 
over-stocked with furniture, and the chief cooking-utensil is 
a large iron pot. 

The Yakuts who inhabit the inclement region adjacent to 
the Frozen Ocean have neither horses nor oxen, but breed 
large numbers of dogs, which draw them to and fro on their 
fishing excursions. Even those living on the 62d parallel 
keep cattle under far greater difficulties than usual, for they 
have to make long journeys to collect hay, and do not always 
find enough. The cold prevents their breeding sheep, goats, 
or poultry. Nevertheless, cattle and hunting are their chief 
means of subsistence, for they do not in general cultivate 
the land, though in the gardens at Yakutsk are grown pota- 
toes, cabbages, radishes, and turnips. Some products of 
Yakutsk industry are purchased by the Russians, particular- 
ly floor-cloths of white and colored felts, which are cut in 
strips and sewed together like mosaic. From the earliest 
times they have been a.ble to procure and work for them- 
selves metal. The language of the Yakuts, which is largely 
spoken by the Russians who live among them, is one of the 
principal means by which we are led to assume their Turkish 
origin, for Latham says their speech is intelligible at Con- 
stantinople, and their traditions (for literature they have 
none) bespeak a southern origin. 

Strahlenberg calls these people pagans, but the latest 



writers call them Christians ; and the method of their con- 
version was, it is said, extraordinary ; for the Russian priests 
not making much headway against their superstitions, an 
ukase was one day issued setting forth that the good and 


loyal nation of the Yakuts were thought worthy to enter, 
and were consequently admitted into, the Russian Church, 
to become a part of the Czar's Christian family, and entitled 
to all the privileges of the rest of his children. Success at- 
tended the measure. The new Christians showed perfect 
sincerity in the adoption of their novel faith, and the Rus- 
sian priests have established their sway over the Yakut race, 



though amongst the outlying portion a lingering belief in 
Shamanism still survives. 

The town of Yakutsk has a population of about 5,000 per- 
sons, some of whom are political exiles. All the Russian 
inhabitants might well be considered exiles, for they are 
over 5,000 miles from St. Petersburg. The town presents a 
curious medley of dwellings, for there are seen the govern- 
ment buildings, the cathedral and churches, the wooden 
houses of the Russians, and also the less pretentious winter 
dwellings of the Yakuts, arid even their summer yourts. 


The cathedral is built of stone, and dedicated to St. 
Nicholas, and there are in the town some half-dozen churches 
in which parts, or all, of the service is performed in the 
Yakut language. The chief ecclesiastic is Dionysius, Bishop 
of Yakutsk and Yiluisk, who has in his hyperborean diocese 
49 churches and chapels, and one monastery containing a 
dozen monks. 

According to Sir Edward Brewster the town of Yakutsk 
is near the Asiatic pole of cold one of the two coldest 


places on the globe. The mean temperature of the air is 
18.5 Fahrenheit. At times the cold reaches 70 below zero, 
and mercury is frozen for one-sixth of the year. A warm 
summer follows the cold winter ; the ground is then thawed 
three feet deep, and though the crops rest on perpetually 
frozen strata, yet they produce from fifteen to forty-fold. 
Oxen here take the places of horses, and men and girls ride 
them astride. When used to draw sledges, the driver is 
perched on the back of one of the oxen. 

So accustomed do the natives become to the cold, that 
even with the thermometer at many degrees below freezing 
point, the Yakut women, with bare arms, stand in the open- 
air markets, chatting and joking as pleasantly as in genial 
spring. In fact, the great cold is not thought a grievance 
in Siberia, for a man clothed in furs may sleep at night in 
an open sledge when the mercury freezes in the thermom- 
eter ; and wrapped up in his pelisse, he can lie without 
inconvenience on the snow under a tent where the tempera- 
ture of the air is 30 below zero. 

John Ledyard, referred to in a former chapter, resided at 
Yakutsk in the winter of 1787, and was an attentive observer 
of whatever came under his notice. The following are ex- 
tracts from the journal which he kept at Yakutsk : 

" The people in Yakutsk have no wells. They have tried 
them to a very great depth, but they freeze over even in 
summer ; consequently they have all their water from the 
river. But in winter they cannot bring water in its fluid 
state ; it freezes on the way. It is, therefore, brought in 
large cakes of ice to their houses, and piled up in their 
yards. Milk is brought to market in the same way. A 
Yakuti came into our house to-day with a bag full of ice. 
'What,' said I, ' has the man brought ice to sell in Siberia?' 
It was milk. Clear mercury exposed to the air is constantly 

" In these severe frosts the air is condensed like a thick 
fog; the atmosphere itself is frozen; respiration is fatiguing; 
all exercise must be moderate as possible. In these seasons 


there is no chase ; the animals submit themselves to hunger 
and security, and so does man. All nature groans beneath 
the vigorous winter. 

" The Russians have been here 150 years, and the Yakuti 
Tartars have been under the Russian government ever since ; 
yet they have made no alteration in their dress in general : 
but the Russians have conformed to the dress of the Yakuti. 
They appear to live together in peace and harmony, but the 
Yakuti hold no offices, civil or military. 

" The Tartar is a man of nature, not of art. He is a 
lover of peace. No lawyer here perplexing natural rights of 
property. No wanton Helen, displaying fatal charms. No 
priest with his outrageous zeal has ever disturbed the peace. 
Never, I believe, did the Tartar speak ill of the Deity, or 
envy his fellow-creatures. He is contented to be what he is. 
Hospitable and humane, he is uniformly tranquil and cheer- 
ful, laconic in thought, word and action. Those that live 
with the Russians in their villages are above mediocrity as 
to riches, but discover the same indifference about accumu- 
lating more and for the concerns of to-morrow that a North 
American Indian does. If it happens that they profess the 
Russian religion, they treat it with strange indifference, not 
unthinkingly, but because they do not think at all. 

" The house of the Russian is a scene of busy occupation, 
filled with furniture, provisions, women, children, dirt, and 
noise ; that of the Tartar is as silent and as clean as a 
mosque. There is very little furniture, and that is rolled 
up and bound in parcels in a corner of the house. 

" So strong is the propensity of the Russian to jealousy, 
that an ordinary Russian will be displeased if one even en- 
deavors to gain the good- will of his dog. I affronted the 
commandant of this town very highly by permitting his dog 
to walk with me one afternoon. He expostulated with me 
very seriously. I live with a young Russian officer, with 
whom I came from Irkutsk. No circumstance has ever in- 
terrupted the harmony between us but his dogs. They have 


done it twice. A pretty little puppy he has came to me one 
day and jumped upon my knee. I patted his head and gave 
him some bread. The man flew at the dog in the utmost 
rage, and gave him a blow which broke his leg. I bid him 
beware how he disturbed my peace a third time by this ras- 
cally passion. 

" I have observed among all nations that the women orna- 
ment themselves more than the men ; that, wherever found, 
they are the same kind, civil, obliging, humane, tender beings; 
that they are ever inclined to be gay and cheerful, humorous 
and modest. They do not hesitate, like man, to perform a 
hospitable or generous action ; not haughty, not arrogant, 
nor supercilious, but full of courtesy and fond of society ; 
industrious, economical, ingenuous, more liable in general to 
err than man, but in general, also, more virtuous, and per- 
forming more good actions than he. I never addressed my- 
self in the language of decency and friendship to a woman, 
whether civilized or savage, without receiving a decent and 
friendly answer. With man it has often been otherwise. 
In wandering over the barren plains of inhospitable Den- 
mark, through honest Sweden, frozen Lapland, rude and 
churlish Finland, unprincipled Russia, and the wide-spread 
regions of the wandering Tartar, if hungry, dry, cold, wet, 
or sick, woman has ever been friendly to me, and uniformly 
so ; and to add to this virtue, so worthy of the appellation 
of benevolence, these actions have been performed in so 
free and so kind a manner, that if I was dry I drank the 
sweet draught, and if hungry ate the coarse morsel, with a 
double relish." 

The following are extracts from a letter which Lieutenant 
Danenhower wrote to his mother while in Yakutsk. It was 
dated December 30th, 1881, and published in the New York 
Herald : 

" The events of the last two and a half years are of course 
unknown to me, and it is with mingled feelings of doubt, 
hope, and fear that I write this letter. But I always hope 


for the best, and I am disposed to look upon the bright side. 
That sort of philosophy has carried me through very trying 
experiences during the past three years when there seemed 
to be a very forlorn hope for me. 

" We are passing the time quietly, but impatiently. I will 
give you an idea of how we live. It is daylight here about 
eight A. M. We get up and have breakfast at a little hotel 
that is handy by. The forenoon I spend in reading a little, 
writing a little, and in attending to any business that I may 
happen to have on hand. About two P. M. General Tcher- 
nieff's sleigh arrives, and I go to dine with him; generally 
return about four p. M.,and if I do not have visitors I take a 
nap and kill time as well as I can until nine P. M., when we 
have supper at the little hotel and then go to bed. 

" As I have told you before, I have found nice people in 
every part of the world that I have visited, and this place is 
by no means an exception. Last evening, for example, we 
spent very pleasantly at the house of a Mr. Carrilkoff, an 
Irkutsk merchant, who entertained us very well. His wife is 
a charming lady, and it was very pleasant to see their three 
beautiful children. They have a fine piano, the first one we 
have seen since leaving San Francisco. 

" I . took our sick man, Jack Cole, with me to give him a 
little diversion. He behaved very well and the visit did 
him good. After my experience of the night before I was 
very glad to have him quiet yesterday. Some time after 
midnight I was awakened by a noise in my room. It was 
the 'old man' looking for a match. I took him to task 
sharply and sent himr to bed. He went quietly, but after a 
little while I heard him go out ; I waited five minutes, 
and, as he did not return, I awoke the Cossack and sent him 
to look for the 'old man.' He returned without finding him; 
I immediately dressed and went to the office of the Police 
Master and had the town searched for him. I was afraid 
that he would lie down on the snow, as he did on one occa- 
sion in the mountains. He was brought back within an 
hour with his toes frozen. I immediately applied snow to 


them, and got the frost out of them, but he will probably 
suffer from chilblains for a long time. The next morning 
he was quiet and reasonable, and he begged me to have 
him well guarded, for at times he is out of his head. He is 
a very worthy man, nearly fifty years of age, and has been a 
very excellent man in his time. The great trouble at pre- 
sent is that he has to be idle, there being nothing for him to 
do but kill time. 

" Yakutsk is a city of 5,000 inhabitants, and is situated 
on the west bank of the Lena River. It is the chief city in 
this part of Siberia, and is the residence of the Governor 
General Tchernieff. The houses are built of wood and are 
not painted. The streets are very wide, and each house has 
a large yard or court. The principal trade is in furs, and in 
summer a great deal of fresh meat is sent up the river. 
This is a very cold place. During nine months of the year 
snow and ice abound. In the winter the thermometer falls 
to 70 degrees below zero. Since our arrival it has been 68 
degrees below, and to-day it is only 35 or thereabouts. In 
the summer the temperature rises as high as 95 degrees, but 
the nights are cold. 

" There are many horses and cows in this vicinity. The 
natives of Yakutsk eat horse-meat, but the Russians eat beef 
and venison, potatoes, cabbage, and a few other vegetables. 
A few berries, wheat, and rye are grown in this vicinity. 
There are a few sheep and poultry also. The Russian 
Christmas is twelve days after ours. They have a great 
round of festivities during the Prasnik. In fact it has al- 
ready commenced, and it is hard to get any work done. I 
went to the tailor's to get some clothes made and he refused 
to take any more work. 

" Of course there is very little American news in this far- 
away place, but I have been able to pick up a few bits of it 
here and there. The death of Garfield is a topic often men- 
tioned, and from the accounts here I learn that he was shot 
by ' Guiott,' on the train near Long Branch. A great deal 
of interest and sympathy is manifested by the Russians." 



On the 8th of January, 1882, Lieutenant Danenhower, 
Raymond L. Newcomb (Naturalist,) Herbert Leach, Henry 
Wilson, Frank Mansen, George Lauderback, Louis P. Noros, 
Jack Cole, the Chinaman Tong Sing, and the Indian Anequin, 
left Yakutsk, and started for Irkutsk, 2,790 versts, or more 
than 1,900 miles distant. They were accompanied by a Cos- 
sack guide, and traveled slowly in sledges called povvshkas, 
which could be partly or entirely covered, as the traveler 



IRKUTSK is the capital of Eastern Siberia, and also of 
the province of the same name. It was founded in 
1680, and in 1879 had a population of 33,000. Geographi- 
cally it is in latitude 52 deg. 40 min. north, and it is about 
1,300 feet above the level of the sea. Although a cold place 
in winter, the climate is generally well spoken of ; high 
winds and storms are less prevalent than in St. Petersburg 
and Moscow, and the fall of snow is not large. Earthquakes 
are not infrequent. 

Much has been written in praise of Irkutsk by travelers 
coming from China or traveling eastward, and they have 
found it a cheerful restingplace after the fatigues of a long 
overland journey. In summer the city is approached from 
the west over a road lying near the cold and swiftly-flowing 
Angara, and the plains around are stocked with cattle. The 
town is built on a tongue of land formed by the confluence 
of the Angara and Uska-Kofka, and with its numerous 
churches, domes, and spires, looks extremely inviting. 
Handsome villas, nestling among the trees on the hills 
around, add not a little to the picturesqueness of the scene ; 
and both in summer and winter the panorama of the city 
and its suburbs is one of much beauty. 

Forty miles to the eastward of Irkutsk is the celebrated 
Lake Baikal, over 400 miles long, about '35 miles broad, and 
the largest body of fresh water in the world. It has nearly 
200 tributaries, large and small, and only one outlet, the 
Angara, which discharges about one-tenth of the water that 
flows into the lake. No one knows what becomes of the 
remainder, but the natives believe there is an underground 



channel to the sea. The lake is very deep, and in some 
places no bottom has been found at a depth of 2,000 feet. 

Shortly after leaving Irkutsk, the eastward-bound traveler 
enters a wooded part of the Angara Valley, and as the road 
winds along it many points are passed presenting magnifi- 
cent views. Afterwards the valley becomes more rugged, 
with deep ravines running up into the mountains. Beyond 
this the road has been cut along the edge of a cliff at a con- 
siderable height above the river, and about five miles before 
reaching the Baikal a scene is presented which will cause 
the traveler to pause and admire. 


The valley becomes wider, and the mountains rise abruptly 
to a much greater elevation. The Angara is here more than 
a mile wide, and its great volume of water is seen rolling 
down a steep incline, forming a rapid nearly four miles in 
length. At the head of this, in the center of the stream, a 
great mass of rock rises, held sacred by the followers of 
Shamanism, and where its victims used to be sacrificed by 
tossing them into the torrent below. Beyond is the broad 
'expanse of .the Baikal, extending about 50 miles to where 
its waves wash the foot of Amar Daban, whose summit, 
even in June, is usually covered with snow. The mighty 
torrent throwing up its jets of spray, the rugged rocks with 


their fringes of pendant birch overtopped by lofty pines, and 
the coloring on the mountains, produce a picture of extra- 
ordinary beauty and grandeur. A few miles further, and 
the Baikal is seen spreading out like a sea, and its waves are 
heard beating on the rocky shore. 

In July, 1879, the city of Irkutsk was devastated by a ter- 
rible fire, from the effects of which it has not yet recovered. 
Mr. Henry Landsell, an English traveler, arrived at a hotel 
in Irkutsk just as the fire broke out, and has given a graphic 
description of what followed, in his book "Through Siberia," 
from which the following extracts are taken : 

" The waiter said he thought the fire would not come to- 
wards the hotel, as the wind blew from the opposite direc- 
tion ; but I was disinclined to wait and see, and so we 
bundled our things back into the tarantass, and told the 
yemstchiks, who fortunately had not left the yard, to put to 
their horses, and in a few minutes we were out in the street, 
witnesses of a sight that is not easy to describe. Men were 
running from all directions, not with the idle curiosity of a 
London crowd at a fire, but with the blanched faces and 
fear-stricken countenances of those who knew that the de- 
vastation might reach to them; they looked terribly in 
earnest women screamed and children cried. The yemst- 
chiks asked, 4 Where should they go?' and my companion 
suggested that we should go out of the town, across the 
river. We soon put nearly a mile between us and the 
flames,' and reached the bank of the Angara, where was a 
swinging ferry. 

" Meanwhile the increased smoke in the distance showed 
that the fire was spreading, and the inhabitants of the small 
suburb called Glasgova, to which I had come, were looking 
on in front of their houses. Among the people I noticed a 
well-dressed person, whom I addressed, asking if she spoke 
English or French. She at once inquired who I was, and 
what I wanted. I replied that I was an English clergyman 
traveling, that I had just arrived in Irkutsk, had run away 
from the fire, and was seeking a lodging. She answered 


that there were no lodgings to be had in any of the few 
houses on that side of the river ; ' but,' said she, < pray come 
into my little house, where you are welcome to remain at 
least during the day.' I was only too glad to do so ; and, 
seeing that there was a small yard adjoining, I asked per- 
mission to put therein our two vehicles, in which we might 
sleep until some better place could be found. We soon 
found that our hostess was of good family, and an exile, 
though not a political, but a criminal one. On arriving at 
Irkutsk, the Governor-General had shown her kindness in 
allowing her to remain in the city, where she partly sup- 
ported herself by giving lessons, and was living for the sum- 
mer in this quasi country-house with a young man whom she 
called her brother, her little girl she had brought from Rus- 
sia, and a small servant whom she spoke of as ' ma petite 
femme de chambre.' There was one tolerably spacious 
dwelling-room in the house, and in this were sundry tokens 
of refinement brought from a better home. On the wall 
hung a photograph of herself, as a bride leaning on the arm 
of her husband in officer's uniform, whilst several other 
photographs and ornaments spoke also of a better past. 

" The conflagration was increasing, and I offered to ac- 
company Madame to her friends residing in the town, to see 
if we could be of use, whilst my interpreter stayed with the 
tarantasses and the little girl to guard the premises. We 
accordingly set out, accompanied by her maid. At the ferry 
we met a crowd of persons fleeing from the city^ and carry- 
ing with them what was most valuable or most dear. An 
old lady tottering under a heavy load of valuable furs, piled 
on her head ; a poor half-blind nun, hugging an ikon, evi- 
dently the most precious of her possessions ; a delicate young 
lady in tears, with her kitten in her arms ; and boys tugging 
along that first requisite of a Russian home, the brazen 
samovar. Terror was written on every countenance. 

" Before long we came to the wide street in which were 
situated the best shops and warehouses, and where the fire 
was raging on either side and spreading. Those who were 


wise were bringing out their furniture, their account-books, 
and their treasures as fast as possible, and depositing them 
in the road and on vehicles, to be carried away. A curious 
medley these articles presented. Here were costly pier- 
glasses, glass chandeliers, and pictures such as one would 
hardly have expected to see in Siberia at all ; whilst a little 
further on, perchance, were goods from a grocer's or pro- 
vision merchant's shop, and all sorts of delicacies such as 
sweets and tins of preserved fruit, to which they who would 
helped themselves; and working-men were seen tearing open 
the tins to taste, for the first time in their lives, slices of 
West India pine-apples or luscious peaches and apricots. 
Other prominent articles of salvage were huge family bottles 
of rye-brandy, some of which people hugged in their arms, 
as if for their life, whilst other bottles were standing about, 
or being drunk by those who carried them. The effects of 
this last proceeding soon became apparent in the grotesque 
and foolish antics of men in the incipient stage of drunken- 

" In the street were all sorts of people soldiers, officers, 
Cossacks, civilians, tradesmen, gentlemen, women, and chil- 
dren, rich and poor, young and old. Some were making 
themselves useful to their neighbors, and a few were looking 
idly on. -At every door was placed a jug of clean water for 
those to drink who were thirsty, and it would have been 
well if nothing stronger had been taken. The fire brigade 
arrangements seemed to be in great confusion. There were 
some English engines in the town, but the Siberians had not 
practiced them in the time of prosperity, and the consequence 
was that the pipes had become dry and useless, and would 
not serve them in the day of adversity. The arrangements, 
too, for bringing water were of the clumsiest description. 
A river was flowing on either side of the city, but the fire- 
men had no means of conducting the water by hose, but 
carried it in large barrels on wheels. Moreover, no one took 
command. Now and then one saw a hand-machine in use, 
about the size of a garden engine. 



"It soon became apparent that Madame could not reach 
her friends, who lived on the other side of the city, and 
therefore we made our way back towards the ferry, calling 
here and there and offering help. One friend asked us to 
take away her little daughter, which we did, and her hus- 
band's revolver, which I carried, and a bottle of brandy 
put into the arms of the femme-de-chambre. Thus laden, we 
walked towards the river, whilst on all hands men and 
women were pressing into their service every available 
worker for the removal of their goods. A religious proces- 
sion likewise was formed by priests and people with banners, 
headed by an ikon, in the hope that the fire would be stayed. 


" It was evening before we reached our temporary lodg- 
ings, and as the day closed the workers grew tired, many 
were drunk, and others gave up in despair. The flames 
continued to spread till the darkness showed a line of fire 
and smoke estimated at no less than a mile and a half in 
length. It seemed as if nothing would escape. To add to 


the vividness of the scene, an alarm of church bells would 
suddenly clang out to intimate that help was wanted in the 
vicinity. Perhaps shortly afterwards the flames would be 
seen playing up the steeple and peeping out of the apertures 
and windows; then reaching the top, and presenting the 
strange spectacle of a tower on fire, with the flames visible 
only at the top, middle, and bottom. At last the whole 
would fall with a crash, and the sky be lit up with sparks 
and a lurid glare such as cannot be forgotten. 

'.' Meanwhile the inhabitants continued to flee by thou- 
sands the swinging ferry near us crossed and recrossed 
incessantly, bringing each time its sorrowful load, either 
bearing away their valuables, or going back to fetch others. 
Many of the people brought such of their goods as they 
could save to the banks and islands of the two rivers, and 
there took up their abode for the night in a condition com- 
pared with which ours was comfortable. 

" We were supposed to sleep that night in the tarantass, 
but I rose continually to watch the progress of the fire, 
which towards morning abated, but only because .it had 
burnt all that came in its way. About eleven o'clock the 
last houses standing on the opposite bank caught fire, and 
thus, in about four-and-twenty hours, three-fourths of the 
town were consumed." 

Danenhower's party arrived at Irkutsk, January 30th, and 
were received in a most courteous manner, and told to 
consider themselves the guests of the Russian government. 
During their long stay they were lodged a portion of the 
time in the house of the private secretary of General Ped- 
ashenki, the vice-governor-general of the province, which 
was finely located on the suburban side of the Angara, and 
afforded a delightful view of the pretty city on the other side 
of the frozen river. The men had nearly recovered from the 
effects of their hardship, excepting Lieutenant Danenhower, 
whose eyes were in such a precarious condition that his 
physician forbade his traveling in winter, Mr. Newcomb, 


who was badly run down, and Jack Cole, the boatswain of 
the Jeannette, whose mind became unbalanced during the 
retreat to the coast. 

Just about the time when Danenhower's party left Ya- 
kutsk to travel westward, another traveler, Mr. Jackson, 
special courier and correspondent of the New York Herald, 
started from Paris for Eastern Siberia, to meet the survivors 
of the Jeannette expedition, and thence to proceed to Yakutsk 
or to the mouth of the Lena, if advisable, to assist in the 
search for the missing men. 

Mr. Jackson arrived at St. Petersburg on the evening of 
January 12th, which was the new year's eve of the Russians. 
At this city he received every attention and much assistance 
from General Ignatieff, Minister of the Interior, and from 
General Anutschin, Governor-General of Eastern Siberia, 
who was passing the winter in St. Petersburg. He was fur- 
nished with a crown pordorhosna, a document carried by 
all high officials traveling on Russian post-routes, and it 
gave him the right to demand horses at the stations in 
preference to the ordinary traveler. The following is a 
translation thereof : 



Supreme Ruler of all the Rusaias, 
&c.,. <fcc., &c. 

From St. Petersburg to Irkutsk and return. * * * 
The Special Correspondent of the NEW YORK HERALD shall 
be given horses up to the number of five without delay, to be 
paid for according to the fixed tariff. 

Given at St. Petersburg January 4th (Russian style), 1882. 

For the Chief of the Chancellery of the Government of 
Irkutsk, [Seal.] 

[Seal.] GOREW. 

Mr. Jackson also received from the Governor-General an 
open letter, which read as follows : 

" The bearer of this, Mr. J. P. Jackson, leaves St. Petersburg 


for Eastern Siberia, his mission being to render assistance 
to the crew of the Polar exploration vessel, the steamer 
Jeannette, who have been wrecked in the Polar Sea. All 
local authorities of Eastern Siberia are therefore commanded 
to render all the assistance in their power, so far as the law 
permits, to Mr. Jackson, especially to facilitate him to a 
quick and undelayed journey to his destination and back, 
and to fulfill all his wishes, so far as they are lawful and may 
be assisted by the local authorities of the districts through 
which he passes. 

ST. PETERSBURG, January 4th, 1882. 

The Governor-General of Eastern Siberia, member of the 
General staff, General Lieutenant, 


Countersigned, A. URSAFF, Member of the Imperial Coun- 
cil and Chief of the Chancellery of Travel. " 

Equipped with these documents, and accompanied by 
M. A. Larsen, of the London News, Mr. Jackson left St. 
Petersburg, January 19th, for Moscow. Thence he contin- 
ued his journey by railroad to Orenburg. From this place 
the journey to Irkutsk was made in a sledge owned by the 
Governor-General, which had been placed at his service. It 
was well provided with furs, and drawn by four or five 
horses, which were changed at every post-station. More 
than 800 different horses were used on the journey, which 
extended over 2,500 miles. 

The following are extracts from a letter which Mr. Jack- 
son wrote to the New York Herald from Irkutsk, February 
25th, 1882 : 

" The long and weary journey across the Siberian wilds 
and wastes was finished at seven o'clock of the evening of the 
23d of February (0. S.), and an hour later I was with Lieuten- 
ant Danenhower and the survivors of the Jeannette who were 
landed at the mouth of the Lena in boat No. 3. I hardly 
need say that these men were greatly pleased to receive 
letters and papers from home, and I will venture to assert 


that few of them could sleep that night until the early hours, 
for pleasure and excitement. Lieutenant Danenhower I 
found with his eyes bandaged and strictly forbidden by his 
doctor to use his sight, so I spent an hour and a half reading 
to him the messages of love sent to him by friends and 
relatives from the Western land. 

The party have received a kindly welcome from the peo- 
ple of Irkutsk, and have been frequently invited to accept 
pleasant courtesies and hospitalities. Poor Jack Cole is 
carefully attended to by his comrades in turns, and a Cos- 
sack soldier watches by him night and day. When I met 
him he immediately embraced me, as he does all his friends, 
and said he was glad I had come, for he was just about to 
start out for the Herald office. Poor fellow! He lost his 
reason during the retreat from the crushed exploring vessel, 
and his mind is wandering far off. At first, after landing, 
he was inclined to be quarrelsome ; then he began to invent 
mysterious machines, the last of which was a winking piano 
filled with boys and girls ; but after my arrival he became 
possessed of the idea that he was in New York, and when he 
goes out (under safe conduct), he says he is going to the 
Herald office ; and when he comes back from his daily ride 
he informs the lieutenant that he was not able to get his 
bearings straight. So Lieutenant Danenhower bids him be 
of good cheer, and tells him that he has the chart of the 
route in his pocket, and will bring him safely to port in 
good time. 

In a darkened room of the house of M. Strekofski, I have 
spent the day in taking down a portion of Lieutenant 
Danenhower' s narrative of the voyage of the ill-fated Jean- 
nette. The lieutenant was not an eye-witness of all the 
events about which he speaks. Struck, about a year after 
the vessel left San Francisco, with an affection of the left 
eye, by which the right one was sympathetically affected, he 
was confined to his darkened berth for a period of six 
months, during which time he underwent thirteen operations, 
and for a year, until the time of the disaster, indeed, he was 


declared by the doctor as incapacitated for duty, and was 
thereby deprived of any active share in the labors in the 
Arctic. But while confined to his berth his companions 
relieved the tedium of his existence by telling him all that 
was going on in the little world above and around him, and 
when he was able to go on deck and on the ice he was an 
accurate observer of all that went on around him, and his 
marvellous memory enables him without notes to tell with 
exactitude every date, name, or event memorable in the 
history of the voyage. 

Though deprived of his legitimate command, which was 
entrusted by Captain DeLong, before leaving the vessel, to 
Engineer Melville, he was permitted temporarily to assume 
the command of the boat during the severe gale that sepa- 
rated the three boats when so near to the land of the Lena's 
mouth, and all the men saved with him join in the assurance 
to me that without him they must inevitably have perished. 
His work, with his defective sight, during that memorable 
retreat, was grandly and nobly done. 

The narrative of the retreat, through which he carried 
his boat safely to land, will be, I am sure, of surpassing 



THE Jeannette left San Francisco on the 8th of July, 
1879, with a full outfit for three years, with five com- 
missioned officers of the navy, two civil scientists, and twen- 
ty-four of the ship's company. We arrived at Ounalaska on 
the 3d of August, after a long passage caused by head winds 
and the vessel being laden below her proper bearings. The 
Jeannette was perfectly seaworthy, having been thoroughly 
put in order at Mare Island before starting. After coaling 
ship at Ounalaska we proceeded to St. Michael's, Alaska, to 
meet our supply schooner, the Fanny A. Hyde. There we 
filled up with stores, got fur clothing, purchased forty dogs 
and engaged two American Indians Anequin and Alexai 
as hunters and dog-drivers, thus completing our complement 
of thirty-three. On the 25th of August we crossed Bering's 
Sea, in a very heavy gale, and though the ship was loaded 
very deeply she behaved admirably. 

We visited St. Lawrence Bay in order to take in coal and 
the remaining supplies from the schooner, as well as to con- 
verse with the native Chukches and to get news of Nordens- 
kiold. We met about twenty natives, one of whom had 
learned a little English from American traders, and he told 
us that a steamer had passed south the previous June. The 
natives were ragged and dirty, and had no food to dispose of. 
We shot some wild fowl, and then we saw remains of vessels 
burned by the Shenandoah. Up the St. Lawrence Bay we 
found magnificent scenery. We sent off our last mail by the 
supply schooner, and on the 27th of August, seven P. M., we 
started north. Next day we passed through Bering's Strait. 
11 (169) 


We rounded East Cape about three of the afternoon of the 
28th ; it was then cloudy, no observations, running by dead 
reckoning. The East Cape loomed very bold and bluff. We 
could not see the Diomedes in the straits. 

On the 29th I saw, from the crow's-nest, huts on the beach. 
We stood in and found a summer settlement. Captain De- 
Long and a party of officers started ashore in the whale-boat, 
but could not land owing to the surf breaking on iceward. 
Seeing the difficulty, the natives launched a bidarah, or large 
skin boat, very skilfully, and came off to the ship, bringing 
their chief with them. We had a long interview with them 
in the cabin, but as neither party could understand the other 
the results of the conversation were not great. They made 
us understand, however, by bending the elbow and saying 
" Schnapps " what they wanted, but the captain refused to 
listen to their request. Lieutenant Chipp then went ashore 
and succeeded in landing about midnight, and from an old 
woman from King's Island who could talk with our Indians, 
we learned that Nordenskiold with the Vega had wintered to 
the north of them, and had passed east to Bering's Strait in 
the month of June. The next day we cruised along the 
coast to the westward. Met two other parties of natives, 
who came alongside, but took a look at us only. 

On Sunday, August 31st, we fell in with some drift ice, and 
at daylight discovered a few huts on the beach. The drift 
ice extended about four miles off shore. Lieutenant Chipp, 
Ice-Pilot Dunbar and I, went ashore in the whale-boat to inter- 
view the natives. After a two hours' pull through the drift- 
pack, and seeing many seals, we reached the beach and found 
several carcasses of recently slain walrus. The natives 
seemed rather shy, and we had to look them up in their skin 
tents. There we found a sailor's trypot, and a cask marked 
" Centennial brand of whiskey," conclusive proof that the 
people were in occasional communication with American 

We met an intelligent young Chukche, who offered to 
show us the spot where the Vega had wintered. We took a 


tramp of several hours to the westward, and saw a bay about 
fifteen miles wide between the headlands, and there the 
natives told us the Vega had passed the winter. We found 
nothing there of any consequence. In the tents, however, 
we found tin cans marked " Stockholm," scraps of paper with 
soundings marked in Swedish, and some interesting pictures 
of Stockholm professional beauties. The natives indicated 
to us by signs that the steamer had passed safely out to the 
east. After purchasing some of the pictures and tin cans we 
returned to the ship. 

During my absence the captain had got the sun at noon, 
and the latitude placed us about fifteen miles inland. Our 
astronomical positions were not reliable, owing to the state 
of the weather, but from them and the dead reckoning we 
felt assured that the coast is not correctly charted. The 
general appearance of the coast was fresh and pleasing. Off 
what we supposed to be Cape Serdze Kamen we saw a large 
heart-shaped rock, of which Mr. Collins made an elaborate 
sketch. There were several sugar-loaf mountains in sight. 

Our walk to the Yega's winter quarters was over a mossy 
tundra ; no signs of deer ; the vegetation withered. The 
natives were hospitable, and one old Clmkche dame pressed 
us to eat a dish of walrus blood, but we felt compelled to 
refuse the offer. The natives were stalwart and handsome ; 
they lived in skin tents and were exceedingly dirty. They 
were well clad, and the chief wore a red calico gown as the 
distinguishing mark of his dignity. This was the last time 
most of us touched land for a period of more than two years. 

About 4 P. M., August 31st, we stood to the northwest, 
shaping our course to the southeast cape of Wrangel Land, 
and then we felt that our Arctic cruise had actually com- 
menced. We met considerable drift ice ; the weather was 
stormy and misty. About sunrise, September 1st, we dis- 
cerned an island which was taken to be Kolyutschin, in Ko- 
lyutschin Bay. Next day we met pack ice in floes of moderate 
size, turned to the northward and northeastward, and cruised 


along the Siberian pack, entering leads at times to examine 

On the afternoon of September 4th a whaling bark bore 
down to us ; we stopped engines and awaited her approach, 
but the weather became misty and she did not speak us. We 
had an Arctic mail on board at the time, and were disap- 
pointed at not being able to send letters home. We ran in 
several times and made fast to floe-pieces, to await clear 
weather. That afternoon, about 4, we saw an immense 
tree, with its roots, drifting by. Ice-pilot Dunbar, seeing it, 
said that in 1865, when the Shenandoah destroyed the 
whalers, he was at St. Lawrenc.e Bay ; and when, a few 
months later, he landed on Herald Island, he was greatly 
surprised to see masts and portions of the destroyed vessels 
drifting in that vicinity. This made me look out for a north- 
west drift. Then Herald Island loomed up in the clouds. 


On the 6th of September the captain judged that we had 
reached the lead between the Siberian and North American 
packs, and that this was a good place to enter. He took 
charge from the crow's-nest, and we entered the pack. We 
met with the young ice, and forced our way through it by 
ramming. This shook the ship very badly, but did not do 
her any damage ; indeed, the ship stood the concussions hand- 


somely. But at 4 P. M. we could proceed no further. We 
banked fires, secured the vessel with ice-anchors, and 
remained. That night was exceedingly cold. The ship was 
frozen in. At this time the ice was in pieces ranging from 
ten square yards to several acres in area, with small water- 
courses like veins running between them, but now quite frozen 
over. It remained quiet for a number of days, and we found 
ourselves in the middle of a large accumulation of floes about 
four miles across. We were then in about twenty fathoms 
of water, and had Herald Island in sight to the southward 
and westward, twenty -one miles distant by triangulation on 
a base line of 1,100 yards. 

About the 15th of September, First Lieutenant Chipp, Ice- 
Pilot Dunbar, Engineer Melville, and the Indian, Alexai, 
started with a dog-sledge for Herald Island. They got 
within six miles of the beach, when they found open water 
before them, and were compelled to return. We found the 
ship drifting with the ice, and with so uncertain a base the 
captain would not send other persons to the island with 
boats. The general appearance of the ice at this time was 
uniform, with here and there almost snowless hummocks 
appearing above the surface, between which were pools 
whereon the men could skate. The deflorescence of salt was 
like velvet under the feet. From day to day we saw a loom- 
ing of land to the southwest, and sometimes in the clouds. 
We soon found that the ice always took up the drift with 
the wind. 

The ship at this time began to heel to starboard under the 
pressure, and inclined about twelve degrees. We unshipped 
the rudder, got up mast-head tackles on the port side, with 
lower blocks hooked to heavy ice-anchors about a hundred 
and fifty feet distant, and set them taut in order to keep the 
ship upright. The propeller was not triced up, but was 
turned so that the blades would be up and down the stern- 
post.; the engines were tallowed, but not taken apart. When 
the ship commenced to heel, the local deviation of the com- 
pass increased in the ratio of one and a half degrees duration 



to one degree of list. This was owing to the vast amount 
of iron-work, and especially the canned goods, which had to 
be stowed in the after-hold and on the quarter-deck. All our 
compass observations had of course to be made on the ice 


well clear of the ship. At this time and later on we noticed 
that the turning motion of the floe or change in azimuth of 
the ship's head was very slow; but the floe did have a 
cycloidal motion with the wind, and the resultant was in the 
northwest direction. 

Our position was not an enviable one. At any moment 
the vessel was liable to be crushed like an egg-shell among 
this enormous mass of ice, the general thickness of which 
was from five to six feet, though some was over twenty 
where the floe-pieces had overrun and cemented together 
and turned topsy-turvy. Pressures were constantly felt. 
We heard distant thundering of the heavy masses, which 
threw up high ridges of young ice that looked like immense 
pieces of crushed sugar. 


The month of October was quiet. We had had no equi- 
noctial gales even in September. The cold was very bitter. 
Wrangel Land was in plain sight to south and west many 
times, and especially on the 28th and 29th of October, when 
we could see mountains and glaciers, which we identified on 
many occasions. Collins took sketches of them. The ship 
was drifting to and fro with the wind. Up to this time we 
saw a considerable number of seals and walrus, and got two 
bears. Two white whales were also seen, which were the 
only ones noticed during the whole cruise.- Life on board 
was quiet but monotonous. We got many observations, es- 
pecially from the stars. The nights were very clear, and 
suitable for artificial horizon work. 

We began to find at this time, and by later experience be- 
came convinced, that Rear-Admiral John Rodgers was right 
when he said that the sextant, artificial horizon, and the lead 
were the most efficient and useful instruments in exploring 
Arctic waters, and that transits and zenith telescopes were not 
useful, because refined observations could not be obtained, 
and were not necessary in this region. The cold is so great 
as to affect the instrument, and it is almost impossible to 
keep the lens free of frost and vapor, thus' making, the re- 
fraction a very indefinite correction. Our experience in this 
pack was, that the state of the atmosphere was constantly 
changing; without a moment's notice the ice would sometimes 
open near the ship, and vast columns of vapor would rise 
whenever the difference of temperature between the air and 
water was great. The surface water was generally 29 Fah- 
renheit, the freezing point of salt water. 

About the 6th of November the ice began to break up. 
We had previously observed considerable agitation about the 
full and change of the moon, and attributed it to tidal action. 
This was observed particularly when we were between Her- 
ald Island and Wrangel Land, and when the water was 
shoaled that is, about fifteen fathoms the ice began to 
break round the ship, and a regular stream of broken 
masses gradually encroached upon us. From aloft, the floe 



that had appeared so uniform a few weeks before was now 
tumbled about, and in a state of greater confusion than an 
old Turkish graveyard. Tracks began to radiate from the 
ship, and the noise and vibration of distant ramming were 
terrific, making even the dogs whine. 


November 3d was a calm, starlight night. I got good star 
observations, with Melville marking time, at eleven P. M. I 
was working them up, when a crack was heard, and we found 
that the floe had split, and that the ice on the port side had 
drifted off, leaving the ship lying in a half cradle on her 
starboard bilge. The water looked smooth and beautiful, 
and there was no noise save that of four dogs which had 
drifted off with the port ice. We had previously taken in 
the observatory, and had prepared for such an accident, but 
on the starboard side the steam-cutter and the men's out- 
house had been left. We got the steam-cutter aboard, but 
left the outhouse standing. 

And here let me mention an interesting fact. About six- 
teen months afterward, the Indian Anequin came in, in a 


state of great excitement for an Indian generally so stolid, 
and reported, " Me found two man house ! " He described 
it as a house large enough for two men, and when asked if 
he had been inside said, " No, me plenty 'fraid ! " Judge of 
our surprise. Lieutenant Chipp immediately started with 
the Indian and others, and found the house at a distance of 
about three miles to the southeast. It proved to be the lost 
out-house, thus showing that the relative positions of the 
pieces in the vicinity were comparatively unchanged. 

The next morning the half cradle on which the port side 
had rested could be seen about a thousand yards distant, and 
this immense lead was open, but of very limited length. The 
appearance of the ice can be likened to an immense cake as 
it comes from the oven, broken and cracked on the surface. 

A few mornings later the drift ice came down upon us un- 
der the starboard bow, and wedged the ship off her cradle, 
and she went adrift in the gale. This was about eight A.M. 
She drifted all day until seven P.M., when she brought up on 
some young ice, and was frozen in solid again. It was dark, 
in the long night, and there was no chance of working the 
pack had it been good judgment to do so. We reckoned' 
that she had drifted at least forty miles, with the ice in her 
immediate vicinity. 

Previous to this time the ship had stood the pressure in the 
most remarkable manner. On one occasion I stood on the 
deck-house above a sharp tongue of ice that pressed the port 
side just abaft the fore chains and in the wake of the im- 
mense truss that had been strengthened by the urgent advice 
of Engineer-in-chief William H. Shock, on Mare Island. 
The fate of the Jeannette was then delicately balanced, and 
when I saw the immense tongue break and harmlessly un- 
derrun the ship, I gave heartfelt thanks to Shock's good 
judgment. She would groan from stem to stern ; the cabin 
doors were often jammed so that we could not get out in case 
of emergency, and the heavy truss was imbedded three- 
quarters of an inch into the ceiling. % The safety of the ship 
at that time was due entirely to the truss. The deck plank- 


ing would start from the beams, showing the unpainted wood 
for more than half an inch. This, together with the sharp 
cracking of the ship's fastenings, like the report of a distant 
charge of rifles, would wake us at night. Each man kept 
his knapsack by him ready for an instant move, and prepa- 
rations were made for leaving the ship with sleds and boats 
if necessary. 

Several gales, the heaviest being about fifty miles an hour, 
occurred in the fall of 1879. The long night commenced 
about the 10th of November, and lasted till the 25th of Jan- 
uary, 1880. On November 1st the winter routine com- 
menced. At seven, call all hands and start fires in the 
galleys ; at nine, breakfast ; from eleven to one, guns given 
to all hands to hunt and for exercise on the ice ; at three 
p. M., dinner ; then galley fires put out to save coal ; between 
seven and eight, tea, made from the Baxter boiler, which 
was used constantly to condense water, we having found that 
the floe ice was too salt for use, and the doctor insisted on 
using condensed water. This boiler was originally intended 
for the electric light, but it was found that we could not af- 
ford to run the light, so we used the coal in condensing 
water. Twenty-five pounds of coal per day was allowed for 
heating the cabin, twenty-five pounds for the forecastle, and 
ninety pounds for ship's galley for cooking purposes. 

We lived on canned goods, with bear and seal twice a 
week, pork-and-beans and salt beef once a week ; no rum or 
spirits, except on festive occasions, two or three times a year. 
The discipline of the ship was excellent, and during the whole 
twenty-one months in the pack there was but one punishment 
given, and that was for profanity. The crew were well 
quartered in berths, and were comparatively happy; had 
navigation class and theatricals. The health of all was 
excellent, and there was a special medical examination the 
first of every month. 

Things went on in this fashion until the middle of Janua- 
ry, when there were tremendous pressures, and the floes ac- 
tually backed up into mounds under the strain, the ice 


being very tough and elastic. The heaviest strain came in 
the stem of the ship, in a longitudinal direction. There was 
also a heavy lateral strain, especially under the starboard 
main chains. About nine o'clock one morning a man went 
down into the fire-room on duty and found the floor-plates 
covered with water ; he immediately reported the fact, and 
all pumps were started. The temperature was below 42 
degrees Fahrenheit (the freezing point of mercury). Mr. 
Melville had great difficulty in getting up steam and starting 
the donkey pumps, but succeeded admirably, the men work- 
ing with their feet and legs In ice-water, and everything 
frozen and freezing solid. It was found that the vessl leaked 
badly in the bows, and we supposed that the hooding of the 
planks had been started at the stem, and it was not until the 
last day, June 12th, 1881, that we discovered that the forefoot 
had been twisted to starboard. 

The carpenter (Sweetman), with Nindermann, worked day 
and night, and (under the direction of Lieutenant Chipp) 
built a bulkhead forward of the foremast, which partially 
confined the water. Melville rigged an economical pump 
with the Baxter boiler, and the ship was pumped for nearly 
eighteen months. A windmill pump was also made for sum- 
mer, but the winds were so light that it hardly paid. During 
the last few months the leak decreased, owing to the ship 
floating higher, and we had then only to pump once every 
half hour by hand. The experience of January 19th gave 
me great confidence in the ship's company, as it was a very 
severe test on the men. I was confined to my berth at the 
time, but knew everything that was going on, and the solid 
and effective work done was very gratifying. 

As well as I can remember, about fifteen barrels of flour 
and some other dry provisions were damaged by this acci- 
dent. Previous to this we had to throw away a large quantity 
of canned roast-beef marked " Erie brand," it having proved 
bad. The coldest weather occurred in February, 1880, being 
58 degrees. There were also some great and remarkable 
changes of temperature in the course of the day. 


About the middle of February we were found to be about 
fifty miles from the place where we had entered, and Herald 
Island was said to have been in sight during one day. Dur- 
ing these five months we had drifted over an immense area, 
approaching and receding from the 180th meridian, but I do 
not think we crossed it at that time. We continued to drift 
in this uncertain manner. We noticed that the ship always 
took up a rapid drift with southeast winds, and a slow drift 
with riortheast winds, owing, doubtless, to Wrangel Island 
being under our lee. Southwest winds were not frequent. 

At times land was reported to the northeast, but nothing 
trustworthy. Some observers were constantly seeing land at 
all points of the compass, and many was the trip that the 
navigator and the ice-pilot had to make to the crow's-nest in 
vain. We were very much disappointed at not being able to 
shift for ourselves, and up to this time we had only demon- 
strated to our satisfaction that Dr. Peterman's theory in re- 
gard to Wrangel Land being a portion of Greenland was no 
longer tenable, for its insularity was evident, as subsequently 

March and April, 1880, were passed quietly, and we were 
surprised at not having any March gales. The geese and 
wild fowl that some of us expected to see on their spring 
migration, did not put in an appearance. One poor eider 
duck fell exhausted near the ship, and one of our sportsmen 
shot at it, and after administering chloroform it succumbed. 
There were some birds seen later in the season, moving to 
the westward, but they were not numerous. A great many 
mussel-shells and quantities of mud were often found on the 
ice, which indicated that it had been in contact with land 
or shoals. Our hunters ranged far and wide, and often 
brought in small pieces of wood on one occasion a codfish 
head, and on another some stuff that was very much like 
whale-blubber, all of which had been found on the ice. 

On May 3d, fresh southeast winds began, and the ship 
took up a rapid and uniform drift to the northwest. Now 
Mr. Collins began to predict, and told me several times, that 


these winds would continue till the early part or the middle 
of June, and would be followed by constant northwest winds 
for the balance of June. This prediction was fully realized, 
and in the month of June we actually drifted back over the 
May track. During July and August there was scarcely 
any wind, and the weather was misty and raw, it being the 
most unpleasant time of the year, the coldest weather not 
excepted. The damp and fog and cold struck chill to the 
bones, and we could not afford to heat the ship as we did in 
winter. The ice seemed to absorb all the heat from the sun 
during the melting period of the year. 

The snow disappeared from the surface of the floe about 
the middle of June, and the best traveling period over the 
floe was considered to be between the middle of June and 
the middle of July. But this was a subject for constant 
discussion among the savans, among whom Mr. Dunbar was 
the most experienced, he having been an old traveler in the 
Baffin's Bay region. A considerable number of birds, prin- 
cipally phalaropes and guillemots, were shot and very much 
appreciated at dinner. 

The surface of the floe-pieces was now of a hard, green- 
ish blue, and flinty, being covered in many places with thaw- 
water. There were numerous cracks near the ship, but no 
leads that went in any definite direction, and there was no 
chance to move, for the ship was imbedded in the ice so 
firmly that a whole cargo of explosives would have been 
useless. Lieutenant Chipp, an experienced torpedo operator, 
made torpedoes and all the arrangements for taking advan- 
tage of the first opportunity to free the ship. But the 
opportunity never came. 

Mr. Chipp was an accomplished electrician, and during 
the whole time in the ice he took up the subject recom- 
mended by the Smithsonian Institution to the Polaris Expe- 
dition namely, observations of the disturbances of the 
galvanometer during auroras. He had wires laid out over 
the ice, and earth-plates in the water, and the galvanometer 
in the current, and obtained over two thousand observations 


during auroras, which he intended to turn over to a special- 
ist for purposes of analysis and judgment. He always found 
disturbances of the needle coincident with the most brilliant 
auroras. He also ran the telephones, which, however, gave a 
great deal of trouble, owing to the wires being broken by the 
wind and the ice movements. Those on the ship of course 
were all right. During my sickness he also made observa- 
tions of the eclipses of Jupiter's satellites, and got some 
excellent results for chronometer errors by using an improved 
ship's telescope mounted on a barrel. He afterward used 
the transit telescope similarly mounted. This was the best 
data for our chronometers, being far superior to lunar 

The summer weather was very bright and pleasant for 
about fifteen days in July, and when the thermometer was 
above 40 degrees Fahrenheit we called it a warm day ; but 
the latter parts of July and August were particularly bad, 
being foggy and raw. 

During the first year we got sufficient game for table 
use, and seal-skins for clothing for the men, but this neces- 
sitated a great deal of hunting, and there was a great scarcity 
of game in this region. The seal most frequently obtained 
was the species called by Lamont, the " floe rat," and averages 
about sixty pounds in weight, and thirty to forty pounds 
when dressed. The men generally made up the skins into 
boots and trousers. The meat was not pleasant to the taste, 
and it required the strongest philosophy to enable one to eat 
it at all. Walrus was scarce, the depth of water being a 
little too great for them, as they seldom inhabit depths of 
more than fifteen fathoms. We got six, however, which 
furnished excellent food for the dogs, and our Chinese cook 
was an adept in making walrus sausage for our cuisine. 

Bear chases were frequent and exciting, and about fif- 
teen animals were obtained the first year. Mr. Dunbar was 
the champion bear-slayer, and was always ready for a keen 
jump when game was reported. During the first winter a 
tremendous bear approached the ship about midnight, drove 



the dogs in, and attempted to board us over the port gang- 
plank. The alarm was given. Mr. Dunbar was on deck 
instantly, with rifle in hand, and shot the bear through the 
heart at ten paces. It was probably the biggest and most 
ferocious bear secured on the cruise, and he had been 
attracted by the quarters of his comrade that were triced up 
in the fore-rigging. A few foxes were seen, and their tracks 
quite frequently observed. They seemed to either accom- 
pany or follow the bears, like pilot-fish with the sharks, and 
jackals with their ferocious and stronger friends. 

During the summer some of us used to take the skin 
boats or the dingy, and paddle among the cracks. On one 
occasion Captain DeLong was alone in the dingy, and was 


interviewed by a bear who suddenly approached out of the 
mist and stood watching him in the most dignified manner. 
The captain retreated in good order. During the summer it 
was very difficult to get bears, because they could take to 
the water so readily, and thus cut off their pursuers. Dur- 
ing the misty times they were very bold, and on one occasion 
a she bear with two cubs approached the ship to within 400 
yards of the starboard quarter. Fortunately, the dogs were 


on the port side and to windward, so they did not scent the 
bear. The greatest quietness prevailed, and a squad of 
about ten riflemen was immediately organized on the poop. 
I was watching the bears through a cabin air-'port, and it 
was a very fine sight to see the mother and her two cubs 
approach the ship in a wondering and cautious manner. I 
could see better under the mist than the people on the poop. 
I heard the captain say : 

" Do any of you think it is over 250 yards ?" 

All seemed to agree and he said : 

"Aim at 250 yards, and wait for the word ' Fire !' " 

Then succeeded a volley. The bears reeled and made 
several turns, and I thought that we had bagged all of them, 
but was astonished to see them get up and walk off in the 
most lively manner. Of course all the dogs took the alarm 
and pursued them to the first crack, which the bears calmly 
swam, across and thus escaped. But large drops of blood 
were seen, and the she-bear lay down once or twice as if 
wounded. In making her retreat she drove her cubs before 
her, and became impatient when they moved slowly. The 
bears had been hit, but the distance had been under-esti- 
mated and most of the shots had fallen short. This was not 
extraordinary, because it was very misty. 

After this one year of experience in the ice we concluded 
that the general motion of the ice was due principally to the 
wind, and that the resultant of the winds was from the 
southeast. Some of us talked about the polar region being 
covered with an immense " ice cap," which seemed to have a 
slow, general movement in the direction of the hands of a 
watch, the direction of the drift, of course, being different 
in the different segments. The influence of Wrangel Island 
would be to impede the drift of the segment lying to the 
northward and eastward, and I imagined that there must be 
a constant strife between Wrangel Land and the solid 
phalanx of ice from the northeast. This polar ice cap we 
know throws off in its revolutions millions of acres every 
year through the gates of Robeson'e Channel and between 


Iceland and Greenland. A branch of the Gulf Stream at- 
tacks it from the Spitzbergen side, and its influence is felt 
as far as the North Cape of Asia. The general motion of 
this " cap "must be very slow, but the local motions of course 
depend upon the depth of the ocean and the vicinity of land, 
and near nature's outlets it is very rapid. 

Melville gave me lots of food for reflection. He analyzed 
all data obtainable from the Hydrographic Office reports and 
Arctic literature, and marked on the circumpolar chart with 
arrows the currents as reported by various navigators as 
well as those mentioned in the theories of distinguished 
geographers. We constantly discussed the question, and 
both felt assured that if the ship could remain intact long 
enough, she would eventually drift out between Spitzbergen 
and Bear Island to Atlantic waters. A very high latitude 
would doubtless be attained, and would depend in a great 
measure on the influence of Franz Josef Land upon the 
motion of the pack. If the ship passed to the southeast of 
it, the local motion to the southwest might be very rapid by 
the pack impinging on those lands ; and if passing to the 
northward, the pack would bo deflected toward the Pole and 
a very high latitude would be obtained, supposing no polar 
continental land to exist. It is my opinion that had we en- 
tered the pack 200 miles to the eastward of where we did, 
we could have worked up near .Prince Patrick Land ; for 
Collinson found the deepest water over there to the east- 
ward, and sounded with 133 fathoms without finding bottom. 

Our smallest depth the first year's drift was seventeen 
fathoms, and the greatest depth not over sixty, the average 
being generally thirty, and the ocean bottom usually uni- 
form, with blue mud and in some cases shale, something 
like round pieces of potato, cut thin and fried, and supposed 
to be meteoric specimens. We felt pretty sure that we would 
continue to drift to the northwest during the following year, 
but I was not sure what influence the peculiar coast line in 
the vicinity of the North Cape would exert, it being in the 



form of an elbow, and must therefore have great influence 
on the general motion of the pack. 

From the fact that the spars of the Shenandoah's devas- 
tations drifted to Herald Island, and that the whaling bark 
Gratitude had been last seen drifting to the northwest in 
that vicinity, we augured that there must also be some north- 
west current ; but we have no other evidence of a current 
except the formation of banks and shoals in the vicinity of 
Herald Island, which may be similar to the formation of 
the Grand Banks, by the ice bringing earthy matter there. 
'The locality cast-northeast of Wrangel Land may be regard- 
ed as the Arctic doldrums, as far as drift is concerned. We 
also considered the possibility of drifting down the western 
side of Wrangel Land, and then again perhaps once more 
being able to shift for ourselves. 

The general health of the ship's company was excellent, 
and we looked forward coolly, but not without some anxiety, 
to the long night of the second winter, during which time 
we might at any instant be rendered homeless and at the 
mercy of the Arctic fiends. 




AT the beginning of September, 1880, the Jeaimette was 
firmly imbedded in ice of about eight feet in thickness ; 
but there were immense masses shoved under her keel, and 
the bows were lifted so that the keel was inclined about one 
degree, the ship at the same time heeling to starboard two 
degrees, and so firmly held in this gigantic vice that when 
the blacksmith struck his anvil in the fire-room, one could 
see the shrouds and stays vibrate, and they were not very 
taut. Our executive officer had slackened up the rigging 
during the first winter, and the contraction of wire rigging 
by the intense cold was of course very great. The ice was 
piled up under the main chains and as high as the plank- 
sheer. In the vicinity of the ship the ice was tumbled about 
in the greatest confusion, and traveling over it was almost 
an impossibility. 

In the latter part of September, when the cracks froze 
over, came the best time for travel, but the outlook was poor. 
There was comparatively little snow, and what there was 
was constantly blown by the wind, and rendered salt by 
attrition on the surface of the ice, so that we could not use 
it for culinary purposes. The captain was very favorable to 
fall traveling, and he several times expressed himself to the 
effect that he would not abandon the ship while there was a 
pound of provisions left, and we generally understood that 
he would hold on a year longer, and probably start when the 
fall traveling commenced, a year later. We all considered 
tkat if our provisions held out long enough, if we were not 
attacked by scurvy, and if the ship was not crushed by the 



ice, we should eventually drift out after reaching the vicinity 
of Franz Josef Land, either north or south of it. The morale 
of the ship's company was excellent, yet we looked anx- 
iously toward the long night of the second winter, which 
proved to be the most fearful part of our experience. The 
anxiety and mental strain on many of us were the greatest 
at that time. We were so completely at the mercy of the 
ice that the vessel might be crushed at any moment by the 
thundering agencies which we constantly heard. 

In the month of September the ship was put in winter 
quarters for the second time. She was banked up with snow, 
the deck-house was put up for the use of the men, and the 
awning spread so that the spar-deck was completely housed 
over. Economy and retrenchment were the order of the day 
in fuel, provisions, and clothing. The old winter routine of 
meals, two hours' exercise, and so on, commenced on Nov- 
ember 1st, and all was going well. 

November and December were extremely cold, but we had 
no severe gales that I remember. The meteorological observa- 
tions were taken every hour during the first year, but every 
two hours only during the second. They were very thorough, 
and Mr. Collins was very watchful to add something to the 
science- to which he was so thoroughly devoted. During my 
sickness the captain and Mr. Chipp took the astronomical 
observations, but eacli officer in the ship had a round of duty 
as weather-observer and to assist Mr. Collins. There was a 
quartermaster on watch all the time, and steam was kept on 
the Baxter boiler for distilling purposes. To save coal, fires 
were put out in the galley at 3 P. M., being used only from 
seven A. M. till that hour. 

The month of January, 1881, was remarkable for its 
changeable temperature, and as being warmer than the two 
previous months. About <he middle of the month the wind 
set in from the southeast, and subsequently to that time the 
drift of the ship was uniformly to the northwest. The 
depth of the water began to increase toward the northwest, 
but would always decrease toward the southeast or south- 



west, as well as to the northeast. The vessel seemed to 
drift in a groove, which we called Melville's Canal, as he was 
the first to call attention to the fact. Mr. Chipp took the 
soundings every morning, and by long experience we could 
judge of the drift so accurately that his dead reckoning gen- 
erally tallied with the observations. He adopted a scale by 
which ' slow ' drift meant three nautical miles per day ; 
* moderate,' six miles ; ' rapid/ nine miles ; i very rapid,' 
twelve miles. He always reckoned the direction and speed 
of the drift and placed the ship before making the observa- 
tion. His judgment was excellent. He and the captain 
made frequent lunar observations for chronometer errors, 
but those of the eclipses of Jupiter's satellites were the best. 


February was the coldest month ; and the mean for the 
three months was only six degrees lower than that for the same 
months during the previous year. The soundings generally 
ran thirty-three, but one morning Mr. Dunbar sounded in 
forty-four ; some called that place Dunbar Hole. We drifted 
over this spot once again at a later period. The absence of 
animal life prior to May was greater than during the pro- 



vious year. All hands hunted every day, especially as the 
doctor wanted fresh meat for the Indian Alexai, who was 
said to have the scurvy, and suffered very greatly from ab- 
scesses on his leg. On May 1st, Dr. Ambler reported the 
physical condition of the crew rapidly deteriorating, and six 
or seven were placed on whiskey and quinine to tone them 
up. The weather at this time was good, and there were no 
spring gales. Of course when I say good, it is in an Arctic, 


During the month of May, old man Dunbar was always in 
the crow's-nest, and got blind several times. The old gentle- 
man was looking out sharp for land, and about the 16th of 
May he was the first to announce it in sight. You can im- 
agine the excitement it caused, for we had not seen land for 
many months and had not set foot on it for nearly two years. 

Jeanne tte Island, as the new land was called, was not 
landed on, but the astronomical position of it could be, and 
doubtless was, well established from the data obtained by 
Captain De Long. It was by triangulation, on the base es- 


tablished by observations on different days, the ship having 
drifted rapidly and giving a long base line, the extremities 
of which were established by artificial horizon and sextant 
observations. I was confined to my room at the time of the 
discovery, but every item of it was brought to me by Dun- 
bar, Melville, and Chipp, and everything was so minutely 
described to me that I could almost see the land through the 
ship's side. 

I understood Jcannette Island to be small and rocky. The 
southern end appeared high, and the land sloped down to a 
low point to the northward when the island was first seen, 
but subsequently mountains behind the low point were ob- 
served, and from this fact the island was adjudged to be 
more extensive than at first supposed. Sketches were made 
whenever the island was in sight, but it would have been 
foolish to have attempted a journey to it, for the drift of the 
ship was too rapid and the state of the ice so changeable. 

A few days afterwards, Henrietta Island hove in sight, 
and appeared extensive. The drift of the ship seemed ar- 
rested by the northeast extremity of the island. Lieutenant 
'Chipp was sick a-bed with what afterwards proved to be tin 
poisoning, and I was confined to my room with my eyes. So 
Mr. Melville had the good fortune to be the first to visit 
Henrietta Island, and he did his work admirably. When he 
left the ship the captain judged the island to be from twelve 
to fifteen miles distant, it appeared so plain, but he had not 
yet triangulated for it owing to the state of the weather. 

The journey from the ship to Henrietta Island was one of 
the hardest on record. Melville had to travel over immense 
masses of broken ice that were constantly in motion, and in 
most cases the dogs were worse than useless. He landed in 
a state of exhaustion, took a short run on the island, and 
then ordered the men to turn in. He intended to sleep 
until ten o'clock the next morning, but was probably anx- 
ious, and when he turned out his watch said seven o'clock, 
but it was probably P. M. In his anxiety he had slept only 
an hour and a half or two hours. The men said that they 


felt as if they were just going to sleep. Feeling confident, 
however, that they had passed the twelve hours in their 
sleeping bags, he finished the examination of the island and 
started back to the ship, and was surprised on his return 
that he had gained twelve hours in time. This was not sur- 
prising, from the fact that during his visit to the island he 
did not see the sun but once, at which time Erickson said, 
* The sun is west, sir, and it is morning with us.' So Mr. 
Melville, on his return, had a suspicion that his time was 

During this trip Mr. Dunbar broke down with snow 
blindness, and had to be carried back by the party to the 
ship. On the way to the island he went ahead to select the 
road, and worked so hard and used his eyes so much that he 
became thoroughly disabled. The old gentleman felt very 
badly, it being the first time in his long career that he had 
ever been physically unequal to the occasion. He begged 
Melville to leave him, his mortification was so great. But 
of course this was not done. The others bore the trip 
remarkably well. They had been picked out as the flower 
of the ship's company. 

There was a mountain on the island that the men 
named after the captain's little daughter < Mount Sylvie;' 
also another mountain which was called 'Mount Chipp;' 
two very bold headlands were called * Bennett Headlands;' 
one bald cape was called ' Cape Melville,' in honor of one 
of the chief engineer's characteristics. There was a low, 
shingle beach cape extending to the northeast, that was 
called ' Point Dunbar.' All these names were given by the 
sailors who rambled over the island, and we have always 
called them by the names thus originally given them. At 
one time the land appeared so near to us that Machinist Lee 
said to me, t Why, I can walk there and back, sir, before 
dinner.' On that day I was able to get on deck, and judged 
the land to be between twenty and thirty miles distant, and 
so I advised my friend not to try it. 

Melville told me that he could not tell the distance he 



traveled to within ten miles, but that the lowest possible 
estimate was eighteen, and the highest twenty-eight miles. 
You sec, his journey back was on a different route, because 
the ship had drifted and had approached the island in the 
meantime. He gave me every detail of his trip with great 
minuteness." The island was bold and rocky, with a small 
number of birds, principally guillemots, and very little deer- 
moss on the place where he landed. But, of course, we do 
not know the possibilities of the extensive region to the 
southwest of the landing-point. 


The island was covered with an ice and snow cap, and 
the immense glacier near the landing-place was gigantic 
and magnificent. I think Melville got eighteen fathoms 
close to the island. No seal or walrus were seen, and no 
traces of bears on the island. No driftwood was seen. 


Melville built a cairn, and buried a square, copper case con- 
taining copies of the Neiv York Herald brought from New 
York by Mr. Collins, and a copper cylinder containing official 
documents, the latter being a record of Captain DeLong's 
determination to stay by the ship to the last moment. He 
announced in them his determination to stand .by the ship 
as long as possible, as he was in hopes of making a high 
latitude during the following summer. We were all very 
glad when Melville got back, for the ice had commenced to 
swing around the corner of Henrietta Island very rapidly, 
the land to the westward of Bennett Headlands coming out 
rapidly, and keeping Collins and Newcomb busily sketching 
as the view changed. 


The ship continued drifting to the northwest rapidly 
until June 10th. During this time the ice in which she was 
imbedded began to crack, and the area of the piece was 
decreasing rapidly. We knew that the important moment 
was coming when tbe Jeannette would be liberated from 
this cyclopean vice, and that her future would be more haz- 
ardous than while in the monster's grip; for it was impos- 


sible to shape a course, and she would be momentarily liable 
to be crushed by the impact of the antagonistic floe-pieces, 
which sent immense masses of ice into the air, and among 
which the Jeanne tte would be like a glass toy-ship in a rail- 
road collision. 

About eleven p. M., June 10th, I was awakened by the 
ship's motion. It sounded as if she were sliding down hill, 
or off the launching-ways. I was frightened for an instant, 
but immediately recovered and jumped out of bed for my 
clothes. The ship had slid off her bed after the ice on the 
port side had opened with a loud crack. There she floated 
calmly on the surface of the beautiful blue water. 

The Jeannette was finally released from her icy fetters 
after an imprisonment of twenty -one months that is, almost 
the entire duration of our voyage during which time we 
had been drifting with the pack. The important point of 
this drift is that we traversed an immense area of ocean, at 
times gyrating in almost perfect circles, and it can now 
.safely be said that land does not exist in that area. Of 
course the depth and the character of the ocean-bed and the 
drift were also determined, as well as the animal life that 
exists in this part of the world ; also the character of the 
ocean water, and many other facts of interest which were 
finished with the discovery of the two new islands. 

At this time we had a feeling of pleasure and pride that 
our voyage had not been entirely in vain, and we felt sure 
that we could add considerable to the knowledge of this 
region of the Arctic ; and if we could have got out safely 
without loss of life, the voyage would have been a grand 
success. Captain DeLong, in my opinion, entered the ice 
boldly and deliberately, with the intention of trying the most 
hazardous route to the Pole that has ever been contemplated. 
When spoken to on the subject, within a few days after wo 
found ourselves imprisoned, I stated that to be my opinion, 
and that he had undertaken the most daring and magnificent 
venture on record. 

To return to the Jeannette. She was floating idly, but, 


of course, could not proceed, being hemmed in on all sides 
by almost limitless masses of ice in close contact, and having 
only a small pool in which she could bathe her sides. The 
starboard half of her old cradle remained, so she was hauled 
into it and secured with ice-anchors on the bow and quarter, 
to await her chance to escape. The rudder had been pre- 
viously shipped, and the screw propeller had been found to 
be undamaged, so every preparation was made to move at a 
moment's notice. On June llth Henrietta Island was seen 
for the last time, to the southeast of us. 

I will now describe the supreme and final moments in 
the life of the Jeannette. At this period of the cruise I was 
able to spend one hour on deck, three times a day, for exer- 
cise, the last relapse of my left eye having taken place a 
month previous. I went on deck at one o'clock in the after- 
noon, and saw the hunters start out. The day was clear 
and beautiful, there was a light wind from the northeast, 
and in some quarters of the horizon it was misty and very 
much as in the trade-wind regions of the Pacific. A large 
party was sent out to get seals and guillemots, if possible. 
My hour was up, but I still lingered on the quarter-deck, for 
the ice on the port side, some twenty-five yards distant, had 
commenced to move toward us, and I was fascinated by the 
dangers of the situation. 

The captain was on deck, and immediately hoisted the 
hunters' recall, which was a big, black cylinder, at the main 
truck. They began to come in, one by one, and the last 
ones were Bartlett and Anequin, who were dragging a seal 
with them. At the time of their arrival the ice was in con- 
tact with the port side of the ship, and she was heeled 
about twelve degrees to starboard, with port bilges heavily 
pressed. The two hunters approached on the port side, 
passed their guns to me, and came up by a rope's end that 
I had thrown to them. The pressure on the ship was terri- 
ble, and we knew that she must either lift and be thrown 
up bodily upon the ice, or be crushed. During the whole 
cruise, provisions, tents, and boats with sleds, were kept 


ready for immediate use, and at this time every step was 
taken for the impending catastrophe. 

About three P. M., Machinist Lee reported the ice coming 
through the bunkers, and the captain immediately ordered, 
* Lower away ! ' men having been previously stationed at 
the boats' falls and some provisions put on the ice. Melville 
immediately contradicted the report, and the captain delayed 
the order. Thus the ship lay for two hours and a half, the 
pressure of the ice relaxing at times and the ship almost 
righting. Then again she would be hove over to twenty- 
three degrees, and we felt sure there was no longer any 
hope for her, for she would not lift. There was nothing in 
the world to be done to assist her at that time. We had to 
depend upon her shape. She floated much higher than when 
we entered the pack, and that led us to hope that she would 
lift easier in the nip ; for the pressure of the ice would be 
below the point where her sides commenced to tumble home. 
On the starboard side, while she was heeling, the nip was 
felt on her timber heads, which were the weakest parts of 
the frame ; but on the port side she was pressed below the 
turn of the bilge. Her fate was practically decided the 
moment we found she would not lift, and a large amount of 
provisions and clothing was then placed on the ice in readi- 
ness for the catastrophe. 

One watch went to supper at half-past five, and the officers 
had bread and tea in the cabin at six. I was on the sick 
list, with eyes bandaged, but told the doctor that I could get 
the charts and instruments together and be of assistance. 
He said he would ask the captain. Each officer kept his 
knapsack in his room, and most of us thought it was time 
to have them on deck ; but we would not make the move 
until ordered for fear of attracting the attention of the crew, 
who were at work on provisions and boats. While I was 
taking tea, I saw Dunbar bring his knapsack up and put it 
in the cabin. Feeling that the moment had arrived, I went 
for mine, and at the head of the ladder on my return the 
doctor said to me : 


' Dan, the order is to get knapsacks.' 

It seems that he had stepped below and found water in 
the wardroom, which he reported to the captain, and the or- 
der was then given to abandon the ship. The national ensign 
was hoisted at the mizzen, and Captain DeLong was on the 
bridge directing the work. 

Lieutenant Chipp was confined to his bed. I threw my 
knapsack over the starboard rail and returned for clothes, 
but on stepping into water, when half way down the ward- 
room ladder, I realized that the ship was filling rapidly. 
The doctor and I then carried Chipp's belongings out, and 
I was told to take charge of the medical stores, especially 
the liquor. The ship in this condition was like a broken 
basket, and only kept from sinking by the pressure of the 
ice, which at any moment might relax and let her go to the 

The crew worked well, and Edward Star, seaman, espe- 
cially distinguished himself. He was doing duty at the time 
as paymaster's yeoman, or ' Jack o' the Dust.' The order 
was given to get up more Remington ammunition, and he went 
into the magazine when the ship was filling rapidly and suc- 
ceeded in getting two cases out. This man was in Lieuten- 
ant Chipp's boat afterward. We always thought him a 
Russian, but he spoke English very well and never would 
speak of his nationality ; but during his dreams he talked in 
a language that was neither English, French, German, Swed- 
ish, Spanish nor Italian, and most of the men thought it was 
Russian. He was an excellent man and a giant in strength. 
The captain thought a great deal of him, for he served 
him faithfully in every responsible position. 

When the order was given to abandon the ship her hold 
was full of water, and as she was heeling twenty-three de- 
grees to starboard, at the time the water was on the lower 
side of the spar deck. We had a large quantity of provis- 
ions on the ice about a hundred yards from the ship, but 
Mr. Dunbar, who was alive to the occasion, advised the shift- 
ing of these to an adjacent and more favorable floe-piece. It 


took us tin eleven P. M. to effect the removal. We also had 
three boats, namely, the first cutter, second cutter and 
the whale-boat. As soon as Dr. Ambler had looked out for 
Chipp, he relieved me at my post, and I went to work with. 
No. 3 sled party, which I had been detailed previously to 
command. The order was given to camp and get coffee ; so 
we pitched our tent abreast of the whale-boat, and I set 
about fitting out for the retreat. 

While waiting for coffee I walked over to the ship to take 
a final look at her, and found the captain, Boatswain Coles, 
and Carpenter Sweetman on the port side looking at her 
under-water body, which was hove well out of water. I 
observed that the ship's side between the foremast and 
smokestack had been buckled in by the pressure, and that 
the second whale-boat was hanging at the davits, and also 
that the steam-cutter was lying on the ice near by. Coles 
and Sweetman asked the captain if we could lower the second 
whale-boat, and the captain said ' No.' The three boats, 
however, were considered enough ; and while journeying on 
the ice we afterward found Chipp's boat to be the favorite 
with all hands, because she was considered short and handy, 
with sufficient carrying capacity for eight men. I then sug- 
gested to the men to return to camp, for the captain doubtless 
wished to be left alone with the Jeannette in her last mo- 

We three returned to the camp together, having to jump 
across numerous wide cracks and from piece to piece, and 
soon after the watch was set and the order given to turn in. 
Most of us obeyed the order promptly, and were just getting 
into our bags when we heard a crack, and a cry from some 
one in the captain's tent. The ice had cracked immediately 
under the captain's tent, and Erickson would have gone into 
the water but for the mackintosh blanket in which he and 
the others were lying the weight of the others at the ends 
keeping the middle of it from falling through. The order 
was immediately given to shift to another floe-piece which 
Mr. Dunbar selected for us. This was about three hundred 



yards from the untenable ship. After about two hours' 
work we succeeded in shifting all our goods and our three 
boats to it. We then turned in. 

About four o'clock I was awakened by Seaman Kuehne 
calling his relief, Fireman Bartlett, who was in our tent. 
Kuehne called to Bartlett that the ship was sinking, and the 
latter jumped to the tent door and saw the spars of the 
Jeannette after the hull was below the surface. We heard 
the crash, but those were the only two men who saw the ves- 
sel disappear. It was said that the ice first closed upon her, 
then relaxing allowing the wreck to sink ; the yards caught 
across the ice and broke off, but being held by the lifts and 
braces were carried down ; depth, thirty-eight fathoms, as I 

The next morning the captain and others visited the 
spot, and found only one cabin chair and a few pieces of 
wood, all that remained of our old and good friend, the 
Jeannette, which for many months had endured the embrace 
of the Arctic monster. 



THE Jeannette sank about four o'clock on the morning of 
Monday, June 13th, 1881. Daylight found us encamped 
on the ice about four hundred yards from where the ship 
went down. We had slept late after the exhausting work 
of the previous night. The day was spent by us in arrang- 
ing our effects, and in gaining rest, which was much needed. 
Many of us, indeed quite a quarter of the number, were 
incapacitated for active work by reason of severe cramps 
caused by tin-poisoning from tomato cans. Among the sick 
were Chipp, Kuehne, the Indian Alexai, Lauderback, and the 
cabin steward. 

The doctor recommended delay until the sick party should 
have recovered ; but the time was not wasted, and the rest 
of the crew began the work of dividing the clothing and 
stowing the sleds and boats. We had as provisions about 
3,500 pounds of pemmican in tinned canisters of 45 pounds 
weight each, about 1.500 pounds of hard bread, and more tea 
than we needed. We had also some canned turkey and 
canned chicken, but these we disposed of in the first camp. 
We had a large quantity of Liebig's extract, a most 
important element in our diet. We had a large quantity of 
alcohol, which was intended to serve as fuel for cooking 
during our retreat. We had plenty of ammunition, and a 
good equipment of rifles. The provisions were stowed on 
five sleds, each having a tier of alcohol cans in the middle, 
and on either side a tier of pemmican canisters. Another 
sled was loaded with bread and a limited quantity of sugar 
13 (207) 


and coffee. The weights of the sleds, when loaded, were as 
follows : 

No. 1. Ship-made sled, 1,500 pounds. 
No. 2. McClintock sled, 1,800 pounds. 
No. 3. McClintock sled, 1,200 pounds. 
No. 4. McClintock sled, 1,300 pounds. 
No. 5. McClintock sled, 1,300 pounds. 
Total, 6,600 pounds. 

We had three boats, mounted upon ship-made sleds, each 
of which consisted of two heavy oak runners, about twelve 
inches high and shod with whalebone, of about twelve feet 
in length, and having eight to ten cross-pieces made from 
whiskey-barrel staves. The weight of the first cutter, with 
sled and outfit, was 3,000 pounds ; weight of second cutter, 
with sled and outfit, 2,300 pounds ; weight of whale-boat, 
with sled, 2,500 pounds. Making a total of 7,800 pounds ; 
or a grand total of sleds and boats of 15,400 pounds. 

To draw these we had a working force, when the retreat 
commenced, of twenty-two men ; and the dogs were employed, 
with two light St. Michael's sleds, to drag a large amount of 
stores that we had in excess of those permanently stowed 
upon the larger sleds. Each man had a knapsack stowed 
away in the boats ; each knapsack contained one change of 
underclothing, one package of matches, one plug of tobacco, 
one spare pair of snow-goggles, and one spare pair of moc- 

On the 16th of June, three days after the Jeannette had 
sunk, the captain called all hands and read an order to the 
effect that we would start at six P. M. on the following day, 
on our march south ; that we would work during the night 
and sleep during the day, to avoid the intense light, which 
might cause snow blindness, the routine to be as follows : 

At half past five P. M., call all hands, have breakfast, and 
break camp at half past six ; at twelve, midnight, stop one- 
half hour for dinner ; at six A. M., stop for supper and sleep. 
Ration table during the inarch to be as follows : 


Breakfast (per man) Four ounces pemmican, two bis- 
cuits, two ounces coffee, two-thirds ounce sugar. 

Dinner Eight ounces pemmican, one ounce Liebig, one- 
half ounce tea, two-thirds ounce sugar. 

Supper Four ounces pemmican, one-half ounce tea, two- 
thirds ounce sugar, two biscuits, one ounce of lime-juice. 

This amounted to less than two pounds per man per diem. 
The party was divided into five tents. 

No. 1 Captain DeLong, Mr. Collins, and five others. 

No. 2 Lieutenant Chipp, D unbar, and five others. 

No. 3 Lieutenant Danenhower, Newcomb, and five others. 

No. 4 Engineer Melville and five others. 

No. 5 Dr. Ambler, Boatswain Cole, and five others. 

The captain had also an office-tent, in which half of his 
men were berthed. The tents were nine feet long by six 
in width, and required very close stowage for seven men. 
Each tent had a fire-pot, a heavy galvanized-iron kettle, in 
which a copper kettle was arranged, having an alcohol-lamp 
beneath it with a circular asbestos wick ten inches in diame- 
ter. It also had a stewpan on top. A cook was detailed to 
each tent, with an assistant to provide snow and to draw provi- 
sions. Each tent had a Mackintosh blanket nine by six, upon 
which the men could lie at night. The sleeping-bags were 
made of deer-skin, covered with hairless seal-skin or cotton 
drilling. In our tent there were three such single bags and 
two double ones ; but generally single bags were in the other 
tents. Ours had been designed by Mr. Dunbar in November, 
1879, and were the only ones that did not require alteration 
after we got on the ice. Each boat was provided with an 
outfit of oars, a boat-box with suitable articles for repairing 
damages, and ammunition for the arms that had been detailed 
to each boat. 

The order said that the course would be south 17 degrees 
east (magnetic), which was south (true). I may here state 
that the boat compasses were intentionally left behind, because 
the captain said he preferred the pocket prismatic compasses. 
We had six splendid Richie boat compasses, always kept in 


the Jeannctte ready for instant use, but they were, as I said, 
left behind, much to our detriment at a later period. Each 
boat had been provided with a luff tackle, anchor, and 
grapnel. Of course the anchor and grapnel had to be left 
behind ; but the whale-boat retained the luff tackle, which 
proved extremely useful at a later date. The order of 
march was as follows : 

All hands, except a special detail of four men, were to 
advance the first cutter to the first black flag established by 
Ice-pilot Dunbar, who was to go ahead to select the best 
road ; then the second cutter and the whale-boat and provi- 
sion-sleds were to be brought up to the first station as rapidly 
as possible. While this was going on the special detail of 
four men, with St. Michael sleds, were to advance the extra 
provisions; and the sick, with the hospital sled, were also to 
move to the front. 

We were ordered to sleep during the afternoon of June 
17th, and on the anniversary of the battle of Bunker Hill we 
commenced our long retreat. Chipp was on the sick-list, and 
I, with my eyes constantly bandaged and covered, could only 
do light duty, so the task of leading the working party fell 
to Melville, the captain directing. Each officer and man was 
provided with a harness, which consisted of a broad canvas 
strap, fashioned to go across the chest and over one shoulder, 
and which had to be attached to the sled by a lanyard. 

At last the order was given to break camp. The order 
was obeyed with enthusiasm, and the drag rope of the first 
cutter was immediately manned, Melville, Dr. Ambler, my- 
self and two other men stationing ourselves on either side of 
the boat with harness fast to the thwarts, and then our 
work commenced in terrible earnest. The snow was knee 
deep, the road very rough, and the ice full of fissures. 
Through the former our feet sank easily, soon wearying the 
best of us ; over the fissures, if not too wide, we had to 
jump the boats, and we had to drag the sled over lumps of 
ice that would have taken a whole corps of engineers to 
level. But we advanced steadily, if slowly. We reached 


one of the black flags that had been planted by Ice-pilot 
Dunbar, but seeing that he had planted another one ahead 
of us we pushed on with the first cutter to reach that too. 
This goal reached, we found that we were a mile and a half 
from the starting place, and that it had taken us three hour* 
to make the distance. 

But we, in our enthusiasm, had gone too far. It appears 
that the captain had only intended that we should make a 
single short station on the first day, but the order had pro- 
bably been misunderstood by Mr. Dunbar, whose only wish 
was that we should make as good progress as possible. So 
we had to return ; but on our way back we found that the 
ice had shifted and that our original road had been entirely 
broken up, and so we had to leave our sled midway between 
the two flags and then go to the assistance of the rest.* We 
soon found that we had been fortunate with the first cutter. 
During our absence the captain, with a special detail and 
dogs, had attempted to advance the second cutter and whale- 
boat. He had launched the whale-boat across a fissure, and 
had broken the sled in hauling her out. No. 1 sled, named 
the ' Sylvie,' had also been broken, as well as two others. 

The ice was all in motion, and we had a very bad outlook, 
with our boats and sleds at various points on the road. 
Chipp had been ordered to advance with the hospital sled, 
with Kuehne and Alexai and three men to assist him. The 
sled was heavily laden, and the work was too severe for the 
first lieutenant in his weak state, and the result was that he 
fainted from sheer exhaustion, requiring the services of the 
doctor to restore him. 

On our first outward march, Machinist Walter Lee had 
fallen out of the ranks and rolled upon the ice in agony with 
cramps in the calves of his legs a result, doubtless of his 
having worked for so many months on the iron plates of the 
fire room, oftentimes with wet feet. He was a large, heavy- 
bodied man, and the unusual task fell heavily upon him at 

At six o'clock in the morning (we had been in the region 


of the midnight sun since the early part of May) we had 
advanced the second cutter about three-quarters of a mile 
from the old camp; the whale-boat was about a hundred 
yards back of her. Several disabled sleds stood at intervals 
along the road, while the balance of our stock still remained 
in the spot where they had been placed before the Jeannette 
went down. It was a cold, foggy morning, and we were 
very much chagrined at our ineffective efforts. We had a 
cup of tea, then brought up everything in the rear of the 
position of the second cutter, and then camped down, leav- 
ing the first cutter about three-quarters of a mile in advance. 
Everybody voted this the hardest day's work he had ever 
done in his life. 

For two days we stayed to repair damages, and we all 
concluded that the 'now or never' policy of progress was a 
very ineffectual one. It would have been better for us to 
have spent a few minutes in removing the ice obstacles out 
of our way, rather than to attempt to drag the sleds over 
them by brute force. I did not know much about sleds and 
just how much spread to give the runners, but fortunately Sea- 
man Leach was from the State of Maine, and I depended on his 
judgment ; and I may add that our boat sled never broke 
down once after he and Bartlett an old mountaineer and 
California!! traveler had secured it. 

After two days we again made a start for the south. We 
made slow progress, about a mile or a mile and a half a day, 
over the rough and moving floe. It was terrible work for 
the men. They had to go over the road no less than thirteen 
times seven times with loads and six times empty handed 
thus walking twenty-six miles in making an advance of 
only two ! The empty handed business was the worst. 

On the 19th of June the captain called me into his tent 
and told me to go with the hospital sled because, he alleged, 
I could not see. I remonstrated, but without avail. I went 
back to my tent, naturally deeply mortified to know that 
thirty-three men were working for their lives and I was not 
allowed to help even at* the cooking, although physically I 


was one of the strongest men of the party. That morning I 
started with the hospital sled, which was dragged by seven 
dogs, driven by Erickson, the doctor and 1 assisting over the 
hummocks. We advanced over rough moving ice with great 
difficulty about half a mile, and then set up the tent for the 
three invalids Chipp, Lauderback, and Alexai to await the 
coming up of the rest of the party. I myself would never 
go inside the hospital tent. Thus the survivors trudged 
along, the well heavily handicapped by the six or seven who 
furnished no motive power at all. Twenty-one men did all 
the work for the thirty-three. 

At the end of the first week the captain found by observa- 
tion that the drift had more than neutralized the way cover- 
ed by our advance ; that, in fact, we had lost twenty-seven 
miles by the drift to the northwest in excess of our march 
to the south. This, of course, was kept a profound secret. 

By and by Lauderback and Alexai got well enough to 
work ; and finally Mr. Chipp, after several ineffectual requests 
to be put on duty, was allowed to relieve Melville and take 
charge of the working party. Melville was put in charge of 
the road gang, which consisted of Lee and Seaman Johnson, 
with the dingy and the team of dogs. Their principal duty 
was to keep in position the blocks of ice that were used as 
temporary bridges to enable the sleds to pass safely over the 
fissures. We often came to wide water holes, which caused 
us much delay in ferrying over. The method of doing this 
was as follows : 

First, a large ice piece was found ; on this the boats and 
sleds were placed, and then all the floating mass was drawn 
over by the men on the other side, who had transported 
themselves across by the little dingy or even on smaller ice 
floes. Some of these water spaces were as much as a hun- 
dred yards wide. These openings were not connected, and 
of course could not be used in the direction we wished to go. 
On many occasions the boats had to be launched and paddled 
across, and then hauled up again on the opposite side. Chipp 
took charge of this part of the work admirably, and the men 


were always glad to have him at their head. It was wonder- 
ful how he kept up. 

As soon as the list was clear of sick the hospital tent was 
dispensed with, and I for many days walked after the whale- 
boat, but with Melville always watching me in jumping 
cracks and pulling me out when I fell in. I found it very 
difficult to judge of distances with one eye bandaged and the 
other covered with a dark goggle. Collins generally jvalked 
with me ; Newcomb and Seaman Star followed other sledges, 
all of us suspended from work. Besides these the captain, 
Chipp, Melville, and the doctor added little or nothing to the 
motive power. Eight persons out of thirty-three, or twenty- 
five per cent, of the whole were thus, so to speak, not work- 
ing their passage across the ice. 

In the latter part of June the snow all melted and travel- 
ing was better, but the men had to wade through pools of 
thaw-water and their feet were constantly wet. Seaman 
Kaack's feet were covered with blood-blisters, but he never 
gave in. Nindermann and Bartlett were always the leading 
men in dragging the boats, each being stationed at the bow 
to slew them and to lift them over heavy obstructions. ^As 
the roads became better we were able to advance two sleds 
at a time, but we would often have to jump them from piece 
to piece in crossing leads. Jack Cole and Harry Warren 
were the leading men of one party, and Bartlett and Ninder- 
mann of the other. The number of times passed over the 
ground was now reduced to seven, and the advance was thus 
very much facilitated. Mr. D unbar used to start out, with 
two or three flags on his shoulder, and pick out the best 
road, planting his flags here and there in prominent places. 
The old gentleman was very careful and efficient, though the 
captain would often take an entirely different road, on 
several occasions insisting on ferrying the goods across after 
the ice had come together within fifty yards of us. 

About the 12th of July we saw a ' whale back ' that looked 
very much like a snow-covered island. There had been 
some slight changes in the course previous to this. I think 


it was changed to south (magnetic), which would be about 
south 17 (true), for there was about 17 degrees of easterly 
variation. The captain then shaped the course toward the 
point where land was thought to have been seen. At this 
time we began to see a heavy water sky to the south and 
southeast, and the ice to the southwest was more broken and 
in greater motion, making traveling very difficult. About 
July 20th we worked nearly twelve hours in advancing 1,000 
yards over small pieces of ice constantly shifting. We could 
riot float the boats. The land already mentioned appeared 
greatly distorted by. atmospheric effects, and indeed, until 
within a few days of reaching it, a great many would not 
believe that it existed at all. 

Our progress toward the land was very slow, but finally 
we could see the glaciers and water-courses upon it quite 
distinctly. We were shaping a course toward the northeast 
end of the island, the drift of the ice being along, the east 
face. At times we were forced to remain idle in our camp- 
ing-place, it being quite impossible either to move over the 
rough, broken ice, always in rapid motion, or to launch the 
boats. On the 24th of July we reached a point not more 
than two miles distant from the land, but the men were so 
exhausted that we had to camp. Next morning we found 
that we had drifted at least three miles to the southward 
and along the east side of the island. 

July 27th was very foggy, and we were working our way 
through living masses of ice, when the mist lifted a little 
and an immense sugar-loaf towered above us. We had been 
swept in by the current, and now seemed to be our chance of 
reaching the ice-foot of the island, which was very narrow, 
rugged, and broken, being aground in nineteen fathoms of 
water. We finally got everything on one big floe-piece, and 
as we caromed on the ice-foot we made a rally and jumped 
everything upon the ice-clad beach. But before the last 
boats and sleds were hauled up the floe-piece drifted away, 
leaving them perched on the edge of the ice in a very 
dangerous position, and they had to be left there for some 



hours. Then came the difficult work of getting the boats 
and sleds through the very rough and broken ice-fringe along 

About six P. M. we had succeeded in reaching some smooth 
pieces near the south cape, arid there we camped down, each 
tent being on a separate piece of floe. There was a solid 
breakwater outside of us, consequently we were not in any 
great danger, though the blocks we were on were sometimes 
in motion as the tide rose and fell. At this point the sides of 


the island were very bold and steep, composed of trap-rock 
and a lava-like soil, very dry, so much so that frequent 
land-slides were occurring all the time we were there. Mr. 
Collins and I took a walk over the rough ice and along the 


south point of the island in order to get a view of the south 
side. It appeared very rugged and trended off to the west- 
no^thwest. From a high hummock we saw land to the 

About seven P. M. the captain mustered everybody on the 
island. It was so steep that we could hardly get a footing. 
He then unfurled the beautiful silk flag that had been made 
for him by Mrs. BeLong, and took possession of the island 
in the name of the President of the United States, and called 
it 'Bennett Island.' This was succeeded by hearty cheers, 
three times three, with a good American 'tiger.' There 
were millions of birds nesting in the cliffs, and their noise 
was almost deafening. I think one seal was seen, but no 
walrus, during our stay of nearly a week on the island. The 
south cape was called Cape Emma, after the captain's wife, 
and was in latitude 70 deg. 38 min. north, longitude 148 
deg. 20 min. east. 

The whaleboat was so long that in crossing hummocks the 
stern-post used often to receive heavy knocks and her gar- 
*boards had been stove; indeed, she had been shaken up so 
badly that she was as limber as a basket and required repairs, 
as did the other boats. The captain and doctor thought, too, 
that the party needed rest and change of diet, so the men 
were sent out to get birds and driftwood, so that we could 
economize on our alcohol. In a few hours they knocked 
down several hundred birds with sticks and stones. These 
were brought into camp and divided out. Their effect after 
being eaten was like that of young veal, and pretty nearly 
every one of the party was made sick, the doctor included. 
1 used to eat half a peck of scurvy grass every day, and that 
kept me well. But we had finally to return to pemmican, 
and were very glad to do so after such a surfeit of birds. 

Mr. Dunbar and the two Indians were sent up the east 
side of the island to explore. They were gone two days and 
reached the northeast point. They found the land on the 
east side was more promising than on the south. They 
found several grassy valleys, some old deer horns, some 



driftwood, and saw large 
numbers of birds. Lieut- 
enant Chipp, with Mr. Colics 
and a boat's crew, explored 
the south and west sides, and 
promising reports came from 
them. A fair quality of 
lignite was found in several 
places. Mr. Melville experi- 
mented with it, and deter- 
mined that it would be ser- 
viceable fuel for steaming 

The tidal action at the 
island was very great, and 
a quite remarkable for this 
< part of the world. The ice 
2 outside of us was in constant 
g motion, and seemed to be 
| lifted regularly with the rise 
of the water. We had a tide- 
gauge set up, and it was ob- 
served every hour by Bartlett, 
Nindermann, and Lee. As I 
remember, the greatest rise 
and fall was about three feet ; 
they were regular six hour 
tides. We were there near 
tlie lime of full moon, and 
the 'vulgar establishment ' 
was properly established. At 
Cape Emma the captain got a 
set of equal altitudes of the 
sun for chronometer error, 
but the weather was gener- 
ally misty and unfavorable 



for such work. A box of geological specimens was obtained, 
and is now in my charge, it having been recovered from 
the captain's cache, near the mouth of the Lena. The 
doctor was very enthusiastic about certain amethysts, opals, 
and petrifactions that he had obtained ; these are probably 


While on the island I observed that the sea to the south 
and west was freer from ice than that to the eastward, 
and that water-clouds to the northwest were very common; 
and it occurred to me that in good seasons a vessel could 
reach the island, which might form a good base for explora- 
tions further to the north. 



WE left Bennett Island about August 4th. We were 
then fifty-three days out from the place where the 
Jeannette had sunk. We were fortunate enough in being 
able to launch our boats and to make better progress in the 
cracks between the floes. But we still had to keep our sleds 
for a short time longer. Some of the dogs rendered us very 
important services; but about half the number were now 
disabled by famine and weakness. We had forty originally, 
but about sixteen had died, or had been killed by the others 
during the two winters in the ice. After the stock of dog- 
food gave out, and owing to the scarcity of game, there were 
long periods of starvation for the poor brutes. Each man 
had a favorite animal, and would share his own rations with 
him; but this was not sufficient. At Bennett Island we 
still had, I think, twenty-three left, and the day before leav- 
ing eleven of the poorest of these were shot. We took the 
remaining twelve in the boats, but in passing close to big 
floe-pieces these gave us a great deal of trouble by jumping 
out and running away. Finally, Prince and Snoozer were 
the only two that had sense enough to remain by us. 

For the next eighteen days we were working between 
floe-pieces, and sometimes making as much as ten miles a 
day on our course to the southwest. Several times a day we 
would have to haul the boats out, and make portages across 
the large floe-pieces that barred our progress. This was 
very severe work. We had at this time retained only the 
boat sleds, having left the provision sleds and all superfluous 



articles on a floe-piece about August 6th. We now worked 
during the day and slept during the night. 

At Bennett Island the doctor, who belonged to my boat, 
had been transferred to the captain's, and Mr. Melville was 
placed in charge of mine that is, the whale-boat. I was 
ordered to remain in the boat as a passenger, and to assist 
in emergencies. I always carried my own baggage, and 
assisted whenever possible. Dunbar was detailed with 

We made very good progress until about August 20th. 
On that day the leads were very open, and we thought we 
were all right. The wind was fresh and favorable; the first 
cutter and whale-boat, which followed closely, passed safely 
through great quantities of ice, but the second cutter was in 
the rear, and became jammed by the floe-pieces coming 
together very suddenly, and Chipp had to haul out and 
transport his boat about a mile in order to get her afloat 
again. In many cases a passage was obtained by prying 
the floe-pieces apart; but several times these sprang back, 
thus cutting off the advance of the second cutter. It was 
very hard and slow work, but much better than dragging 
the sleds over the ice. 

The delay caused by getting Chipp's boat afloat was very 
fatal to us, for the wind shifted suddenly and we - were- 
forced to camp after waiting for him several hours. The 
ice jammed up during the night so that we had to remain 
there ten days without being able to move. Then land 
came in sight, and we seemed to be drifting along the north 
face of an island which the captain at first thought was New 
Siberia, but it was afterward found that we were drifting 
along the north coast of Thaddeoffsky. We drifted along 
this coast until August 28th, when, at last, we were again 
able to make a move. We called the place the Ten Day 
Camp. But we had used the delay in making repairs, and 
the food had been distributed per capita among the boats. 

On the afternoon of the 29th we launched the boats again 
and worked in the pack for about two hours, when further 



progress was again barred by the ice. Finally, new con- 
necting leads were found, and we proceeded to the south- 
ward and eastward for about five hours. Then we hauled 
up for the night on a small piece of floe-ice, which was 
drifting very rapidly to the southward and down the passage 
between New Siberia and Thaddeoffsky. 

The next morning found us in navigable water, and with 
land about seven miles distant to the westward. Then we 
rounded the south point of Thaddeoffsky. We found the 


island to be composed of mud hills that were wearing away 
rapidly and forming shoals off the land. Beyond the low 
hills there was a wet, mossy tundra, upon which we camped 
for the night. All hands were then sent out hunting. Rein- 
deer tracks and traces were numerous, but none were seen. 
Bartlett reported that he found footprints in the sand made 
by a civilized boot. The steward found a hut about two 


miles west of the camp, and a small piece of black bread, as 
well as a small tusk and a knee piece for a boat, fashioned 
from a deer horn. The next morning we proceeded west 
along the shore, the water being very shoal. We saw 
remains of several huts and quantities of driftwood. We 
also saw lots of ducks and wild fowl, and Newcomb succeeded 
in getting about six brace of ducks, which were very welcome. 
That night we tried to land, but after several ineffectual 
efforts gave up the attempt, as the water was too shoal for 
our boats. 

The following is a detailed description of the boats, with 
lists of persons attached to each : 

Dr. Ambler, Mr. Collins, Nindermann, Erickson, Gortz, Noros, 
Dressier, Iverson, Kaack, Boyd, Lee, Ah Sam, Alexai. 

Extreme length, 20 ft. 4 in,; breadth, 6 ft.; depth, 2 ft. 
2 in., from top of gunwale to the top of keel ; clinker built, 
copper fastened, inside lining ; drew 28 inches loaded, and 
had the greatest carrying capacity of the three ; fitted with 
mast and one shifting lug sail ; pulls six oars, and was an 
excellent sea boat. She had a heavy oak keel piece to 
strengthen her in hauling over the ice, and it was retained 
after reaching the water. She was fitted with weather claws 
at Semenoffski Island, September llth, by Nindermann. 

SECOND CUTTER. Lieutenant Chipp, Dunbar, Sweetman, 
Star, Warren, Kuehne, Johnson, Sharvell. 

Extreme length, 16 ft. 3 in.; breadth, 5 ft. 1 in.; depth, 
2 ft. 6 in., from top of gunwale to top of keel ; clinker built, 
copper fastened, a very bad sea boat ; she was carefully fitted 
with weather claws ; had one dipping log sail and four oars. 
She had not sufficient carrying capacity for Chipp's allow- 
ance of provisions, so the captain had two extra tins of 
pemmican in his boat when we separated. This is an 
important fact, for Lieutenant Chipp must have run out of 
food very quickly. 
14 " 



WHALE-BOAT. Engineer Melville, Lieutenant Danenhower, 
Newcomb, Cole, Leach, Mansen, Wilson, Bartlett, Lauder- 
back, Charles Tong Sing, Anequin. 

Extreme length, 25 ft. 4 in: ; breadth, 5 ft. 6 in. ; depth, 
2 ft. 2 in. from top of gunwale to top of keel ; clinker built, 
copper fastened, drawing about twenty-four inches when 
loaded, this being caused by the heavy oak keel piece, sim- 
ilar -to those of the first and second cutters. She had one 
mast and one dipping log sail, and was fitted with weather 
claws about September llth. The master boat-builder at 






2 ft, 9 








A First Cutter. B Second Cutter. C Whale-Boat, 

Mare Island told me that she was one of the best fastened 
boats that he had ever seen, and our experience proved it ; 
for the racket she stood on the journey over the ice was al- 
most incredible. The plans of the boats I got from Carpenter 
Sweetman at Kotelnoi Island, September 4th, 1881. 

The captain decided to work along the shoal that lies be- 
tween Thaddeoffsky and Kotolnoi Islands. There was a 
moderate wind from the eastward, and the captain tried to 
keep close in, in about four feet of water. The result was 
that the first cutter was constantly grounding, and then la- 
boriously getting off again. We continued on our course to 
the southward, the captain's boat getting in breakers at one 
time and calling for our boat to pull him out. There was 


not much ice at the time, and it was decreasing. One day, 
about noon, we ran through a line of drift ice, and the whale- 
boat struck on a tongue that was under water. She began 
to fill rapidly, and we had to haul her out, but not before she 
was two-thirds full could we reach a suitable ice piece. The 
plug had been knocked out, but she had sustained no other 
damage. That afternoon we passed through a large water 
space several square miles in area, with a heavy sea running. 
We were steering dead before the wind, having to follow in 
the wake of the captain, and it was very difficult to keep 
from jibing. 

About three P. M. the coxswain let her jibe, and she was 
brought by the lee by a heavy sea on the starboard quarter. 
The sheet was not slacked in time, and the boat was hovQ 
almost on her port beam ends. A heavy green sea swept 
over the whole port side and filled her to the thwarts ; she 
staggered and commenced to settle, but every man with a 
baler in hand quickly relieved her, and she. floated again. I 
was never frightened before in a boat, but it was a most 
dangerous and terrible situation. There was no chance for 
the captain or Chipp to have assisted us, and had another 
sea boarded us not a man of our party would have been 

The weather was very cold. Two hours afterward we met 
the ice, among which we made our way. Chipp' s boat was 
still astern and in the water hole, and we were very anxious 
about his safety. The captain hauled up about seven p. M., 
and camped with us. The next day the gale was still blow- 
ing, and Chipp's boat still missing, so about six P. M. the 
captain hoisted a black flag. 

On the following day Bartlett reported that the ice was 
closing around us, and that if we did not move we would be 
shut in. Two hours afterward all outlets were closed. 
Land was also in sight at this time, being Kotelnoi Island. 
Erickson was the first to see Chipp's boat, and presently we 
saw two men making their way over the floe and jumping 
across the obstructions. It was Chipp, with Kuehne. His 



boat had been nearly swamped, and in a sinking condition 
he had reached a piece of ice and managed to haul up. Star 
was the only man with his boat at that time who could walk, 
the others requiring ten or fifteen minutes to get up circula- 
tion in their benumbed limbs. The captain had previously 
given written orders that in case of separation each boat 
should make the best of its way to Lena River, but he had 
recommended touching at Kotelnoi Island. Chipp had for- 
tunately decided to follow these instructions, because he had 
not his allowance of food. We ourselves had been on half 
rations for some time. He had remained on the ice about 


twenty-four hours, and then got a chance to get under way. 
He told us that by making a portage of about two miles we 
could launch our boats and fetch the land. He sent his men 
to assist us, and after six or eight hours of terrible work we 
succeeded in getting our boat to the second cutter. That 
night we reached the southeast corner of Kotelnoi Island 
and camped on a low cape extending well out from the 
mountain and forming a beautiful bay. 


This was September 6th, I think. We stayed there about 
thirty-six hours. Large parties were sent out hunting, as 
numerous deer tracks had been seen. Next morning we got 
under way again and worked along shore until about noon, 
when we had to make a long and laborious portage, during 
which Mr. Dunbar fell down exhausted and with palpitation 
of the heart. We continued until midnight, and then camp- 
ed on a bleak, desolate spot. Next morning, September 7th, 
we shaped a course for the island of Stolbovoi from the south 
point of Kotelnoi, fifty-one miles distant to the southwest. 
We had fresh breezes the first day, and during the night got 
into a very bad place and came very near being smashed up 
by drift ice. We passed in sight of Stolbovoi ; but it was not 
considered worth while to land on the barren island, which 
was, besides, too distant. 

On the night of September 9th, we hauled up on a piece of 
ice off the north end of Semenoffski Island, and there 
slept. On September 10th, we rounded the north end of 
this island and came down the west shore, stopping to cook 
dinner and to examine the island. Having seen the tracks 
of deer going toward the south end of the island, the captain 
suggested that a party of hunters deploy across it and ad- 
vance to the south in hopes of getting a deer. About ten of 
us went. I went along the beach with Kuehne and Johnson, 
Bartlett, Noros, Collins, and the Indians skirting the hills. 
We raised a doe and fawn running to the northward as fast 
as possible, they having previously seen the boats. Several 
shots were fired, and the doe fell under Noros' last shot. 
We hurled the body down a steep bluff to Chipp, who had it 
butchered, and the captain ordered all served out, having 
previously given orders for all hands to camp. 

That evening the captain told Melville that he and many 
of his party were badly used up and must have rest and a 
full meal before proceeding. All these days for the past 
twenty we had been on very short allowance and had never 
had a full meal. Melville said that he and his party were 
in excellent condition and wanted to move on, and did not 


like losing time. The entire deer was served out and we 
had orders to remain till Monday morning, or about thirty- 
six hours. We had noticed that after two or three days of 
northeast winds it generally finished up with a heavy gale 
from that quarter, and it was thought we would be likely to 
get it on Monday or Tuesday. That evening Chipp came 
over and asked me to go out with him to get some ptarmigan 
if possible. We came upon a large covey, but could not get 
a shot. This was my last talk with Chipp. He was in bet- 
ter health than usual and was cheerful, but not altogether 
satisfied with the outlook. 

On Monday morning, September 12th, we left Semenoffski 
Island, and stood to the southward along the west side of 
the island, lying to the south. About half-past eleven A. M. 
we ran through a lot of drift ice, following the first cutter. 
It was pretty close work, and our boat had to luff through 
between two big cakes of ice. The sheet was hauled aft in 
luffing, and the boat sided over against the lee piece, thereby 
knocking a hole in the starboard side. She filled rapidly, 
and we barely succeeded in making fast her bow to an ad- 
jacent cake of ice ; there we put on a lead patch and remedied 
the damage. This was the .last piece of ice that we saw. 
While repairs were going on I had a chat with Collins, who 
was as amiable as usual, and had some pleasant story to tell 
me. The doctor was also very affable, aiid asked particularly 
after my health and comfort. 

We then started on a southwest course. The captain kept 
his boat almost right before the wind ; it was very difficult 
to keep from jibing, and as the whale-boat was the faster 
sailer it was hard to keep in position. Our orders were to 
keep astern of the captain, within easy hail, and for Chipp 
to bring up the rear, he being second in command. The 
wind and sea increased very rapidly, and about five P. M. we 
were out of position about nine hundred yards off the weather 
quarter of the first cutter. Melville asked me if we could 
get in position safely, and I told him that by jibing twice 
and lowering the sail we could do so. He then told me to 


w O 

>J t 






take charge ; so I jibed very carefully, ran down to the 
captain's wake and then jibed her again, each time having 
lowered the sail, and having gotten out two oars to keep up 
the headway before the sea while shifting the sail. I then 
had seaman Leach put at the helm, as he was the best helms- 
man in the boat. My eyes would not permit my taking the 
helm or I would have done so. We then ranged along the 
weather side of the first cutter, had our sail close reefed, and 
to keep from running away from her had to take it in, there- 
by allowing the seas to board us. 

About dusk the captain stood up in his boat and waved 
his hands as if to separate. This is what the men say ; I 
did not see it. At the same time Chipp was said to be lower- 
ing his sail. Melville asked my advice, and I said we should 
steer with the wind and sea four points to the north quarter ; 
that we could make good weather of it until dark, when we 
should heave to on account of the liability to meet young ice 
in the darkness. In the meantime I advised that we should 
prepare a good drag. He told me to go ahead and do it. 
So I ordered Cole and Mansen to take three hickory tent- 
poles, each about eight feet in length, lash them in a triangle, 
and lace a strong piece of cotton canvas across it, then take 
the boat's painter, and make a span similar to the bellyband 
of a kite, and to the middle of this span make fast the luff 
tackle fall. On the lower end of each tent-pole there was a 
brass nib which, with the weight of the wet canvas and the 
bight of the rope, would, I said, probably make the drag heavy 
enough ; if not we would send down the spare fire-pot and 
boat bucket to help it. 

The gale was now at its full force, and the seas were run- 
ning high and spiteful. Leach was steering admirably, but 
we had to keep four balers going all the time to prevent the 
boat from filling and sinking. The drag, having been com- 
pleted, was placed forward of the mast in readiness for use. 
1 had the drag rope coiled down clear for running. The 
men were very weary. There were only two seamen in the. 
boat who would pull in a seaway, the others being inexperi- 


enced, except the helmsman. I had been watching the seas 
for a long time, and had noticed that they ran in threes, and 
that there was a short lull after the third and heaviest one. 
I had the men detailed as follows : Wilson and Mansen at 
the oars, keeping them peaked high above the sea, Cole at 
the halyards to lower sail, Anequin and the steward to gather 
the sail, Bartlett to launch the drag, and Leach at the helm. 
I gave preparatory orders very carefully at the words 
4 Lower away !' to put the helm hard-a-starboard, lower sail 
and give way with starboard oar, holding water with the 
port oar, if possible in the seaway. 

I watched more than five minutes for my chance, for our 
lives depended on the success of that movement. At the 
proper moment I shouted c Lower away ! ' and every man did 
his duty ; the boat came round, gave a tremendous dive and 
she was then safe, head to sea. We eased the oars and 
launched the drag. It watched about three points on the 
port bow, so I sent down the spare fire-pot and a bucket by 
putting loops, or what we call beckets, on the bales. Cole 
suggested sending down a painted bag with the mouth open. 
It filled with water, dragged, and was very effective. We 
then lay head to sea during the night. A number of the 
party turned in under the canvas. Melville was exhausted 
and had his legs badly swollen ; so he turned in abreast the 
foremast, leaving me in charge. 

Leach and Wilson steered with a paddle during the night, 
and I sat at their feet watching. The upper gudgeon of the 
rudder had been carried away, so we took the rudder on 
board. Our fresh water had been ruined by the seas that 
had boarded us, but late 011 the night before leaving the 
island Newcomb had brought in several ptarmigan, which 
had been dressed and put in our kettle, the other tents not 
caring to take their share. This proved excellent food for 
us the next day, as they were not too salt to be eaten. 

At daylight, September 13th, there were no boats in sight* 
and the gale was still raging. About ten A. M. I noticed that 
a new sea was making and the old sea was more abeam. 


From this I judged that the wind had veered to the south- 
east and would grow lighter. About noon the water began 
to tumble in very badly on the port quarter ; and the boat 
was down by the stern. We were thoroughly wet, and the 
sleeping gear was so water-soaked and swollen that it 
jammed between the thwarts and could not be shifted in 
trimming. I rigged the mackintosh 011 the port quarter, the 
stroke oarsman holding one corner and I the other for sevea 
hours. This kept a great deal of water out of the boat and 
acted like a * tarpaulin in the rigging ' to keep her head to 
sea. At 4.40 P. M., per log, I called Melville and told him 
that it was time to get under way. The sea was very heavy, 
but was falling, and by standing west at first we could grad- 
ually haul up to south-southwest as the sea went down. 

We got under way without getting a sea aboard and stood 
to the westward, and by eight P. M. were able to haul up to 
south-southwest, on which course we stood during the night. 
The second night was more comfortable, but still we were 
all very wet ; but we were perfectly safe. I lay down for an 
hour abreast the foremast while Melville relieved me, but 
could not sleep, and soon returned to my old place. 



A T six o'clock on the morning of the 14th, I gave orders 
"^^ to prepare breakfast, and a few minutes later we were 
surprised by the boat taking ground in two feet of water. 
We backed off, and I recommended standing to the eastward. 
I had reckoned that when we rounded to we were about fifty 
miles off Barkin, our destination; that we had drifted at 
least fifteen miles to the southwest during the gale, and that 
we had run about twenty-five miles during the night, so that 
we were on the shoals north of Barkin. I said that if we 
stood to the west we would have no show ; but that if we 
went east until deep water was reached, and then stood due 
south to the highlands of the coast, we would find plenty of 
water and a good landing place. Melville was of course in 
command, but he relied on my judgment, as he did in all 

Bartlett thought he saw a low beach with logs upon it. I 
told him to take another good look, and then he said he 
thought he was mistaken. It was only a smooth patch of 
water among the shoals. We noticed that the water was 
only brackish, and that there was a thin skim of young ice 
near us. We stood to the eastward, occasionally feeling our 
way south, but always touched the ground quickly when 
moving in that direction. I noticed there was a very strong 
easterly set here. The winds were light and southerly ; we 
stood all night about east-southeast, and early next morning 
got nine fathoms. I then recommended steering due south, 
but Melville wanted to go southwest, because that was the 
captain's course ; so I assented and shaped a southwest 
course, which we continued to steer until the morning of 



September 17th. The winds were very light, and we often 
had to pull the boat. I was at the coxswain's feet conning 
the boat. 

At daylight we got ten feet of water, and soon after saw 
a low beach. We made two attempts to land through the 
breakers, but could not get within a mile of the shore. The 
land trended north and south, and I said that we were 
evidently south of Barkin, and that if there was water 
enough we might fetch it that night from the southward, as 
we had a good breeze about east. With a view to finding 
the captain and Chipp we stood up the coast, hoping to reach 
Barkin before dark. 

The condition of the party on this morning was very bad. 
Leach and Lauderback were disabled with swollen legs, the 
skin having broken in many places, and most of the others 
were badly off. We had been in the boat ninety-six hours 
and wet all the time. I had taken the precaution twice 
during that time to pull off my moccasins, to wring out my 
stockings and to rub my feet, in order to restore circulation. 
I advised the others to do the same, but the most of them 
unfortunately did not take the advice. I also beat the devil's 
tattoo almost all the time to keep up the circulation ; so the 
next morning I was the best man in the party on my feet. 

After going to the northward about thirty minutes we saw 
two low points of swamp land, and it was evident that we 
were at the mouth of a swamp river. We had a talk, and I 
advised getting ashore as quickly as possible and drying our 
things out. So we entered this river with a leading wind, 
the current being very strong. We got as much as five 
fathoms in the middle of the river, but it shoaled very rapidly 
on either side of mid-channel. It was four or five miles 
wide, but we could not get within a mile of either beach. I 
advised standing up the river until noon, and then to decide 
fully what we should do. When that time arrived I said 
we were probably in a swamp river, about thirty or forty 
miles south of Barkin ; the wind was east, and if we turned 
back we .would have to beat out, but would have the current 


in our favor ; after getting clear of the point we could run 
up the coast with a fair wind. ' But,' I added, 4 if a gale 
comes on we will be in the breakers.' Melville then decided 
to turn back and start for Barkin. 

At this juncture Bartlett spoke up and said that he believed 
we were in the east branch of the Lena. Melville referred 
to me, and I said that it might be so, but that we should 
have higher land on our port hand if that were the case. 
The trend of the river corresponded pretty well with the 
coast outlet, and if we could find an island about thirty 
miles up stream it would, doubtless, prove that we were in 
that place. Bartlett said that he believed such a vast body 
of water could not be a swamp river ; it was bigger than the 
Mississippi at its mouth. I still held to my belief that it 
was a swamp river, but said that it would be a good plan to 
try to make a landing before night. 

So we stood up stream and were fortunate enough to make 
a landing at seven p. M., in what we found afterward the 
Tunguses call an orasso, or summer hunting hut. We had 
been 108 hours in the boat since leaving Semenoffski Island. 
The men immediately built a fire in the hut, and gathered 
round it before they had restored circulation by exercise. I 
knocked about outside and carried up my sleeping bag before 
supper, so iny blood was in good circulation before I went 
near the fire. We had a cup of tea and a morsel of pemmi- 
can, having been on quarter rations since we separated. We 
went to sleep with our feet toward the fire, and several of 
the men passed the night in agony, as if millions of needles 
were piercing their limbs. Bartlett described it as the worst 
night he ever passed. I slept like a child and was very 
much refreshed next morning. We found fish bones, rein- 
deer horns and human footprints ; also a curiously fashioned 
wooden reindeer with a boy mounted on his back. We were 
very much delighted with our prospects of meeting natives. 

Next morning we got under way about seven, steered up 
the river about two hours, and then could proceed no further. 
Bartlett started out to reconnoitre, but when he was a 


hundred yards distant I saw that he was limping ; so I ran 
after him and sent him back. I went about half a mile and 
saw several swamp-like rivers coming from the northwest ; 
then went back to the boat and told Melville he had better 
prepare tea while Mansen and I took a more extended scout. 
We went further, and Mansen used his eyes for me. I could 
see some high land about two miles off, and I asked Mansen 
to look well to see if he could get over to it, for I was sure 
deep water lay alongside of it. He thought he could trace 
a passage to it, all but in one small place ; so we returned 
with that information. The land was about ten feet high 
and covered with good deer moss. We saw many deer- 
tracks, especially where they had come down to water at the 
river ; we also saw another hut close by on a small flat. 

We then went back to Melville, and soon after started out 
with the boat. We had splendid luck ; we struck a passage 
and reached the deep water. We passed an island, and I 
began to think that Bartlett was right. We proceeded at 
least thirty miles that afternoon, and at dark we reached a 
point about sixty feet high, where we expected the river to 
turn due south. Here we pitched the tents and passed the 

About four o'clock next morning Bartlett and I took a 
scout. We saw two large rivers to the northwest, and a 
broad river coming from the south. We thought we were at 
the right turning-point, but were not sure. At six I called 
Melville and the others and ordered tea cooked. The wind 
was fresh from the west and blowing right on the beach. 
We had breakfast, and then I took the well men and loaded 
the boat. We struck the tents at the last moment and 
assisted Melville and Leach into the boat, close-reefed the 
sail, and made every preparation for getting the boat off the 
lee shore. After some difficulty we succeeded in doing this, 
and ran close hauled on the starboard tack under close- 
reefed sail, standing about south-southwest under the lee of 
a mud-flat. I was at the helm, and Bartlett on the bows with 
sounding-pole. We saw seven reindeer among the hills, but 


did not stop to get at them. About eleven we saw two huts 
on the west bank and in a good situation for landing ; so I 
recommended that we should get ashore and dry out every- 

It was Sunday, September 18th, and was the first real day 
of rest that we had taken for a long time. We found two very 
nice summer hunting dwellings, built with sloping sides and 
shaped like the frustrum of a pyramid, the sloping sides 
forming the cover for the occupants and the aperture at the 
top being the chimney. This was what the Russians call a 
poloika and the Tunguses an orasso. The sun was bright 
and beautiful. We opened out everything to dry and passed 
a delightful Sunday, being sure that rescue was not far off. 
Newcomb made a good warm jacket out of his sleeping bag. 
We also wrote a notice to the effect that the whale-boat had 
landed at this point, and stuck up a flag to mark the place 
of the record. There were lots of fish bones in the hut, 
some refuse fish, and a piece of black bread, all of which our 
Indian ate with avidity. There were also frames for nets 
and for drying fish. 

At eight A. M., on Monday, September 19th, we got under 
way again and stood up the river. I was at the helm and. 
Bartlett on the bows, and the crew, divided in two watches 
of four each, taking two-hour tricks at the oars. Melville 
was in the stern sheets in command of the boat. We stood 
south for two hours with light wind and oars. All was going 
well, and we were in strong hopes of reaching a settlement 
marked on the chart before night ; but we soon began to be 
headed off by mud flats and sand banks. About one A. M. 
we were more than a mile from the west bank, which we 
were following because the village was marked as on that 
side. We then saw a point of land, and I proposed to go 
ashore to set up the prismatic compass and get some bear- 
ings, as well as to prepare dinner. 

After two hours' work against a strong current we suc- 
ceeded in reaching the shore, and the cook had set about 
getting fire when, to our surprise and delight, we saw three 


natives coming around the point in three dug-out canoes and 
pulling with double paddles. We immediately manned our 
boat and went out to meet them, but they appeared shy and 
stood to the southward. We lay on our oars and held up 
some pemmican, and finally a handsome youth of about 
eighteen approached cautiously and took a piece. Then he 
called his two companions and they also came to us. We 
then induced them to go ashore with us to the old landing, 
where we built a fire and commenced preparing tea. One of 
the natives gave us a goose and a fish, all they had at the 
time. Their boats were very neat and well fitted with 

I noticed that one of the strangers had a gray coat with a 
velvet collar, and when I pointed to it inquiringly he said 
4 Bulun.' Then I pointed to his knife, or bohaktah, as he 
called it, and he also said 4 Bulun.' From this I imagined 
that Bulun was the name of the place where they had ob- 
tained them. We had a very joyous time drinking tea and 
eating goose, for we felt that we were safe. The natives 
showed us all their hunting gear, and we showed them the 
compass, the watch, and our rifles, much to their delight. 

After eating they crossed themselves, shook hands, and 
said ' Pashee bah.' They also showed us their crosses, which 
they kissed ; and I was very glad to have in my possession a 
certain talisman which had been sent to me by a Catholic 
friend at San Francisco, with the message that it had been 
blessed by the priest and I would be sure to be safe if I wore 
it. I did not have much faith in this, however, but I showed 
it to the natives, and they kissed it devoutly. 

It was the only article in the possession of the party, in- 
deed, that indicated to the natives that we were Christians. 
You can imagine our feelings at meeting these people, for 
they were the first strangers whom we had seen for more 
than two years ; and I never before felt so thankful to mis- 
sionaries as I did on that day at finding that we were among 
Christian natives. 

We indicated to the three natives that we wanted to sleep, 


by making signs, and resting the head upon the hand 
and snoring. They understood us, and took us around the 
point where we had hauled our boats upon the sand beach, 
and then climbed a hill which was from sixty to seventy feet 
high. This was at the mouth of a small branch of the Lena, 
and we have since learned this to be on Cape Borchaya, said 
to be about eighty-five miles northwest of Cape Bykoffsky. 
There we found four houses and several storehouses, all 
deserted but one, which was in very good condition. There 
was a. graveyard near by, with many crosses. We all lodged 
in the one house. 

The natives were very kind to us ; they hauled their nets 
and brought us fish, parts of which they roasted before the 
fire, giving us the most delicate morsels. Some of the fish 
we boiled, and altogether we had a very enjoyable meal. 
Then I noticed that Caranie (one of the natives) had gone 
away, leaving only the youth, whom we called Tomat, and 
the invalid, whom we called Theodore. From Caranie's 
absence I argued that there must be other natives near by, 
and that Caranie had gone to inform them of our presence. 

Next morning, wjiile the men were loading the boat, I 
took the compass and got some bearings of the sun for local 
time, direction of the wind, and general lay of the land. 
Previous to this I had interviewed Tomat, who drew a 
diagram on the sand showing the course of the river, and 
that the distance to Bulun was seven sleeps, which he 
indicated by snoring deeply when he pointed to each stop- 
ping-place. He appeared perfectly willing to go with us as 
pilot to Bulun. 

On my return, Melville asked me to hurry up, as he 
wanted to get off. I was surprised, and asked where the 
other native was. Melville replied that he had left, having 
refused to go with us. I then asked him to wait a few 
minutes while I ran back to the house in order to try and 
induce them to come. Returning, I found the youth Tomat 
on the housetop looking very sad and bewildered. When 1 
asked him to accompany us he replied, mournfully, ' Sok ! 


Sok ! Sok ! ' which meant ' No ! No ! ' and then tried to 
explain something which I could not understand, saying 
* Kornado,' which I only afterward learned meant ; father.' 
I felt sorry for the youth, and gave him a colored silk hand- 
kerchief and one or two little things, and then went back to 

We then started out on our own hook and tried to work 
south (that is toward Bulun) among the mud flats ; but in 
this we were not successful. At five P. M. we had a consul- 
tation, and I urged that we must decide at once whether to 
remain out all night or go back. ! recommended going 
back and forcing the natives to go with us. We had two 
Remingtons and a shot-gun, and I knew that it would be easy 
to carry our point. Bartlett had been sounding from the 
bow, so I asked him if he knew the way back. He said yes, 
and we started to return. We did quite well until dark, 
but then the wind shifted and began to blow a gale. 
It was a very bad situation for a boat in such shallow 
water. We were fortunate enough, however, to get under 
the lee of a mud bank, where we secured the boat, with 
three tent-poles driven into the mud and our line fast to 
them. Thus we rode all night. It was very cold, and some 
of the men got their feet and legs badly frostbitten. During 
the snow squalls of the evening before I had to give the 
helm to Leach, because my glass would constantly get 
covered with snow and I could not see. 

At daylight I got Bartlett and Wilson to stand up in the 
boat and take a good look at the land. Bartlett said he 
could not recognize it, but Wilson was sure it was the place 
where we had first met the natives. Bartlett said that if we 
could weather a certain mud-flat we would have a fair way 
in ; so we close reefed, I took the helm, and went to 
windward of the mud-flat. Then we ran in with a leading 
wind and landed. Newcornb shot some sea-gulls, and we 
breakfasted on them in order to save our few remaining 
pounds of pemmican. Wilson insisted that in less than 


half an hour he could go to the house where we had slept 
the night before. Most of us laughed at him, but I told him 
and Mansen to go and see, while I sent two men to recon- 
noitre in an opposite direction. Wilson and Mansen came 
back very soon. We were rejoiced to learn that they had 
seen the house. 

JVe immediately recalled our scouts and embarked, rounded 
the point, and were received at the old place by the natives 
in the most cordial manner. They were headed by another 
native, an old man, who took off his cap, and said < Drasti ! 
Drasti ! ' at the same time shaking hands. He immediately 
took possession of Melville, who was very lame, and helped 
him up to the house. We unloaded the boat, and carried up 
the sleeping-gear. When the natives saw a couple of gulls 
that we were expecting to feed on, they threw them down in 
disgust, and immediately brought deer-meat to replace them. 
Veo Wassili, for that was the old man's name, proved to be 
our great friend ; he willingly consented to pilot us to Bulun, 
and measured the boat's draught, thus showing that he was 
wide awake and knew what he was about. This old Tunguse, 
Wassili, or Wassili Koolgiak, or 'Cut-eared Wassili/ in 
his style and bearing always reminded me of the late Com- 
modore Foxhall A. Parker. He was always dignified and 
kindly, and had a certain refinement of manner that was 
very remarkable. 

We saw at once that Wassili was the man whom Caranie 
had gone to bring to us, and that was why the youth would 
not go with us until his father arrived. I got Wassili to 
draw a chart of the route we should take, and the following 
is a copy of it, with the way in which lie proposed to pilot us 
and the points at which we should sleep. [See next page.] 

We took a good rest, and were all ready to start next 
morning with Wassili. Bartlett and myself asked to go 
ahead, in order to send succor from Bulun and also to spread 
the news about the two other boats ; but Melville preferred 
that we should all keep together, for he probably did not feel 
that we were out of the scrape ourselves yet. 


On Wednesday morning, September 21st, Wassili, with 
two other natives, started with us, and pursued the same 
course that we had done on the previous forenoon to the 
southward and eastward among the mud-flats. He went 
ahead, and had his two men on the flanks constantly sound- 
ing with their paddles. Their boats, or veatkas, are about 
fifteen feet in length and twenty inches beam, modeled very 
much like a paper race-boat, and provided with a double 
paddle. The native faces the bow, pulling alternately with 
the right and left hand, the fulcrum of the lever being an 
imaginary point between the two hands. It is a very grace- 
ful and fascinating movement, and the natives make their 


boats skim along very rapidly, sounding at each stroke when 
going in shoal water. Wassili found a channel among the 
mud- flats for our boats, which at this time drew about twenty- 
six inches. We worked all day to the southward and east- 
ward, and about eight o'clock P. M. hauled out on a flat beach 
and camped for the night, Wassili giving us fish for supper. 
The weather was very cold and raw, with a strong breeze 
blowing, and our pilot was very anxious about the state of 
the river, fearing that we would be stopped by young ice at 
any moment. 

The next morning the banks were fringed with young ice, 
but this we broke our way through and continued our course 
np the river. After the sun came out, the ice melted, and 


we worked all day through a labyrinth of small streams, 
passing several hunting-lodges. At night we slept in two 
houses on shore, and next morning we entered a large body 
of water which we thought was the main river. About noon 
we reached a point of land on which there was a deserted 
village of about six well-built houses and a number of store- 
houses. Wassili took us to a house and told us to couche, or 
eat. I noticed that one of the natives went away in his 
canoe. I then took a look at the village. The houses were 
in good repair, and there were numerous troughs for feeding 
dogs, and cooking utensils in them. The doors were not 
locked, but those of the storehouses were well secured with 
heavy iron padlocks of peculiar shape. 

Things looked more promising now, and I felt sure that 
the winter occupants of these houses could not be far off. 
During this resting spell I examined Leach's and Lauder- 
bach's feet and limbs. Leach's toes had turned black, and 
Lauderback's legs were in a fearful condition, being greatly 
swollen and having large patches of skin broken. We 
dressed them as well as we could with some pain-extractor 
that I happened to have along, and when that gave out we 
used grease from the boat-box. 

In about an hour a boat appeared in sight, and a number 
of people disembarked and entered a house near us. A few 
minutes later, Wassili came and asked Melville and me to go 
with him. He conducted us to the house, where we shook 
hands with an old native named Spiridon, who had two very 
hard-looking women with him, each of whom had lost the 
left eye. They served tea to us, however, in china cups ; 
also gave us some reindeer tallow, which they considered a 
great delicacy. Spiridon looked to me like a regular old 
pirate, and there was an air of mystery about the place that 
made me tell Melville I thought Spiridon was an old rascal, 
and that I was afraid to trust him. He gave us a large 
goose, however, that was dressed and stuffed with seven 
other geese, all boned, and this he said we must not eat 
until sleeping-tkne on the following day. He also said that 



we would leave next morning. Newcomb had seen a num- 
ber of ptarmigan flying about the deserted houses, and had 
bagged a few of these beautiful birds, which were in their 
white winter plumage, feathered from beak to toe. 

Then we started with a new pilot (Kapucan), a young 
man who lived with Spiridon. Old Wassili was quite ex- 
hausted, and he showed us his left elbow, where he had 
a severe gunshot wound, not yet healed. Caranie and Theo- 
dore still accompanied us, and the former proved to be a 
better pilot than the latter. We worked very hard that day 
until eight P. M., the men pulling all the time in one-hour 
tricks. I had the helm and Bartlett the sounding-pole. We 
camped for the night in a paloika, and when we got under 
way again next morning only four of us were able to load 
the boat and get her off the beach. 

During the previous three days Leach and Lauderback had 
been working manfully at the oars whenever their turn came, 
although their limbs were in such a condition that they could 
not stand, and they had to be assisted to and from the boat. 
Melville and Bartlett were in a similar condition. 




ABOUT noon we reached the village of Geemovialocke 
(which we afterwards found to be on Cape Bykoff- 
sky), where we were received cordially by about twelve men, 
women, and children. Melville and I were taken to the house 
of a certain Nicolai Shagra, who was the chief. 

A few minutes later in dashed a slight young man whom 
we at once saw was a Russian, and I thought he was a 
Cossack. His name was Efim Kopiloff, a Russian exile who 
lived in this village, and he proved very useful to us 
later on. At this time he could say 'Bravo!' which he 
thought meant good, and that was the only word we had in 
common ; but in less than two weeks he taught me so much 
Russian that I could make myself fully understood to him in 
a mixture of Russian and Tunguse. We stayed at Nicolai's 
all night, and his wife gave us a fish supper, which we 
enjoyed heartily. We described as well as we could that 
three boats had been dispersed in a gale, and that we did not 
know where the other two boats were ; also that we wanted 
to go to Bulun, which place he told us was fifteen days off. 

I need now to ive you some explanation why we were at 
Cape Bykoffsky, so far out of our course to Bulun. Old 
Wassili, we understood at the time, was bound first of all to 
deliver us to the care of his chief, Nicolai Shagra, and with 
him we eventually found ourselves. The reason why they 
did not take us to Bulun, as they promised, is not very clear, 
even to me. It was a very unfortunate time in the season. 
Young ice was making during the night and breaking up 



and thawing during the day. It was the transition period 
between navigation and sledding. Nicolai Sliagra told us it 
would take fifteen days to reach Bulun, but I think that he 
meant that a delay of fifteen days would be necessary before 
we started that is, to await the freezing of the river. The 
next morning it was stormy, and he told us that we could 
not go ; but about nine o'clock he came in and began to 
rush us off, as if he really intended to send us to Bulun. 
He put sixty fish in our boat, and made signs for us to hurry 
up and embark. We did so, and he, with three others, went 
ahead to pilot us through the mud-flats. Efim was in the 
boat with us. 

We worked up the river for about two hours, constantly 
getting aground, and, in the teeth of a fresh breeze, were 
making very slow progress. Before the village was out of 
sight, however, the pilots turned around and waved us back. 
We up helm and went back to the village, where they had a 
sled ready to carry Melville back to the house. About four 
of us secured the boat, but Nicolai insisted on hauling her 
up, for he made signs that she would be smashed by the 
young ice if we did not do so. The natives then assisted us, 
and we hauled her high and dry up on the beach. The con- 
dition of the men that day was such that I was not sorry 
that we had turned back, because they were not up to a 
fifteen days' journey as represented by the natives. We 
were then taken to the house of a certain Gabrillo Pashin, 
where we remained all night. 

Next morning Efim and Gabrillo came to me and made 
signs that they wished me to go with them. They took me 
to an empty house at the end of the village, where I found 
some old women engaged in cleaning up. They indicated 
that they wished us to occupy it ; so I had it cleaned out and 
moved the whole party into it about noon. Melville mustered 
the party and told them that he and I were afraid that 
scurvy had appeared among us, that we must keep the house 
and ourselves very clean, keep cheerful, and we could prob- 
ably get along very well until proper food arrived. He also 


told them that I should take charge of everything during his 

The next morning all hands except Jack Cole, the Indian, 
and myself, were in a very bad condition, and we were the 
only persons who were able to get wood and water. Wilson 
was able to hobble about the house and prepare the fish, of 
which we were given eight per day four in the morning and 
four in the evening. Yaphem lived with us ; so that made 
twelve men with four fish, weighing about ten pounds, for 
breakfast, and the same amount for supper. We had no 
salt, but we had a little tea left. After a few days the 
natives gave us some decayed wild geese for a midday meal; 
they were ' pretty high/ as an Englishman would call them, 
but we managed to stomach them, for we were capable of 
eating almost anything. Efim also gave us some goose eggs. 

Thus we lived for about a week. Then came an orasnik* or 
native feast-day, during which Efim took some of us out 
to make calls, when the natives presented us with fifteen 
other geese of a similar high character as the others. But 
our party improved in condition day by day; one by one 
reported himself as fit for duty, and in about a week's time 
Melville, too, was well enough to reassume charge informally. 
The natives were generous to us. I am not sure what their 
resources in fish were at the time ; but I know they were 
not catching too many. One day I hauled the nets with 
Andruski Burgowansky ; we drew seven nets and got only 
eleven bulook a splendid fish, one of which he gave me as a 
present. There was a little deer-meat in the village at the 
time, but we were unable to get any. 

One day we were surprised by the arrival of a Russian at 
the village. I have forgotten to tell you that on the night 
after we got back the young ice formed on the river, and that 
sledding commenced in our vicinity about a week later. This 
Russian was brought to our house, and I acted as interpreter 
as well as 1 could. Learning that he lived only nine or ten 
versts away, I asked him to take me home with him, as I 
wished to talk with him about our future movements and to 


learn the best route for getting to Bulun. To this lie will- 
ingly consented, and at two in the afternoon we drove over 
to his house. With him and his wife, a Yakut woman, I 
spent the evening, and here I learned some news from the 
great world from whieh we had been so long absent. He 
told me that the Czar had been assassinated, that the Lena 
was still in the river, that Sibiriakoff was running some 
steamboats, and also that Austria and Prussia had been at 
war. He spoke of Count Bismarck, of Generals Skobeleif 
and Gourko, and the Turkish war, and of a great many other 
things besides. His wife presented me with some tobacco, 
about live pounds of salt, a small bag of rye flour, some sugar, 
and two bricks of tea. And here let me say that the native 
women were always very kind, in spite of their ugliness, and 
I would like to send up a large load of gay calicoes, ban- 
danas, and other fineries for them if I could. 

Next morning Kusmah Eremoff for that was the name of 
this Russian exile took me to the door and showed me a 
fine little reindeer which he had bought for us, and asked if 
it suited me. I told him it would be very welcome, and so it 
was immediately slaughtered. We had tea for breakfast, 
with fish, and fish pate's which the good woman had made 
specially for me ; and just before I left, Kusmah promised 
that on the following Sunday he would take me to Bulun 
with deer-teams. I asked him who else would go, and he 
said two other Russians. I asked how many Tunguses, and 
he said there would be none, because they were bad ; and on 
all occasions he tried to indicate that there was something 
wrong with the Tunguses. I asked him to come over the 
following Wednesday to consult with Melville, and then I 
returned home with the provender. Our people were de- 
lighted with the change of diet. The deer, when dressed, 
weighed ninety-three pounds. 

On Wednesday, Kusmah came over as he had promised 
Melville. We took him down to the boat and had it turned 
over for his inspection. We then retired to an empty house, 
where Melville, Kusmah, and I had a consultation. Kusmah 


said he could go to Bulun and return in five days. When 
asked if he could go quicker with or without me or Melville, 
he indicated that it made no difference. Melville decided 
that Kusmah had better go alone. Kusmah acquiesced, but 
on the following Friday we were surprised to learn that he 
was going to take Nicolai Shagra with him. I have not 
mentioned that the second day after our return to the vil- 
lage, Nicolai came to us and wanted a written paper from 
us, which he promised to forward to Bulun at the earliest 
opportunity. I wrote a paper in English and French, which 
Wilson put into Swedish, and Lauderback into German ; 
and all four versions of this document, together with a 
picture of the ship and a drawing of the American flag, 
were sewed up in oil-skin and given to Nicolai, who handed 
them to his wife, and that good woman put them in her 
cupboard for safe keeping. They were never forwarded. 
Subsequently, Melville and I prepared despatches for the 
Minister at St. Petersburg, for the Secretary of the Navy, 
and for Mr. James Gordon Bennett ; but Melville sent noth- 
ing by Kusmah. 

The day after we arrived it was decided that I should go 
to Bulun, as I was in the best physical condition and the 
most available person. For more than two weeks my pro- 
jected trip was talked about by us and by the men. I was 
to bring back food and deer sleds for the whole party, and 
also to take the despatches which we had prepared. After 
my return from Kusmah's house, however, Melville decided 
that Kusmah should go alone, and as he promised to be 
back in five days he decided not to send any despatches by 
him, but to take them himself. He seemed to think that 
Kusmah ought to get there and back quicker if he went 
alone, and was very much disappointed when he learned that 
Nicolai Shagra went with him. 

This man Kusmah was a robber, who had been exiled 
there and was dependent upon the natives in a great mea- 
sure. He could not leave his home without official permis- 
sion ; but he took the responsibility in this emergency, and 


evidently had to have somebody to back him and to assist 
him as a witness, and he therefore, very naturally, took 
with him the chief of the natives, though he first proposed 
to take me. He said that it made no difference in time if 
one should accompany him. 

The next morning I told Melville that before Kusmali left 
he should be particularly enjoined to spread the news of the 
two missing boats among the natives everywhere he went, 
and I said I would like to run over to his house to give him 
those orders. Melville consented. I went down to Nicolai 
Shagra's to get a dog team, and while there Spiridon hove 
in sight with a fine team of nine dogs. I immediately took 
possession of him and his team, and drove over to Kusmah's 
house, where I had a long interview, during which I went 
over the charts with him again. On this occasion he told 
me positively that Barkin was only fifty versts northeast of 
his house, and I immediately determined to go there to seek 
for traces of the missing boats. I went back to Melville 
and told him what I wanted to do. He did not assent to the 
proposal at first, but finally agreed. While at Kusmah's I 
wrote a line to my brother in Washington, and gave it to 
Kusmah to mail at Bulun. My eye would not permit writ- 
ing much. 

I took my rifle and sleeping bag, put them on Spiridon's 
sled, and pointed toward his village. He seemed very much 
astonished, but finally obeyed, and started homeward. On 
reaching his house I had a consultation with him and Car- 
anie, and tried to get them to consent to take me to Barkin 
next morning. But they said that the loos-byral that is, 
posh-ice would prevent them from going, and that it was 
impossible to go there at that time of the year. We then 
had supper, after which I hunted up old Cut-eared Wassili, 
and he consented to take me to Kahoomah, which Kapucan 
said was to the northwest of us. If I could not go to Bar- 
kin, I was glad at any rate to go to the northwest to search 
in that quarter and to spread the news. 

The next morning Wassili, Kapucan, and I started with 


twelve dogs for Kahoomah. We first went down a little 
river to the southeast, and the young ice broke in many 
places, letting the dogs arid sled into the shallow water. I 
was surprised at the southeast course, for Kapucan had told 
ine that Kahoomah was to the northwest. After thinking a 
few moments I concluded that Kahoomah must be the Tun- 
guse name for Kusmah, and that surmise proved to be correct. 
They took me back to Kusmah's house, where they had an- 
other talk, and then agreed to try to take me to Barkin. I 
eet up the compass, and Kusmah pointed to the northeast, 
saying that Barkin was -nly fifty versts distant in that 
direction, but that we would have to go first to the southeast 
and then swing round to the northward. 

We had to wait all night for another sled from our village. 
It came next morning, and then we started to the southeast. 
About eleven o'clock we came to a big river running north, 
and I noticed that old Wassili looked up the stream very 
anxiously and thoughtfully. I set up the compass, and when 
the needle came to rest the natives sung out with delight 
and surprise, ' Tahrahoo,' and pointed toward the south end 
of the needle. I insisted, however, on going north, but the 
old man said it was impossible, on account of loos-byral or 
posh-ice. I then decided to let him follow his intentions and 
see what they were. 

About four P. M., after having traveled over a region 
covered with driftwood, we reached a small hut situated 
near a bold headland, and the island that they call Tahrahoo 
was about three miles off shore. They said they would take 
me there the next morning. At this time another sled hove 
in sight ; it was driven by an old man named Dimitrius, who 
had been sent after us by Kusmah, with a kettle and a tea- 
pot for me. Wassili and I went upon the hill about sunset, 
and had a good view of the river and the adjacent island. 
He indicated that the steamer Lena had entered there, and 
that there might be some signs of boats on the adjacent is- 
lands ; but I told him that I wanted to go round the head- 


land and to the northward. But both old men insisted that 
this would be impossible. 

The next morning, to satisfy me, they started toward the 
island, the two old men and myself going in advance, to test 
the young ice. About a mile off shore the ice was black and 
treacherous, and so unsafe that the old men refused to go 
any further. So we had to turn back and return from a 
fruitless search. It demonstrated, however, that what the 
natives said was true that the ice was not strong enough 
for traveling. The second night we slept at Kusmah's, and 
then returned to Geemovialocke. 

At the end of five days Kusmah had not returned, and it 
was not until October 29th that he put in an appearance, 
after an absence of thirteen days. On his way back, at Ku- 
mak Surka, he had, however, met with the two meu of the 
captain's party, Noros and Nindermann, who had written a 
brief statement about the condition of the captain's party. 
They gave it to Kusmah, and he hastened to bring it to us. 
He told us that the men were to have reached Bulun the 
previous day (October 28th) ; so Melville immediately start- 
ed with old Wassili and dog teams, to find the men and learn 
the position of the captain's party and carry food to them. 
He gave me orders, which he afterward put in writing, to 
take charge of the party and get it to Bulun as soon as pos- 

On November 1st, the Bulun commandant, a Cossack, 
named Gregory Miketereff Baishoff, came to us with a good 
supply of bread, deer-meat, and tea. He handed me a long 
document addressed to the American Minister at St. Peters- 
burg, and signed by Noros and Nindermann. It contained 
some details of the captain's position, but was not definite 
enough to allow me to start immediately to their relief. Be- 
sides, I knew that Kumak Surka was nearer to Bulun than 
to us, and that Melville, after seeing the men, could get to 
the captain much quicker than we could ; so I immediately 
despatched the document to Melville, by special courier 
James II. Bartlett, fireman, who was the best man of the 


party at that time. The commandant at the same time had 
the foresight to appoint a rendezvous at which he and I 
should meet Melville on his way north. He also sent a 
letter to a subordinate, ordering him to equip Melville for 
the journey. This man was a non-commissioned officer of 
Cossacks, and he acted with great intelligence and good 
judgment. He was a tall, fine-looking man, with black side 
whiskers, forty-two years of age. 

Bartlett started that night with a deer team, and was 
likely to get to Bulun only a few hours after Melville, be- 
cause the latter had taken the dog road, which was 240 
versts long, while the deer road was only eighty versts 
across country. The commandant had come by the deer 
road, thus missing Melville. I told the commandant that he 
must get us to Bulun as soon as possible, but he was rather 
non-committal, and would not state a definite time for 

That night I slept uneasily and was awake by four o'clock 
next morning. Efim was up, and I asked him where he 
was going. He said that he was going with the command- 
ant to Arrhue, the village where Spiridon and Wassili lived. 
I told him to tell the commandant to come to me immedi- 
ately. I thought I would try a high-handed game with this 
Cossack commandant, and it worked admirably. He came 
to me about five A. M., in uniform, and I told him that if he 
did not get us clothed and started by daylight next morning 
I would report him to General Tchernieff and have him 
punished ; but that if he did well and got us ready he would 
be handsomely rewarded. He accepted the situation gravely 
and said ' Karascho,' which meant ' all right.' I invited him 
to sleep with us the next night; and the next morning, 
at daylight, fourteen dog teams, with about two hundred 
dogs, were assembled at our village, and the natives brought 
us an ample supply of skin clothing. This was Thursday, 
November 3d. 

We started for Bulun, and on Saturday met Melville at 
Kumak Surka Serai, which is the first deer station. I had a 


long consultation with him, and he told me that there was no 
possible hope for the captain's party, but that he and the two 
natives were going to the spot where Noros and Ninderinami 
had left him, and also to the Ar.ctic Ocean to look for relics. 
He told me, further, that he had left written orders at Bulunfor 
me to proceed to Yakutsk with the whole party. I will here 
state that his orders to me were given by virtue of a written 
order from Lieutenant DeLong which placed him in com- 
mand of my boat, and all persons embarked in the boat were 
made subject to Melville's orders and directions. Thisl knew 
to be unlawful ; but, as the captain was the highest naval 
authority at the time, I had nothing to do but to obey. And 
so I had accepted duty under Melville from the time of the 
separation, because I considered that it was my duty, under 
the circumstances, to do so. 

We arrived at Bulun on Sunday, and the commandant in- 
formed me that we must remain until the following Satur- 
day. I found written orders from Melville telling me to pro- 
ceed to Yakutsk with the whole party as soon as possible, 
and there await his arrival ; but he told me verbally at Ku- 
mak Surka Serai to leave Bartlett at Bulun. 

As transportation further south could be provided for only 
six of the party, I took the five weakest men and started for 
Verkhoyansk, leaving the other six to follow when Melville 
should return. I left written orders with Bartlett to start a 
search party out for Melville in case he did not return by 
November 20th. The resources of Bulun were very limited, 
it being only a village of about twenty houses ; and our pre- 
sence there made fearful inroads on their winter stock. We 
traveled by deer sled to Verkhoyansk, a distance of 900 versts. 
Thence to Yakutsk by means of deer, oxen, and horses, a 
distance of 960 versts, reaching the latter place December 
17th, 1881, where we were well taken care of by General 
Tchernieff, the governor. About December 30th, Melville 
arrived at Yakutsk, and soon afterward the other six men 
came on. On New Year's day the thirteen survivors of the 
Jeannette were all present at Yakutsk. The most of us 


were in good condition, but my left eye was completely dis- 
abled, and the right one was suffering by sympathy. One 
man was insane and had to be kept under restraint, and 
Leach was disabled slightly with frozen feet. 

Melville started north from Yakutsk January 27th, taking 
with him Bartlett and Nindermann Nindermann because 
he was one of the men who had last seen the captain, and 
Bartlett because he had picked up a little Russian and could 
get along first rate with the natives. Most of the men would 
have been worse than useless, because they could not have 
made themselves understood, and would have had to be 
waited on by the natives. 

At Yakutsk, Melville received the first despatch from the 
Secretary of the Navy, which ordered him to send the sick 
and frozen to a milder climate. So he ordered me to pro- 
ceed with the whole party to Irkutsk, and thence to the At- 
lantic seaboard. At Irkutsk I received despatches from the 
department ordering me to remain and continue the search, 
but I was quite unable to do so. After the long excitement of 
our life in the north my eyes began to trouble me more and 
more, and having got cold in them during the sledge journey 
from Yakutsk to Irkutsk, I was compelled to seek profes- 
sional advice. The two oculists whom I consulted told me 
that my left eye was ruined, and should be taken out to pre- 
vent the right one from being constantly affected ; that I 
should not read or write, and should not leave here until the 
right eye was in a better condition. The reports of the ocu- 
lists about my right eye were at first very encouraging, and 
that was why I proposed to the department to charter the 
steamer Lena, in order to make a spring search for Chipp. 
I also asked for two officers to be sent to assist, thinking 
that if my right eye broke down there would then be some- 
body here to take my place. 

Melville told me every detail of his trip of twenty-three 
days from Bulun. He says he has traced the captain's party 
as far as a summer hunting station called Sisteranek, on the 
west bank of the Lena, and that the party must be some- 


where between that station and Bulcour, neither of which 
places is marked on the ordinary map. They had been two 
days without food when Noros and Nindermann left them, 
and the region is devoid of game and inhabitants. The 
men had insufficient clothing, and there is no reasonable 

I think Chipp's boat swamped during the gale, for she 
nearly did so on a previous occasion, and was a very bad sea 
boat. If he succeeded in reaching the coast he had less food 
than the other boats, and his chances of life were therefore 
worse than the captain's party. If his boat swamped she 
would probably come to the surface, after the bodies floated 
out ; she had not sufficient weight in her to keep her down. 
The specific gravity of pemmican is nearly that of water, 
and we found that some of the canisters, which proba.bly 
contained air space, would actually float. The sleeping bags, 
when water soaked, would be the heaviest weight in the boat, 
and these were probably thrown overboard in the gale. The 
northeast winds continued two days after the gale, and 
Chipp's boat may have drifted ashore near the mouth of the 
Olenek, if not carried to the northeast as the driftwood seems 
to be that is, to the New Siberian Islands." 




DURING the time when Lieutenant Danenhower was 
relieved from duty as navigator of the Jeannette, on 
account of his eyes, the log of the ship was kept by the 
commander of the expedition. Lieutenant DeLong always 
made his entries with two dates, that is, he did not advance 
one day on crossing the 180th meridian to east longitude, 
because he expected to drift back again to west longitude, as 
he had often done before. He always clung to the idea that 
he would experience a northeast drift, sooner or later, and 
re-cross that, meridian. 

The log-books of the Jeannette were taken to the Siberian 
coast by Lieutenant DeLong, and were left, with other 
articles, near the beach when he started south, September 
19th. They were recovered by Mr. Melville, November 14th, 
and Lieutenant Danenhower brought them home. The fol- 
lowing are extracts from the log-book, kept by Lieutenant 
DeLong, commencing with the discovery of Jeannette Island, 
and continuing to the end ; the last entry, Saturday, June 
llth, was made with a lead pencil : 


TUESDAY, May 17, 1881. Latitude by observation at 
noon, north 76 deg. 43 min. 20 sec. ; longitude by chronom- 
eter from afternoon observations, east 161 deg. 53 min. 45 
sec. ; sounded in forty-three fathoms ; muddy bottom ; a 



slight drift northwest being indicated by the lead line; 
weather dull and gloomy in the forenoon ; close, bright and 
pleasant in the afternoon. At seven P. M. land was sighted 
from aloft by William Dunbar, ice-pilot, and bearing south 
78 deg. 45 min. west (magnetic) or north 83 deg. 15 min. 
west true. It appears to be an island, and such portion of it 
as is visible is of this shape : 


=8. 78 45' W. (mag.) 

But owing to fog hanging partly over it and partly to the 
northward of it no certainty is felt that this is all of it. It 
is also visible from the deck, but no estimate can be made of 
its distance. 

As no such land is laid down upon any chart in our pos- 
session, belief that we have made a discovery is permissible. 

This is the first land of any kind seen by the ship since 
March 24th, 1880, at which date we saw for the last time the 
north side of " Wrangel Land." 

WEDNESDAY, May 18, 1881. Latitude north 76 deg. 43 
min. 38 sec., longitude east 161 deg. 42 min. 30 sec. 

The land sighted yesterday remains visible all day, but 
with greater clearness. We are now able to determine 
its shape with greater exactness, and it is as below, roughly 
sketched : 

Sd.. -NO. 

=8. 78 45' W. (mag.) 

The clouds of yesterday, or fog-bank as then called, hav- 
ing disappeared from the upper part of the island, we are 
able to see apparent rocky cliffs with a snow-covered slope 
extending back to the westward from them and terminating 
in a conical mass like a volcano-top. 


THURSDAY, May 19, 1881. Latitude 76 deg. 44 min. 50 
ec. north, longitude 161 deg. 30 min. 45 sec. east. 

Crew engaged in digging down through the ice on the port 
side of the stem in an effort to reach the forefoot. The ice 
was first bored to a depth of ten feet two inches without 
getting to the bottom of it ; next a hole was dug four feet in 
depth and from the bottom of this hole a drilling was made 
to a depth of ten feet two inches ; still not reaching the bot- 
tom of the ice at fourteen feet two inches ; but water now 
came oozing in to fill up the space dug, and further effort 
was not made. It is fair to assume that the thickness is of 
more than one floe, and that the water flows in between the 
blocks as they lie one above the other. 

An opening occurred in the ice about five hundred yards 
to the eastward of the ship and partially closed at ten P. M., 
the ship receiving several slight shocks as the edges of the 
ice came together. 

The island remains in plain view all day, and at times, 
after six P. M., a very strong appearance of higher land be- 
yond and to the westward is seen, seemingly connected by a 
snowy slope witli what we have called an island. 

FRIDAY, May 20. The island remains in plain view all 
day, though nothing can be seen of the high land beyond, 
the strong appearance of which is noted in yesterday's log. 

The center of the island now bears west (true), but as no 
observations could be obtained to-day its position and dis- 
tance cannot be determined by the change of bearing. 

SATURDAY, May 21. Latitude north 76 deg. 52 min. 22 
sec., longitude east 161 deg. 7 min. 45 sec. The point of the 
island which on the 16th inst. bore north 83 deg. 15 min. 
west (true) to-day bears south 78 deg. 30 min. west (true), 
from which change of bearing it is computed that the island 
is now twenty-four and three-fifths miles distant. The posi- 
tion of the observed point is therefore latitude 76 deg. 47 
min. 28 sec. north, longitude 159 deg. 20 -min. 45 sec. 

From measurement made by a sextant it is found that the 
island as seen to-day subtends an angle of 2 deg. 10 min. 


WEDNESDAY, May 25. Latitude north 77 deg. 16 min. I 
sec., longitude east 159 deg. 33 min. 30 sec. 

At eight A. M. the ice was found to have opened in numer- 
ous long lanes, some connected and some single, extending 
generally in north-northwest and south-southeast direction. 
]>y making occasional portages boats were able to go several 
miles from the vessel, but for the ship herself there were no 
ice-openings of sufficient magnitude. 

The strong appearance of land mentioned on the 19th inst 
proves to have been land in fact, and for reasons similar to 
those herein set forth (in the remarks of the 17th inst.) it 
may be recorded as another discovery. The second land is 
an island of which the position and present distance are yet 
to be determined. The following bearings were taken : 

Ship's head, S. 14 deg. W. (true). 

Eastern end of island first seen on 17th, S. 17 deg. W. 

Nearest end of island seen to-day, S. 69 deg. 30 min. W. 

The following sextant angles were taken from the crow's- 
nest : 

Island first seen subtends an angle of 2 deg. 42 min. 

Island first seen has an altitude of deg. 16 min. 

Island seen to-day subtends an angle of 3 deg. 35 min. 

Island seen to-day has an altitude of deg. 10 min. 

Interval between two islands, 49 deg. 55 min. 

TUESDAY, May 31. No observations. Crew engaged in 
digging a trench round the vessel, and after four p. M. in 
getting up provisions, etc., in readiness for a sledge party 
directed to leave the ship to-morrow morning. 

WEDNESDAY, June 1. No observations. At nine A. M. a 
party consisting of Passed Assistant Engineer G. W. Mel- 
ville, Mr. William Dunbar, W. F. C. Nindcrmann (seaman). 
H. H. Erickson (seaman), J. H. Bartlett (first class fire- 
man), and Walter Sharvell (coal-heaver), started to make 
an attempt to land upon the island discovered by us on the 
25th ult. and which bears southwest half-west (true) at an 


estimated distance of twelve miles. They carried with them 
the light dingy, secured upon a sled drawn by fifteen dogs, 
and provisions for seven days, besides knapsacks and sleep- 
ing-bags and arms. 

All hands assembled on the ice to witness the departure, 
and cheers were exchanged as the sled moved off. At six 
p. M. the traveling party could be seen from aloft at about 
five miles distant from the ship. 

THURSDAY, June 2. Latitude 77 deg. 16 min. 25 sec. 
north. During the forenoon the traveling party was in 
sight from aloft, seemingly more than half way to the island. 

SATURDAY, June 4. Latitude 77 deg. 12 min. 55 sec. 
north, longitude 158 deg. 11 min. 45 sec. east. From the 
cracked appearance of the ice around the stern it would 
seem that the ship is endeavoring to rise from her ice dock. 
To facilitate her rising and to relieve the strain upon the 
keel under the propeller the men were engaged forenoon and 
afternoon in digging away the ice under the counters and in 
the neighbourhood of the propeller well. The said ice is of 
flinty hardness and clings so closely to the ship as to show 
the grain of the wood and to tear out the oakum, visible 
where the ship's rising has left open spaces. 

Bearings of the island toward which the traveling party 
was sent : South end S. 52 deg. W. (true). North end S. 
61 deg. W. (true). 

SUNDAY, June 5. No observations. At eleven A. M. start- 
ed a fire on the ice ahead of the ship, adding tar and oakum 
to make a black smoke as a signal of our location to the ab- 
sent traveling party. At four P. M., the weather being 
foggy, fired a charge from the brass gun and one from a 
whale-gun as a similar signal. Carpenters pushed repairs 
to steam cutter. 

MONDAY, June 6. No observations. At ten A. M. called 
all hands to muster and read the act for the government of 
the navy. The commanding officer then inspected the ship. 
At 1.30 P. M. divine service was read in the cabin. At six 
A. M. sighted the traveling party making their way back to 


the ship ; sent the starboard watch out to assist them in. 
At nine A. M. the sled arrived alongside, drawn by the dogs 
and accompanied by Nindermann, Erickson, and Bartlett. 
Mr. William Dunbar, ice-pilot, was brought in by this party, 
having been disabled by snow-blindness. At twenty minutes 
of ten A. M. Engineer Melville and Walter Sharvell, coal- 
heaver, with all remaining traveling gear, arrived on board. 

The party landed on the island at half-past five P. M. on 
Friday, June 3d, hoisted our national ensign and took posses- 
sion of our discoveries in the name of the United States of 

The island discovered on May 17th has been named and 
will hereafter be known as Jeannette Island. It is situated 
in latitude 76 deg. 47 min. north and longitude 158 deg. 56 
min. east. 

The island discovered on May 25th and landed upon as 
above stated has been named and will hereafter be known as 
Henrietta Island. It is situated in latitude 77 deg. 8 min. 
north and longitude 157 deg. 43 min. east. 

TUESDAY, June 7, 1881. Latitude 77 deg. 11 min. 10 sec. 
north ; longitude, no observations. 

In anticipation of our floe breaking up and our being 
launched into the confusion raging about us, hoisted the 
steam cutter, brought aboard the kayaks and oomiaks, and 
removed from the ke such of our belongings as could not be 
secured at a few moments' notice. 

WEDNESDAY, June 8. No observations. So thick was the 
fog until 10 A. M. that our position with reference to Hen- 
rietta Island could not be determined, but at that hour the 
fog cleared away, and the island was sighted right ahead 
and at a distance of about four miles. As indicated yester- 
day, we were being drifted across the north face. 

The large openings near us have closed, and the general 
appearance of the ice to west and northwest is that of an 
immense field broken up in many places by the large piles of 
broken floe-pieces, but with no water spaces. 

Considerable water-sky is visible to the south and south- 


west, and several unconnected lanes of water are to be seen 
in those directions. The ice, having passed the obstruction 
caused by Henrietta Island, has closed up again and resumed 
its accustomed drift to the northwest. 

FRIDAY, June 10. Latitude N. 77 deg. 14 min. 20 sec. f 
longitude E. 156 deg. 7 min. 30 sec. 

The following bearings were taken of Henrietta Island at 
twenty minutes past five P. M. : 

Ship's head S. 13 30 W. true. 

S. W. point of island S. 59 24 E. 

Second cliff S. 64 30 E. 

Blackhead S. 66 30 E. 

At eleven P. M. the ship received several severe jars. At 
half-past eleven the ice, eighty yards to the westward, opened 
to a width of ten feet, and after several shocks from the ice, 
the ship was found to have risen an inch forward. At mid- 
night there was considerable motion to our surrounding floe, 
and strong indications of a breaking up of the ice alongside 
the ship. 

SATURDAY, June 11. Latitude 77 deg. 13 min. 45 sec. 
north, longitude 155 deg. 46 min. 30 sec. east. 

At ten minutes past 12 A. M. the ice suddenly opened 
alongside and the ship righted to an even keel. Called all 
hands at once and brought on the few remaining things on 
the ice. The ship settled down to her proper bearings near- 
ly, the draught being 8 feet 11 inches forward and 12 feet 5 
inches aft. A large block of ice could be seen remaining 
under the keel. At the first alarm the gate in the water- 
tight bulkhead forward was closed, but the amount of water 
coming into the ship was found to decrease a small stream 
trickling aft being all that could be seen. 

There being many large spaces of water near us, and the 
ice having a generally broken-up appearance, it was con- 
cluded to ship the rudder to be ready for an emergency in- 
volving the moving of the ship. After some trouble in re- 
moving accumulations of ice around the gudgeons, the 


rudder was shipped, and everything cleared away for mak- 
ing sail. t 

As well as could be judged by looking down through the 
water under the counters there was no injury whatever to 
the afterbody of the ship. As soon as possible a bow line 
and a quarter line had been got out and the ship secured 
temporarily to the ice, which remained on the starboard side, 
as nearly in the same berth as she could be placed. By 
looking down through the water alongside the stern on the 
port side one of the iron straps near her forefoot was seen to 
be sprung off, but otherwise no damage could be detected. 
It was assumed by me that the heavy ice, which all along 
bore heavily against the stern, had held the plank ends open 
on the garboards, and that as soon as the ship was able to 
move from this heavy ice the wood ends came together 
again, closing much of the opening and reducing the leak. 
The water line or rather water level being below the berth 
deck, no difficulty was anticipated in keeping the ship afloat 
and navigating her to some port should she ever be liberated 
from the pack-ice of the Arctic Ocean. 

Sounded in thirty-three fathoms, bottom mud, rapid drift 
to north-northwest. 

Lieutenant United States Navy, Commanding. 



"TTERKHOYANSK, situated on the Yana River, eastward 
V from the Lena, is the name of one of the villages 
which the men of the Jeannette passed through on their 
circuitous journey from Bulun to Yakutsk, and it is also the 
name of one of the districts into which the province of 
Yakutsk is divided. The following are extracts from a 
translation of the report made by the Ispravnik (chief man) 
of this district to the Governor of Yakutsk, respecting the 
arrival and reception of the strangers : 

" By searching for the strangers all the natives have done 
all they had in their power to do. Mr. Ipatieff (aid to the 
ispravnik) knew about the natives, and which of them had 
done more than the others. Those who did the most were 
named respectively as follows : The overlooker from Gigan- 
sky Uluf, Gregory Baishoff, who took the found strangers to 
Bulun, showing them the way and giving them all necessary 
provisions ; and Ipatieff had heard from the strangers how 
much Gregory Baishoff had done for them. Candidate Con- 
stantino Mohoploff was the man who took the two saved 
sailors to Bulun from Bulcour, and accompanied Mr. Mel- 
ville on all his searching to find the missing members of the 
expedition and helped Mr. Melville very much. Then the 
overlooker from Ywo Katurlinsky Nasleg, Wassili Bobrow- 
sky, who brought the eleven strangers who were on Cape 
Borkai to the Cape Bykoffsky, and who gave them fresh pro- 
visions to the people from his own stores.. He guided Mr. 
Melville to Simatsky Nasleg, on the Lena, through the wild- 
erness. Then the two exiles, one of them Kusmah Eremoff , 
from Gigansky Uluf, and Efim Kopiloff, from Ust-Lena. 



These two people were the first to bring all necessary assist- 
ance to the saved strangers. Eremoff volunteered to drive 
to Bulun to give news about the found people. 

The man Nicolai Diakonoff, in whose hut, on Cape Byk- 
offsky, the strangers were living, gave the people bad fish 
and rotten geese. Then he did not go to Bulun as soon as 
Mr. Melville told him to go. Through a person who knows 
the English language has Mr. Melville told the ispravnik 
about those people who showed the most hospitality to him 
and his sailors. The first, Kusmah Eremoff. He gave to Mr. 
Melville all the provisions in his poor house. He went with- 
out assistance to Bulun to give information where Mr. Mel- 
ville and the saved people were living, and that they could 
not come further because they were so weak. 

Another man, Wassili Bobrowsky, has served Mr. Melville 
as pilot from the mouth of the Lena to the habitation of 
Nicolai Diakonoff, and has done all, refusing to take any- 
thing for his assistance. More than that, he gave to Mr. 
Melville and his sailors, fishes, sleds and dogs, and was very 
careful to keep Mr. Melville well and to save him. The 
third man, Efim Kopiloff, gave all that was necessary with- 
out requiring pay for it, and as soon as all the fishes were 
eaten he gave his geese, whereby he was running the risk of 
hunger himself in the spring time. 

The two Yakuts who found Nindermann and Noros have 
to be rewarded too. Nindermann and Noros would have 
been dead from hunger if Ivan Androsoff and Constantine 
Mohoploff had not found them Constantine Mohoploff was 
all the time with Mr. Melville, giving' him provisions. Mr. 
Melville said that without his assistance he could not have 
made the journey from Bulun in twenty-three days when 
searching for the people. Nicolai Diakonoff ought not to be 
rewarded, because he did not give the help which he could 
have done. Of the overlooker from Gigansky Uluf, Baishoff, 
Mr. Melville says he cannot reward him enough, and wanted 
to speak himself about him to the general. 

I have the honor to explain all that I have written above 


to Your Excellency, as well as I have to inform you about 
five hundred (500) roubles expended in provisions and 
clothes for the thirteen (13) saved strangers, and will send 
to you afterward a special account about this. From the 
missing people we as yet have not any news ; but I have 
ordered all the inhabitants to do all in their power to find 
all they can, if only the bodies. If they iind the bodies they 
have to be careful to do all they can to keep them, and also 
anything belonging to the strangers." 

A copy of the ispravnik's report having been sent to Lieut- 
enant Danenhower by General Pedoshenko for examination, 
he returned it with a communication in part as follows : 

" As you have invited my attention to this report and have 
requested my opinion relative to the merits of the people who 
helped us, I would respectfully submit the following state- 
ments : 

First The man named Wassili Bobrowsky rendered the 
most important services. He is known among the natives 
and by me as Wassili Koolgiak, which means Cut-eared 
Wassili. This man may be identified by a gunshot wound 
near the left elbow. The moment we met him we felt safe, 
for he gave us food and immediately consented to pilot us 
to Bulun, at the same time measuring how much water the 
boat required, and thereby showing that he knew what he 
was about. He took us to Nicolai Diakonoff, whom we un- 
understood to be his superior. At a subsequent time lie 
brought us fish and took me on a journey to the mouth of 
the river in search of the two missing boats, and also took 
Mr. Melville on his journey to Bulun. He was always kind 
and good to us, and it is not only my opinion but also that 
of the others that we owe more gratitude to him than to 
any one else. 

Second The exile Kusmah Eremoff I will recommend 
as second in the order of merit. He found us accidentally 
and agreed to take me to his house, where he gave me more 
than one-half of his small stock of provisions and volun- 
teered to carry me to Bulun on the following Sunday. 1 


told him to come over to us in three days to consult with 
Mr. Melville. He came, and Mr. Melville decided that Ku&- 
niah should go without me. He went to Bulun, and on his 
way back he met, at Kumak Surka, the two sailors from the 
captain's party, and brought us the first intelligence of 
them. Before his first visit the natives gave us scarcely 
enough food, being only eight fish per day and some decayed 
geese. He gave us salt, flour, tobacco in small quantities, 
and also bought a deer, which he gave me on my first visit 
to carry back to the men. He threatened the natives, and 
made them bring us more fish than we could eat. He lived 
only ten versts from us, and said that Nicolai Diakonoff 
should have informed him of our presence, and he could 
have taken us to Bulun before the river froze over. Kusmah 
Eremoff acted boldly and well. He is more or less depend- 
ent on the natives, but was not afraid to threaten them, by 
which he made them give us enough food. 

Third I will call attention to the prompt and intelligent 
action of the Commandant, Gregory Mikatereff Baishoff, at 
Bulun. He sent word by Kusmah that he would come to us 
on a certain day. He arrived at the fixed time and with an 
ample supply of provisions. He brought with him a long 
document that had been addressed by the two sailors of the 
captain's party to the American Minister at St. Petersburg. 
The two sailors could not make themselves understood, so 
the commandant brought the paper to us. I immediately 
despatched it by courier to Mr. Melville, who was then on 
his way to Bulun. He going by the dog road had missed 
seeing the commandant, who came by the deer road. The 
latter had the foresight to send by the same courier a written 
order to his subordinate to equip Mr. Melville, and also ap- 
pointed Kumak Surka as a rendezvous. 

At all subsequent times the commandant of Bulun pro- 
vided for us in a very practical and efficient manner, and I 
do not hesitate to say that he is the most intelligent and 
best balanced man that I met north of Yakutsk. His posi- 
tion being a very subordinate one, it required great force of 


character and good judgment in controlling the natives 
and getting from them everything that we needed without 
an equivalent. His task was a difficult one, and he did 

Fourth The two men, Ivan Androsoff and Constantino 
Mohoploff, are deserving of high reward for the rescue of 
the two sailors at Bulcour. 

Fifth The exile, Efim Kopiloff, lived in our house 
and rendered us important services. Before I left the vil- 
lage I had him and all the natives render their accounts of 
all food furnished. Efim was a very good man, and we, one 
and all, would be very glad to see -him rewarded. 

Sixth In regard to the three fishermen whom we first met, 
I would state that they attempted to run away because they 
were afraid of us. We induced the youth, whom we called 
Tomat, to approach, offered him something to eat, and then 
the other two approached. They gave us a goose and one 
fish all they had at the time. They took us to a hut, where 
we passed the night. The next morning they would riot go 
with us, but seemed very much agitated and sorry to have us 
go alone. We could not understand them at the time, but 
afterward learned they had sent for old Wassili and wanted 
us to wait. These three fishermen, as well as the assistants 
of Ivan Androsoff, in my opinion, should be suitably rewarded 
through their chiefs. 

In conclusion I would respectfully state that we received 
good treatment from the authorities at Verkhoyansk, and 
that we are especially indebted to Governor-General G. Tcher- 
nieff for the kind and fatherly treatment we received at his 
hands. The moment he was informed of our presence in 
Siberia he adopted the most prompt and efficient means of 
relief, and I am safe in saying that we all regard him as our 
best friend in Siberia." 

The whale-boat which carried Melville's party safely to the 
Delta, was subsequently given to the generous exile, Kusmah 
Eremoff, for services rendered. 



AFTER the final arrangements were completed, our voy- 
age to the frozen North was commenced on Tuesday, 
July 8th, on which day, at ten minutes past four o'clock P.M., 
the Jeannette slowly steamed away from San Francisco. 
The harbor was lively with yachts, tugs, and other craft, 
many of which accompanied us to the " Gate." The high 
parts of the city were thick with interested spectators. The 
fort at the " Gate," made so golden by the beautiful sun, 
saluted us as we passed. Soon the captain's wife bade us 
good-bye, and the yacht Frolic left us amid cheers, and we 
stood out into the broad Pacific. 

Our voyage was without interest until Hearing the Aleu- 
tian Islands. Ougalgan Island was the first to strike my 
attention. Strange, wild, grand scenery burst upon our gaze 
as the fog lifted on the afternoon of the 1st of August. We 
were at anchor, and the boat was sent ashore to look over 
the island. I was the first man to land, and as I jumped on 
the rocky beach between the jagged headlands a scene of 
indescribable beauty surrounded me. Thousands of birds 
were in the air and screaming discordantly, for I was invad- 
ing their nesting-place : glaucous-winged gulls, tufted and 
Arctic puffins, guillemots, auks and murres. 

I can never forget the scene. On the right arose great 
mountains, clad with snow ; on the left another mountain, a 
volcano, was seen, from the top of which a thin stream of 
blue smoke was slowly curling. Not a vestige of life save 
the birds and myself. A great upheaval of nature marked 
these Aleutian Islands. Central Pacific Railroad scenery 



is nowhere, for these islands combine the picturesqueness of 
the Alleghanies with the vastness of the Sierra Nevadaa 
The islands generally are delightfully green. Flowers are 
found in many varieties. One little kind was much like my 
own New England buttercup of the meadows dear at homa 
To the naturalist this is a great field. 


We made Ounalaska on the 2d of August ; a lovely local- 
ity, with much of interest. We soon left, and after a short 
trip reached St. Michael's, Alaska. Here we got our dogs 
and skin clothes and two Indians. Leaving here, we stood 
across Bering Sea for St. Lawrence Bay, Siberia. Many 
birds here ; among them the lovely Aleutian tern and Sabinea 
gull both rare. 

From this place we started on the evening of August 27th 
for the North, and entering the Arctic Ocean on the 29th, 
we anchored at five P. M. off Serdze Kamen. The captain, 


with Chipp, Collins and D unbar, took a boat for the shore, 
but pack-ice prevented their landing. 

On the 31st, at Kolyutschin Bay, Mr. Chipp and Mr. 
Danenhower found traces of Nordenskiold pictures, coins, 
and coat-buttons. I shot a number of herring (Siberian 
variety of Argentatwi) and glaucous-winged gulls, and saw 
numerous seals (the "floe-rats" of Lamout, Phoca fcetida). 
In the ^af tern oon of this day we left for Wrangel Land, 
through loose ice which floated from one to ten feet out of 

After some days, on Thursday, September 4th, at six P. M., 
we sighted Herald Island. Among the creatures seen I 
enumerate walrus, seals, and bears, and of the birds there 
were phalaropes in small flocks of six, ten, or twelve. These 
graceful little creatures were very unsuspicious, swimming 
quite near and in circles, as is their habit when feeding. 
They ride very buoyantly in the water, and are so interesting 
that I could watch them for hours. Then there were mur- 
res and guillemots, beautiful kittiwake gulls, some burgo- 
masters (these last very shy), and the lovely ivory gull, in 
both adult and immature plumage. Its immature white, 
spotted with black, is very pretty, but the pure whiteness of 
the adult, with the coal-black feet and legs, makes a very 
pretty picture. This species, afterward very common, was 
always very tame. 

The men were at this time enjoying themselves with foot- 
ball and skating on the new ice, which was at this time from 
four to six inches thick. Their skates were made on board 
for the occasion. Having read and heard much of the fero- 
cious polar bear, I can never forget my feelings as upon 
one occasion Mr. Collins and I approached two large ones 
which we discovered. In my journal I find this note : 

" I thought they were going to show fight as they came 
toward us, then stood defiantly awaiting our approach. 
Loading our rifles we walked toward them, cocking our 
pieces, but when within some four hundred yards one of 
them turned and left. We got about one hundred yards 


nearer, when the remaining bear turned and started off, 
shaking his head ominously. We immediately let go a shot 
each, which made him jump and start off quicker, we in 
hot pursuit. But he and his companion soon distanced us. 
At first I thought it was going to be a fight for life between 
us, but when I saw them turn and run my only sensations 
were those of disgust and disappointment. I measured the 
footprints of one of these bears and found them to average 18 
inches. This day I saw a raven, the first since leaving 
Ounalaska ; and Mr. Collins saw a hawk, and from his de- 
scription I think it was the Iceland falcon. This bird, I re- 
gret to say, I did not once see during my stay in the Arctic, 
and my disappointment is great, as I hoped to add further 
knowledge of its habitat." 

The first seal, a young " floe-rat," was shot by one of the 
Indians, when with Mr. Chipp on his sled trip toward 
Herald Island. After skinning this seal the Indian cut 
small pieces off each hind foot to " give good luck ; more 
seal ; kill um." Then taking the bladder and gall, he dropped 
them carefully into the water to " make um more seal." 

The first bears killed were taken on the 17th of Septem- 
ber by Mr. Chipp and Mr. Dunbar. Mr. Collins photograph- 
ed them in fine style. On this day I got seven beautiful 
young gulls. These birds were attracted by the killing of 
the bears, and as they invariably came from the leeward I 
believe it was the scent of blood, and not by sight, that they 
were drawn around. I have seen birds on the Banks of 
Newfoundland attracted similarly, and always in those cases 
from leeward. 

Among my notes I find the following : " This morning a 
singular phenomenon occurred. Seaman Mansen described 
it as follows : i This night, or early morning, I went aft to 
look at the compass; going forward again, I noticed a dull 
red ball of fire on the port bow. It had an oscillating, 
horizontal motion. In size it looked as big as the moon 
when full. It lasted for a few minutes, then suddenly dis- 
appeared ; caused much surprise and discussion among tho 


sailors and others. Mr. Collins called it an electric gaseous 
formation.' A similar phenomenon was afterward seen by 
Seaman Dressier, who said this one exploded. He went 
out where he thought it had fallen, but failed to find any 

During this time numbers of seal and walrus were seen. 
One of the Indians and myself got two walrus ; both had 
fine tusks. These creatures were dozing on the edge of 
the ice and partly in the water close beside each other. 
They were both mortally hurt with the first bullets. The 


blood spurted out some two feet into the air from each bul- 
let-hole. After the first fire we sprang forward within three 
feet and fired five more bullets, finishing them. Their com- 
bined weight was some 3,600 pounds. The Indian bared 
one arm, pushed it down the throat of the one he shot, and, 
pulling it out, wiped the fresh blood on his forehead, after 
this applying some snow on the place. This, he said, was 
for " good luck/' and " because his father taught it him." 
Thirty dogs, with a number of the men, dragged my walrus 
over the ice, some three miles, to the ship. 


Snowsboc-travellng on the ice became quite the rage about 
November 10th, and many were the tumbles got by all. Our 
snow-shoes were those used by the natives about Norton 
Sound and upon the Yukon. By the 14th of October, tho 
observatory being put up, telephone communication witli tho 
ship, distant some one hundred yards, was established. 

One day soon after this I got two small gulls. They 
came along near a lead where I nvas sitting, and when with- 
in range I fired, tumbling one down into the water ; the 
other turned and I got it. They proved to be Ross' gulls 
(Rodostistua rosed), an exceedingly rare species, very buoy- 
ant and graceful on the wing, beautiful pearl-blue on the 
backs, vermilion feet and legs, and lovely tea-rose on the 
breasts and under parts ; the rosy tint being scarcely a color, 
yet blending in exquisite harmony witli the pearl-blue of 
the upper parts. They were in full feather. I afterward 
got three more in adult and immature plumage. This 
species is the loveliest I ever saw. I saw more birds, seals, 
and walrus this first autumn than at any subsequent time. 
Of course, I except our stay at Bennett Island, where there 
were thousands of murres, guillemots, and gulls breeding. 

During' the last of October and in November light snow 
fell at intervals, and as it packed hard improved the walk- 
ing ; also on newly-made ice, after the rime had formed, 
traveling was very pleasant. I made frequent excursions 
over the ice in quest of specimens, and though the birds 
were leaving, I gathered much of interest. The ice this first 
fall jammed and smashed a good deal. My notes of Novem- 
ber 7th state : 

" Ice is in motion as yesterday, cracking fearfully. The 
pressure is very great. Great pieces are pushed about like 
toys. The floe upheaves and gives way in a manner one 
would believe impossible. The ship is all right now, but for 
how long no one knows. Have gun and knapsack ready to 
leave at a moment's notice for God knows where." 

Some beautiful solar halos were seen about this time, and 
the aurora was very fine. " To-night, November 10th, the 



finest I ever saw. Six arches intersected by cirrus clouds 
near the horizon and extended from west-northwest to east, 
covering almost half the heavens. Through this the stars 
were twinkling beautifully. Wonderfully grand ! Some 
perpendicular rays near horizon, the whole display full of 
majestic power. With the booming and cracking of the ice, 
it formed an incident to be remembered. One could almost 
feel the electricity. Lights required twenty -four hours 
through. Soon the sun will leave us." 


On the night of November 13th a sound was heard as if 
of ice relaxing its pressure. A look outside showed an 
opening on our port, forming an extensive and increasing 
lead, with quite a current. All hands turned out and stood 
by for a call. The ship was in a peculiar position open 
water over the rail port side and gang-plank out on the star- 
board. She was supposed to be held by a tongue of ice 
under her, forward. 


Herald Island and Wrangel Land were both in sight at 
this time. In two days the young ice on our port was strong 
enough to walk on, so we were held at times, getting 
heavily nipped, until the morning of November 24th, when 
we broke away from one floe-piece and drifted in a perilous 
manner. One heavy " nip " on the Jeannette, listing her to 
nine degrees, made her creak and groan like some levia- 
than in death agonies ; weather thick ; no land visible. In 
the evening, the ice being quiet, we got some tea. A 
general feeling of thankfulness was apparent on the faces of 
all. The only perceptible effects of this severe handling 
were about the joiner-work and a hole stove in the bulwarks 
on the port side. During these heavy nips and scenes of 
commotion the dogs, some forty in number, often broke out 
in choruses of howls most unearthly. 

On Christmas Day all hands, fore and aft, enjoyed a good 
dinner, with a bill of fare for the cabin mess. The men 
came aft dressed for the occasion. They offered seasonable 
greetings, and then returned to the " deck house," where an 
impromptu entertainment of singing, dancing, and so on was 
given, and enjoyed by all. 

New Year's Day was a pleasant one, being ushered in by 
the ringing of the ship's bell and cheers. In the evening a 
nice entertainment was given by the men. A programme 
of the dinner, which I have saved, reads thus : 



Spiced salmon. 

Arctic turkey (roast seal). Cold ham. 


Canned green peas. Succotash. 
Macaroni, with cheese and tomatoes. 

English canned plum pudding, with cold sauce. 

Mince pie. 

Muscat dates, figs, almonds, filberts, English walnuts, raisins, mixed 
candy from France direct by the ship. 



Pale sherry. 


London stout. 

French chocolate and coffee. 
" Hard tack." 


Beset in the pack, 72 degrees north latitude. 

The programme of the entertainment was as follows ; 




Overture by Orchestra 

Ella Ree by Mr. Sweetman 

Shoo Fly by H. Wilson 

Kitty Wells by Edward Star 

Mignonette by H. Warren 

Finale by Companj 



The world-renowned Anequin, of the Great Northwest, in his original 


The great Dressier in his favorite accordion solo, 
Mr. John Cole, our favorite clog and 

jig dancer. 

Wilson as the great Captain Schmidt, of the Dutch Hussara. 

Violin solo by George Kuehne, Ole Bull's great rivaL 


concludes the performance with the side-splitting 

farce of 


Mr. Keen Sage George W. Boyd 

Miss Keen Sage W. Sharvell 

Charles Tilden (a promising young man, in love with Miss 

Sage) H. W. Leach 

Julius Goodasgold H. D. Warren 

Costumer, A. Gortz. 
Property Man, W. Nindennann. 
NEW YEAR'S, 1881. 


Thus opened the year, soon to prove eventful. The num- 
ber of birds shot by all hands during 1879 was 215 ; man/ 
more might have been taken, but, like Josh Billings' crow, 
we did not " hanker arter " them, nor had we learned to 
value them for fresh food, as was afterward the case. Our 
first season for collecting was short; still we could enumerate 
specimens ornithological, botanical, ethnological, osteological 
and alcoholic, which looked well as a nucleus. As the days 
began to lengthen the cold began to strengthen. Our coldest 
weather for this year was in February, when the spirit 
thermometer indicated 57.8 Fahrenheit. Very little wind, 
as a rule, with these low temperatures. 

One day, soon after New Year's, I was out walking with 
one of the Indians. Noticing the new moon, he stopped, 
faced it, and blowing out his breath he spoke to it, invoking 
success in hunting. The moon, he said, was the " Tyune," or 
ruler of deer, bears, seals, and walrus. The Indian told me 
ihis particular manner of invoking good-will was a secret 
handed down to him by his father, who got it from a very 
Did Indian for a wolf-skin. 

The Jeannette was under pressure off and on all winter, 
And on the 19th of January, in consequence of a crack 
which made right under her forefoot, she sprung a leak. 
* The men are at the pumps constantly night and day. I 
took a spell myself. The ship at this time, by estimate of 
the carpenter, is leaking between 2,500 and 3,000 strokes 
per hour. Unless the pressure ceases it is only a question 
of time how soon we have to abandon the Jeannette. The 
Siberian coast is some two hundred miles south by compass. 
A long, tough journey ; but a will to work has helped many 
a man through a tight place, and, I trust, will yet help us. 
The quivering of the ship indicates the pressure yet upon 

On the 21st a steam-pump was rigged forward. " This 
greatly relieves the men, who are working splendidly." From 
the date of this accident until her being crushed a period 
of some eighteen months pumping was kept up night and 


day. " Yesterday evening (January 20th) one of the Indians 
made an offering of some tobacco to the moon for the safety 
of the ship." The effects of the cold at this time when out 
on the ice was to freeze the moccasin soles and mittens 
while on feet and hands. Nose-guards were worn by many. 
After walking perhaps an hour or so, a feeling as of lump in 
the stomach from indigestion would be experienced." Under 
date of January 24th I wrote : " Ice now about ship is 
.bulged and pushed under her from ten to eighteen feet thick 
in accumulative masses." For the 25th I find : " The sun 
was seen to-day for a brief period after an absence of seventy- 
one days. Wrangel Land is visible." 

As an illustration showing the danger always attendant 
upon going any distance from the ship I quote : " February 
16th. Off with one of the Indians to the northwest ; some 
twelve miles ; found only old tracks of bears. When about 
half a mile from the ship, on our way back, we found that 
where we walked over solid ice in going out there was now 
a lead or lane of water some forty feet in width. This 
looked serious, as it was in old heavy ice and increasing. 

"After taking a smoke we struck off east some three- 
quarters of a mile, where we found it much narrower, and 
succeeded in jumping from piece to piece, and thus crossing 
safely to the floe in which the Jeannette was fast, soon 
reaching the vessel, and very glad to get out of an awkward 
situation." Lest some reader may think the above sensa- 
tional, I would say that the wind, though light, was against 
us, daylight short, the water widening, and a temperature 
45 degrees Fahrenheit. The exception to the rule occurred 
next day when, at a temperature of C3 degrees Fahrenheit, 
a gale of wind sprang up, blowing some forty-five miles per 
hour in squalls, with thick, blinding snow which one could 
not face. 

On the morning of February 1st, one of the Indians shot 
a fine white fox ; we were some fifty miles northwest of 
Herald Island, and nearly as much from Wrangel Land at 
the time. This animal is decidedly a rover. On the morn- 


ing of the 2d a large bear made us a visit, walking up the 
gang-plank with evident intentions of coming on board. The 
dogs had come in ahead of him and were huddled together 
on deck, barking furiously. Bruin paid for his temerity with 
his life, for Mr. D unbar came out with his rifle and soon dis- 
patched him. Though we received other numerous visits 
from these huge creatures, none were so bold as he. They 
would commonly make off at sight, though when cornered 
showed fight at the dogs. 

On the 22d of February the ship was dressed with bunting 
and presented a very gay appearance. American ensigns at 
the fore and main, and the American yachting ensign at the 
mizzen. Our soundings at this season averaged about thirty- 
three fathoms, with a mud bottom. " The returning light 
shows the effect of its absence in the bleached appearance of 
all. I notice the cold renders the finger-nails brittle. Mea- 
surements beside a recent crack show the floe to be about 
ten feet in thickness. This is ice made this winter." A 
series of measurements taken after this made the average 
thickness eight feet. 

Among the peculiarities of some of the walrus which I 
saw, I would mention the difference in size and length of 
the tusks, the left tusk being the longest, the upper teeth 
much more worn than the lower, and in one skull a singular 
one-sided development of lower jaw. I believe it has been 
considered doubtful if the walrus is carnivorous. Without 
attempting any discussion I would say, I have taken pieces 
of skin with hair attached from the stomach of one shot by 
the Indian Alexai. This skin was from a young bearded 
seal (Phoca barbata). Four bears were the most seen to- 
gether. During the month of April I took a small sparrow 
and a small bird (Budytes flavd), stragglers from shore. 
May 1st saw the first gull a kittiwake. It was rather dis- 
tant. During the first part of this month I shot some 
murres (7. Brunnichii) and guillemots (27. grylle), and 
saw others. " All the birds go west. I think there must be 
land in that direction where they go to nest." 


By the middle of May one could at midnight see to read 
in the cabin without lamp or candle. More bears were taken 
this spring than at any other time. I got a fine old fellow 
with a beautiful coat. On the 1st of June dredging was be- 
gun. This day's haul contained some asterias, and one small 
bivalve. Though the number of birds daily increases they 
are not yet plenty. The seals are now beginning to sun 
themselves on the ice, but they are very shy. The ice now 


wastes perceptibly every day. Under date of June 20th I 
find written : " To-day I collected nine mosquitoes." These 
were the first entomological specimens collected after we en- 
tered the Arctic Circle, though subsequently I got one fly and 
a spider. During June and July I took Ross', ivory and 
kittiwake gulls, jagers, murres, guillemots and phalaropes. 

On the Fourth of July, 1880, the ship was again dressed 
with flags. In June we had some brief showers, and also 
in July and August. In June the dogs at times sought the 
shade of the ship to sleep. Some beautiful asterias were 
obtained. by the dredge this month. I have saved sketches 
and notes for future study. On July 25th a bearded seal 
was shot by the Indian Ancquin. This, the only one taken, 
was a fine specimen. The skin made excellent soles for our 


moccasins, and the meat was quite eatable. The stomach 
contained worms, which were very much like the ascaris 
lumbricoides of man. On the last day of the month Mr. 
Collins added a fine jager, species Buffonii, to the collection. 

On the afternoon of August 3d a smoky haze with a strong 
smoky smell was very apparent. Its cause I must leave the 
reader to conjecture. In August, Mr. Chipp shot two sand- 
pipers ( A. maculata) ; these proved an interesting addition 
to our collection. Fish were never plenty, but a small 
species of cod ( Cr. gracillls), some six inches long, was fre- 
quently seen during the brief summer season. 

During this month I often noticed patches of snow some- 
times blood-red, at other times nearer a brown ; and, by 
viewing these deposits from different points, one could 
readily see exquisite shades of blue, green, purple, and crim- 
son. These deposits were nearly always on old floe. I had 
not the chance to study it which I desired, but I think it 
was algae, the same as or allied with Pamella nivalis. 

During the first part of September a small flight of phala- 
ropes (P. fulicarius) occurred. They seldom stopped, but 
moved in small flocks of six or eight in a general direction 
from northeast to southwest. In consequence of the wasting 
away of the ice, particularly where cracks had been, lanes 
of water were formed. The lanes connected with the ocean 
by holes, but were on the average only three feet deep, with 
the ice between this water and the ocean proper. I often 
paddled a kayak about these lanes, sometimes several 
miles, taking the gun with me. Surface ponds, in extent 
sometimes of several acres, also formed ; to paddle about 
these was quite enjoyable ; then, too, the possibility of pick- 
ing up a specimen added to the interest. Though ice had 
formed over pond-holes, it was not strong enough to bear a 
man until about September 6th. Among the things found 
on the ice this season were pieces of wood and parts of trees, 
both birch and fir, and parts of two skeletons of good-sized 
codfish. These last evidently had been caught much farther 



eouth by seals, and drifted on the ice up to the latitudes 
where they were found. 

Throughout the summer much of the time the men were 
hunting, and thus we had seal at least once a week for din- 
ner sometimes eatable, often not, but best when roasted 
and eaten cold. Both bear and seal, in the absence of other 
fresh meat, will pass, but are not very desirable. None of 
the bears taken by us came up to the weights I have seen 
mentioned by other Arctic voyagers. The heaviest one ob- 
tained by us weighed as shot 943J pounds, and was a fat 
one. In measurements they were about the same. 



DURING the summer of 1880 the i :e had been compara- 
tively quiet, but by October it was grinding, smasn- 
ing, and piling up in many places in a manner fatal to any 
ship caught by it. The mercury fell to 45 degrees by the 
middle of this month, and the snow would give a metallic 
ring at each footfall, loud enough to interfere with ordinary 
conversation. Standing near some of these conflicts be- 
tween grinding floes, one first would realize the pressure by 


the humming, buzzing sound ; then a pulsation is felt. 
Something must give. Bang goes the ice right under foot, 
with a report like a big gun. Although you are watching, it 
startles you. It upheaves, lifts you with it, and you must 
step back to a safer place. I have often taken these rides. 
There is a wonderful fascination about it. 

On November 10th the sun was seen by refraction ; on 
the llth it left us. The temperature this month varied a 



good deal, falling to 33 the first week and rising the last 
of the month to 4-8. Whenever the ice opened the tempera- 
ture would rise by reason of the amount of heat liberated. 
The lowest temperatures were during clear weather. Seve- 
ral meteors were observed this month. These were of much 
interest to Mr. Collins, and were he with us he would have 
something to say about them in his usual entertaining man- 
ner. Appetites and sleep were not so good this second winter. 
During December the ship was shaken up off and on, and 
much heavy jamming of ice occurred. 

On Christmas Eve the men gave another very nice enter- 
tainment in the deck-house, buttonhole bouquets and all. 
These bouquets (I have nine of them before me as I write) 
were made of pink and green paper, and handed us by Seaman 
Johnson with one of his pleasant smiles. Poor fellow, he 
is now missing ! A good man and a tiptop seaman. Of 
those who on that night contributed for our amusement nine 
are among the missing. I append a programme of the en- 
tertainment : 




Overture Company 

The Slave Mr. Sweetman 

Nelly Gray H. Wilson 

What Should Make You Sad ? G. W. Boyd 

The Spanish Cavalier E. Star 

Our Boys H. Warren 


The great "Ah Sain " and " Tong Sing " in their wonderful 

tragic performances. 
Accordeon solo by the celebrated artist Herr Dressier. 

Mr. Henry Wilson 

in his serio-comic songs. 

Alexai and Anequin still on the role. 

Violin Solo G. Kuehne 

Magic Lantern Views Mr. Sweetman 



To conclude with the popular play, 



Professor G. W. Boyd 

Agent (in love with the Professor's daughter) H. W. Leach 

Professor's Daughter W. Sharvell 

The Twins P. E. Johnson and H. Warren 

"The Star Spangled Banner." 

Given by all hands. 

Friday evening, December 31st, another and the last en- 
tertainment was given by the boys forward. One of the 
original programmes is subjoined. [See fac-simile.] Before 
the fun commenced a poem by Mr. Collins, which he had 
written for the occasion, was recited. It will now be read 
with a melancholy interest : 


On the lone icebound sea we gather here 

To greet the dawning of another year. 

The past is full of memories : we recall 
Thoughts, words and deeds, bright forms and faces, 
Hopes, blessings, yea, and loved ones' fond embraces; 

And parting prayers, up offered for us all, 

By lips from hearts to each of us endear'd, 

To guard us on the course we've northward steer'd. 

Now though for merriment we all unite 

And make the deck-house ring with joy to-night, 

At intermission, 'twixt the dance and song, 

How quickly our fleet thoughts will wing 

To distant lands and scenes, to bring 
A mystic spell upon each darling throng 
Of festive friends, who wondering ask each other, 

" How fares our absent one son, husband, brother ? " 

And dearer hearts, that beat with tenderest throb, 

E'en now may yearn for us, and many a sob 

May echo in a loneliness as drear as ours ; 
For where stern fate the golden link hath riven, 
And hearts from hearts beloved afar are driven, 

A common cloud o'er all the parted lowers; 


As if a pitying heaven would so decree 
That parted souls should feel in unity. 

But while we thus may sentimentalize 
In manner p'raps the opposite of wise, 
Mirth will demand the passing moments, too. 

And though our efforts here may fail to reach 

The heights of comedy, yet will they teach 
Our audience that the bound Jeannette's good crew, 
For Arctic dangers and the floe's worst jam 
Don't care a single continental damn. 

Some one remarks, " We have no coal for steaming :** 

Why, no, but surely, if I am not dreaming, 

I see quite near me a small pile, 'tis true, 
But, gentlemen, no better Cole,* 'tis said 
E'er came aboard. What's more than this, he's red 

Ready, I mean, to do his duty, too ; 

And though his weight is heavy round New York, 

In earlier days 'twas found not far from Cork.- 

And not since Adam sinn'd e'er lived a man 

Who lov'd the Arctic like our Nindermann.f 

Who can be found among our crew that ran a 
Risk on the ice like his, as sou'westward floating 
Upon the floe piece most unpleasant boating ? 

But I suspect a buxom squaw named Hannah 

Was very much the reason, if not cause, 

Why William so admires the Esquimaux. 

Again regretting that the much lov'd sex 
Can't grace our festival, or light our decks 
With eyes far brighter than the night queen's lanterns, 
We're not so badly off, though, as you think, 
For Fortune, that our spirits might not sink, 
Has sent a substitute along, and Sweetman turns 
Up in our midst, his jolly visage beaming 
With smiles and lips whence pleasantry is streaming. 

Here, too, you'll find among us, as you see, 
The stalwart, bold machinist-man called Lee, 
Whose hand is ready, like magician's wand, 

To turn an engine shaft or shape a pin, 

Or put a piece upon a pot of tin. 

Jack Cole, the Irish boatswain. 

fNlndermann was with Tyson on the great 1,500 mile drift when separated from tlw 


No better hand e'er crossed the herring pond 
Since Tubal Cain first hammered into form 
Iron, for use in battle or in storm. 

Now also mark that individual there, 
Whose father must have been a Bartlett pdre. 
Sweetness alone could such a youth produce. 

Come, don't be modest, lift your head up higher, man ; 

Every one knows that you're our first class fireman, 
Who puts his leisure to the best of use, 
By thinking out full many a thing, worth mention 
If I was talking up the history of invention. 

And now, my friends, I think not much you'll marvel 

If I refer to Lauderback and Sharvell 

Two youths who in the fire-room's gloomy deep, 
At temperature too high for e'en lost souls, 
Keep feeding hungry furnaces with coals, 

And faithfully their six hours' vigil keep. 

Perhaps they cheat old Time, and this between us 

Tell to each other stories about Venus. 

Ah, yes, my introduction would be void 

Of interest if I had forgotten Boyd, 

The youngest of our number, on whose head 
The weight of years, and all the sad belongings 
Of hopes expired and unrequited belongings 

Have never pressed down heavier than lea$. 

To him is given the future with its bubbles, 

Its sad successes and its merry troubles. 

" All hands on deck ! " pipes up my boatswain's whistle, 

And I sincerely trust, my friends, that this'll 

Be for our sailor lads the only call 

To summon them to duties hard and serious 
Before we leave this region most mysterious, 

To face the rolling sea and treacherous squall 

I've noticed often that when making sail, 

Our boys care little for a breeze or gale. 

There's Erickson, as tough as well-tanned leather, 
Worth any common three men rolled together ; 
And Wilson, too, a very blithesome fellow, 
Who handles rope or rifle like a sailor, 
And needle like a first-class Broadway tailor. 
Then, with a voice at once low, sweet and mellow, 
Comes one with boat or iron bar a wrestler ; 
Cooks for our mess in style we call him Dressier. 


I think that, too. I see, and not so far 
Off either, quite a brilliant looking Star ; 
And what I say is really most surprising, 
He never seems to set ; so keep your eyes on 
The Star that never sinks below horizon 
Indeed, he looks to me as always rising. 
I'm dazzled also and my pulse is dancing 
From studying up that jolly fellow, Mansen. 

Mansen, you know, was once caught in a queer snap 
By stepping unawares into a bear-trap; 
But accidents like this will sometimes ruffle 
Even the most smoothly-running stream of life. 
Just like a little quarrel with one's wife; 
And whether stuff of deerskin or of duffel 
The moral points if e'er you get your pants in 
A trap don't have you're legs in it, like Mansen. 

Now, here's another of us. If you want a tune he 
Can play it like an artist ; call on Kuehne. 
Or if life's tension you would be relaxin' 
We can supply without the least delay 
By giving us a fortnight's notice, any way 
Amusement really that's worth the axin'. 
All this may seem to you a stupid riddle, 
But not so puzzling as to learn the fiddle. 

If Adam and his mate had had but one son 

'Tis certain they d have named the youngster Johnson. 

And he'd have died some forty centuries back, 

Being then, on that account, to us no use. 

We have, however, from the land of spruce 
And Norway pine, a dapper little Jack, 
To help us in our work, to haul and steer 
And celebrate with us the good New Year. 

If we could only tell what is before us 

How well we'd know the fortune stored for Noros, 

Who, like Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, 

Looks calmly at all dangers of the ocean. 

But I've thought sometimes have, in fact, a notion 
That Noros, when he looks so much at ease, 
Is in reality but calmly thinking 
About the girls at home now stop your winking. 

What would we do if Destiny most dire 
Had robbed us of a man we all admire, 
And sent us cruising round this icy place 


Without companionship of our friend Nelse ? 

Or sent along with us, well some one else ? 
We ne'er had known stout Iverson's bluff face 
A man above most others ; you can put your 

Last dollar on him as an Arctic butcher. 


Another thought it's contemplation hurts, 

What would we do, boys, if we hadn't Gortz ? 

Our drink would lose all taste, our meat all relish ; 
Our laughter would be silent, and our bones 
Would give occasion for a thousand groans ; 

In fact, the situation would be hellish. 

But luck stood by us ; Gortz is here, and willing 

Even to fetch water up when Lee's distilling. 

And now before I lose all power of speech, 

Oh let me say a little about Leach, 

Whose very smile w r ould make sour apples mellow, 

And raise sweet blossoms on a topsail yard; 

But ah, kind friends, keep still, be on your guard. 
A giant form I see who is that fellow ? 
Gracious ! I thought it was some monster foreign, 
But really 'tis our messmate, gallant Warren. 

Before belaying, just a look to leeward 

Reveals the constellation, cook and steward ; 

And yet another peep along our decks. See ! 
That's very like a face I've seen elsewhere, 
Yes, at St. Michael's, when we anchored there. 

That is our hunter, which his name's Alexai, 

And with him, like a lady loved by many, 

Is our young sylph-like friend, Queen Annie.* 

On the 5th of February the sun was seen, and a most 
cheering appearance it had. About this time our drift 
northwest was rapid. The snow had drifted about the ship 
so much that fifty or sixty yards away but little more than 
the boat's smoke-stack and spars were to be seen. In my 
notes I find these items : " Our floe has been much reduced 
by recent cracks. It looks as if the Jeannette was in her 
last dock. Some people have said to me there is little dan- 
ger in the Arctic. They were evidently not posted. A ship 
in the pack is ' under fire ' all the time." 

* Queen Annie was the nickname for Anequin, the Indian hunter. 



During the early spring of 1881 nothing especial occurred. 
The first bird (7. grylli) was seen April 6th, and more 
birds were seen this April than during the corresponding 
month of last year. Among them were no new species. 

The Arctic is very shoal in these parts. From the 21st 
to the 23d of this month we shoaled our water 21 fathoms, 
giving but 18 or 20 fathoms where we had been getting 35 
to 40. This was the most sudden shoaling we ever experi- 


I suppose the reader will smile if I say that many a de- 
lightful repast I sat down to in my dreams. Such, however, 
was the case, and the most provoking part was to wake up 
finding it only a dream. Visions of pie pumpkin pie, the 
particular weakness of a New England Yankee always oc- 
cupied an aggravatingly prominent place. Life under such 
circumstances as ours was well calculated to make a person 
sleep with " one eye and an ear open." 

On the 16th of May, 1881, about seven P. M., seaman 
Erickson came in the cabin and reported to the captain, say- 
ing : " Captain, Mr. Chipp reports land in sight on the star- 
board beam." This news made us all glad. Notwithstand- 
ing the proximity of land would probably cause the floe to 


crack more dangerously, I could not overcome the sense of 
security which the sight caused me to feel. This land bore 
N. 83 deg. 15 min. W. (true) from the ship. Our position at 
the time was 76 deg. 43 min. N., and 161 deg. 54 min. E. 
On the 18th, I could see the land from the floe-level. Pre- 
vious to this I had seen it only from aloft. This land was 
afterward named Jeannette Island. As illustrating the rap- 
idity of our drift at this time, I mention the bearing of this 
island from the ship on the 20th. It was S; 78 deg. 30 min. 
W. It was much more plainly seen this day than before. 
This island was not landed upon. 

On the 24th more land was seen. This afterward was 
named Henrietta Island. Both islands were in sight this 
evening. On the morning of May 31st, a party, consisting 
of Mr. Melville, Mr. Dunbar, with Bartlett, Nindermann, 
Brickson and Sharvell, left for the last new land. I was to 
go, but, being taken suddenly ill, was unable to do so. This 
illness was caused by eating canned tomatoes probably lead 
poisoning. A number of the crew were similarly affected. 
Mr. Chipp was thus troubled when the island party left the 
ship. This party took with them a sled and fifteen dogs, 
with boat, tent, rifles and provisions. They had a hard time 
getting to the shore. 

The party returned on the 4th of June, having landed, 
planted the Stars and Stripes, and taken possession. Three 
points were named. The first, Bennett Headlands, are bold 
and rocky. They form very secure nesting-places for multi- 
tudes of guillemots and murres. A number of guillemots 
( U. grylle) were shot by Sharvell, and Bartlett saw num- 
bers of eggs, but in inaccessible places. The next place was 
Cape Melville, so named by the men. Between Bennett 
Headlands and Cape Melville was Point Dunbar. Near here 
a cairn was built, and some papers, suitably enclosed, buried 

This island is from 2,500 to 3,000 feet high, barren and 
rocky, with one large and some smaller glaciers on the 
northern and eastern sides. The jacket of snow and ice 


spread over the high parts was from fifty to one hundred 
and fifty feet in thickness. Botanical specimens embrace 
two little mosses, two pretty lichens, and one of grass. Cape 
Melville is 1,200 feet high. Soundings off here were had in 
eighteen fathoms, with bold water. Point Dunbar is 600 
feet in height. The ice near the land passes northwest, in 
heavy motion all the time. 

The number of guillemots about at this time was much 
increased. These birds often circled about the ship with 
evident curiosity. On the morning the sled party left for 
the island I got a fine adult-plumaged snow-bunting (P. 
nivalis). I had seen this species before, but tl^is was the 
first one taken. Every day, while near Henrietta Island, I 
noticed the guillemots going off in the morning toward the 
northeast, apparently to feed, and returning in the evening. 
This I afterward found to be the case, as the stomachs of all 
those I shot were full of food, crustaceans, and recognizable 
parts of small fish like G-. gracilis. I afterward saw this 
bird ( U. grylle) dive, and come up with a live fish of this 
species in its beak. It proceeded to kill the fish by beating 
it on the water and shaking it. I did not see it swallow the 
fish, as, becoming suddenly frightened, the bird flew away. 

Soon after the return of the island party the ice about the 
ship cracked in a lively manner, and on the 9th she was 
afloat. In consequence of the open water about and the prox- 
imity of land, the shooting improved, and I at times got very 
good sport. The fresh food thus obtained was very desir- 
able. On the llth the ice was comparatively quiet. The 
ship lay alongside the floe with ice-anchors out. 

On the 12th the ice came together, the ship was heavily 
nipped, and careened to 16 degrees ; but the pressure relax- 
ing, she righted again. All hands were on the alert for 
duty. Between five and six P. M. the pressure was heavy, 
raising the ship by the bow and settling her by the stern. 
She again heeled to starboard, and the ship showed the pres- 
sure, groaning and shaking in the ice-king's grasp. The 
humming sound throughout the vessel, with the cracking of 


deck seams and the dancing of the whole upper works, was 
a sad evidence of the situation. I can never forget the 
manner in which the gang ladders leading to the bridge 
jumped from their chucks, and danced on the deck like 
drumsticks on the head of a drum. In the midst of this 
wild scene a crash was heard. A man came up from below 
and said : 

" The ice is coming through the coal bunkers." 
The old Jeannette was doomed. She had fought a good 
fight, as her battered sides showed, but this last hug was too 
much for her. After the smash, no sound save the silent 
rush of water. This silence, after the unearthly humming, 
was the saddest part of all. She had been stabbed in her 
vitals and was settling fast. The men worked with a will ; 
everybody did ; life hung in the balance. Seaman Star, 
noble fellow, stood below with the water up to his waist, 
passing out provisions until ordered out by the captain. To- 
day I know not where he is. The Jeannette contained many 
such men in her crew. Good seamen all. But 'silence and 
oblivion, like the waves, have rolled over them, and none 
can tell the story of their end.' 

After getting boats and provisions on the ice, about mid- 
night, camp was pitched, a watch set and the tired party 
turned in, soon to be turned out again by the opening of the 
ice under the sleepers in the captain's tent. All hands 
helped shift to a safer place, and about 1.30 A. M., June 12th, 
turned in again. At this time the Jeannette was heeled 
over, so the yard-arms were against the ice and starboard 
rail under water. 4 About twenty minutes before the watch 
from our tent was called, I heard a noise which must have 
been the ship as she went down. I looked out soon after 
and she was gone, her requiem being the melancholy howl 
of a single dog. Only a few floating articles marked the 
place. Insignificant as the Jeannette was in comparison 
to the ice, her disappearance made a great change in the 
scene. During her existence there was always something 



animated to turn to and look at, but now all is a dreary 
blank/ I have seen far heavier grinding than that which 
crushed the Jeannette, but the ship is not yet built that can 
stand such hugging. 




NEXT morning our camp presented the appearance of a 
family who had broken up housekeeping in a hurry, 
as in fact we had. But excellent spirits prevailed. One of 
the sailors handed some stuffed decoys of mine to the cook 
for the captain's party. He commenced plucking the feath- 
ers before finding out the joke. 

Our life for the next week was spent in getting ready for 
our retreat. Much of the time was spent in sewing, and 
some droll looking but very sensible costumes were com- 
pleted. Our tents were numbered, and over the door of ours 
was the word ' Welcome.' The boats and provision sleds 
were named. The first cutter was named the Jeannette, and 
bore a beautiful silk ensign. The second cutter, Mr. Chipp's 
boat, was named Hiram ; and Mr. Danenhower's boat was 
named Rosy. Our sleds were named Sylvie, Etta L., Lizzie, 
and Maud. One other bore the motto, ' In hoc signo vinces? 

In consequence of the stronger light during the day, it 
was decided to march nights and sleep daytime. This was 
accordingly done and proved a good thing ; and many a 
comfortable sleep I enjoyed after a hard night's work, either 
dragging with the men, or afterward with pick and shovel 
building roads. 

The ice during the first of our tramp was very bad, often 
one or two miles being all we could make in a night's work, 
and during the first week we drifted back twenty-four miles. 
From this time until I reached the Tunguse settlement I 
hardly knew what dry feet were, and often was wet through, 
clothing, sleeping gear and all. During the march over 



the ice I saw a number of gulls (5. rosea), but was not able 
to secure any. 

Our Fourth of July this year was passed in hard work, 
but we were all glad to be able to do it. On the 9th I first 
saw the land, which afterward was landed on and named 
Bennett Island. By July 16th most of the floe was old ice, 
the younger having disappeared both by breaking up and 
thawing. The proportion of water to ice had much increas- 
ed. Occasionally a seal was shot by Mr. Collins and 
Mr. Dunbar, and on the 20th Mr. Collins shot a 


walrus which was afterwards secured by Mr. Dunbar in a 
very plucky manner. The fresh meat was very acceptable, 
and the blubber made good fuel. The boiled skin was not 
unlike tough tripe or, better yet, pig's feet, and with vinegar 
I think would be very good. As we journeyed toward land 
the number of birds increased, among them kittiwake and 
ivory gulls, guillemots ( U. grylle) and ( U. Brunichii). The 
gulls (J. tridactyla) were most numerous. 

The ice July 24th was very lively, moving in circles as if 
the pack was being jammed and pushed by the land. On 
the 26th, at intervals when the fog lifted, I could with a 



glass see the gulls sitting on the cliffs. Light showers this 
evening, with the ice churning in every direction. Sound- 
ings to-day in thirteen fathoms ; murres and guillemots were 
much more numerous, being often seen with food in their 
beaks flying toward the shore. A good deal of fog prevailed 
at this time. 

On Friday, July 29th, after dinner, the fog suddenly lifted, 
disclosing the high cliffs of the land close at hand. This is 


a magnificent, though desolate, land of rushing torrents, 
glaciers and huge, impregnable, rocky fastnesses. After 
lively work we reached grounded ice near the southeast part 
of the island. Here were high basaltic crags of indescrib- 
able grandeur. The birds at this place were in great num- 
bers, the rocks being whitened with their manure. They 
were coming and going all the time, day and night, cackling, 
chattering and laughing like parrots. With all this was a 
buzzing sound, as if from an enormous swarm of bees. 


These birds were U. Brunichii. U. grylle were very com- 
mon, but scatter more when nesting. 

Our camp at this time \^ts within fifty or sixty yards of 
the shore on the grounded ice. This evening after supper 
all hands were called, and headed by the captain, who carried 
the American ensign, marched ashore. After all were ga- 
thered about, the captain said : 

" The land we have been working for so long is a new dis- 
covery. I take possession of it in the name of the President 
of the United States, and name this land Bennett Island. I 
call for three cheers." 

They were given. Then the captain, turning to Mr. Chipp, 
said : 

" Mr. Chipp, give all hands all the liberty you can on 
American soil." 

I took a short ramble. The next day I went off with gun 
and note-book. Sunshine and fog, with light southerly* airs. 
I noticed a rapid current by the shore here, with a tid^fall 
of some two feet. The tidal observations were conducted 
near camp, beside a big rock, which, from its shape, was 
christened the ' rudder/ 

My walk was past this rock to try and reach the places 
where the murres and guillemots were. I climbed up some 
twelve hundred feet over very treacherous disintegrated 
rocks. I found the birds in all stages, from the nestling to 
two-thirds grown. The murres sat in long rows like the 
citizens of < Cranberry Centre ' at ' town meeting/ and were 
very noisy. The guillemots nest very prettily. Fancy some 
pinnacled rocks of a rich, warm brown cropping out from a 
mountain side, on top of these small patches of short, beau- 
tiful green vegetation, and you have the spot. Place a coal 
black bird with white wing patches and bright red feet on 
this green cushion, silently watching the intruder, and the 
picture is complete, unless you can fancy a pure white gull 
flying past, and its voice echoing from crag to crag. 

My ascent of this place was comparatively easy, though 


the way was steep; but the descent was a difficult and 
dangerous one. I had in many places to dig places for my 
feet with my hands, and then by burying my sheath-knife to 
the hilt in this very insecure holding ground, let myself 
down. In one place I lost my grip and down I went some 
twenty feet, fortunately bringing up unharmed save torn 
clothes and hands. In another place when half way down 
a voice sung out, ' Look out, sir ! ' I did so, and saw an ava- 
lanche of huge rocks and earth coming for me. Seeing a 
chance of safety behind an out-cropping crag, I hastily avail- 
ed myself of it, but barely in time, as these missiles of death 
hurtled down. My companion said he never expected to get 
out of it alive. That and many other narrow shaves I have 
since weathered, but my companion of that day is gone. 
Sharvell was a good fellow, always in excellent spirits, and 
contributed much toward the welfare of our camp life. 

The next day the men by throwing stones got 125 murres, 
which were very acceptable as fresh food. Two days after 
this I shot forty-one more, shooting from a wild, dangerous 
place some seven hundred feet above the sea. It seemed as 
if the vibration of the report must cause the disintegrated 
rocks to fall. The 1st of August I took another tramp of 
some seven or eight miles, and visited the most extensive 
breeding ground I have ever seen of any bird. There were 
gulls, murres, and guillemots in thousands, and at the report 
of my gun they came out into the air so thickly as to darken 
the sun and almost make me think the walls of rocks were 
falling. Their noise drowned conversation. Kittiwakes 
were the most common. I got within six or eight feet of 
some on their nests without their offering to leave. I fairly 
envied these beautiful creatures their cosy home. The land 
here sloped at an angle of some fifty degrees, from which 
rugged rocks cropped out, and above which they towered, 
high trap ledges with red lichen in masses. 

One place I passed that was most interesting. It was a 
rising valley, which receded gradually from the seashore. A 
fine stream of water was here, clear and cold. About half 



way up this valley a mass of pinnacled rocks arose like some 
great castle of olfl. Probably mine was the first human 
foot ever there, and as I stood looking I almost expected to 
see some gigantic knight appear and ask how or by what 
right I dared invade his realm. The results of this trip 
were some eggs and birds, and a nice lot of scurvy grass. 
This last added relish to our food. 


During the night of August 3d a heavy land slide occur- 
red. Great rocks hurled themselves down the mountain 
side, and, bounding off into the air, struck the water below, 
lashing it into foam and sending the spray fifty feet into the 
air. A cairn was built by Mr. D unbar and some of the 
sailors on the southern side of the island. A paddle was 
stuck on top of it. It is situated about one hundred feet 
above sea level. 

On Saturday, August 6th, in the forenoon, we left this 
place and started south in our boats. In consequence of the 



shaking up which the boats got while being hauled over the 
ice, they leaked badly. Pumping and baling had to be done 
about every fifteen or twenty minutes. 'This was kept up 
until we, in the whale-boat, reached the Tunguse village. 
On August 16th, Mr. Collins called my attention to land at 
the southwest. Some birds and seals were seen, also an oc- 
casional walrus and bearded seal. Soundings were had in 
nineteen fathoms. On the 17th there was more water in 
sight than I had seen for two years. On the 20th the land 
was very plain, and the ice packed as if jammed by some- 


thing. This packing afterward caused us to be delayed ten 
days. From this trying situation we were released on Tues- 
day, August 30th. On the evening of this day we made a 
landing on Thaddeus Island, one of the Liakhof group. 

After eating my scanty supper of pemmican I started out, 
gun in hand, for a walk. I saw the long tailed duck (#. 
glacialis) in large flocks, also some eiders ; but glacialis was 
the most common species I noticed while among these isl- 
ands. I also saw fresh .tracks of reindeer and foxes, and 
two bones (tibia and fibula) of a mammoth. These I 



shouldered and carried back to camp. They were all I could 
carry with my gun, three ducks (H. glacialis) and twelve 
sanderling (<7. arenaria). 

On September 4th we had to haul out of a bad pocket and 
over the ice about two miles. Launching again we, after a 
wet passage, reached a shoal about southeast of Kotelnoi Isl- 
and. Found plenty of driftwood, so pitched camp and 
partially dried our- clothing. I got some birds here, eider 


ducks, gulls, and paiaropes, which came in handy for food. 
No seals were seen. The flora of Bennett Island, Thaddeus 
and Kotelnoi are much the same. Kotelnoi on its south- 
eastern part is moderately high, with a small beach in places. 
While passing along the shore would be seen at intervals a 
large white owl (Nyctea nivea), sitting silent and alone. 

After leaving Kotelnoi, on the night of September 7th, we 
experienced a severe gale, several times shipping very heavy 


seas, one of which all hands thought would swamp us. Sea- 
man Leach did noble work that night, so did seaman Wil- 
son. The night was very dark, and the danger of our posi- 
tion was, owing to the floating pieces of ice, much increased. 
We had to bale for our lives. To have struck one of these 
ice pieces would have been death. Our escape was miracu- 
lous, as we were running very rapidly. 

On Saturday forenoon, September 10th, we landed on Semen- 
offski Island, got some food and fresh water, and, after din- 
ner, pushed off, some of the party, with rifles, proceeding 
overland to the southern end of the island. Two reindeer 
were started, one of which being shot we again landed and 
remained until Monday forenoon. I shot some gulls, one 
goose, two golden plover and ten ptarmigan. Previous to 
this, and between Thaddeus and Kotelnoi, I shot some twenty 
ducks, all of which were excellent eating. 

Leaving Semenoffski on the 12th, we ran south, stopping 
beside an ice piece at noon for dinner. After this we stood 
on until about four P. M., when, in attempting to run between 
two pieces of ice, our boat stove a hole in her starboard 
bilge. Shoving a rag into it we ran for the captain's boat, 
told him we were in a sinking condition, and hauled along- 
side an ice piece, pulled out, and, after nailing a piece of 
wood over the place, filled away for the main land of Siberia, 
distant perhaps one hundred miles. 

The wind and sea increased toward night, and at dark we 
lost sight of the first and second cutters. Those two boats 
contained twenty-two men. Two of them Noros and Nin- 
dermann I have seen since, but the others I never saw 
after that night. During the night it blew a gale with a 
terrible sea. We had to lay < hove to ' with a drag out for 
twenty hours. Everybody did his utmost, but it seemed as 
if every moment would be our last. ' Starting again next 
afternoon we ran before a heavy sea ; but though wet, made 
very good weather. Many of us were about used up with 
badly swollen feet. No chance to cook anything owing to 
tossing of the boat. 



On Friday, September 16th, after a very hard day amid 
shoals and bad tide-rips, we succeeded in finding a dilapi- 
dated hut on one of the mouths of the Lena River. We 
were wet through, and so stiff as to be scarcely able to 
walk. But we were ashore again on the big land, and 
that was enough. Our water gave out about two days be- 
fore this, thus thirst was added to our hunger ; but after 
getting into the river we got plenty of this necessary article, 
and no nectar that I ever quaffed tasted like it. 

I have had the pleasure of stopping at numerous good 
hotels since the Friday night above referred to, but not one 
of them seemed as luxurious as did that old hut, and our 
meal of pemmican on that night. 



SOME of us hobbled around and gathered fire wood, after 
which, beside a good fire, we discussed the comfort of 
the situation and obtained a little sleep. We remained here 
till the next forenoon when, about 11 o'clock, we got things 
into our boat and started up the river. While here we saw 
numbers of geese and ducks, but I was so lame I could not 
get round to shoot any of them. We were very much in 
need of fresh food, but could not, under the circumstances, 
procure it, though we afterwards got some ducks and a few 
gulls. The geese were in flocks together as if about ready to 
migrate, and there were also some swans on the sand spits as 
we passed along. 

On September 19th we turned out before sunrise, and 
after eating our frugal meal of pemmican we continued up 
the river. After working all the forenoon we stopped and 
got a little dinner, landing on a point where we found signs 
of very recent occupation. Just after this, about one P. M., 
while Mr. Danenhower was taking some compass observa- 
tions, three objects were descried or seen appearing around 
the left bank of the same river. These soon proved to be 
human beings the first natives seen outside of our crew 
for over two years. They were a little afraid of us at first, 
and would not land, stopping in their canoes or veatkas ; 
but by making signs to them we induced them to come 
ashore, after which we gave them a little pemmican to eat 
as an evidence of our good will ; but they would not touch 
it until I had tasted it and showed them that it was good. 
I also showed them various other things that I had, and gave 



them some little buttons. We then made signs to them that 
we were very hungry, and they brought us a small piece of 
reindeer, one old goose, and a fish, which was all the provi- 
sion that they had with them at that time. There being 
plenty of drift-wood on the shores of the river, we soon got 
a fire going and a stew under way. 

While our stew was in process of cooking we showed the 
natives our rifles, and shot them off once or twice to show 
them what they were. I also charged my shot-gun, a breech- 
loader, and fired at a piece of wood, and they were very 
much interested to see the manner in which the small shot 
were distributed ; they seemed to think that it would kill a 
duck very nicely. The manner of loading was the subject 
of much discussion. They handled this gun almost rever- 

Perhaps a short description of these natives will not be 
out of place. As soon as they came near so that we could 
hail them, they bared their heads, bowed, and devoutly 
crossed themselves. In stature they were small, complexion 
dark and swarthy, with straight black hair. They had very 
good features, and were of comparatively happy dispositions. 
Their names, as we afterward learned, were Theodore, Tomat, 
and Caranie. Tomat was a young fellow and quite a dandy ; 
his clothing .seemed to fit neater than that of the others. 
He had some ornaments about him, including tobacco 
pouches and a fancy pipe, and little copper ornaments for 
holding up his leggings ; and knee-pads made of loon-skin, 
which he afterwards told me were of use to protect the knees 
when crawling over the ground after game. This idea I 
would recommend to sportsmen. 

Without waiting for our stew to get as thoroughly cooked 
as some perhaps would have liked it, we arranged some logs 
in a semi-circle and sat down without formality. This meal, 
the first fresh food which we had tasted for a long time, was 
indeed good, and though the goose was very tough, we 
rapidly devoured it, and soon the pot was empty. 

I showed our new-found friends some photographs which 


I had, and they seemed much interested in them. They ap- 
peared not to understand how they were made, and evidently 
took them for pictures of saints, as they crossed themselves 
at sight of each one. They were, in reality, photographs of 
friends at home. 

After we had concluded our meal we, by signs, induced 
the natives to pilot us up the river, and they conducted us to 
a point where five huts and a grave-yard were located. This 
place proved to be a small summer hunting station, and we 
subsequently discovered that our friends were Tunguses. 
We hauled up for the night, and the natives set their nets 
and caught some fish which they gave us. 

These nets, by the way, are worth describing. They are 
made of horse-hair, with stones fastened to little hoops of 
wood for sinkers, and also to keep the net from coming in 
contact with the rough bottom. They are set like a gill net, 
anchored at each end, and floated on the surface by means 
of rolls of birch bark. I afterwards procured one of the 
same kind of nets, but did not find it necessary to use it. 

We stayed at this place until the next morning, enjoying 
an excellent fish stew, although it was made without season- 
ing, and we had no bread. The natives partook of it with 
us. They were very devout in rising and crossing them- 
selves, and shaking hands with and thanking us after the 
meal, and they seemed to regard us as a race of beings su- 
perior to themselves. One of them was very poorly clad, his 
boots were full of holes, and wet straw in the bottom of 
them took the place of stockings. His feet appeared to 
have been severely frozen at some previous time of life. I 
gave the poor fellow a pair of stockings, for which he seemed 
to be very grateful. His way of using them was quite amu- 
sing, for he pulled off his boots, put on the stockings, and 
then seemed to consider his foot-gear complete. He ap- 
peared not to know the correct use of such things. 

I had at this place the pleasure of smoking a native pipe 
with Russian tobacco, and at their earnest solicitations I 
took snuff with the natives. This snuff was of a very good 


quality ; they seemed to prize it highly, and kept it in small 
ingeniously-constructed wooden boxes. 

Their pipes are rather long, and the stem is made of two 
pieces of wood, which can be taken apart and cleansed, 
lashed together by a thong of leather or fish skin. The 
bowls are cast of brass or lead, or whittled out of deer horn, 
and hold a thimbleful of tobacco, or only enough for a few 
whiffs. They have flints and steel for lighting, which are 
not only less expensive than matches, but surer in wet or 
windy weather. They carry the flint and steel in a small 
bag with " punk " or tinder, and the tobacco in another 
small bag, both of which are suspended at the side by a belt 
and leathern thong. Their knives are of iron, home made, 
or obtained from traders further south. They carry them 
in the boot-leg or lashed to the outside of the thigh in a 
fancifully-carved and highly ornamented wooden sheath, 
sometimes stained red or blue. Their moccasins and 
trousers are snug and very neatly made. Their caps in 
shape resemble hoods, and though designed for service are 
still quite ornamental, particularly those made of fox-legs 
for the children. 

On Tuesday, September 20th, after making what proved 
to be a fruitless attempt to induce these natives to pilot us 
on our journey, we started without them ; but after a bad day 
and stormy night we turned back on the succeeding morn- 
ing, and were fortunate in finding the collection of huts 
which we had left, and also the natives, whose number had 
increased by the arrival of an old man who proved to be 
friendly and a person of good sense. It was a most fortu- 
nate meeting for us, as we were then on very short rations 
with only a few days' more food ; and the fish which they 
gave us (I got twelve for a small match-box) proved very 
welcome indeed. 

We started from this place again, September 22d, accom- 
panied by the old Tunguse, of whom I have just spoken 
(whose name I afterwards learned was Bushielle Koolgiak), 
and two of the others, Theodore and Caranie. On the 


24th we reached a place now known as Spiridon's Village, 
where we waited a while, and a native was sent away to 
bring further assistance and some more food. While here I 
got a few ptarmigan. Spiridon gave our party five geese, 
packed one inside the other, and all of them boned ; and 
he also gave me a pair of moccasins, which were very handy 
as my old ones were much worn and too small. 

In consequence of the last two days' paddling, Bushielle's 
left arm. which had been previously hit by a bullet at the 
elbow, gave out, and prevented his going any further ; and so 
we took another man in his place and pushed on for the 
Tunguse village of Geemovialocke, which we reached on 
the forenoon of Monday, September 26th. A number of 
men paddled out to meet us before we landed. Among them 
we noticed one who proved afterward to be a Russian exile, 
named Efim Kopiloff, and a very good-hearted fellow he was. 
Through his assistance we procured numbers of fish and 
geese. Quite a party, including men, women, and children, 
assembled on shore to meet us, and most droll-looking people 
they were. The women were short, and almost all of them 
very homely ; but they had good-natured faces, and afterwards 
proved to be very good friends to us. They assisted in pull- 
ing up our boat, making signs that if we did not do so it 
would become injured, as the river would soon freeze. Then 
they brought sleds and dragged some of our men who were 
unable to walk to the hut of the commandant of the place, 
whose name we afterwards learned was Nicolai Shagra. Here 
we got a good supper, the first for a long time. After this 
we had a real good smoke of Russian tobacco, and a lot of 
tea with sugar, something which we had not tasted for a long 
time. We were also given as a special delicacy, a little dried 
reindeer meat with a little fat cut up in small lumps ; it was 
very palatable. Besides this, they also cooked another 
mess of fish for us, thinking that we might not have enough 
without it. 

Two huts were subsequently assigned to us, and we en- 
joyed the first comfortable night's rest we had had for a long 


period. We were not anxious about breaking ice, or having 
to turn out to shift our tent. We had not seen any of our 
comrades since the gale of separation, but we one and all 
devoutly hoped that they were as well off that night as we 
were. The next morning we were assigned another house 
to live in, and we moved our goods and chattels and went 
to housekeeping. We stayed in this house a few days, when 
the native who loaned it signified that he desired to occupy 
it, and he pointed out to us another one which he had 
repaired especially for us. Accordingly we moved into it, 
and it was our headquarters during the remainder of our 
stay in this village. 

This hut or balogan*, typical of those seen in this village 
and some distance further south, was some six and a-half or 
seven feet high, and twelve feet square inside, with a fire- 
place backing up in front of the door, which was a small 
one, opening out, and in cold weather covered with skins to 
keep in the warmth. These huts have also outer wings 
made like a log cabin, in which are kept fuel, and various 
articles of domestic use. The walls of the living apart- 
ments are of logs placed vertically, with a flat roof laid on 
big log rafters, and outside of this is a sodding of grass and 
weeds. The windows are made of blocks of ice cut when 
six or seven inches thick, and renewed as often as melted 
through by the inside heat. The head of the hut abreast 
the fire is the post of honor. As a rule, the men eat first, 
being waited on by the women ; or, if the women eat at the 
same time, it is at a separate table. 

The routine of our life at this time consisted in collecting 
and splitting drift-wood ; preparing our fish and birds, many 
of which were much decomposed but nevertheless very wel- 
come ; sewing ; some letter-writing; keeping our journals, and 
regaining as much as possible our lost strength ; also in 
caring for those who had been badly injured by frost and 

*A balogan is an inhabited native hut. 


The natives had once a week what they called a prosnik 
a sort of feast, which is, I think, of religious origin. The 
people are under the control of the Russian Church, and in 
each of their huts I noticed a little religious emblem, placed, 
as a rule, at the head of the hut in the left hand corner. 
To these prosniks all in the village were invited, and gen- 
erally came. The little entertainment consisted of drinking 
tea, and eating bits of reindeer meat, fat, goose eggs, and 
choice bits of fish ; but they ate and drank sparingly, seem- 
ing to realize that the supply would become exhausted if 
used too freely. I must confess that some of the bits which 
th'ey considered choice, I did not. 

Their manner of preparing and drinking tea. is perhaps 
worthy of note. They use two little chyniks, or copper ket- 
tles. One of them will hold a quart; in this they put the 
tea. The other will hold two quarts ; in this they boil the 
water, and then pour it on to the tea, being careful not 
to boil the tea, only steeping it. The mistress of the house 
then serves the tea to those partaking of it, who are seated 
on stools or other improvised seats around an unpamted 
pine table. Sugar is never put in the tea, but they nibble it 
sparingly and then sip the tea. I saw no milk in this village. 

Their tea is the article known in Siberia as brick tea, 
being, I think, of an inferior quality to that in use in our 
country, and much inferior to the famous caravan tea found 
in other parts of Siberia and in use in some parts of Russia. 

Large, heavy German silver or brass ear-rings seem to be 
highly prized by the native women, as also are brass buttons, 
calicoes and cotton handkerchiefs of bright colors, cotton 
cloth known as Turkey red, and black and green cotton 
velvets. The undergarments of both males and females of 
all ages are of calico or colored cotton. The outer clothing- 
is of deerskin, with the hair taken off in the summer ; and in 
the winter with the hair on. In moderately cold weather 
the clothing is worn with the hair inside, but in extreme cold 
weather the hair is outside. The soles of their moccasins 
are of deerskin. They use blankets and bags made of fish 


skin, and, when walking on slippery ice, over-shoes of the 
same material, which give quite a secure footing. They 
seemed not to be acquainted with seal-skin, and prized small 
pieces which 1 gave them very highly. 

The natives at this settlement occupy themselves in fishing 
and hunting. Men and women attend the nets, and the 
women are often seen bringing in the fish, drawing water and 
cutting wood, and repairing fish-nets, dog-harnesses, and such 
things. Some of the women are very skillful sewers, and 
set a great value on thimbles and steel needles. They make 
the clothing, including moccasins. The men hunt with 
flint-lock rifles of small bore, and also use bows and arrows 
for killing geese, which they do at the time of year when 
these birds are moulting. 

On the 27th of September we started to leave these people, 
under the guidance of one native and the Russian exile 
whom I have mentioned before ; but, owing to bad weather 
and shoal water, we were obliged to turn back and seek again 
their kindness and hospitality. A few days before this we 
had light snows, which indicated that winter was near at 
hand. On the 28th the river was frozen nearly across. 

One day early in October another Russian exile, Kusmah 
Eremoff, made his appearance in the village. I discovered 
him and took him to our hut, that Lieutenant Danenhower 
and Mr. Melville might see him. They made arrangements 
for him to go to Bulun to communicate with the authorities 
there. This man was absent much longer than anticipated. 
The result of this trip was that he brought back information 
that the Commandant of Bulun would be at our village in 
a few days, and also a brief note from Nindermann and 
Noros announcing that the first cutter party had landed ; 
that Nindermann and Noros had reached Bulun ; that the 
captain's party was in need of clothing and assistance, and 
so had sent these two men qn in advance. 

Kusmah brought with him forty pounds of black bread, 
about three pounds of very poor unsalted butter, some salt 
which we very much needed, about twelve ounces of sugar, 



some tobacco, and some dry black bread cut in small pieces, 
from the Pope at Bulun, with a note which was translated to 
us, and which stated that this bread and tobacco was for " the 
gentlemen who were traveling around the world." This was 
during the latter part of October about the 28th. Previous 
to this Lieutenant Danenhower had made search, with the 
help of some of the natives, for traces of the two missing 
boats and crews, but without success. 


Mr. Melville, after receiving this information, started on 
Sunday, the 30th, with Bushelle Koolgiak, for Bulun, to do 
what he could for the other wrecked people and for us, leav- 
ing Danenhower to follow with the rest of the party as soon 
as he could. 

On Tuesday Nov. 1st the commandant from Bulun arrived. 
He brought a letter from Nindermann and Noros, which was 
directed to the Minister Resident at St. Petersburg. This 
letter Danenhower immediately sent by fireman James H. 
Bartlett to Mr. Melville at Bulun. Lieutenant Danenhower 



explained our situation to the commandant, and the result 
was, that after some parley, on Thursday, Nov. 3d, we 
started on eleven dog sleds for Bulun, under the charge of 
the commandant who had collected from the natives for our 
use supplies of comfortable fur clothing, including moccasins, 
hoods, and mittens. 



traveled by dogs as far as Kumak Surka, and from 
that place to Bulun we traveled by deer. At Kumak 
Surka we met Mr. Melville, who was now on his way north 
with some supplies to render what assistance he could to the 
captain's party. He took old Bushielle back with him. 

Bidding good-bye to Melville at this place, we started on 
and arrived at Bulun on Sunday, Nov. 6th, about six o'clock, 
A.M., after a very rough journey, chilled through and hungry. 
We had often been obliged to run beside the sleds to keep 
from freezing. I attended service in the forenoon at the 
Russian church. 

Bulun is the northernmost Russian settlement in Siberia. 
It is a trading station on the right bank of the Lena River. 
It consists of one church, a lot of log houses plastered out- 
side with mud, and a trading store with store-houses. 
Everything here in the way of food and clothing is very 
expensive. Sugar is fifty cents a pound ; cotton handker- 
chiefs fifty cents each. Even fuel is scarce, though coal is 
said to be found in this vicinity. While here some knives, 
handkerchiefs, and calico for towels were furnished us ; also 
some leaf tobacco. 

Owing to the lack of accommodations for our whole party 
traveling together from Bulun, we divided. Part of us with 
Lieutenant Danenhower left here for Werchoiansk, on the 
Yana River, by deer sleds, on Saturday evening, November 
12th, accompanied by five natives to drive our deer. The 
distance was 900 versts, or about 600 miles. 

Crossing over very rough and badly jammed up ice in the 




river, we caine to a povarnia, where we stopped for the night, 
some fifteen versts from Bulun. The povarnia is a rough 
log hut, with benches around the sides of the interior, upon 
which you lay your deer-skins to sleep on ; in the middle is 
a raised fire-place, with a hole or sometimes a chimney, 
made of wood and plastered with mud for the smoke to 
pass out. They are uninhabited, and are kept in repair by 


the travelers who pass through the country, and are found 
scattered all over Siberia. Although we were now traveling 
by post road, still it was a very crooked, rough, and uneven 
route, being in most places only a little foot-path like a cow- 
path in our pastures at home. Our sleds often came to grief 
by reason of contact with stumps of trees, or being over- 
turned against the ice. The natives display much skill in 
repairing their sleds, which are lashed together and not 
nailed, and made of soft wood. In traveling long distances 
they carry spare runners to repair accidents. 


On Sunday, Nov. 13th, after considerable delay in catching 
the reindeer, which was done by lassooing them among the 
woods where they had been allowed to go to browse, we 
resumed our journey. After traveling all day and crossing 
some mountains where the snow blew fiercely in our faces, 
(some of the party were lashed fast to their sleds) and 
making about seventy versts, we stopped for the night at a 
rude povarnia, full of cracks and holes. In the morning we 
started again. On the next day Mr. Danenhower shot a fine 
young reindeer which proved an important acquisition to 
our larder. The next night we lost our road, after traveling 
nearly one hundred versts, and had much difficulty in finding 
it again. We were very tired when we reached a povarnia, 
and after a meal of deer meat and black bread we turned in 
to sleep. 

On Friday, November 18th, we made sixty versts, and 
reached a stansea, where we found people living, and where 
we procured a change of diet. A stansea differs from a 
povarnia insomuch as it is more substantially built of logs, 
and occupied. This stansea was a place of two houses, with 
a yard and fences made of small trees. Here were a num- 
ber of cows, small, scrubby little animals ; their milk was 
very nice indeed. We obtained a lot of frozen milk to take 
along with us. I saw five white horses and one bull at this 

On the next day, about noon, we started again, and after 
a very cold ride of sixty versts reached a balogan, or native 
hut, where comfortable quarters awaited us. A fine-looking 
young Russian, an exile, occupied this place, and I exchanged 
with him a seal ring for new mittens and a fine pair of moc- 
casins. The next day, Sunday, we made only a short run of 
forty versts over very good roads, reaching before dark a 
small povarnia where we stopped for the night. On Monday 
we started off in a snow storm, but it stopped about noon, at 
which time we halted for some hot tea at a balogan where 
were a number of cows and several horses one with a sad- 


die and bridle on which looked very nice indeed, although 
the saddle was much different from those in use at home. 

On the 24th we made but a short run, as our road lay 
over mountains which were steep and rocky so much so 
that we had to walk in many places, our drivers leading the 
deer. Along this part of our journey I noticed, in different 
places, small bow traps set for catching lemming. These 
lemming are used for food, and the skins are also utilized. 

On the forenoon of Sunday, November 27th, after a tedi- 
ous ride, we reached the town of Werchoiansk (or Verkhoy- 
ansk) and were taken to a house where we were received by 
an official in uniform and side arms. Our clothing was 
kindly cared for, and we were furnished with tea and pastry, 
and afterward with Russian cigarettes. We were then con- 
ducted to a room where were several beds. These beds, 
after our long absence, were to us indeed a novel sight. 

The house in which we were quartered was a very com- 
fortable-looking one-story structure, plastered inside and out, 
and warmed by a clay oven. There were five apartments on 
one floor, and a small cellar. The windows were of very 
poor patched glass, with small panes and heavy sashes. The 
outer windows, for such there were, were slabs of ice, and 
women came in each morning to scrape off the rime which 
daily formed on the inside of them. The cooking was done 
at a fire-place built up of clay and wood, over which was 
plastered more clay, rendering it fire-proof. A similar kind 
of fire-place, though not as well finished, had been common 
for some time along the road as we approached the town. 

A supply of excellent tobacco, pipes, and cigarette-paper 
was furnished to us, and I saw some cigars, but did not 
smoke them. Here I met for the first time the famous Rus- 
sian vodka, which is not unlike new rum. Here we also 
enjoyed the luxury of sitting down to a table to eat, and of 
using knives, forks, and spoons in a civilized manner ; and it 
seemed very pleasant after our rough experiences. We suc- 
ceeded, also, in getting some clothing for a portion of our 


Immediately upon arising the morning after our arrival 
we were served with tea and sweet bread ; this is an estab- 
lished Russian custom, with which I subsequently became 
familiar. Samovars were in use here, superseding the little 
copper chyniks of the Tunguses further north. The samo- 
vars are the famous tea-urns of Russia. And here I will say 
that in no part of the world have I tasted tea so delicious in 
flavor as that found in Russia ; and I quite believe, what has 
often been said, that tea transported by ship loses much of 
its aroma. 

This village is inhabited largely by exiles, and it consists 
of some sixty or seventy scattered dwellings and other build- 
ings, including a school-house and a church. The ispravnik, 
or local governor, is a civil officer. A number of Cossack 
soldiers quartered here are under the control of another 
officer who is called the commandant. I met a number of 
political exiles living in the village, and they were fine, in- 
telligent men, in the prime of life. One of them read and 
spoke French fluently, and some English, and several others 
spoke French. I have since found these exiles to be among 
the better classes of the people living in Siberia to-day in- 
telligent and capable men and women. 

The country on our last day's ride toward this place look- 
ed more settled than further north, and numerous hay-stacks 
showed the presence of cattle, of which I saw some twenty 
or thirty ; but tillage was not yet seen. In the village, 
chunky, long-haired horses and funny little wooden sleighs 
were in use ; but bells are not allowed on the horses except- 
ing on the roads outside the limits of the town. 

On Wednesday, November 30th, between 9 and 10 o'clock, 
we left Werchoiansk for Yakutsk, with one Cossack, two 
Tunguses, and horses and sleds. Just before leaving, I 
was invited to the houses of the doctor and the ispravnik, 
where I had ice-cream, cigarettes, port wine and champagne ; 
also a cigar, which was something to be remembered as one 
of the events of my life, for it was a long time before I got 


I noticed that the Cossacks and Tunguscs had very fine 
teeth all of them. This, I think, is largely due to the black 
bread which they eat, and also to the absence of acids or 
sweet things, except in very limited quantities. 

Our provisions were carried on five pack-horses. The 
weather at this time was pretty cold, being from twenty-five 
to thirty degrees below zero, Fahrenheit. 

After traveling about thirty versts, we stopped at the best 
povarnia I had yet seen. A good fire had been prepared 
by the man in charge of the pack-horses, who arrived before 
us, and some hot tea was soon served. After this we con- 
tinued on until night, when we stopped again for sleep. The 
condition of our party at this time was such that we could not 
travel both day and night, but were obliged to stop for sleep 
and rest. 

On Sunday, December 4th, we started off before dawn, 
with three teams of deer and three sleds drawn by horses. 
After various accidents and stoppages, and winding around 
some really fine mountain scenery, with lofty woods, over 
very bad, rough, tussocky ground, we reached a stansea 
where we found quarters for the night. In our day's journey 
we had crossed the Arctic Circle. How many things had 
happened since we last crossed it in 1879 ! Thirty -three 
hearts were then buoyed with hopes for the future, or hopes 
of what the future might bring. Of that number twenty 
were now dead or missing. Time had made many changes, 
and who could tell what had happened at home ? 

On December 6th we traveled by deer over very rough 
roads, stopping once for tea and to warm our benumbed 
bodies. Pushing on again, we passed a fine-looking Pole 
going into exile. We traveled until nearly midnight, reach- 
ing a stansea to find it occupied by a Russian trader and 
other travelers, who had been at Yakutsk and were on their 
way to a settlement on the Kolyma River. His principal 
stock seemed to be vodka, with some calicoes, thread, needles, 
etc. He was accompanied by an elderly woman, and by his 
wife, a younger person, whom he had recently married, and 



she treated us very hospitably. In the morning our friends 
left for their destination, and we soon moved on south, never, 
probably, to meet again in this world. 

Shortly after this, in crossing a river, we broke through 
the ice, wetting things, throwing us off the sleds, and break- 
ing one of them all to pieces. Afterward we reached a 
stansea in a beautiful little valley among the mountains. 
The scenery at this place was the finest I had yet seen in 
Siberia rugged, inaccessible peaks clad with snow. 


On Friday, December 9th, we crossed a range of moun- 
tains, and descended a pass in a manner worth describing. 
After toiling up the rugged ascent we reached a ridge, and, 
on looking over the other side, found a very steep and dan- 
gerous-looking place to be traversed ; but our drivers went 
to work so systematically that confidence was soon restored. 


The eight sleds were lashed together in a gang, and the deer, 
twenty-four in number, were fastened to these sleds behind. 
One of our party, Seaman Leach, who was unable to walk 
owing to frosted feet, sat in the center of this body of sleds, 
and at a given signal, with a native at each side to steer, the 
whole raft was pushed over down the hill. It disappeared 
amid a cloud of snow-dust around the corner of a projecting 
ledge, and reached the bottom in safety, much to my relief. 

After this our party descended individually, rolling and 
tumbling, but bringing up without injury. Lieutenant Dan- 
enhower and myself started to walk down, but our feet slipped 
out from under us and down we went, finally bringing up at the 
bottom all right. This was one of the wildest parts of our 
journey. Over this road, by a side passage, with the use of 
pack-horses and by reindeer, are transported all the provi- 
sions which come to supply the town of Werchoiansk and 
other northern settlements 011 this line of travel. 

After getting our teams into order, we pushed on down 
the mountains, traversing river beds now frozen, and reached 
a wretched povarnia late at night, tired, cold, and hungry. 

This country in the summer time, or when the thawing 
season commences, must be about impassable, as washed-out 
banks, and stumps and logs, showed the force of the water 
which rushed down these mountain gullies in warm' weather. 
To the geologist, and also to the naturalist, this country pre- 
sents a very rich field. 

On Sunday, December llth, I met with a series of acci- 
dents, being thrown off my sled four times, smashing one 
sled beyond repair, and breaking another one four times. 
The last accident was just at night, when, in passing around 
a steep place, we were thrown, with one traveler who 
was ahead, with sleds and deer, down a gully some twenty 
feet, in a promiscuous heap at the bottom. During the day 
we passed three trains of 113 pack-horses, loaded with stores 
and bound for the settlements on the Kolyma River. 

I paid a brief visit to one of three skin huts of some wan- 
dering Tunguses, whom I noticed in traveling along. These 



people are in stature and appearance like other settlers far- 
ther north. Their habitations are made of poles lashed 
together and covered with deer-skins with the hair removed. 
Fire was made on the ground in the center, and the smoke 
was allowed to jescape through a hole at the top of the tent. 
Door-ways with flaps of skin were at each side, but one had 
to stoop and crawl in when desiring to enter. They had 
numerous fine-looking reindeer, with some dogs and sleds, 
scattered around their habitations. There were some twenty 


men, women and children, old and young. They were the 
first of these wandering Tunguses that I ever saw, and like 
most of the others were not backward about begging, and 
particularly for tobacco. They extended their hands, and 
said in the most beseeching manner, " Tebac ! tebac ! " 

Late on the night of Monday, December 12th, we reached 
a stansea called Ouldan, and routed out the inhabitants there- 
of, including fleas, multitudes of cockroaches, and other ver- 
min, and obtained a little rest. The next morning we started 
off with five sleds three with horses attached, and two har- 
nessed to bulls. The sleds in use here were similar in shape 


to the deer sleds which we had been using, but broader, and 
those which the horses dragged were rude apologies for 
sleighs. These horses were driven with reins, and harnessed 
very primitively. The shafts were lashed to the runners, 
and had plenty of room to play, thereby relieving the animal 
of much jolting over the rough roads. The bulls were har- 
nessed with a sort of yoke-collar in two parts, one of which 
went under and the other over the neck, and fastened by 
lines on the forward ends of the shafts. The driver of these 
animals sits on the back of one of them, almost over the hind 
legs, or on a sled ; he carries a stick, but cannot make them 
travel very fast. 

The next day we got horses for us all, and very good ones 
they were. As we continued on, the country improved in 
appearance, and a number of Yakut dwellings or farms were 
passed. We were fortunate in getting a quantity of frozen 
milk and some very fair crushed butter at a stansea, and we 
met the wife of a trader traveling from Yakutsk to Werchoi- 
ansk with supplies a very agreeable person, who served us 
nice tea and cigarettes. 

The next day we stopped off at a house where I saw some 
calico quilts evidences of civilization not before noticed. 
The roads continued to improve, and the natives we met wore 
less skin clothing and more of cloth than those farther north. 
It was evident, also, that the steppes which we were passing 
over had been tilled between the towns. 

At the stations where we stopped I observed how the cook- 
ing was done. Thin barley porridge was made in a large 
kettle, by a woman who used a wooden stick some three 
feet long, with a button six inches in diameter on the end; 
she stirred the porridge by twirling the stick dexterously 
between her hands. The fire-places were the same as those 
of the Tunguses and Yakuts, but considerably larger and 
better made. The habitations of the people were also larger, 
partitioned off, and the logs were squared up, and in some 
instances dovetailed very nicely. In one of these houses 
which we entered I noticed a dead horse on the floor, and 


was led to inquire his age on account of the worn appear- 
ance of his teeth. I was informed that he was twenty years 
old when killed, and was now going to be used for food. 

The whips used by the people of these parts when driving 
horses are funny-looking affairs, being a combination of whip 
and curry-comb. The handle is some two feet long, with a 
leathern thong or lash, and has a looped strap by which the 
whip can hang suspended from the arm. A small, very dull 
blade is inserted in the handle, which the drivers use in cold 
weather for scraping off the rime and clearing the frozen 
moisture away from the nostrils of their horses while on the 
road. Another peculiarity which I noticed was that the 
drivers always whipped their horses when they came to a 
hill, running them up-hill and walking them down-hill quite 
often. We traveled with three horses abreast, and I must 
confess it was at times exciting to see them start on a tight 
run up-hill. They did this in fine style, and were evidently 
trained to it. 

On Saturday, December 17th, we started in the early 
morning from the stansea where we had lodged, for Yakutsk. 



OUR road, as we approached the city, lay on the Lena 
River, and, as I saw the church spires rising in the 
distance, it seemed as if I was approaching the Mecca of my 

Yakutsk is situated on the right side of the river on rising 
ground. It is a place of some four thousand inhabitants, 
and the seat of government of Upper Siberia. On our arrival 
we were taken to the office of the Chief of Police, whose 
name was Carpuf. He was a dapper little man of some 
thirty -two or three years, and very kind and attentive during 
our stay in Yakutsk. When we first went into his office Mr. 
Danenhower inquired if there was any one there who could 
speak French. Upon this, a man stepped forward whose 
name was Bobokoff, and through him Mr. Danenhower told 
the Lieutenant of Police that he wished to see the Governor- 
General, and also who we were. 

After this we were taken to a large house which was for 
the accommodation of Russian army officers when traveling 
that way. Our apartments consisted of two large rooms 
comfortably heated, with chairs and some pictures and 
flowers, and they proved quite a luxury to us. A hanging 
lamp to burn kerosene (the first one I had seen in this coun- 
try) was suspended from the ceiling. We were waited upon 
by the Ispravnik, the Lieutenant of Police, and Captain Gro- 
enbek of the steamer Lena, and the next day received a call 
from Governor-General Tchernieff. 

After this, arrangements were made for us to obtain our 
meals at an eating-house across the street from where we 
lived, and the next day we got some cheap shirts and stock- 



ings, and comfortable baths. Thus we were quite well pro- 
vided for again. We also, a few days later, got other 
clothing, including boots, new mittens, caps, etc. Mr. Dan- 
enhower had received some funds through the Russian 
authorities, and a little spending money was given to each 
one of us. 

We went out shopping several times, and whenever any of 
our party appeared on the street, numbers of people were 
attracted to take a look. In one instance three of us went 
into a store to get some caps. These stores are near the 
market place in fact they form a part of the general bazaar 
of the city and a number of people were about at their dif- 
ferent vocations. Soon after we got into the store people 
began to come in until the store was crowded, and the street 
outside was literally blocked with people as we passed out. 
They were Yakuts and Cossacks, and were so numerous that 
I had to push them aside to get into the sleigh to ride back 
to our house. They had assembled to see the Americans, 
probably the first (at all events the first party of many) who 
had ever visited that country. 

We occupied the time a few days before Christmas in 
writing, and on Saturday, December 24th, our party gave a 
supper at the hotel to some of our Yakutsk acquaintances. 
This proved a sociable affair, and passed off pleasantly. 

The next day, Sunday, was Christmas. On this day we 
had our photographs taken, and then a number of our party 
went visiting, and were very hospitably entertained. The 
people were warm-hearted, and always appeared glad to 
see us. 

On Wednesday, December 28th, four of our party and a 
gentleman who resides in Yakutsk took a drive of some twelve 
versts, to a village occupied by five or six hundred unmarried 
males and females. They are a very peculiar race of people, 
made up of all the different nationalities, and of a singular 
religious belief. Many of them are exiles, and all of them 
are very thrifty, working at different vocations. Their 
houses were generally very tidy-looking, and one of them, 


the home of a dyer, was scrupulously clean. They raise 
some cattle, sheep, and swine, and also an excellent quality 
of wheat ; I have eaten bread made from some of it, and can 
attest its goodness. They also raise barley, oats, potatoes, 
and onions. A few strawberries occasionally ripen, but the 
summer is short. The people neither drink liquors or smoke, 
nor do they eat any meat. 

The fire engines of Yakutsk consist of a number of barrels 
mounted on wheels. When starting out for fires in cold 
weather the water in the barrels is heated, because, if it were 
not, before they could dip it out with their long-handled 
bailers and throw it on to the fire by means of buckets, it 
would all freeze solid. 

After our arrival at Yakutsk the temperature became 
colder than it had been on our journey thither. Much moist- 
ure was in the air, and in the early morning it looked almost 
like falling snow. 

One day I went to see an old structure, a sort of retreat 
or fortress some 250 years old, which was used by the Yakuts 
when at war with the Russians. It was built log-cabin 
fashion, some 500 feet long, with towers perched at both 
ends. These towers were some thirty feet square and sixty 
or seventy feet high. The logs, on the outside, were full of 
bullet holes made during the attacks of the Russians. Though 
the fortress was generally dilapidated, many of the logs were 

On the evening of December 29th I paid a visit to the 
family of a Russian merchant, and for the first time in two 
and one-half years heard piano music. The next day, accom- 
panied by Captain Groenbek, I visited the steamer Lena, 
which was hauled up at this place for the winter. This noted 
steamer came around the northern coast of Europe and Asia 
with Nordenskiold's ship, the Vega, and afterward ascended 
the Lena River under command of Captain Johannesen. 
She plies on the river, but draws rather too much water to 
be a success. She is a nice little screw vessel, built of Bes- 
semer steel, schooner-rigged, and about 100 tons burthen. 



On December 30th, Mr. Melville surprised us by putting 
in an appearance. On the next day the remainder of the 
whale-boat party arrived, with Noros and Nindermann, and 
the thirteen survivors of the expedition were united again. 

On New Year's day our party kept open house, American 
fashion, and all hands seemed to enjoy themselves. On the 
Russian Christmas, which occurs twelve days later than our 
own, I attended services at two of the churches of which 
there are some ten or twelve in the city. Christmas with 

the Russians is a day of much 
rejoicing. All the churches 
were illuminated, outside and 
in, with candles ; and the music 
of the bells (which, hung several 
together, are rung by means of 
lines fastened to the clappers,) 
kept the air filled with discord, 
I should probably say. . The 
religion is that of the Greek 
Catholic Church. Numerous 
priests, in robes covered with 
tinsel, read, chant, and exhort 
the people, who are gathered 
before the altar or some one of 
the numerous devotional shrines, 
some standing, others kneeling, 
and all frequently bowing and 
RUSSIAN PRIEST. crossing themselves. Great im- 

portance attaches itself to rank. The governor, in full 
uniform, stands nearest the altar, and alone ; then other 
military officers and prominent citizens. The soldiers stand 
in a body together. The poorer classes, some of them arrayed 
in fashions long since departed, make up the balance of the 
congregation, and stand mostly in the rear. 

Soon after this our party, consisting of Lieutenant Danen- 
hower, eight seamen, and myself, left Yakutsk for Irkutsk. 
Mr. Melville with Bartlett and Nindermann remained to 


prosecute further search for the missing members of the 
Jeannette's crew. We reached Irkutsk after twenty-one 
days' journey over some 1,900 miles of cold, rough country, 
passing on the way through the villages of Larinsk and 

At Larinsk I saw a gang of some fifty conscripts, all 
young men. They were going to " jine the army ," and 
were in charge of a squad of Cossacks, who sang a sort of 
chorus in place of drum and fife as they marched along. 
The rear was brought up by weeping women and children. 
The principal stores in this place (there were but two or 
three) were dram-shops. Vodka, or Russian rum, was the 
liquor mostly sold ; next in demand were a cheap native 
wine, and a kind of beer called pevo. In many houses a 
beverage made from black bread and called quas is used. 
The vodka is detestable, though when spiced it often finds 
its way among the upper classes. The wine, or molifka, is 
sometimes good, though intoxicating. Pevo and quas are 
very good indeed, and wholesome, safe beverages. 

Our next stopping place was Vitimsk. Here are situated 
the works of the " River Steamship Company ; " the mana- 
ger was Mr. Lee, an Englishman, and a hearty welcome 
met us at his hands. We remained here over night, and 
next day pushed on in two detachments for Irkutsk. Mr. 
Lee built three new povoshkas or sleds for us, working his 
men all night that we might not be delayed ; furthermore, 
he would accept nothing for his labors. Thus equipped, 
with parting salutes to our friends, we moved away towards 

We were met on the outskirts of Irkutsk by a Cossack 
soldier who looked at our pordorhosna or road pass, after 
which we were escorted to the residence of M. Strikosky, 
secretary to the Lieutenant-Governor. Lieutenant Danen- 
hower with his detachment of the party had arrived before 
us. As I walked up the steps a gentleman came forward 
and with a pleasant smile said : " These are the rest of the 
Jeannette party ; how do you do ? " " Oh ! " I said, " you 


speak English, don't you ? Who are you ?" at the same time 
we shook hands heartily. " Are you an American ? " I- con- 
tinued. " Yes, I am Dr. Ledyard from California ; and you ? " 
" Oh, I'm Newcomb, bug-hunter of the party." After a few 
other remarks I went into the house and found hot tea with 
lemons, sugar, and cake, all of which were nicely served by 
servants. Thus we were in civilized ways again, and with 
a good deal of " style," too. 

Irkutsk, before the fire of 1878, must have been a very 
pretty city, situated as it is near pleasant rivers and sur- 
rounded by well-wooded hills. The streets are wide, but 
the sidewalks are poor. Churches are numerous ; some new 
and others dating back years before the fire. There are 
three hotels and several eating houses. Dekos Hotel is the 
leading one. Here can be had good food, excellent tea, fair 
coffee, and first-rate wines and cigars. The stores were 
numerous and well filled with goods, fancy articles, such as 
confections, French notions, cosmetics, perfumes, and cigar- 
ettes being most plenty. Business in these articles must be 
good, as there are many feast days in the church when 
these articles are much used. French fashions prevail 
among all (dressed) ladies. Ball costumes were some of 
them very elegant, but a ready-made flannel shirt I could 
not find in town. 

The theatre is quite a pretty place, with parquette, three 
rows of boxes, and gallery. It seemed the custom to leave 
your box and promenade in the corridors both ladies and 
gentlemen and to visit the lunch room, where wines and 
liquors of all kinds, with hot tea, cakes, pastry, and cigar- 
ettes were freely indulged in. The performances were very 
good, embracing tragedy and comedy a la mode. Of course 
the language is Russian. There is also a hall where enter- 
tainments by a local musical society are given. These are 
truly enjoyable, having the characteristic Russian lunch 
room attached, where champagne and other nice wines are 
taken by both ladies and gentlemen. 

Irkutsk contains two market places or bazaars large open 


squares, with long rows of stands and small booths where 
new and second-hand articles, food for man and beast, 
clothing, house-keeping utensils, etc. were to be found. 
The dealers, men and women, were a shrewd set. One 
feature of trade here and elsewhere in Russia is detestable. 
I refer to "beating down " the price of an article. It is a 
practice regularly indulged in. In purchasing trunks here, 
for our journey further, I effected a discount of more than 
twelve dollars from the first price. Dealers, I am told, 
expect to be asked to sell goods for less than the price first 
asked. Then, too, for the same articles, the difference in 
prices asked at stores on the main street and by dealers at 
the bazaar often was a good deal. 

At Irkutsk telegraph communication commences. Over 
two thousand miles beyond this place we first heard rumors of 
the assassination of the American President Garfield and the 
Czar. How this information was transmitted so far beyond 
the wires, and so nearly correct, must be left to the reader 
to conjecture. At this place, after the lapse of nearly two 
and a half years, I first received tidings from my family, 
first by cable, and later from eighteen letters brought by Mr. 
Jackson, London correspondent of the New York Herald. 
This gentleman was sent by Mr. Bennett to gather all infor- 
mation possible about the Jeannette and the fate of her 
crew. He was accompanied by Mr. A. Larsen, artist of the 
Illustrated London News. The reader can perhaps imagine 
the pleasure it was to us to meet these gentlemen, and to 
hear our mother tongue again from other lips than those 
with which we had for so long been associated. In this place, 
however, I must not fail to mention a gentleman who spoke 
English very fairly. I refer to Count Ahlefeldt Laurvigen. 
His kind thoughtfulness will keep thoughts of him green in 
our memories for many a day to come. 

After interviewing the party and gathering all possible 
news and sketches of our movements, and making necessary 
preparations, Mr. Jackson and Mr. Larsen, with Seaman 



Noros and a Cossack servant, and three large povoshkas, 
whirled out of the yard of Dekos Hotel amid cheers. They 
were bound for Yakutsk, some 1900 miles further north, to 
do what they could towards rescuing our missing comrades. 
Seaman Noros went with Mr. Jackson by permission of the 
Secretary of the Navy, and also at his own desire. This 
man, one of the two who started south from DeLong's party 
for assistance, after the terrible hardships endured with 
Nindermann on that fearful tramp was again " facing the 
music." Nindermann was at this time with Mr. Melville 
and Bartlett similarly engaged. These examples I mention 
to show the stuff of which our boys were made. 



rpHE next night, March 13th, Lieutenant Danenhower 
JL with Mr. Cole, our steward, and myself bade good-bye 
to our Irkutsk friends and started towards home, following 
the first detachment, which, I have omitted to state, left 
Irkutsk the evening before the departure of Jackson and 
Larsen. We journeyed on, sometimes on runners, then on 
wheels, the snow having already begun to disappear. We 
got as far as Nijni Ujinsk and then waited to meet the 
officers sent out by government for our assistance arid 
relief. After some delay (the roads were very bad) those 
gentlemen, Lieutenant Harber and Master Schurtze,U. S. N., 
arrived with letters. Thus, after more than two and one-half 
years, I was talking with real live Americans, fresh from 

As Lieutenant Harber was clothed with the authority to 
employ those of our party who were of use and available, 
despatches were sent to Seaman Leach, who, with our first 
detachment, had reached Krosnayarsk. Every member of 
our party had previously volunteered his services to the 
department for a continuation of the search for the missing, 
and Leach's party willingly returned. They left Krosnay- 
arsk about the time we left Nijni Ujinsk, and we met them and 
said good-bye on the road. We, as ordered, kept on towards 
home. They pushed on for Irkutsk, where they met Lieuten- 
ant Harber and Master Schurtze, and subsequently went 
north with them. 

Continuing our journey, we passed through several minor 
towns to Krosnayarsk, where we spent a part of a day v and 
night. Pushing forward again we reached Tomsk, the 




capital of Western Siberia, about the first of April. We 
called on the governor, visited several stores, two photo- 
graph saloons, and the market. We laid in fresh meat and 
other road supplies. The meat which was frozen, was cut 
up with a topore, or axe, on a dirty block of wood. This 
block was surrounded by gaunt, hungry dogs, and as soon 
as the market man stepped aside they jumped on to the block, 
snapped up every morsel left and licked the grease with 
their tongues. To see cigarette stumps and dogs on the 
meat block of an American market would be surprising ; 
yet it was customary here. 

Tomsk, like most Siberian towns, lies near a river and in a 
valley. I could readily see how invading forces on the hills 
surrounding would have these places completely at their 
mercy. Tomsk looks pretty from the east, but the roads 


are full of cradle-holes ; the worst I ever saw. Even in the 
streets of the city these things are common. No American 
community would begin to tolerate them. The city is 
irregularly divided by a small river, and has a dilapidated 
appearance, as does the average Siberian city or town gov- 
ernment buildings and churches exceptcd. 

The governor of Tomsk, when I was there, was a young 
man of perhaps thirty-five years ; he appeared smart and to 


have an eye for business. He treated us courteously, and 
transacted the business of our road passes very promptly. 
The improved appearance of most of the stansea or stations 
in Western Siberia over those of Eastern Siberia are eviden- 
ces of a more energetic administration. 

Tomsk is a post and telegraph station. The inhabitants 
show the Jewish characteristics to a considerable extent, 
many of the tradespeople being of this class. The stores, 
though containing many varieties of goods, were not as 
spacious or of as good architecture as are seen at Irkutsk. 

Owing to the fact that very many of the buildings in Sibe- 
rian towns arc of wood, and also because the lire departments 
are very poor and inefficient, fires are generally disastrous 
and extensive. Such was the case in 1878 at Irkutsk, 
and Krosnayarsk, Tomsk, and Omsk have been similarly 

The country surrounding Tomsk was fairly wooded, but 
from what I could see it was young soft wood ; the first 
growth apparently having been cut off. About the common- 
est bird is the magpie. In weather when the snow is dry 
and granulated . from extreme cold, these birds take a snow 
bath as a hen sifts dirt among her feathers ; they use both 
wings and seem to enjoy it much. I saw one perched on a 
pig's back, possibly performing an act of charity by relieving 
piggy of other and less welcome guests. 

We left Tomsk April 4th, and after making 156 versts 
stopped for the night. The roads between Tomsk and 
Omsk were much better than we had traveled over coming 
from Krosnayarsk. On the morning of April 7th our lead- 
ing yemstchik or driver had his nose frozen. " March winds 
and April showers" (conspicuous by their absence) were 
not bringing forth May flowers very numerously at this time 
with us. In fact, it was smart winter weather with heavy 
drifts of snow, often ten feet deep, so that on entering and 
leaving stations our sleds were higher than the eaves of the 

The women of Siberia crochet and knit very skillfully, and 



I was fortunate enough to secure some beautiful shawls and 
table covers. The shawls were made from cashmere wool, 
the yarn having been spun in the country by hand. I also 
saw some very pretty netted bed-covers with figures marked 
in with Berlin worsteds very tastefully. The love of orna- 
ments is universal. Among the Tunguses the women were 
inveterate beggars, especially for small pieces of scarlet flan- 
nel part of a pair of woolen drawers of mine. 

The population of most Siberian towns increases consider- 
ably in the autumn. Petropaulofsky, a small town of some 
1,100 inhabitants, between Omsk and Orenburg, swells its 

numbers in the fall to 17,000 
by the arrival of natives with 
goods for trade and barter. 
The business of the place 
consists of raising horses, 
and exporting tar, sheep- 
skins, hides and furs, which 
are sent to Russia. 

After leaving Omsk we 
traveled across the Kirghe- 
sian steppes, a generally level 
country, evidently producing 
some hay and grain, but at 
the time covered with snow. 
SPINNING. Q n these steppes I saw num- 

erous droves of horses grubbing an existence. There must 
be good pasturage here a part of the year to support so much 
stock. The inhabitants, particularly the men, wear a sur- 
prisingly small amount of clothing. They have a cap or 
big hood of sheep-skin tanned with the hair on, and coats 
of the same material with long sleeves ; and over this, in 
severe weather, a big deer-skin or some other skin garment 
is worn. The under garments are of cheap, bright-colored 
cotton, with pants of shoddy gray, and foot gear made of 
plaited straw, skins, or leather, according to the wealth of 
the owner. 


On the 8th of April I slept on a feather bed for the first 
time in nearly three years. April 9th opened Easter Sunday 
with solid winter weather. Easter is a day of much interest 
to Russians. After the Lenten season fasting is in order. 
On the forenoon of this day we were invited by the keeper 
of a stansea to partake of refreshments with him. We 
enjoyed excellently cooked roast goose, ham, and little pig, 
with bread, sweet cakes, tea, and vodka, or rum. The chil- 
dren gave us some music, and with exchange of best wishes, 
and some coppers for the little folks, we pushed on. 

The snow was about gone when we arrived at Throisky, 
April 15th ; children were running about barefooted, and 
numbers of men, women, and children were sitting about hi 
sunny spots and on the ground sunning themselves. I saw 
one party of " fellers and gals " who were being entertained 
by the music of an accordion. Fifteen or twenty curious 
and much interested spectators gathered about me as I 
eat writing on the steps of the station. 

On the ceiling of the rooms where we slept that night the 
proprietor painted a black cross. I asked what it was for ; 
and our courier said it was supposed to keep the devil away, 
and was an old custom in some parts of Russia. 

In Throisky we saw numerous Kirghese men and women. 
The latter wore very pretty white caps trimmed with gold 
bands and real or imitation jewels ; also finger rings of 
silver with red carnelian stones. Their boots were made of 
black and bright-colored red and green leather, fancy 
stitched. Their dresses were of a variegated rainbow-hued 
silk and wool fabric, open at the throat. These people are 
Mahommedans. Bright, gay colors, with even glaring con- 
trasts, seem to be the taste of most of the women in the 
humbler classes. 

We left Throisky April 17th, and about 2 p. M. reached a 
stansea where a peasant wedding-party was assembled. 
They danced, sung, and feasted a good deal, and many of 
them, both men and women, were " feeling good " from 
drinking vodka. 



At this time we were traveling with tarantass, and on the 
18th reached a river where we were ferried over in dug-out 
canoes. Our vehicle was taken across in two canoes placed 


Bide by side, each canoe holding two of the wheels. After 
this we journeyed on until night, when it began to rain. 
Just before stopping for the night we got a capsize down an 
embankment into a ditch. The horses started to run, but 
were held by the driver, while a friendly tree stump near at 
hand kept us from a bad accident. When we capsized Lieu- 
tenant Danenhower came down on top of me, and as we were 
confined by the apron of the vehicle and by the pillows and 
baggage, I was nearly smothered. After getting another 
wajron we started ahead again amid half a gale of wind and 
rain, glad to get off so easily. 

On the 20th we capsized three times, crossed numer- 
ous creeks, ferried a river, and came to a halt after a run 


of 89 versts only. The weather was by this time getting 
Bpring-like, being breezy, with heavy roads and swollen 
streams. Our progress was necessarily slow, averaging but 


ueven or eight versts an hour. The country was hilly, with 
rocks, ledges, and a very few scattered, stunted bushes, and 
an occasional tree. The grass was beginning to show some 
green. The roads through the villages were a foot deep with 
mud, and geese and hogs were wallowing in it. On the 21st 
I saw oxen yoked together for draft purposes. 

On the 22d we passed the town of Osk and the Ural River 
at night, reaching a stansea at the foot of the Ural Moun- 
tains, on the western side. The Ural River is a winding 
stream, with steep, high earth banks in many places. Our 
road on the afternoon of the 22d, lay along one side of this 
river, and I obtained fine views. I noticed but little timber 
in its vicinity. I saw numerous flocks of ducks, easy of 
access, and should say good shooting might be had. Hawks 
and eagles were very plenty. I saw, also, a flock of teal, 
and noticed that they started and flew off, apparently much 
frightened. They crossed the road, but not soon enough to 
escape a large hawk which darted among them, seized one, 
and bore it off over the river bank. Our driver stopped his 


team, jumped off, gave chase, and made the hawk drop the 
teal. Both birds flew off for some 300 yards in different 
directions, when the hawk turned, overtook and recaptured 
his prey, and carried it away to devour at leisure. 

A good deal of the country just before entering the moun- 
tains on the western side is about level, or gently undulating, 
with numerous pond-holes, excellent for both snipe and duck. 
I saw three Kirghese hunters riding horseback. One of them 
had some ducks. Two of them had flintlocks, and one had 
a single-barreled percussion gun. 

In this country I often saw, situated by themselves, and 
on the outskirts of Cossack villages, some dome-shaped huts. 
These were either the temporary abodes of Cossacks tending 
horses and camels at pasture, or else the homes of Kirghese. 
They were constructed of light, portable crossed frames, and 
covered (except a hole at the top for air and smoke) with a 
thick, heavy felting cloth outside, and with straw matting 
about the walls inside. They were comfortable dwellings, 
besides being cheap, and easy to keep in repair and move 

On the morning of April 23d we started early, and after 
a hard, tedious day, over rough roads, winding about through 
narrow, rocky defiles, past some pretty bits of scenery, and 
others that were bare and inhospitable, we reached, at nine 
P.M., a stansea which, though yet in the mountains, was only 
120 versts from the railroad. Yakutsk and Irkutsk had each 
been at different times the " Mecca " of my hopes ; now it 
was Orenburg and the iron horse. 

Owing to the scarcity of wood and its value for other pur- 
poses in this section, a fuel is made from the manure of 
horses and cattle. It contains much straw, and is pressed, 
dried, and cut up into pieces like peat. It makes excellent 
fuel, and burns without any disagreeable odor. 

April 24th opened cold and cloudy, with a light breeze, 
spits of snow, and rain. The roads were very heavy, and 
we traveled this day by both runners and wheels. On the 
next morning, at 8 :45 A.M., we reached Orenburg, and found 


quarters at the Hotel Europansky. This hotel and its pro- 
prietor I can recommend as very nice. After dinner we 
drove to the depot, saw the locomotives and cars, conversed 
with the station-master, and arranged for our passage to 
Moscow. The passenger cars are in compartments, with ac- 
commodations not to be compared to our Pullman or Wag- 
ner cars. They are mounted on six wheels and steel side- 
springs. The locomotives use wood for fuel, and are of 
German manufacture on the lines on which I have traveled. ^ 

Orenburg is, in my mind, a very interesting place, and be- 
fore the last heavy conflagration must have been a fine city. 
I saw in the public square a circus, which looked natural. 
Telegrams, letters, and some drafts for money (last but not 
least) awaited us here. The stores were well filled with 
many kinds of goods. The Tartar bazaars were very inter- 
esting places, containing many fancy articles, such as caps, 
slippers and boots, beautifully embroidered with silk and tin- 
sel ; also, perfumes, rugs, and droll-looking, rainbow-hued 
silk and wool robes. Peddlers came to us at the hotel with 
different articles. They had beautiful rings of diamonds 
and turquoise, necklaces of amethysts and Siberian crystals, 
pearls, topazes, and rubies in pins and ear-rings, and not 
mounted. Also jewel-boxes in malachite and lapis lazuli, 
with other varieties of native stone, carved to represent fruit 
and flowers. I fortunately obtained some of these lovely 
things, and brought them safely home. 

We left Orenburg at 9:30 P. M., April 26th, for Moscow. 
When the train arrives at a station a man in uniform strikes 
quickly and several times a bell hung on the depot near the 
mail box. The train is started by the same man, who an- 
nounces the departure by striking the bell. At every sta- 
tion numbers of Cossacks with sidearms are seen, doing 
police duty. 

The country we now went through was level, and good 
for grazing, with some woods, pond-holes, and stream*. 
Numerous flocks of plover, snipe, and ducks started up as 
the train proceeded. The sensation of being bowled along 


in cars after my varied experiences of two and one-half 
years was very novel, and I felt for the first time as if I was 
really going home. The conductors and porters were quiet, 
civil, and attentive. 

The first city of importance after leaving Orenburg is Sama- 
rah, the capital of this portion of Russia. Crossing the Volga 
for the first time, just before noon, we arrived at this place 
in time for dinner at the station, and had an excellent meal 
of cabbage soup, fish, cutlets, and vegetables. While we 
were eating, a gentleman of fine appearance came into the 
restaurant and spoke to some military officers ; he then came 
up to our table and inquired if we were the Jeannette party. 
On being answered affirmatively, he introduced himself as 
the governor of Samarah, chatted a few minutes, took a glass 
of wine, and then, after inviting us to call on him in his car, 
and shaking hands, he withdrew. Meantime some twelve 
or fifteen gentlemen had gathered around us, and during the 
remainder of the time we were at dinner our little party was 
the center of attraction. 

The Volga at this place is about a mile in width. The 
ice was nearly gone when I saw it, near the last of April, and 
there were numbers of row-boats with two or three men in 
each busy fishing. The banks of the river were in places 
much overflowed. I also saw a dozen steamers, some with 
Bteam up; part of them were fore-and-aft rigged, and all of 
them side-wheeled. 

We were passing along the Volga all the afternoon, and 
in one place crossed it over a fine bridge nearly a mile long. 
This bridge was of iron, and rested on fourteen stone piers 
some sixty feet above the river, in which at this place was 
considerable running ice. 

On the 28th of April I saw a number of farmers busy 
ploughing and harrowing. Three horses working abreast 
drew a pair of wheels to which the plough was attached. 
The ploughs were of wood and the ploughshares were faced 
with iron. The harrows were drawn by one horse, but one 
man guided two teams. A dozen or more teams might be 



seen at once on a fine, rich-looking level or gently undulating 
field. Similar scenes were noticed for miles over a country 
reminding me of our Western prairies. 

Here and there was a town, village, or hamlet. Numerous 
small streams furnished a good supply of water. The culti- 
vated fields were divided by lines of turf, in consequence of 
the absence of rocks for walls or wood for fences. The 
embankments of the railroad were kept from washing out by 
the same means, and also by willow branches fastened down 
with cross pieces on wooden pins. Many horses, cattle, and 
sheep, with some hogs, 
were eating the young 
grass. Banks of snow 
five to ten feet deep and 
sometimes 200 feet long, 
attested the severity of 
the winter. 

We arrived at Mos- 
cow at nine A. M., April 
29th, and found nice 
quarters at Slavanski 
Bazaar. The hum of 
the city sounded natu- 
ral. Moscow is a fine 
old city, with many 
scenes of interest; her 
cathedral, churches, and 
old palaces, the Krem- 
lin, the big bell, the 
chapel of John the Ter- 
rible, the gates of the 
city, the maiden monas- 
tery where a sister of 
Peter the Great was confined, and a foundling hospital being 
among them. I attended one very interesting wedding in 
this city, and then bidding good-bye to Moscow and to some 



very pleasant American residents there, we continued our 

We reached St. Petersburg about May 1st, and through 
the efforts of the correspondent of the New York Herald, we 
were provided with delightful quarters on the English Quay 
fronting the Neva River. The emperor and empress having 
expressed a wish to see us, we went to Gatcheua by special 
train and were taken in the carriages of royalty to the 
palace where, after waiting some time and viewing many 
objects of interest, we were ushered into a smaller apartment, 
there meeting the emperor and empress, both of whom spoke 
English. Concluding our interview and shaking hands we 
withdrew, and after being shown through the palace and 
meeting a number of notables, we were driven to the station 
and returned to St. Petersburg. In the evening we attended 
a banquet given in our honor. 

We remained in this city eight days waiting for instruc- 
tions from home. Among other interesting attentions which 
we received I remember with pleasure the banquet given us 
by the charg6 d'affaires, Mr. Hoffman. 

St. Petersburg contains many sights for the traveler, and 
the European tourist who fails to visit this city loses much 
of interest which is not to be seen elsewhere. Among the 
sights are the fortress where are kept a number of important 
prisoners ; the cathedral with the tombs of the dead emperors ; 
the hermitage ; and St. Isaac's Cathedral with its beautiful 
mosaic pictures and columns of malachite and lapis lazuli. 
This cathedral is 350 feet from the floor to the interior of 
the dome. On a clear day and with a glass one can get 
good views of Cronstadt, some eighteen versts away. 

We left St. Petersburg on the yacht of the admiral of the 
port, and after a pleasant passage and lunch arrived off 
Cronstadt, where we paid our respects to the admiral, and 
then with good-byes all around we put to sea. As we passed 
out of the dock the naval band played the " Star-Spangled 
Banner" and "America." We steamed away, night shut 
down, and we were off for Hull, England. After a comfort- 



able passage of six days we arrived at the port, where we 
were pleasantly received by English naval officers and our 
consul, Mr. Howard. 

Crossing from Hull overland we arrived at Liverpool, and 
were met by Consul Packard of that port, Consul Shaw of 
Manchester, and others. A delightful banquet was given 
here by Consul Packard, upon which occasion I had the 
pleasure of meeting the mayor and other citizens. 

Leaving Liverpool on the White Star steamer "Celtic," 
we reached New York where friends soon surrounded us, 
and we were " home again from a foreign shore." 

In conclusion, I would advise travelers who may be looking 
for an interesting locality to visit, to try Russia and a trip 
across the Ural Mountains into Siberia, traveling by rail, 
steamboat, and horses. There is much of fine natural scenery. 
In the summer the weather is delightful. Plenty of good, 
wholesome food may be obtained, and the expenses need not 
be heavy. With these concluding remarks I leave the reader. 




A FTER making the necessary preparations for a systcm- 
-JL atic search for his missing comrades of both boats, 
Mr. Melville left Yakutsk, January 27th, and proceeded to 
Verkhoyansk. He was accompanied by Bartlett and Nin- 
dermann; Captain Guenbeck of the steamer Lena; Efim 
Koploff the exile; Peter Kolenkin, a Cossack sergeant; 
Constantine Buhokoff ; and a native Yakut and his wife as 
porter and cook. 

At Verkhoyansk the ispravnik of the district joined 
the party, which started north February llth, and reached 
Bulun on the 17th. On the 22d, Melville started for By- 
koff Cape to procure dog-teams for the search parties and a 
supply of fish as food, and also to pay some small bills con- 
tracted by the whale-boat party while sojourning there. 
The snow was very deep, and the weather most of the time 
was terribly stormy. Among those who joined him as dog- 
drivers were Tomat Constantine and Wassili (or Bushiclle) 

On the 25th the remainder of the search party, with pro- 
vision trains, started for Mot Vai, the central rendezvous 
for the search parties at the start, situated about 200 versts 
north of Bulun. 

Mr. Melville rejoined his companions on the 9th of March, 
at Cath Carta, and on the 12th wrote a letter from this 
place to the Secretary of the Navy, in part as follows : 

" I arrived at Bykoff Cape on the 24th of February, and 
was detained there until March Gth by continuous bad weath- 
er the worst I have ever seen. The seven dog teams I 
sent to carry the transport party returned after an absence 



of fifteen days, having lost their way in the storm. Six of 
their dogs died of exhaustion, and the drivers were terribly 
frost-bitten in face, feet, and hands, refusing to again ven- 
ture out until the weather became settled. 

As soon as I get sufficient fish on hand, and three teams 
of dogs selected, the three search parties will set out and 
the search actively commence." 

Mr. Melville also wrote a letter to the New York Herald, 
from Cath Carta, March 13th, as follows : " The place from 
which I now write, Cath Carta, is a collection of four mud 
hunting huts, on one of the many brandies of the Lena, 
about fifty versts south of Usterda, where the last of De- 
Long's records were found. I selected this point as the 
nearest place to pick up the trail, and as it is nearly due 
south of Usterda, it is in his line of march. It is the only 
place in this vicinity that has a collection of four huts, 
two of which we occupy six men in a house eight feet by 
fifteen. Both arc too low for a man to stand upright in. 
The other two contain our stores of fish and other supplies. 
I have three of our people of the Jeaimettc, and three other 
persons hired at Yakutsk. We have, besides, a Yakut man 
and wife as cook and wood and water or ice carrier ; also 
a general hand a Russian exile making nine people in 
all. I have hired clog teams by the month ; also dog drivers. 
I have all the teams in the country carrying fish ; and as 
soon as I get sufficient fish to feed ourselves and our dogs, 
we will scour the country between the Olcnck and Yana. 

To-morrow myself and Nindcrmann, with two interpre- 
ters and dog sleds, will go to Usterda and Sistcrancck to 
pick up DeLong's trail where I lost it last December. I 
feel very confident of finding DeLong's people and records, 
but fear that Chipp never reached the coast. His boat was 
very short and the sea very heavy, and although he was 
the best seaman on the Jeannette, I fear the weather was 
too much for the boat not for the man. 

The weather has been the worst I have ever seen. Any 


number of the (native) people have been lost and frozen 
during the last month. On our journey here from Bykoff 
Cape, where I went to get fish and dogs, we came across 
two families who had taken refuge in an old hut. They had 
been exposed to the storm for eight days. Food had given 
out, and three of their children aged eight, five, and three 
years, respectively were frozen to death. We gave them 
fish and tea, and our teams on their return to Bykoff will 
carry them through. 

The weather is now more settled, and I can get to work 
right away, but the snow is very deep. It covers everything. 
You can sledge right over the houses without knowing of 
their whereabouts except by the chimneys or smoke. The 
snow does not leave the ground by melting from heat of the 
sun, except on very high ground. The water from the south 
comes down the river in floods long before the Arctic sum- 
mer sets in, and covers nearly all the country where our 
search lies. You may, therefore, imagine some of the diffi- 
culties we may have in finding our missing comrades. 

When I got into Bykoff last September not one man was 
well in the boat. Not more than two were able to walk, and 
then only for a short distance. The ice in the river was 
thick enough to stop any boat worked by strong, vigorous 
men, yet not strong enough to walk upon. During the 
month of October the river freezes and breaks up again 
half a dozen times. Long before I got to Bulun to see 
Nindermann and Noros I fear my comrades' troubles were 
over. I did all I could in the circumstances to get my peo- 
ple up the river and relief to DeLong. I lost no time by 
going to Yakutsk or in getting my party there, as all my 
travel was done in the dead of winter when work could not 
be done at the delta, and it was necessary to get supplies 
for the spring and summer, all of which come from Ya- 
kutsk. It was necessary for me to get to the end of tele- 
graph communication, and I was in Yakutsk a week before 
an answer to my telegram of two months before was receiv- 
ed. However, now that we are on the ground we will use 



our best endeavours to complete our work to the general 

I am anxious to finish up our work here. Our eyes are 
almost blind from the smoke of our huts. There are no 
chimneys, only holes in the roof, and I can barely see what 
I have written. The Prefect of Verkhoyansk, who accom- 
panied us to this place, returns home and will carry our 
mail ; and as there are no means of getting letters through 
to Yakutsk, except by special courier, before the river breaks 
up, you may not hear from me until fall." 


Eleven days after the above letter was written Mr. Mel- 
ville forwarded from the Lena Delta to Yakutsk, by special 
courier, the following message : 

" I have found Lieutenant DeLong and his party ; all 
dead. All the books and papers have also been found. I 
remain to continue the search for the party under Lieutenant 


On the same day, March 24th, Mr. Melville wrote to the 
Secretary of the Navy as follows : 

"I have the honor of informing you of my successful 
search for the party of Lieutenant DcLong, with its books, 
records, &c., &c. After several unsuccessful attempts to 
follow DcLong's track from the northward, I tried the re- 
tracing of Nindermann's track from the southward ; and 
after visiting every point of land projecting into the great 
bay at the junction of the Lena branches, from Mot Vai, 
around from the west, to a point bearing E.N.E., and form- 
ing one of the banks of the River Kugoasastak, on ascend- 
ing the bank, I found where a large fire had been made, and 
Nindermarm recognized it as the river down which ho came. 
I turned the point to go north, and about one thousand 
yards from the point I noticed the points of four poles lash- 
ed together and projecting two feet out of the snow drift, 
under the bank. I dropped from the sled, and on going up 
to the poles saw the muzzle of a Remington rifle standing 
eight inches out of the snow, and the gun strap hitched over 
the poles. 

I set the natives digging out the bank, and Nindcrmanu 
and myself commenced to search the bank and high ground. 
I walked south, Nindermann walking north. I had go:io 
about five hundred yards, when I saw the camp kettle stand- 
ing out of the snow and, close by, thrco bodies partially 
buried in snow. I examined them, and found them to Lo 
Lieutenant DcLong, Dr. Ambler, and Ah Sam, tho cook. 

I found DcLong's note book alongside of him, a copy of 
which please find enclosed, dating from October 1st, when 
at Usterda, until the end. Under the poles were found tho 
books, records, <fcc., and tsvo men. The rest of the people 
lie between the place where DoLong was found and tho 
wreck of a flat-boat, a distance of 500 yards. Tho r,now 
bank will have to be dug out. It has a base of thirty feet 
and a height of twenty feet, with a natural slope. 

The point on which the people lie, although high, is cover- 
ed with driftwood, evidence that it is flooded during some 



season of the year. Therefore, I will convey the people to 
a proper place on the bank of the Lena, and have them in- 
terred. In the meantime I will prosecute the search for 
the second cutter with all diligence, as the weather may 
permit. The weather has been so bad that^we have been 
able to travel but one day in four, but hope for better 
weather as spring advances." 

The first cutter party, when it reached land, consisted of 
fourteen persons. Nindermann and Noros escaped the fate 
of their comrades ; Erickson and Alexai, who died first, 
were buried in the river ; and the remaining ten DeLong, 
Ambler, Collins, Lee, Gortz, Dressier, Kaack, Iverson, Boyd, 
and Ah Sam were carried about thirty miles to the south- 
west from, where they were found, to the top of a hill of 
solid rock 300 feet high, and laid at rest by their devoted 
shipmates and sympathizing natives. 


The tomb or mausoleum in which the bodies were de- 
posited was constructed of the lumber of a broken-up flat- 


boat. First a cross was made from timbers one foot square, 
hewn out of logs which had drifted down the river, and 
erected on the crest of the hill. It was twenty-two feet high 
and the cross-beam was twelve feet long. Around this cross 
was built a box twenty-two feet long, six feet wide, and two 
feet deep, located exactly on a north and south line. After 
the bodies had been placed in the box it was covered with 
plank. A ridge-pole sixteen feet long was then framed into 
the cross five feet above the top of the box, and its ends 
were supported by timbers sloping outward. A roof was 
then formed by placing timbers side by side against the 
ridge-poles and ends. The whole outside was then covered 
with stones, and when completed it resembled a pyramidal 
mound of stones surmounted by a cross. 

Before the cross wa's erected members of the search-part/ 
engraved upon it an inscription, as follows: 


OP 12 












W. LEE. 




G. W. BO YD. 





Arrangements were subsequently made at Yakutsk to 


have the entire cairn covered with a deep layer of earth, to 
prevent the possibility of the sun thawing the bodies therein. 
General Tchernieff. also caused a Russian inscription to be 
prepared to be placed on the tomb, and directed that every 
care should be taken to preserve the tomb and the monu- 
ment in good condition. Standing as they do on an emin- 
ence, they are conspicuous objects, and may be seen at a 
distance of twenty miles. 

In a letter to the New York Herald written from the Lena 
Delta, April 12th, Mr. W.. H. Gilder, who, strange enough, 
had appeared on the scene under circumstances hereafter 
related, gave the following particulars of the finding and 
burial of " Our Lost Explorers " : 

" Melville's search party first started from the supply depot 
at Cath Carta to follow Niudermami's route from Usterda to 
Mot Vai, and afterward from Mot Vai back to Usterda. 
They stopped at the place where Nindermann and Norosi 
passed the first day after they left DeLong, feeling sure that 
the others had not got much farther. There they found the 
wreck, and following along the bank they came upon a rifle 
barrel hung upon four poles sticking up out of the snow. 

" They set the natives digging on each side of the sticks, 
and they soon came upon two bodies under eight feet of 
snow. While these men were digging toward the east, Mel- 
ville went on along the bank, twenty feet above the river, to 
find a place to take bearings. He then saw a camp-kettle 
and the remains of a fire about a thousand yards from the 
tent, and, approaching, nearly stumbled upon DeLong's hand 
sticking out of the snow about thirty feet from the edge of 
the bank. Here, under about a foot of snow, they found the 
bodies of DeLong and Ambler about three feet apart, and 
Ah Sam lying at their feet, all partially covered by pieces of 
tent and a few pieces of blanket. All the others except. 
Alexai were found at the place where the tent was pitched. 
Lee and Kaack were close by in a cleft in the bank toward 
the west. Two boxes of records, with the medicine chest 
and a flag on a staff, were beside the tent. 




"None of the 
dead had boots. 
Their feet were 
covered with rags, 
tied on. In the 
pockets of all were 
pieces of burnt 
skin and of the 
clothing which 
they had been eat- 
ing. The hands of 
all were more or 
. less burned, and it 
3 looked as if when 
dying they had 
g crawled into the 


* fire, Boyd lying 
over the fire and 

* his clothing being 
H burned through to 
$ the skin, which 

not burned. 
Collins's face was 
covered with a 

The tent had 
been pitched in a 
deep gorge in the 
river bank. The 
bodies of Gortz 
and Boyd were the 
first two found. 
Iverson and Dress- 
ier were lying side 
by side just out>- 
side of where the 

o was 


half-tent shelter had hung from the ridge-pole. Mr. Col- 
lins was further in the rear on the inside of the tent. 
Lee and Kaack were not found until after it was ascer- 
tained by reading DeLong's diary that they had been carried 
"around the corner out of sight;" then, by sounding through 
the snow, their missing bodies were found in a cleft in the 

Lieutenant DeLong's pocket journal and pencil lay on the 
ground beside him. It seemed apparent that he and his two 
companions had died the day that the last entry was made. 
In the camp kettle near by were some Arctic willows of 
which they had made tea. 

" The place where the bodies of DeLong' s party were 
found," wrote Mr. Jackson, " is fifteen miles northeast of the 
island of Stolboy, the prominent pillar-like rock in the Lena, 
where the river branches east to Bykoff. DeLong had all 
along imagined that Stolboy was a myth, and supposed he 
had passed it long before. He was bewildered by the maze 
of rivers flowing and intermingling on the delta proper, and 
in his own weak condition had put the distances accomplished 
longer than they really were. 

"Fate seemed against him. Had he landed thirty miles 
farther west he would have struck a village of natives who 
reside north of Bulun all winter. He also passed by within 
twenty versts of a hut where twenty reindeer carcasses were 
hanging for the winter food. He had, unfortunately, no shot- 
gun, from its having been left by his orders on the ice when 
the Jeannettc went down, and though deer were rare, there 
was no lack of ptarmigan. On the day Noros and Ninder- 
mann were sent away by DeLong a large flock of 200 ptar- 
migan settled within a quarter of a mile of the party, but 
none were shot. With a single shotgun in Alexai's hands 
all might have been saved. The season was too late for 

"A strange incident, also, came to my knowledge at 
Geemovialocke. It seems that some Tunguse natives, traveling 


from the north to Bykoff , saw the footprints of the party two 
days old and picked up the Remington which DeLong had 
left in a hut half way from the landing place to the bluff. 
The natives were frightened, and thought that the footprints 
were those of smugglers or robbers, and left the ground with- 
out following. On arriving at Geemovialocke they heard of 
the presence of the Melville party and the loss of the 
captain's party, and they, fearing to be punished for not fol- 
lowing the footsteps, kept their information to themselves 
for some weeks, until too late. 

" DeLong made mistakes in endeavoring to secure the 
safety of his own private logs, which were bulky, as well as 
the scientific instruments and other useless impedimenta a 
heavy burden for the men. These could have been left in the 
cache near the place where they landed, but they had to be 
borne by the men through all the days of their weary march. 
These things filled one entire dog sled when found near the 
bluff. After Noros and Nindermann left, the party did not 
make more than eighteen miles from October 9th to the 30th. 

" DeLong' s last effort was to carry his private logs and 
charts up from the place under the bluff, where Mr. Collins 
and the others died, and where they would have been swept 
away by the spring floods, to the top of the bluff where he and 
the doctor and Ah Sam perished. But he only succeeded in 
carrying the chart case up. Even before Noros and Ninder- 
mann left, DeLong was very weak. He used to walk ten 
minutes and then lie down to rest, saying to the men : 

" 4 Don't mind me ; go on as far as you can. I will follow.* 

" During his wanderings on the delta DeLong built a large 
bonfire as high as thirty feet every night, the last one being 
a few hundred yards from the bluff where they all perished, 
in the hopes of attracting the attention of parties who, he 
kept saying, would certainly be out looking for him. But 
the fires blazed in vain. There was not a human being at 
the time of their death within a hundred miles. Melville's 
party at Geemovialocke were about this distance away." 


In the instructions which Mr. Melville as commander of 
the whale-boat party received from Lieutenant DeLong 
before leaving Bennett Island for the coast of Siberia, he 
was ordered, in case of separation from his superior officers, 
to ascend the Lena without delay to a Russian settlement. 
In attempting to carry out this order, Melville and his men, 
after entering a branch of the Lena River, were glad to place 
themselves in charge of natives, who undertook to pilot them 
to Bulun, the nearest Russian village. On the way thither 
the formation of new ice in the river compelled them to halt 
at a Turiguse village. It was the transition period between 
navigation and sledding, and the natives said they would 
have to remain there fifteen days till the river was sufficiently 

At this time the physical condition of the men was such 
that Danenhower was not sorry they were obliged to halt, 
and Melville, Bartlett, Leach, and Lauderback had to be 
assisted to and from the boat. All felt the effects of exposure 
or frost-bites, and symptoms of scurvy appeared. Jiieuten- 
ant Danenhower says in his narrative, that on the third 
morning after their arrival at this village all hands except 
Jack Cole, the Indian, and himself, were in a very bad condi- 
tion. Melville was so disabled while in this settlement that 
for some time he gave the charge of everything to Danen- 

On the 16th of October an exile named Kusmah premoff 
started for Bulun, and he told Melville he would be back in 
five days. He was a capable and energetic man, and Danen- 
hower says he acted boldly and well. But he did not get 
back to Geemovialocke till the evening of October 29th, when 
he brought Nindermann's letter, which was the first intima- 
tion Melville had of DeLong's distress. Up to this time he had 
had no reason for supposing that his comrades were not at 
least as well off as his own party ; and if he had known 
on arriving that they were in trouble, " it would," says Lieu- 
tenant Danenhower, " have been impossible to make a search 



north of the village. The natives positively refused to go, 
and we were wholly dependent upon them for food." Tho 
ineffectual search made by Danenhower shows that at that 
season travel was impracticable, owing to the weakness of 
the ice; and the condition of Melville and his men was 
another reason why no search could have been made. 

As shown by DeLoug's last diary, all of his party but three 
were dead on the 30th of October. This was the day when 
Melville started for Bulun, and during his subsequent search 
trip, which occupied twelve days, he could not, under any 
circumstances, have found any of the party alive. Doubtless 
his own experiences on the trip convinced him that all were 



THE pathetic story of the wanderings, hardships, and 
intense sufferings o the members of the first cutter 
party, from the time when they landed on the Lena delta 
down to October 1st, as recorded by Lieutenant DeLong, has 
been given in Chapter XL The sequel to this story was 
written by DeLong in his note-book, which was found beside 
his dead body, and covers a period extending from October 
1st to the end. 

Lieutenant DeLong's diary closes without any reference 
to himself, Dr. Ambler, or Ah Sam. The bodies of these 
three were found by Melville, lying under the snow near each 
other, and partially covered by pieces of the tent and pieces 
of blanket. It is probable that they did not long survive the 
last of their comrades, Mr. Collins, who died October 30th. 
The deaths of all the others had been previously recorded. 
The melancholy record is as follows : 

SATURDAY, October 1st, lllth day, and a new month. 
Called all hands as soon as the cook announced boil- 
ing water, and at 6.45 had our breakfast, half a pound 
of deer-meat and tea. Sent Nindermann and Alexai to 
examine the main river, other men to collect wood. The 
doctor resumed the cutting away of poor Erickson's toes this 
morning. No doubt it will have to continue until his feet 
are gone, unless death ensues or we get to some settlement. 
Only one toe left now. Weather clear, light northeast airs, 
barometer 30.15 at 6.05. Temperature eighteen degrees at 
7.30. Nindermann and Alexai were seen to have crossed, and 
I immediately sent men to carry our load over. Left the fol- 
lowing record : 

[See Record No. 4, on page 129.] 


At 8.30 made the final trip and got our sick man over in 
safety. From there we proceeded until 11.20, dragging our 
man on the sled. Halted for dinner half pound of meat 
and tea. At 1 went ahead again until 5.05. Actually under 
way 8.30 to 9.15, 9.30 to 10.20, 10.30 to 11.20, 1 to 1.40, 
1.50 to 2.10, 2.20 to 2.40, 3 to 3.25, 3.35 to 4, 4.15 to 4.35, 
4.45 to 5.05. At 8 p. M. crawled into our blankets. 

SUNDAY, October 2d. I think we all slept fairly well until 
midnight, but from that time forward it was so cold and 
uncomfortable that sleep was out of the question. At 4.oO wo 
were all out and in front of the fire, daylight just appearing. 
Erickson kept talking in his sleep all night, and effectually 
kept, those awake who were not already awakened by th<* 
cold. Breakfast at 5 A. M. half pound of meat and tea. 
Bright, cloudless morning, light northern airs ; barometer 
30.30 at 5.32 ; temperature at 6, thirty-five degrees. At 7 
went ahead, following the frozen water whenever we could 
find it, and at 9.20 I felt quite sure we had gone some dis- 
tance on the main river. I think our gait was at least two 
miles an hour and our time under way 2h. 40m. 1 calculate 
our forenoon work at least six miles, 7 to 7.35, 7.45 to 8.05, 
8.15 to 8.30, 8.40 to 8.50, 9.20 to 9.40, 9.50 to 10.12, 10.22 
to 10 40, 10.55 to 11.15. Dinner, 1 to 1.30, 1.40 to 2, 2.15 
to 2.35, 2.45 to 3, 3.20 to 3.40, 3.50 to 4.05, 4.15 to 4.20. 
Camp. Total, 5h. 15m. 

Two miles an hour distance make good ten to twelve miles, 
and where are we ? I think it the beginning of the Lena 
River at last. Sagaster has been to us a myth. We saw 
two old huts at a distance, and this was all ; but they were 
out of our road and the day not half gone. Kept on the ice 
all the way, and, therefore, think we were over water; but 
the stream was so narrow and so crooked that it never could 
have been a navigable stream. My chart is simply useless. 
I must go on plodding to the southward, trusting in God to 
guide me to some settlement, for I have long since realized 
that we are powerless to help ourselves. A bright, calm, 


beautiful day brought sunshine to cheer us up. An icy road, 
and one day's rations yet. Boats frozen, of course, and 
hauled up. No hut in sight, and we halt on a bluff to spend 
a cold and comfortless night. Supper half pound meat 
and tea. Built a rousing fire. Built a log bed. Set a watch, 
two hours each, to keep fire going and get supper. Then we 
stood by for a second cold and wretched night. There was 
so much wind we had to put up our tent halves for a screen 
and sit shivering in our half blankets. 

MONDAY, October 3d, 1881, 113th day. It was so 
fearfully cold and wretched that I served out tea to 
all hands, and on this we managed to struggle along 
until 5 A.M., when we ate our last deer-meat and had more 
tea. Our morning food now consists of four-fourteenths of a 
pound of pemmican each, and a half-starved dog. May God 
again incline unto our aid ! How much farther we have to go 
before making a shelter or settlement, He only knows. Brisk 
winds, barometer 30.23 at 1.50 temperature. Erickson seems 
failing. He is weak and powerless, and the moment he 
closes his eyes talks, mostly in Danish, German and English. 
No one can sleep, even though our other surroundings per- 
mitted. For some cause my watch stopped at 10.45 last 
night while one of the men on watch had it. I set it as near 
as I could by guessing, and we must run by that until I can 
do better. Sun rose yesterday morning at 6.40 by the watch 
when running all right, 7.05 to 7.40, 7.50 to 8.20, 8.30 to 
9, 9.15 to 9.35, 9.50 to 10.10, 10.25 to 10.40, 11. Back. 
11.20, 11.30, 11.40, 11.50. Dinner. 35, 30, 30, 20, 20, 20; 
total, 155 2 hours 35 minutes, say five miles. 

Our force means work. I put as above five miles. Some 
time and distance were lost by crossing the river upon seeing 
numerous fox-traps. A man's track was also seen in the 
snow, bound south, and we followed it until it crossed the 
river to the west bank again. Here we were obliged to go 
back again in our tracks, for the river was open in places 
and we could not follow the man's track direct. Another of 
the dozen shoals that infest the river swung us off to the 



eastward, too, and I hastened to get on the west bank again, 
reaching there at ten minutes to twelve for dinner our last 
four-fourteenths of a pound of pemmican. 

At forty minutes past one got under way again and mado 
a long spurt until twenty minutes past two. While at tho 
other side of the river Alexai said he saw a hut, and during 
our dinner camp he said he again saw a hut. Under our 
circumstances my desire was to get to it as speedily as pos- 
sible. As Alexai points out, it was on the left bank of the 
river of which we were now on the right side, looking south, 
but a sand bank gave us excellent walking for a mile or two 


until we took to the river and got across it diagonally. Here, 
at twenty minutes past two, I called a halt, and Alexia 
mounted the bluff to take a look again. He now announced 
he saw a second hut, about one and a quarter miles back 
from the coast, the other hut being about the same distance 


south and on the edge of the bluff. The heavy dragging 
across the country of a sick man on a sled made me incline 
to the hut on the shore, since, as the distance was about the 
same, we could get over the ice in one-third of the time. 
Nindermann, who climbed the bluff, saw that the object 
inland was a hut ; was not so confident of the one on the 
shore. Alexai, however, was quite positive, and not seeing 
very well myself, I unfortunately took his eyes as best and 
ordered an advance along the river to the southward. 

Away we went, Nindermann and Alexai leading and had 
progressed about a mile when, plash, in I went through the 
ice up to my shoulders before my knapsack brought me up. 
While I was crawling out, in went Gortz to his neck about 
fifty yards behind me ; and behind him, in went Mr. Collins 
to his waist. II ere was a time. The moment we came out of 
the water we were one sheet of ice, and danger of frost-bite was 
imminent. Along we hobbled, however, until we readied, at 
3.45, about the point on which the hut was seen. Here Nin- 
dermann climbed the bluff, followed by the doctor. At first 
the cry was, " All right ; come ahead" ; but no sooner were 
we well up, than Nindermann shouted, " There is no hut 

To my dismay and alarm nothing but a large mound of 
earth was to be seen, which, from its regular shape and sin- 
gular position, would seem to have been built artificially for 
a beacon. So sure was Nindermann that it was a hut that 
he went all round it looking for a door, and then climbed on 
top to look for a hole in the roof. But of no avail. It was 
nothing but a mound of earth. Sick at heart, 1 ordered a 
camp to be made in a hole in the bluff face, and soon before 
a roaring fire we were drying and burning our clothes, while 
the cold wind ate into our backs. 

And now for supper nothing remained but the dog. I 
therefore ordered him killed and dressed by Iverson, and 
soon after a stew was made of such parts as could not bo 
carried, of which everybody except the doctor and myself 
eagerly partook. To us two it was a nauseating mess, and 


but why go on with such a disagreeable subject. I had 
the remainder weighed, and I am quite sure we had twenty- 
seven pounds. The animal was fat, and as he had been fed 
on pemmican, presumably clean; but, immediately upon 
halting, I sent Alexai off with his gun inland toward the hut, 
to determine whether that was a myth like our present one. 
He returned about dark, certain that it was a large hut, for 
he had been inside of it, and had found .some deer-meat 
scraps and bones. 

For a moment I was tempted to start everybody for it, but 
Alexai was by no means sure he could find it in the dark, and 
if we lost our way we would be worse off than before. We 
accordingly prepared to make the best of it where we were. 
We three wet people were burning and steaming before the 
fire. Collins and Gortz had taken some alcohol, but 1 could 
not get it down. Cold weather, with a raw northwest wind 
impossible to avoid or screen, our future was a wretched, 
dreary night. Erickson soon became delirious, and his talk- 
ing was a horrible accompaniment to the wretchedness of 
our surroundings. Warm we could not get, and getting dry 
seemed out of the question. Every one seemed dazed and 
stupified, and I feared some of us would perish during the 

How cold it was I don't know, as my last thermometer 
was broken by my many falls upon the ice; but I think it 
must have been below zero. A watch was set to keep the 
fire going, and we huddled around it, and thus our third 
night witbout sleep was passed. If Alexai had not wrapped 
his sealskin around me, and sat alongside of me to keep me 
warm by the heat of his body, I think I should have frozen 
to death. As it was, I steamed and shivered and shook. 
Erick son's groans and rambling talk rang out on the night 
air, and such a dreary, wretched night I hope I shall never 
again see. 

TUESDAY, October 4th, 114th day. At the first approach 
of daylight we all began to move around and the cook was set 
to work making tea. The doctor now made the unpleasant 



discovery that Erickson had got his gloves off during the 
night, and that now his hands were frozen. Men were at 
once set at work rubbing them, and by 6 A. M. had so far re- 
stored circulation as to risk moving the man. Each one had 


hastily swallowed a cup of tea and got his load in readiness. 
Erickson was quite unconscious, and we lashed him on the 
sled. A southwest gale was blowing and the sensation of 
cold was intense. But at 6 A. M. we started, made a forced 
march of it, and at 8 A. M. had got the sick man and our- 
selves, thank God, under cover of a hut large enough to hold 
us. Here we at once made a fire and for the first time since 
Saturday morning last got warm. 

The doctor at once examined Erickson and found him very 
low and feeble. He was quite unconscious, and under the 
shock of last night's exposure was sinking very fast. Fears 
were entertained that he might not last many hours, and i 


therefore called upon every one to join me in reading the 
prayers for a sick person before we sought any rest for our- 
selves. This was done in a quiet and reverent manner, 
though I fear my broken utterances made but little of the 
service audible. Then, setting a watch, we all, except Alexai, 
lay down to sleep. At 10 A. M. Alexai went off to hunt, but 
returned at noon wet, having broken through the ice and 
fallen in the river. At 6 p. M. we roused up, and I consid- 
ered it necessary to think of some food for my party. Half 
a pound of dog meat was fried for each person, and a cup of 
tea given, and that constituted our day's food ; but we were 
so grateful that we were not exposed to the merciless south- 
west gale that tore around us, that we did not mind short 

WEDNESDAY, October 5th, 115th day. The cook com- 
mences at 7.30 to get tea made from yesterday's tea-leaves. 
Nothing to serve out until evening. Half a pound of dog 
meat per day is our food until some relief is afforded us. 
Alexai went off hunting again at nine, and I set the men 
gathering light sticks enough to make a flooring for the 
house ; for the frozen ground thawing under everybody, kept 
them damp and wet and robbed them of much sleep. South- 
west gale continues. Barometer, 30.12 at 2.40. Mortifica- 
tion has set in in Erickson's leg, and he is sinking. Ampu- 
tation would be of no use, as he would probably die under 
the operation. He is partially conscious. At twelve Alexai 
came back, having seen nothing. He crossed the river this 
time, but unable longer to face the cold gale was obliged to 
return. I am of opinion we are on Titary Island, on its 
eastern side, and about twenty -five miles from Kumak Surka, 
which I take to be a settlement. This is the last hope for 
us. Sagaster has long since faded away. The hut in which 
we are is quite new, and clearly not the astronomical station 
made on my chart. In fact, the hut is not finished, having 
no door and no porch. It may be intended for a summer 
hut, though the numerous fox-traps would lead me to sup- 
pose that it would occasionally be visited at other times. 



Upon this last chance, and another sun, rest all our hopes of 
escape, for I can see nothing more to be done. As soon as 
the gale abates I shall send Nindermann and another man to 
make a forced inarch to Kuinak Surka for relief. At six 
p. M. served out half pound of dog meat and second-hand tea 
and then went to sleep. 

THURSDAY, Oct. 6th 116th day. Called all hands at 7:30. 
Had a cup of third-hand tea, with half an ounce of alcohol in 
it. Everybody very weak. Gale moderating somewhat. Sent 
Alexai out to hunt. Shall start Nindermann and Noro at 
noon to make the forced march to Kumak Surka. At 8:45 
our messmate, Erickson, departed this life. Addressed a few 
words of cheer and comfort to the men. Alexai came back 


empty-handed too much drifting snow. What in God's 
name is going to become of us ? Fourteen pounds of dog 
meat left and twenty-five miles to a possible settlement. 


As to burying Erickson, I cannot dig a grave, for the ground 
is frozen and we have nothing to dig with. There is nothing 
to do but bury him in the river. Sewed him up in the flaps 
of the tent and covered him with my flag. Got ten men 
ready, and with half an ounce of alcohol we will try to make 
out to bury him, but we are all so weak I do not see ho\vr 
we are going to travel. At 12:40 read the burial service 
and carried our departed shipmate to the river, where a hole 
having been cut in the ice he was buried, three volleys from 
OUF Remingtons being fired over him as a funeral honor. 
A board was prepared with this cut on it : 

" In memory of H. H. Erickson, October 6, 1881. U. S. 
S. Jeannette." And this will be stuck in the river bank 
almost over his grave. 

His clothing was divided up among his messmates. Iver- 
son has his Bible and a lock of his hair. Supper at five 
p. M.,half a pound of dog meat and tea. 

FRIDAY, Oct. 7th 117th day. Breakfast, consisting of our 
last half pound of dog meat and tea. Our last grain of tea 
was put in the kettle this morning, and we are now about 
to undertake our journey of twenty-five miles with some old 
tea leaves and two quarts of alcohol. However, I trust in 
God, and I believe that He who has fed us thus far will not 
suffer us to die of want now. Commenced preparation for 
departure at ten minutes past seven. One Winchester 
rifle being out of order, is, with 161 rounds of ammunition, 
left behind. We have with us two Remingtons and 243 
rounds of ammunition. Left the following record in the 

" FRIDAY, Oct. 7th, 1881. The undermentioned officers 
and men of the late United States steamer Jeannette are 
leaving here this morning to make a forced march to Ku- 
mak Surka or some other settlement on the Lena River. 
We reached here Tuesday, October 4th, with a disabled 
comrade, H. H. Erickson, seaman, who died yesterday morn- 
ing and was buried in the river at noon. 


" His death resulted from frost bite and exhaustion due 
to consequent exposure. 

" The rest of us are well, but have no provisions left, 
having eaten our last this morning." 

Under way by 8:30 and proceeded until 11:20, by which 
time we had made' about three miles. Here we were all 
pretty well done up, and - seemed to be wandering in a laby- 
rinth. A large lump of wood swept in by an eddy seemed 
to be a likely place to get hot water, and I halted the 
party for dinner one ounce of alcohol in a pot of tea. 
Then went ahead and soon struck what seemed like the 
main river again. Here four of us broke through the ice in 
trying to cross, and, fearing frost-bite, I had a fire built on 
the west bank to dry us up. Sent Alexai off, meanwhile, to 
look for food, directing him not to go far or stay long ; but 
at 1:30 he had not returned, nor was he in sight. Light 
southwest breeze, foggy. Mountains in sight to southward 
At 5:30 Alexai returned with one ptarmigan, of which we 
made soup, and with half an ounce of alcohol had our sup- 
per. Then crawled under our blankets for a sleep. Light 
west breeze, full moon, starlight, not very cold. Alexai 
saw the river a mile wide, with no ice in it. 

SATURDAY, Oct. 8th 118th day. Called all hands at half- 
past five. Breakfast, one ounce of alcohol in a pint of hot 

Doctor's Note. Alcohol proves of great advantage. Keeps 
off craving for food, preventing gnawing at stomach and has 
kept up the strength of the men, as given three ounces per 
day, as estimated, and in accordance with Dr. Ambler's 

Went ahead until half-past ten. One ounce alcohol. 
Half-past six to half-past ten, five miles struck Big Biver at 
11:30. Ahead again. Snow banks. Met small river, have 
to turn back. Halt at five ; only made advance one mile 
more. Hard luck. Snow. South-southwest wind, cold. 
Camp. But little wood. Half an ounce of alcohol. 

SUNDAY, Oct. 9th 119th day. All hands at 4:30. One 


ounce of alcohol. Read divine service. Send Nindermann 
and Noros ahead for relief. They carry their hlankcts, one 
rifle, forty rounds of ammunition and two ounces of alcohol. 
Orders to keep the west bank of river until they reach a 
settlement. They started at seven. Cheered them. Under 
way at eight. Crossed the creek. Broke through the ice. 
All wet up to knees. Stopped and built fires. Dried clothes. 
Under way again at 10.30. Lee breaking down. At one 
struck river bank. Halt for dinner; one ounce alcohol. 
Alexai shot three ptarmigan. Made soup. We arc follow- 
ing Nindermann's track, although he is long since out of 
sight. Underway at 3:30. High bluff. Ice moving rapidly 
to northward in the river. Halt at 4:40 on .coming to wood. 
Find canal boat. Lay our heads in it and go to sleep. Half 
ounce alcohol. Supper. 

MONDAY, Oct. 10th 120th day. Last half ounce of alco- 
hol at 5:30. At 6:30 sent Alexai off to look for ptarmigan. 
Eat deer skin scraps. Yesterday morning ate my deer skin 
foot nips. Light southeast wind. Air not very cold. 
Under way at eight. In crossing creek three of us got wet. 
Built fire and dried out. Ahead again until eleven ; used 
up. Built fire ; made a drink out of the tea leaves from 
alcohol bottle. On again at noon. Fresh south-southwest 
wind. Drifting snow. Very hard going. Lee begging to 
be left. Some little beach and then long stretches of 
high bank. Ptarmigan tracks plentiful. Following Ninder- 
mann's track. At three halted, used up. Crawled into a 
hole in the bank. Collected wood and built a fire. Alexai 
away in quest of game. Nothing for supper except a spoon- 
ful of glycerine. All hands weak and feeble, but cheerful. 
God help us. 

TUESDAY, Oct. llth 121st day Southwest gale, with 
enow. Unable to move. No game. Teaspoonful of glycer- 
ine and hot water for food. No more wood in our vicinity. 

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 12th 122d day. Breakfast, last spoon- 
ful of glycerine and hot water. For dinner we had a couple 
of handsful of Arctic willow in a pot of water, and drank 


the infusion. Everybody getting weaker and weaker. 
Hardly strength to get firewood. Southwest gale, with 

THURSDAY, Oct. 13th 123d day. Willow tea. Strong 
southwest winds. No news from Nindermann. We are 
in the hands of God, and unless He relents are lost. We 
cannot move against the wind, and staying here means 
(starvation. After noon went ahead for a mile, crossing 
either another river or a wind in the big one. After cross- 
ing missed Lee. Went down in a hole in the bank and 
camped. Sent back for Lee. He had laid down, and was 
waiting to die. All united in saying the Lord's Prayer and 
Creed. After supper strong gale of wind. Horrible night. 

FRIDAY, Oct. 14th 124th day. Breakfast, willow tea. 
Dinner, half tea, spoonful sweet oil and willow tea. Alexai 
shot one ptarmigan. Had soup. Southwest wind modera- 

SATURDAY, Oct. 15th 125th day. Breakfast, willow tea 
and two old boots. Conclude to move at sunrise. Alexai 
broken down ; also Lee. Came to an empty grain raft. 
Halt and camp. Signs of smoke at twilight to southward. 

SUNDAY, Oct. 16th 126th day. Alexai broken down. 
Divine service. 

MONDAY, Oct. 17th 127th day. Alexai dying. Doctor 
baptised him. Read prayers for sick. Mr. Collins' birth- 
day, forty years old. About sunset Alexai died. Exhaus- 
tion from starvation. Covered him with ensign and laid 
him in the crib. 

TUESDAY, Oct. 18th 128th day. Calm and mild. Snow 
falling. Buried Alexai in the afternoon. Laid him on the 
ice of the river and covered him over with slabs of ice. 

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 19th 129th day. Cutting up tent to 
make foot gear. Doctor went ahead to find new camp. 
Shifted by dark. 

THURSDAY, Oct. 20th 130th day. Bright and sunny, but 
very cold. Lee and Kaack done up. 

FRIDAY, Oct. 21st 131st day. Kaack was found dead 


about midnight between the doctor and myself. Lee died 
about noon. Read prayers for sick when we found he was 

SATURDAY, Oct. 22d 132d day. Too weak to carry the 
bodies of Lee and Kaack out on the ice. The doctor, Col- 
lins and myself carried them around the corner out of sight. 
Then my eye closed up. 

SUNDAY, Oct. 23d, 133d day. Everybody pretty weak. 
Slept or rested to-day, and then managed to get enough 
wood in before dark. Read part of divine service. Suffer- 
ing in our feet. No foot gear. 

MONDAY, Oct. 24th 134th day. A hard night. 

TUESDAY, Oct. 25th 135th day. 

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 26th 136th day. 

THURSDAY, Oct. 27th 137th day. Iverson broken down. 

FRIDAY, Oct. 28th 138th day. Iverson died during earlj 

SATURDAY, Oct. 29th 139th day. Dressier died during 
the night. 

SUNDAY, Oct. 30th 140th day. Boyd and Gortz died 
during the night. Mr. Collins dying. 


With reeling brain and stiffening limbs, that bleak October morn. 
Our brave commander knelt, while we, his comrades, all forlorn, 
Hugged close the fire of faggots piled against the icy wall, 
And snow and ice around us beat, and clothed us like a pall. 

Close, aye, within the very flame we grouped in our despair, 

For God had surely left the lonely crew to perish there ! 

But in our breasts a rebel cry sunk softened with a tear, 

When brave DeLong spoke low of home and wives and children dear. 

His book and pencil in his hands, he essayed, with a smile, 
To mark the closing record of our wanderings ; many a mile 
Of frozen sea we'd trudged across, and many a league of snow, 
And now, on Tit Ary's icy isle, we faced at last our foe. 


The fire in front, Death at our backs, we calmly waited there, 
To know the worst, and trust in God, who always answers prayer. 
Our chiefs numb fingers slowly moved across the log-book leaf, 
While Erickson lay dying, and we crouched dumb with grief. 

No word from Kumak Surka came, where Nindermann had gone, 
His footprints mocked us in the snow on that October morn, 
That Sabbath still and silent, as we shrunk with bated breath, 
Each sheeted in an icy shroud all holding tryst with Death. 

Then Erickson, brave Erickson, at last gave up the tight; 
He was buried in the river in the fierce Siberian night, 
The Arctic wind his requiem, the Arctic wave his pall, 
Then to our meager fire we crept, where gloom fell o'er us all. 

Oh, God! those days that followed! What half-way hopes and fears! 
What earnest prayers and unheard groans, and melting hearts and tears t 
What hunger keen, and faces blanched ! what howling Polar wind, 
That pierced the marrow, mocked at fire, and almost made us blind. 

Alexai, our stout hunter, who had breasted many a storm, 
To give his messmates food and fire, their freezing limbs to warm 
The sturdy oak lay felled nt last before the scythe-like frost ; 
He, too, within the Lena lies, by its strong current tost. 

Then others, tired of battling cold and hunger, drooped and died, 
Uor strength had we to bury them they lay there by our side; 
But surely Christ the Saviour who within a manger lay, 
Took pity on us, desolate, that bleak October day. 

For on us dawned a quietude, a holy soothing calm, 
And keen and cutting Arctic winds breathed voices like a psalm; 
The sounding of the river running north beneath the ice, 
Seemed whisperings of angels on the shores of Paradise. 

Then pain and hunger left us left us all our weary aches, 
And our forebodings sad of home for wife and children's sakes. 
lyersen and Dressier silent! Boyd and Gortz, too, speak my friend, 
'Tis the Sabbath Collins dying * * * * and the log was at an end. 

New York Star. 



AFTER attending to the burial of Lieutenant DeLong 
- and his men and completing their tomb, the three 
parties separated to search the delta for Lieutenant Chipp. 
Melville went to the northwest, Bartlett to the northeast^ 
and Nindermann took the center. The sea-coast of the delta 
was examined from Olenek River on the west to Yana 
River on the east, but no traces were found of the second 
cutter or her crew. The search was extensive, but could 
not be made very thorough, owing to the depth of the 
Bnowd rifts. 

After examining the delta, Melville and his reunited partj 
proceeded to Verhoyansk. From this place they started for 
Yakutsk on sleds, but after going 120 miles they were 
obliged to take to horseback. At the deer station of Kengu- 
rach, on the northern side of the Verhoyansk mountains, 
they were obliged to halt, as it was impossible for the horses 
to pass the snowdrifts, which were from ten to twenty feet 
deep. While waiting for the snow to melt they were joined 
by three American travelers Mr. Jackson, the Herald cor- 
respondent, and Lieutenant Berry and Ensign Hunt of the 
Jeannette search steamer Rodgers. 

Some account of Mr. Jackson's journey to Irkutsk, where 
he met Panenhower's party, has already been given. Sub- 
sequently he proceeded to Yakutsk, accompanied by Mr* 
Noros, and started north, March 29th, to join in the search. 
On reaching Aldan River, he met a courier carrying dispatches 
from W. H. Gilder, Pay Clerk of the steamer Rodgers, to 



General Tchernieff, and heard the startling news that the 
Rodgers had been burned at her winter-harbor in St. Lawrence 
Bay. The courier had accompanied Mr. Gilder from Nischni 
(or Nijni) Kolymsk, on the Kolyma River, to Verhoyansk, 
where they arrived March 28th ; and from this place Gilder, 
hearing of the loss of the Jeannette, had started north, 
March 29th, hoping to fall in with Melville's party. Sub- 
sequently he returned south, and proceeded to Yakutsk. 

Continuing his journey to the de\ta, Mr. Jackson visited 
Geemovialocke, and the bluff where Lieutenant DeLong 
and his party perished, and also their tomb. He followed 
the track of Nindermann and Noros to Bulun, and thence 
proceeded to Verhoyansk, where he learned that Lieutenant 
Berry and Ensign Hunt, of the Rodgers, had lately arrived 
there and gone south on horseback ; they had brought news 
of additional disaster the loss of Mr. Putnam, one of the 
most talented officers of the Rodgers expedition, who had 
been carried out to sea on floating ice. 

Mr. Jackson overtook Berry and Hunt below Verhoyansk^ 
and traveled with them to Kengurach, where they joined 
Melville, as previously stated. 

After waiting a few days longer for the snow to melt, they 
all started on together. On reaching Aldan River they 
learned that Mr. Gilder had arrived there ten days before, 
and had been caught on the northern shore of the river when 
the ice broke up, and for seven days his party had to live (on 
a narrow piece of land which is frequently covered with 
water) on the flesh of one of their horses. He had for a 
traveling companion at this time Constantine Buhokoff (who 
was conveying papers from Melville to Yakutsk), and in 
order to save his own dispatches and those from Melville, 
the boxes containing them were placed in the trunk of a tree. 
The water rose thirty feet in a few hours. 

The party consisting of Melville, Bartlett, Nindermann, 
Berry, Hunt, Jackson, and Noros finally reached Yakutsk, 
June 8th, in safety, losing, however, on their journey ten 
reindeer and eight horses, which were left on the roadside 


exhausted. One horse, too, was lost in crossing the quick- 
sands of the Lena near the city. 

On reaching Yakutsk, Mr. Melville learned that Lieutenant 
Giles B. Harber and Master W. H. Scheutze two naval 
officers who had been sent out by the Secretary of the Navy 
to search for Lieutenant Chipp had arrived at Vitimsk, a 
town at the junction of the Lena and Vitim rivers. These 
gentlemen left New York early in February by steamer, and 
proceeded via London, and Paris to St. Petersburg, where 
they arrived February 20th. Here they consulted with Mr. 
Hoffman, General Ignatieff, the Governor-general of Siberia, 
and other officials, all of whom were particularly kind and 
anxious to render assistance. Special traveling passes and 
very valuable charts and books were furnished them. 

At Moscow the travelers were cordially received by the 
French Consul, who entertained them at dinner, introduced 
them to the governor, and saw them started on their journey. 

On their way to Irkutsk, at Nijni Ujinsk, Messrs. Harber 
and Scheutze met Lieutenant Danenhower's party going 
home; and by permission of Secretary Hunt, Leach, Wilson, 
Mansen, Lauderback, and Anequin cheerfully turned back 
with Harber and Scheutze to assist them in the search for 
Chipp. Mr. Noros had previously gone back with Mr. Jack- 

It was supposed that the steamer Lena would be chartered 
for the use of the search-party, as her owner, Mr. Sibiriakoff, 
had kindly tendered her to Mr. Bennett for that purpose; 
but on arriving at Irkutsk, Lieutenant Harber found that 
she had been sold, and that her new owner demanded an 
exorbitant price for her use during the summer. He accord- 
ingly chartered (subject, however, to inspection) another 
steamer, the General Simlinikoif, which was then lying in 
the Vitim River, some distance above Vitimsk. 

Meantime Mr. Scheutze and four of the seamen had gone 
on to Vitimsk ; and Mr. Harber, with Mr. Mansen and an 
interpreter, started from Irkutsk, April 13th, to rejoin them. 
The snow had gone from the ground and the rivers were 


breaking up, so that the roads were nearly impassable. 
Three hundred and fifty versts were traveled in post-wagons, 
over 900 versts in sleds (much of the latter being through 
mud and water), and nearly 250 versts were made on horse- 
back. " Just as we had crossed a river by swimming our 
horses," says Harber, "and when the opposite bank was 
reached, a wonderful noise from up the river caused the 
natives to hasten up the river bank with horses and parcels, 
and at once the river rose some six feet in three minutes, 
and the river itself was filled with immense masses of ice in 
which no boat could live." 

Vitimsk was finally reached, April 28th. Mr. Scheutze 
had seen the steamer and reported unfavorably respecting it. 
The same day Harber went on to Viska, where he learned 
that it would be nearly impossible to get to Voronzofsky 
where the steamer was ; it was 110 versts distant through 
an uninhabited country, and the river, the only route to the 
place, was no longer safe. "I concluded," says Harber, "to 
wait at Viska until the river broke up, and in the meantime 
to have two dories built. I also found a boat fifty feet long 
and nearly ten feet beam, which could readily be made into 
a schooner sufficiently large and strong to do work along the 
coast outside of the delta. I accordingly purchased it and 
commenced repairing it." 

Finally, towards the last of May, Harber and Scheutze 
reached Voronzofsky, and navigated the steamer to Viska. 
" During the trip down the river," says Harber, writing from 
Viska, June llth, " I inspected the hull and engines and 
measured the amount of wood she burned. The result was, 
we found her quite unfit for our purpose and I declined to 
accept her. Too large a surface was exposed to the action 
of the waves, and she burned so much fuel that we would 
have to return frequently for wood. We were detained here, 
but now all is ready, and we leave at once with our boats. 
I still hope to reach the delta by July 1st. I go prepared 
to search the delta, and from the Olenek to the Yana, should 
it seem advisable." 


While on his way down the Lena in his schooner, Harber, 
without knowing it at the time, passed, in the night, tho 
steamer Constantine, aboard of which were Melville, Nin- 
dermann, Noros, Berry, and Jackson, who had started for 
home. Ensign Hunt and Mr. Bartlett remained at Yakutsk, 
both of them having volunteered to assist Harber. The 
northern search party started from Yakutsk for the Delta 
near the close of June. 

The homeward journey of the returning explorers was, 
says Melville, one fair voyage filled with friendly God 
speeds from all quarters. At St. Petersburg they were 
received by the Emperor of Russia. On arriving at Berlin, 
Niiidermaun took time to visit his birthplace, on the Isle of 
Rugen, in the Baltic Sea, off the northern coast of Prussia. 
He was met outside his native village by a bevy of rustic 
maidens with flowers and wreaths, and had a joyful recep- 
tion. The whole place was in holiday attire during his two 
days' stay. 

The Cunard steamer Parthia, from Liverpool, brought the 
party over the last section of their long journey ; and they 
arrived at New York, Melville's native city, September 13th, 
just one year from the day when the three boats carrying 
the Jeannette castaways were separated off the Siberian 
coast. When they left the steamer's deck, it was to meet 
"the warmest, the simplest, the grandest reception ever wit- 
nessed in New York Bay." They were taken to the city on 
the steam yacht, Ocean Gem, and disembarked amid a 
great display of enthusiasm from the assembled multitude. 
Melville was welcomed to the city by Lieutenant Jacques, 
in behalf of the Secretary of the Navy and the Commander 
of the Port. Subsequently he received distinguished honors 
from the officials and citizens of New York, Philadelphia, 
and other places, in all of which Nindermann and Noros 



AFTER cruising in the Arctic waters in search of the 
Jeannette during the summer of 1881, the United 
States steamer Rodger s arrived at St. Lawrence Bay, on the 
northeastern coast of Siberia, as stated in Chapter IV. 
Preparations for spending the winfer in this harbor were 
immediately begun, but, owing to continued bad weather, 
Lieutenant Berry was prevented from building a small house 
on shore and transferring thither a large part of his pro- 
visions and supplies as lie intended to have done. 

On the 20th of November, Ensign Hunt started up the 
coast with a team of nine dogs intending to visit Camp Hunt, 
as Master Putnam's winter-quarters on Eteelan Island was 
named. This island is located about twenty miles west of 
Cape Serdze, near the native village of Tiapka, a little east 
of Nordenskiold's winter quarters, and about 150 miles from 
St. Lawrence Bay. After going some distance Mr. Hunt 
was compelled to turn back, owing to severe storms, and he 
went on board the ship November 29th, leaving his dogs on 
shore. These dogs were the only ones of the expedition which 
survived the disaster which soon overtook the crew. Up to 
this time everything had gone well, and all the men were in 
good health and spirits. 

At about nine o'clock on the morning of November 30th 
the startling cry of " Fire ! " was heard, and smoke was 
seen issuing from the fore-hold, apparently from under the 
donkey boiler room. The crew were immediately called to 
quarters, and the hatches were closed to prevent the air 
*4 (401) 


from reaching the flames. Fires were burning under the 
donkey boiler to heat the ship, and the steam pump was 
quickly connected thereto. The deck force-pump was also 
immediately utilized. Two streams of water were soon 
playing, but owing to the dense smoke it was for some time 
impossible to get them directed on the fire. The main 
engine was also quickly put in working order ; and when, as 
the fire spread, it became necessary to abandon the donkey 
boiler, the pumps were connected with and worked from the 
main boiler without any break in the flow of water. 

The fire was in the lower hold, and the place was so closely 
filled with stores that it was next to impossible to get any 
water on it ; and the dense smoke prevented the men from 
going into the hold. So much smoke escaped that the hose- 
men had to be frequently relieved, and the fireman at the 
donkey boiler had to quit his post. 

As the vessel was lying head to the wind with a fresh 
breeze, hawsers were made fast to the chains, the chains 
were shipped, and the ship was brought round stern to the 
wind to prevent, if possible, the fire from spreading aft. 
The steam pipe running from the main boiler to the main 
windlass was broken, two sections of hose were fitted to the 
pipe, and steam was forced into the hold. This seemed to 
stay the fire, but it was only for a moment ; the hose was 
melted by the intense heat, and smoke began to rush into the 
fire room and coal bunkers. The officers and crew worked 
bravely and unremittingly, but the fire continued to increase, 
and in the afternoon it became apparent that all efforts to 
save the ship would be unavailing. 

About four P. M. Lieutenant Berry gave orders to make 
Bail and run the ship on to the beach, where he hoped by 
scuttling her to save a supply of provisions. The chains 
were buoyed by the upper topsail yards, and the hawsers 
were cut. Lower topsails, foresail, jib, and spanker were set, 
and the ship was headed for the beach ; but the wind failed, 
the ship was drifted by the ice and tide, and ran aground before 
reaching the desired position. A hawser was made fast to a 


kedge anchor and this was thrown overboard. The valves 
of the outward delivery were then opened to flood and sink 
the ship, and from six to eight feet of water rushed into the 
fore room; but as the ship was aground by the stern the 
water did not reach the fire. The ship at this time lay about 
500 feet from the shore, surrounded by slush ice twenty 
inches thick ; this ice was too soft to allow a man to walk 
upon it, and yet too thick and heavy to row boats through. 

Meantime attention had been turned to the saving of 
stores. Some of the men had been taken from the force- 
pump, and had been working hard in attempting to get up 
, provisions and clothing, but with little success owing to the 
smoke and a collection of carbonic acid gas below decks. 
Holes were cut through the deck, and some powder from the 
magazine and oil from the sail-room were passed aft to the 
quarter deck. All hands worked with almost superhuman 

At nine P. M. a boat was launched, but the ice was so 
heavy that it could riot be forced thirty feet from the ship. 
A native skin boat was next tried, and two men succeeded 
in reaching the beach carrying the end of a line. A larger 
rope was then hauled ashore and made fast to a piece of 

At ten o'clock the flames had spread so far aft that it was 
resolved to abandon the ship. The boats were accordingly 
loaded with such articles as had been secured, and the crews 
got into them and began warping them to land. This proved 
to be very hard work, as the ice was rapidly thickening. 
The sailors had to get on the gunwales and rock the boats 
from side to side, which loosened the ice and enabled them 
to work along a few inches at a time. ,At last it became 
impossible to move the two rear boats, and their crews, after 
fastening them to the warping line and cutting the line 
adrift from the ship, were transferred to the other boats. 
The two rear boats were hauled ashore by the men after 
they landed. 

The Rodgers was abandoned at a quarter to twelve o'clock 


on the night of November 30th, and when the boats reached 
land it was two o'clock A. M. of December 1st. It had taken 
two hours and a quarter to get them from the ship to the 

By this time the fire had enveloped the whole ship, and 
Lieutenant Berry and his companions stood on shore and 
watched their good ship burn. " It was a calm, still night 
such a night as is seen during an Arctic winter only the 
stars glistening and the moon shining brightly on the frozen 
waters and the snow-clad hills, and the flames from the 
doomed ship giving a crimson tint to the atmosphere." 
Suddenly, greatly to their surprise and sorrow, the ship 
began to move from her position and to drift away with the 
tide and ice. The ship had failed to fill with water enough 
to sink, and the burning of the hawser released her from the 

With her rigging and sails on fire the burning ship pre- 
sented a grand sight as she drifted up the bay. The national 
pennant was observed floating proudly from the main truck, 
above the flames. Subsequently the magazine exploded; 
and the ship was last seen on the morning of December 2d, 
still burning. The origin of the fire could not be determined, 
but it was most probably caused by the heat from the donkey 
boiler charring and firing the deck underneath. 

The situation and prospects of the party at this time were 
anything but pleasant. They were turned adrift in a desolate 
country at the beginning of winter with but little food and 
clothing, and with no possibility of being rescued for many 
months. They had thus far had but little intercourse with 
the natives of the coast, but it was evident that upon them, 
to a great extent, they would have to depend for shelter and 
food during the long winter before them. 

No one had thought of eating while fighting the fire, and 
when they landed all were too fatigued to prepare a meal or 
even a shelter. They tried to get some rest and sleep, 
wrapped in their blankets, but were so cold that occasionally 


some were obliged to get up and run to keep up the circula- 

In the morning boats were launched (the ice having 
drifted away from the shore) and headed for Noonamoo, the 
native village at North Head, but the ice again closed in and 
the crews had to turn back. The boats were hauled upon 
the beach and a camp was formed of overturned boats, sails 
and tents, and all found shelter from a violent snow-storm 
which had set in. Half a pound of pemmican and some 
bread were served out to each man for the day's rations. 

Next morning, December 2d, a party of natives (two of 
whom were visiting the ship when the fire broke out) ar- 
rived at the camp with sledges drawn by dogs, and invited 
the shipwrecked people to their village. The invitation was 
gratefully accepted, and, after the storm had abated, all the 
party (excepting a detachment left behind to take care of the 
boats and other property) started for Noonamoo, about seven 
miles distant, escorted by the natives, whose sledges had 
been loaded with provisions. They arrived at Noonamoo af- 
ter a most fatiguing tramp over hills and through snow from 
two to four feet deep, and were distributed among the eleven 
huts or habitations which constituted the settlement. Here 
they were speedily introduced to walrus and blubber as an 
article of food, and settled down to a long winter's siege, 
adapting themselves to the customs and requirements of 
savage life among the Chukches. 

A few days later a party was sent to the camp on the 
beach, and, as the ice had drifted away from the shore, the 
boats were launched, loaded with the remaining stores, and 
taken around to the village, where they were hauled up for 
the winter. A barter trade with the natives was now com- 
menced, and soon all the men were comfortably clad. Every- 
one was compelled to live on native food, the provisions 
saved from the ship being kept as a reserve. 

It soon became evident that the supply of walrus meat in 
the village was insufficient for so large a population, and as 
people from other villages had invited some of the men to 


come and live with them, a new distribution was decided 
on. The officers and crew were divided into four parties, 
one of which remained at Noonainoo, while the others were 
conducted by the natives to tjiree other villages along the 
coast, within a radius of twenty miles. William Grace, a 
member of one of the parties who migrated to another vil- 
lage, describes his reception, and some of his subsequent 
experiences, as follows : 

" After much difficulty in getting over the snow, we ar- 
rived at Ak-kun-neer at night, December 10th, cold, hungry, 
and exhausted. On stopping at the entrance of the hut, our 
conductor would not allow us to go in, but shouted in a loud 
voice, ' Atkeen ' (no good). He then said to some one inside 
the hut, ' Wild wiki pennena' (give me a lighted stick), and 
a woman came out with a lighted stick in her hand. The 
man seized it and shook it in our faces, over our clothes and 
the sledge, and then exclaimed 'Namaikee' (good). We 
were then permitted to enter, and were stripped of all our 
clothing in the outer compartment of the hut. On coming 
into the interior, we were given some frozen walrus meat, a 
few roots, somewhat resembling parsnips, and also a small 
piece of frozen, rotten seal flesh. 

"After eating, I was surrounded by a group of natives, 
who came into the hut to see the white man. They exam- 
ined my body, feet, and hands, and also every portion of my 
clothing, which was hanging up. The woman of the hut put 
an amulet made of seal-gut, with a large bead at the end, 
around my wrist. When I made signs as to its meaning, 
they replied, ' Namalkee ' (no die). I slept on the ground 
that night, with a deerskin under me and over me. The 
vermin which covered my body and covering prevented my 
sleeping all night." 

Near the close of the year Lieutenant Berry, leaving Master 
Waring in command, started with the only remaining team 
of dogs to visit Putnam's camp. At this time the upper 
limb of the sun was seen above the horizon for only two 


hours at a time, and then sank into the sea, and twenty-two 
hours of darkness followed. 

In due time, through native sources, the news of the burn- 
ing of the Rodgers had reached Camp Hunt, and Mr. Putnam 
at once resolved to carry supplies to his distressed shipmates. 
He hired three natives (one of whom was named Ehr Ehren) 
to accompany him, and started south with four loaded 
sledges. At Inchnan (25 miles from East Cape) he met 
Lieutenant Berry, who was on his way to Putnam's camp, 
and received instructions to continue his trip, and to bring 
Ensign Hunt and Engineer Zane back with him. 

On the 4th of January Mr. Putnam and his party reached 
the village at North Head, delivered his provisions, and re- 
mained several days for his dogs to recuperate. Among the 
most acceptable articles which he brought to his comrades, 
was a quantity of books and magazines. 

Master Putnam started to return to Camp Hunt, January 
10th, accompanied by Hunt, Zane, Castillo, and the three 
natives. Mr. Putnam drove his own team of nine dogs, and 
Mr. Hunt rode on the sled beside him. Dr. Castillo rode 
with Ehr Ehren, Mr. Zane rode with a native named Nor- 
tuna, and the third native rode alone. They had not pro- 
ceeded far when Putnam's sled broke down, and, although it 
was repaired, Hunt was obliged to ride with the third native. 
Subsequent events are described by the Herald correspond- 
ent as follows : 

" Toward noon the sky became overcast. A wind sprang 
up from the northward, and soon increased to a terrific gale, 
filling the air so thickly with snow that it became impossible 
to see the route, and consequently the natives lost their way. 
They kept on, however, making the dogs face the gale until 
six P. M., when the natives deemed it expedient to camp 
where they were for the night. The air was so thick with 
the drifting snow that the lead dogs could not be seen by the 
drivers. This was a night of severe suffering to the travel- 
ers, who sat on their sleds trying to obtain a little sleep, ex- 


cepting when they were compelled to move about to get 

"In the morning it moderated a little, and they decided 
to return to St. Lawrence Bay, and wait until the weather 
became more suitable for traveling. The storm increased 
in violence all the time, but as the wind was now behind, 
they had no trouble and the bay was reached in safety. 
There being no dog food at the village at North Head, it be- 
came necessary to go to the south side. The bay was 
crossed safely, and they arrived on the southern shore about 
one and a half miles from the village of Nutapinwin their 

" All the heavy gales during this season of the year were 
from the northward and westward. Just before getting to 
the village, it was necessary to make a sharp turn to the 
right, and go in the teeth of the gale for about two hundred 
yards. The order in which the sleds were proceeding was 
as follows: Castillo and Ehr Ehren, Putnam, Zane and 
Nortuna, and Hunt and a native came last and were some 
distance behind. 

"All proceeded along well until they made the turn to 
face the gale, when Putnam, not having the ability to con- 
trol dogs so well as the natives, (it is difficult to force the 
dogs to go to windward in a severe storm,) or probably not 
knowing of the abrupt deviation from his course, as he could 
not sec the other sleds turn, probably kept straight on. 
Zane, being familiar with the locality, recognized some land- 
marks when near the village, but Putnam could not recog- 
nize the marks, as this was his first visit to the place. 

u About this time Zane overtook Putnam, and when their 
sleds were abreast remarked, ' Well, Put, it seems that we 
are all right after all.' Putnam answered, < I hope so.' They 
were the last words he was ever heard to utter, and that was 
the last seen of him. His sled fell a little behind. The na- 
tives made the turn with some difficulty, but Putnam missed 
it, partly owing to his being unable to see them. It is 
thought that as the wind was quartering he was sitting on 


his sled back to the wind, which, being very strong, grad- 
ually edged his sled out of the track toward the ice, which was 
but a short distance off. However, he got on the ice, and 
the supposition is that after going some distance out he be- 
came aware of his mistake, and, not being able to see which 
way to go, and his shouts not being heard in such a violent 
gale, he camped to wait for fair weather, knowing that a 
search would be made for him as soon as he was missed. 

" On reaching the village, in about five minutes after 
speaking with Putnam, Mr. Zane went immediately into a 
house, as he was almost frozen. It was soon discovered that 
Putnam was missing, and, thinking he had made some mis- 
take, a native started down to the beach to look for him ; 
and when Hunt came along on his sled he found Nortuna yell- 
ing with all his might, but thinking this noise was to guide 
him, kept on to the village. Here he ascertained that it was 
Putnam he was seeking. Hunt went in and inquired of Zane 
if Putnam had arrived ; this was the first intimation Zane 
had of the unfortunate occurrence. 

" Both then started for the beach to assist in the search ; 
they were both now thoroughly alarmed, for they could ap- 
preciate the danger of being lost in such a storm. They 
offered every inducement, entreated, and ordered the natives 
to hitch up the dogs and hunt for the unfortunate man, but 
they would neither hitch up their dogs nor allow them to 
use their own dogs, saying that the gale was too heavy, they 
could not see, and that probably next day would be fine, and 
then all would go out and hunt. All threats proved un- 
availing, nothing could be done but to wait for the morrow. 
The gale was increasing in violence every moment. After 
going down to the beach it was impossible to get back to the 
houses, the wind blew so strong in the face. During the 
night the heavy wind detached the ice from shore, and 
carried it to sea." 

Next morning, at daylight, they again went on the search. 
Hunt and Zane started along the beach, and natives taking 
Yarious other directions to look for him. The wind had 



gone down some, but it was still blowing so hard as to make 
traveling very difficult. The morning was clear, however, 
and a considerable distance could be seen. Hunt and Zane 
gazed on the place which the night before had been one sheet 
of ice, and saw that it was now clear water with no ice in 
sight. They walked along the beach about a mile until they 
came to a bluff which they knew it would have been impos- 
sible to pass on a sled, and satisfied themselves that he waa 


not on the beach. It was almost certain that he had camped 
on the ice and been carried to sea with it. The only chance 
for his safety seemed to be that the wind would spring up 
from the southward and drive the ice in shore, or that it 
would become calm and allow the new ice to form between 
the old and the shore, so that the unfortunate man could 
walk over it. 

The next day, 13th, Hunt and Zane with the three natives 


started for North Head to notify Mr. Waring of the sad 
affair. After crossing the bay they met Waring and told 
him of the calamity. He told them to proceed to Camp Hunt 
in obedience to the orders of Lieutenant Berry, and set out 
himself on a search along the coast. The same afternoon he 
received a note from Seaman Cahill, one of the men stationed 
at the village at South Head, stating that Putnam had been 
seen on that morning on an ice floe about three miles from 
the shore. The natives would not launch their skin boats 
on account of the intervening thin ice, although Mr. Cahill 
offered large rewards to induce them to do so. 

Late in the afternoon of the following day, 14th, word was 
received that Putnam had been seen from a village six miles 
south of South Head, on the ice eight miles from shore, and that 
the natives were making preparations to rescue him. Waring 
pushed on to the village, reaching it that night through a 
heavy wind and snow-storm blowing hard off shore. It was 
here ascertained that on the preceding day an attempt had 
been made by four men of the Rodgers crew, assisted by two 
natives, to rescue Putnam ; but after proceeding nearly three 
miles they were forced to return, the boat having been cut 
through in so many places that they were barely able to keep 
her afloat until shore was reached. 

Another severe off-shore storm was now raging, and the 
unfortunate man was lost sight of. The natives were confi- 
dent that the ice floe would be driven inside of a point some 
distance down the coast, and preparations were immediately 
made to go down to the point as soon as the weather would 
permit. There was trouble in procuring dogs to travel, 
because the natives at both North and South Head were 
afraid, on account of some previous difficulty with the natives 
at Indian Point, to go down the coast or to allow their dogs 
to go, saying they would be killed. At last, however, a 
team was scraped up from four villages, ranging over a space 
of thirty or forty miles. 

It was the 17th before another start could be made. The 
day opened stormy, but soon moderated, and the search con- 


tinued with one native and a team of eight dogs. The coast 
was skirted to the sixth settlement, about thirty miles, but 
no news was heard ; the off-shore wind had driven the heavj 
ice to sea. The next day, not being able to get dogs to con- 
tinue the journey, Waring was compelled to return to the 
village next to South Head. 

Natives were now dispatched along the coast, offering 
great rewards for the rescue of Putnam or for his body if he 
were dead. Another heavy gale get in, making traveling 
impossible. On the 22d a southeast gale brought the ice in 
shore again, but it was found that the sea had crushed it up into 
small pieces, no heavy floes being anywhere in sight. Men 
from down the coast brought no news. The case appeared 
almost hopeless now, as all of the floes must have broken up 
during the five days' gale. 

On the 26th, Waring heard a rumor that some dogs had 
come on shore from the ice. For two days he was prevented 
by storms from proceeding; but on the 29th, though intensely 
cold, he started down the coast to identify the dogs. He 
arrived at Lauren, thirty miles down the coast, in the evening, 
and found three of Putnam's dogs there. Several dogs came 
ashore, but the natives could catch only three. They said 
that all came ashore without harness. 

After being weather-bound for three days Waring started 
down the coast, February 2d, and searched the whole coast 
as far as Plover Bay. He communicated with several natives 
who spoke good English, and they were satisfied that Putnam 
had never come near the shore. 

At En g wort (sixty miles from South Head) another dog, 
with a pistol-shot wound in his neck, had come ashore ten 
days previously and was recognized as belonging to Putnam's 
team. This dog like all the others was very thin and^ 
emaciated, covered with ice, and had every appearance of 
having been long in the water. Putnam had probably shot 
this dog, intending to use it for food, but he had succeeded 
in escaping. In all six dogs, out of his team of nine, came 



Mr. Waring got back to his village after searching for his 
lost comrade for over a month. At Plover Bay and Marcus 
Bay he left letters for the officers of any whalers which might 
come there, informing them of the condition of the wrecked 
crew, and urging them to hasten to their assistance. 

It is known that Mr. Putnam was alive on the third day 
after being carried out to sea, but how much longer he sur- 
vived can only be conjectured. All this time the temperature 
was from 20 to 40 degrees below zero, and he had no protec- 
tion from the piercing winds aside from his very warm, 
clothing. He probably killed one or more of his dogs for 
food, and so did not die of starvation. The floe which he 
was on doubtless broke into fragments during one of the 
gales, and he was drowned. The circumstances of his death 
were sad and most lamentable. He was one of the most 
promising officers of the expedition. 



fTlHE natives of Northeastern Siberia are called Chuk- 
-L ches, and their coast extends from Chaun Bay on the 
Arctic Ocean, around the Chukches Peninsula to the Anadyr 
Eiver. Westward of Chaun Bay the coast as far as the 
Gulf of Obi (about 100 degrees of longitude) is uninhabited, 
although Russian samovies and native encampments are 
found on the rivers at some distance from their mouths. 

The Chukches are divided into two principal branches 
speaking the same language, and belonging to the same 
race, but differing considerably in their mode of life. One 
division consists of reindeer nomads, who wander about with 
their herds, and live by raising reindeer and by trade carry- 
ing on a traffic between the savages in the northernmost 
parts of America, and the Russian fur-dealers in Siberia. 

The other division are the Coast Chukches who do not own 
reindeer, but have dogs, and live in fixed, but easily movable 
and frequently moved tents along the coast of Northeastern 
Siberia. They have also settled along the shore of Bering 
Sea, and some of an inferior race, nearly allied to the Esqui- 
maux living there, have adopted their language and modes 
of life. 

It was among the Coast Chukches that the Rodgers crew 
found shelter and sustenance during their five months' resi- 
dence on the treeless shores adjoining St. Lawrence Bay. 
During this period they were received as friends, and at 
times when food was scarce families would go hungry that 
their guests might not Buffer. The struggle to get food 
began as soon as they were fairly settled down for the win- 




tor. Everybody had to go hunting. Those who lived with 
poor huntsmen fared worse than the others, and had fre- 
quently to depend on themselves or go hungry. Ensign 
Btoney was quartered with a poor hunter, and did most of 
the hunting for the entire family ; but the head of the house 
generally accompanied him and looked out for his safety 
like a faithful slave. If the ice was suspicious looking, he 
would go ahead with a long pole. 


Sometimes hunting was done several miles out on the ice, 
and then perhaps a large seal would have to be dragged home 
through snow two or three feet deep. Ducks and rabbits 
were frequently captured. Deer were scarce and seen only 
a long distance inland. When hunting had to be suspended 
during a long spell of bad weather, there would be almost a 
famine in the villages. Small quantities of the ship's provi- 
sion were dealt out once a month. 

The Chukches are a hardy race, but exceedingly indolent 
when want of food does not force them to exertion. There 



were but few natives in the settlement who did not own a 
rifle, obtained from whalers. The men, during their hunt- 


ing excursions, pass whole days in a cold of 30 to 40 degrees 
below zero, out upon the ice, without protection and without 
carrying with them food or fuel. Women nearly naked 


often, during severe cold, leave for awhile the inner tent 
where the train-oil lamp maintains a heat that is at times 
oppressive. Both men and women wear snow-shoes during 
the winter, and will not willingly undertake any long walks 
in loose snow without them. The children nearly always 
make a pleasing impression, by their healthy appearance and 
their friendly and becoming behavior. 

In early winter, before the ice is too thick, the women fish 
along the shore. Each lisherwoman is accompanied by a 
man, who cuts a hole in the ice with an iron-shod spear, and 
skims out the loose ice with an ice-sieve. Stooping down at 
the hole, she endeavors to attract the fish by means of a 
peculiarly wonderful clattering cry, and when a fish is seen 
in the water, a line witli a baited hook of bone, iron, or cop- 
per, is thrown down. One of these fisherwomen might pos- 
sibly have saved the lives of DeLong's party, had she been 
with them. 

During the winter Mr. Stoney visited some Reindeer Chuk- 
ches seventy miles inland, and saw several herds of rein- 
deer, but did not get any as he could not pay for them. 
Lieutenant Palander, of the Vega, gives the following ac- 
count of a visit to Reindeer Chukches made by him in 1879 : 

"The camp consisted of two tents, one of which was un- 
occupied. The other was occupied by a Chukche and his 
wife, and another young couple who were visiting there. 
About fifty reindeer were pasturing on an eminence some 
distance off, but proposals to purchase some were declined, 
although bread, tobacco, rum, and even guns were offered 
in exchange. 

" In the afternoon we were invited into the tent, where we 
passed an hour in their sleeping chamber. On our entrance 
the seal-oil lamp was lighted. Our hostess endeavored to 
make our stay in the tent as agreeable as possible ; she 
rolled together reindeer skins for pillows, and made ready 
for us a place where, stretched at full length, we might en- 
joy much needed repose. In the outer tent the other women 



prepared supper, which consisted of boiled seal's flesh. 
After the meal was partaken of, our host divested himself 
of all his clothing, the trousers excepted. Our hostess let 
her pesk fall down from the shoulders, so that the whole 
upper part of her body became bare, and as they appeared to 
be sleepy, we retired to the other tent, where it was any- 
thing but warm. 


" Next morning when we came out of the tent, we saw all 
the reindeer advancing in a compact troop. At the head 
was an old reindeer with large horns, that went forward to 
his master, who had in the meantime gone to meet the herd, 
and bade him good-morning by gently rubbing his nose 
against his master's hands. While this was going on the 
other reindeer stood drawn up in well-ordered ranks, like the 
crew in divisions on board a man-of-war. The owner then 
went forward and saluted every reindeer ; they were allowed 
to stroke his hands with their noses. He on his part took 
every reindeer by the horn and examined it in the most 



careful way. After the inspection was ended, at a sign 
given by the master the whole herd wheeled round and re- 
turned in closed ranks, with the old reindeer in front, to 
their pasture." 

1 According to Nordenskiold there is not among the Coast 
Chukches any recognized chiefs nor any trace of social organ- 
ization. Among the Reindeer Chukches living in the interior 
there appears to be a sort of chieftainship, and there are men 
who can show commissions from the Russian authorities. 
Such a person was Wassili Menka, the starost of the Reindeer 
Chukches, " a little dark man with a pretty worn appear- 
ance, clad in a white variegated ' pesk ' of white reindeer 
skin, under which a blue flannel shirt was visible." He 
carried to Yakutsk a letter from Nordenskiold, and the 
King of Sweden rewarded him with a gold medal. 


The Chukches do not dwell in snow huts nor in wooden 
houses, because lumber is not found on the coast, and 
wooden houses are unsuitable for the reindeer nomad. They 
live summer and winter in tents of a peculiar construction 
not used by any other race. In shape they are oval, with 
conical tops, and resemble inverted basins. To make the 



tent warm it is double, the outer envelope enclosing an inner 
tent or sleeping chamber. 

The outer tent consists of walrus skins sewed together 
and stretched over wooden ribs, which are carefully bound 
together by thongs of skin. The ribs rest on posts driven 
into the ground, or on tripods of drift-wood, which arc 
steadied by seal skin sacks filled with sand or stones sus- 
pended from the middle of them. The frame and covering 
are anchored to the ground by means of twisted walrus 
hide rope fastened to stones which serve as tent pins, and 
sometimes a heavy stone is suspended from the top of the 
tent roof. The ribs are also supported by cross stays. Snow 
or earth is banked up around the outside of the tent. 


The inner tent is used as a sleeping chamber, where all 
the family and their visitors pass the night. It is sur- 
rounded by reindeer skins, and is sometimes further covered 
with a layer of grass. The floor consists of a walrus skin, 
stretched over a foundation of twigs and straw. At night 
the floor is covered with a carpet of seal skins which is taken 
away during the day. At night lamps of seal oil with wicks 
of dried moss are kept constantly burning, and keep the 
place uncomfortably warm for civilized people. The space 


between the tents is partitioned off by curtains. The en- 
trance is a hole, with a skin hung before it for a door. 

Inside the dwelling are stored all the effects of the one or 
more families who occupy it. Dogs are admitted to the 
outer space, and puppies are often received inside. Food is 
cooked in a pot suspended over a fire, and the smoke, or 
part of it, escapes through a hole in the roof. 

The Coast Chukches are not only heathens, but appear 
also to have no conception of a Supreme Being. They are, 
however, superstitious, and have medicine-men, teemed 
" ianglans," who exert much influence over them. Some of 
the exploits of these medicine-men are described by Messrs. 
Grace and Bruch, of the Rodgers crew, as follows : 


"A hunting party previous to setting out from the 
village sends for the ianglan. He brings with him a drum 
made of seal-gut, stretched on wood or bone hoops for heads, 
the body or sides being thick walrus hide. Upon entering 
the interior of the hut all lights are extinguished, and si- 
lence reigns for a brief space. Suddenly the stillness is 
broken by the ianglan breaking into a low, monotonous 
wail, which gradually rises into a loud, prolonged screech, 
the drum being beaten all the time, until the cunning knave, 
completely exhausted, falls to the ground, and pretends to 
go into a kind of trance. During such condition he is sup- 
posed to be in close communion with the spirits. Recover- 


ing from his pretended stupor, he tells his audience the 
spirits say that the hunters will kill seal, or walrus, or catch 
fish, as the weather prognostications, which these knaves 
study well, are almost a sure guide to the results of the 

" On the 12th of March natives returned from East Cape 
and reported open water in that direction, and the ice going 
north. Two natives had been out sledging catching seals, 
and got carried out on the ice to sea, and had not been heard 
of. There was great excitement at At-kun-kcer, owing to 
the fact that the natives who had been lost on the ice be- 
longed to families there. The natives assembled in one of the 
huts and commenced the ceremonies of mourning by sending 
for the medicine-man who lived at Yandangic. He soon ar- 
rived, and opened the services by swallowing a large portion 
of raw walrus meat. He then began beating his tom-tom 
with a stick, and kept up a noise for six or seven hours 
resembling the bellowing of a calf. One of the men lost 
had a wife. She was sent for, and sat down on the floor of the 
hut. The medicine-man tied a seal rope around her head, 
and tied a large club to the end of it. He made her lay 
down on the floor, and proceeded to lift her up and down for 
nearly half an hour, exclaiming at the same time, ' Hi yang,' 
4 Hi yang ; ' i Men namalkee ' (no die, by and by come back). 
These ceremonies were repeated the following day and 

" Early in the morning of the 14th, sledges coming from 
Yandangie were seen. Upon arrival their occupants proved 
to be the natives who had been carried away on the ice. The 
medicine-man then got a drum made of sealskin, with tails 
attached, beating it with his hands and making noises like 
a crow. Some dried grass was burnt, and the ashes shaken 
over the men, and they were allowed to enter their huts. 
They had killed a seal for subsistence during their stay on 
the ice." 

Mr. Grace was at the village of Yandangie one night, and 
lodged in a hut where a young girl was sick. " I noticed," 


he says, " about nine P.M. that she was very sick, and that 
her breathing was very difficult. I looked at her, and told 
her people, ' Makee' (go die). As I said this two or three of 
them rushed over towards her with knives, and cut off some 
of her hair, her beads, and amulets (made of seal-gut with 
beads intertwined), at the same time calling her name and 
shaking her by the arms. But the poor girl was past hear- 
ing, and soon expired. They gathered her clothing, beads, 
bags containing needles and deer sinews, and placed the 
whole upon her breast. Then her boots were drawn on, and 
the ianglan and the neighbors were sent for. 

"As soon as the whole of the invited guests had arrived, 
the ianglan tied the end of a long coil of sealskin rope 
around the head of the girl ; the other end he fastened to a 
stick resembling a crutch in form. The father of the girl 
then commenced asking questions, and at each query the 
rope was lifted up, causing the girl's head to be raised from 
off the ground. This performance lasted three hours, dur- 
ing which time there was not a sound heard in the hut. At 
the expiration of the period, food was partaken of by all 
present, after which the ianglan, producing some seal-gut 
rope, proceeded to lash the corpse, tying the arms close to 
the body, and the legs with the feet pointing outward. A 
sledge was then prepared on the outside, and the girl's father 
taking a knife, cut a slit in the side of the hut, as a passage- 
way for the removal of the corpse. The dead are not allowed 
to be carried through the ordinary entrance, as the natives 
say, ' Should that happen, the spirit will find its way home 
again.' The body being placed on the sledge, the relatives 
proceeded to pull it, and another sledge with provisions, 
toward a high range of hills distant some fifty miles inland." 

Subsequently the body was visited to see if some walrus 
meat left with it had been eaten by crows which is con- 
sidered a favorable omen. At a second visit, the body was 
covered with snow. 

Lieutenant Berry, after leaving St. Lawrence Bay as 
previously stated, proceeded to Camp Hunt, and on arriving 


there he directed Mr. Gilder to travel overland to Irkutsk 
and send home by telegraph the news of the loss of the 
Rodgers and the condition of her crew. Mr. Gilder started 
on his long journey January 7th ; some account thereof will 
be given hereafter. 

On the 10th of February, Lieutenant Berry and Ensign 
Hunt, with a team of thirteen dogs and accompanied by 
Ehr Ehren, who had a team of his own, started from Camp 
Hunt to make a journey westward along the coast in search 
of the Jeannette crew. On arriving at Nschni Kolymsk, 
March 25th, Berry heard of the loss of the Jeannette and 
sent back to Camp Hunt particulars thereof by Ehr Ehren. 
He also announced his intention of joining the searchers on 
the Lena, and directed Waring to return home by the 
first vessel. His meeting with Melville has been already 

After the departure of his superiors Engineer Zane took 
charge of Camp Hunt. There was plenty of provisions and 
books, and also of Chukche visitors, but the long winter was 
a monotonous one for white men. The natives were friendly 
and had free access to the house, but they staid so long that 
it became advisable to send all of them away excepting 
some of the older ones at 4 p. M., which was the supper hour. 
Midnight was generally the time for turning in, and break- 
fast was eaten at ten o'clock in the morning. 

Towards spring Dr. Jones and Pctersen, with natives and 
two dog-teams carrying provisions, started for St. Lawrence 
Bay. Zanc and Melms remained to take charge of tho 
house, and during the absence of their companions they 
had quite an exciting adventure. 

One day three strangers came to (he house, and were well 
treated and given presents. Towards night all the natives 
excepting the strangers and two others were sent away; 
they were allowed to stay, and something to eat was given 
them after supper. While Melms was washing the dishes, 
Zane sat with his elbows on the table reading a book. Tho 
five natives were standing around, but as it was supposed 


that they were getting ready to go no attention was paid to 
them. Suddenly three of them seized Zane's arms and held 
them firmly on the table, and the other two secured Melms, 
so that he could offer no resistance. 

One of the men, named Rochilon, who could speak English, 
then said that they wanted rum, and intended to have it, 
but did not want to take anything else or to kill any one. 
The ' rum ' referred to was pure alcohol intended for use in 
stoves while traveling. He then moved the leg of the stove, 
which stood on the trap-door of the cellar, raised the door, 
and filled an empty oil-can and a bottle with alcohol stored 
in the cellar, and tied them on to a sled. 

Rochilon then took down Zarie's skin clothing and de- 
manded that he should put it on and accompany them to 
Tiapka and stay there all night, believing, no doubt, that 
Zane would follow them with a rifle if set at liberty. When 
Zane refused to comply, Rochilon flourished a knife, and 
declared that unless he went with them he would be killed. 


As Zane still objected to go, believing they would not harm 
him, Rochilon took all the fire-arms in the house, and tied 
them on the sleds. He told Zane that they would be left at 
Tiapka; and when all was ready for a start, the sailors were 


released, and the natives ran to their sleds and hurried away 
as fast as their dogs could travel. Zane appeared very 
angry, but was much amused, and could not refrain from 
telling them to put some water in the "rum" before drink- 
ing it. 

The guns were left at Tapika according to promise, and 
brought back by other natives. A knife which had been 
carried off with the alcohol was also sent back, showing that 
rum was what they wanted. 

After this little difficulty, a new agreement was made with 
the Tapika people. The old men were to be allowed free 
access to the house, and no more stealing was to be done. 
The contract was honorably kept, and things went on 
smoothly. The sled party returned March 20th. 

Camp Hunt was abandoned May 5th, and its garrison re- 
treated southward, traveling by dog-sleds. North Head was 
reached May 10th, and on approaching South Head they 
were overjoyed at seeing a steamer anchored there. 

It has already been stated that Waring, while looking for 
Putnam, left letters at Plover Bay and Marcus Bay, directed 
to the captain of any whaler which might arrive. Captain 
Owens, of the steam whaler, North Star, of New Bedford, 
got one of these letters and immediately started to rescue 
the men. He forced his ship through the ice opposite St. 
Lawrence Bay, reaching there May 8th, and fastened his 
ship to the outer edge of the ice, so as not to be carried to 
the northward by the large floes of ice floating by. 

On the 9th of May, some natives who first saw the vessel 
informed Waring of her approach. The news caused great 
excitement among the Rodgers crew, and when the North 
Star came into the bay next day, they almost cried for joy. 
Some went on board the whaler immediately, but it was not 
until the evening of May 14th that all were on the ship. 
The boats, rifles, ammunition, trade goods, and many other 
smaller articles were distributed among the natives accord- 
ing to the services they had rendered. The skin boat in 
which a line was carried ashore from the burning ship, was 


brought home as a relic. Captain Owens extended to the 
rescued men the hospitality of his ship, and offered to con- 
vey them to St. Michaels, Sitka, or San Francisco. All of 
them felt grateful for his kindness and prompt action in 
coming to their relief. 

When tidings of the loss of the Rodgers came to the Uni- 
ted States by telegraph from Irkutsk, the Secretary of the 
Navy arranged to send a steamer to pick up the crew. The 
Corwin, commanded by Lieutenant M. A. Healey, was se- 
lected for the service, and sailed from San Francisco April 

The Corwin arrived off the south entrance of St. Lawrence 
Bay on the morning of May 14th, and there spoke the whaler 
Hunter, whose captain confirmed the story of the burning 
of the Rodgers, and said that the North Star had come 
to rescue the crew. Lieutenant Healey pressed onward 
through the ice, and before midnight was in the bay. A 
steamer lying close to the land near South Head was spoken, 
and proved to be the North Star ; she had just taken the 
last of the Rodgers crew aboard, and was ready to sail for 
Ounalaska. The party were immediately transferred to the 
Corwin, which started on her return early on the morning 
of May 15th. 

The Corwin arrived at San Francisco, June 23d, after a 
quick and pleasant passage via Sitka and Wrangel. 

The North Star was a new ship just arrived from New 
Bedford, Mass., via Cape Horn. After leaving the Corwin 
she went north, and was crushed by the ice June 25th. The 
crew escaped to the U. S. signal station at Point Barrow, 
and were there cared for by Lieutenant Ray. 



EARLY in January, 1881, Mr. W. H. Gilder, an experi- 
enced Arctic overland traveler, and the special corre- 
spondent of the New York Herald accompanying Berry's 
search expedition, left the extreme northeastern coast of 
Siberia to carry to Irkutsk, and from thence to send home 
by telegraph, tidings of the burning of the Rodgers. His mis- 
sion was an important one, for on its successful and prompt 
execution depended in a large degree the early rescue of the 
Rodgers crew. The following condensed account of his 
journey to Sredne Kolymsk, is compiled from his letters to 
the Herald. 

" The sun was above the horizon less than two hours a day 
at the time I left Eeteetlan for the Kolyma River, on my 
way to the telegraph station in Eastern Siberia. This gave 
very short days and very long nights, which is one of the 
inconveniences of winter journeys within the Arctic circle. 

The natives here, also, have a very inconvenient habit of 
starting long before daylight, even when they have only a 
short distance to go and could easily accomplish it by day- 
light. They will do this also when daylight is followed by 
a bright moon, and the mornings are as dark as Egypt. 
They have no idea of time, and often mistake the northern 
light for approaching sunrise. There seems to be some one 
up and moving around in camp at any hour of the day or 

The day of Captain Berry's arrival at Eeteetlan, there also 
came from Nishni Kolymsk a Russian named Wanker, who 
agreed to take me to that city for the sum of fifty rubles. I 
did not like the fellow's appearance. His eyes were too 



close together, and then he had a general hang-dog look that 
would give him away in the company of saints. He could 
talk fluently with Constantino, though, and advised me to 
take him along to drive my dogs and as an interpreter. 
The interpreting was all well enough as far as they were 
concerned, and the only difficulty was in understanding Con- 
stantino or making him understand me. 

Knowing I had to be for several months among the Rus- 
sians, I thought that by gaining the start by a few words 
before I came plump into their country I would acquire an 
advantage ; so I asked Constantino what the Russians said for 
" yes." " They say 'yes'," ho replied. This was easy enough 
to remember, so I went to the next word. " What do they 
say for no ?" I asked. " Why, they say ' no'." This seemed 
a most remarkable coincidence, but certainly convenient, so 
I went on to something harder. 

" What does a Russian man say when he is hungry and 
wants something to eat ?" 

" Oh, sir, he says ho wants something to eat." 

This was a little more than I could stand, and I immedi- 
ately took a recess. I saw that the poor fellow had no idea 
how he spoke what little English he knew. He did not 
translate it from one language to the other, but had merely 
learned as a parrot would learn, only with greater fluency, 
for ho seemed to have the well known facility of the Rus- 
sians in acquiring foreign languages, having in two months 
and a half on shipboard learned sufficient to be of consider- 
able use there, as well as to our party on shore. 

En route Constantino drove my sled, but we went very 
slowly, for the dogs I had were hastily bought after I had 
made up my mind to this trip, and proved a sorry lot. Con- 
stantine always examined the dogs as an expert, and had a 
way of running his hand along the dog's back-bone, and if 
it did not cut his finger he pronounced it a fine dog. 

The second night of our journey we halted at the village 
of Ynedlin, near which the Vega wintered. We were enter- 
tained at the house of the chief, the largest house I had yet 


seen. The sleeping portion, the yoronger, was about thirty 
feet long by twelve wide and seven feet high. It was here 
that Wanker promised to meet me the night of my arrival, 
and hurry me on to Nishni Kolymsk without any delay en 
route, merely expressing his fear that I could not stand the 
cold and rapid traveling. I was forced to remain at this 
house four nights, partially detained by stormy weather and 
with the hope that Wanker might forget himself and actu- 
ally keep his appointment within a day or two. It was for- 
tunate for me that the house was such a pleasant one, since 
I had to remain there so long. 

No matter how early you may awaken in the morning, you 
will always find the mistress of the household already up 
that is, her position changed from reclining to sitting, and as 
soon as she observes that you are really awake, she hands you 
a few small pieces of meat. Then she goes into the adjoining 
apartment, and after fifteen or twenty minutes of pounding 
and chopping returns with the breakfast. A large, flat, 
wooden tray is placed on the floor, and the landlady, drop- 
ping off her clothes, takes her position at one end, a posi- 
tion inelegantly but accurately described as " squatting." 
The family and their guests gather around the board on 
either side, lying flat on their stomachs with their heads 
toward the breakfast and their feet out, so that a bird's-eye 
view of the table and guests would look something like an 
immense beetle. 

The first course is some frozen weeds mixed with sea oil 
and eaten with small portions of fresh blubber, which the 
lady of the house cuts with a large chopping knife. The 
next course is walrus meat. This is also cut up by the pre- 
siding lady, and is served with no stinting hand. At this 
portion of the meal the one who can swallow the largest 
piece without chewing has the advantage. After this joint 
comes a large piece of walrus hide, which has a small por- 
tion of blubber attached to it, and the hair still on the out- 
side. This hide is about an inch thick and very tough, so 
that it is absolutely impossible to chew it, or rather to affect 


it by chewing. Even the dogs will chew perhaps for half 
a day upon a small piece of walrus hide hanging from a bag 
of meat, and fail to detach it. This is, therefore, cut into 
very small pieces by the hostess, and finishes the meal. It 
is really the most palatable dish of the meal, and furnishes 
something for the stomach to act upon that generally occu- 
pies its attention till the following meal; but it is astonish- 
ing how easily a meat diet is digested. 

There are usually two meals a day in a well provided 
Chukche's household the breakfast just described and din- 
ner, which comes on late in the evening. The dinner is 
almost identical in form with the breakfast, except that 
there is most always some hot cooked meat that follows the 
course of walrus hide. Some times the second course at 
breakfast or dinner may be frozen seal or reindeer meat, but 
the first and third courses are invariable unless changed by 
force of circumstances beyond the control of the house- 
holder. Besides those two meals there is always a similar 
service to any guest who may arrive during the day from a 
distance, and all present share his luncheon with him, and 
not unfrequently beat him out unless he watches closely and 
keeps himself well provided. 

The evening after dinner is often devoted to games. They 
do not play chess or billiards, but we used to see who could 
walk the furthest on his hands, with his body held horizon- 
tally from the hips, or upon his knees, while his feet were 
held in his hands behind him. Or perhaps the lights were 
extinguished and some one played upon the drum or yarar, 
and sang or chanted a most lugubrious melody, increasing 
in volume from an almost imperceptible sound into the 
loudest noise possible, accompanying the drum with a howl 
like a bear at bay, the most frightful noise lie could mak;e ; 
and it did sound prodigious in the dark. During this time 
the landlord would occasionally shout 'Ay-h^k, ay-he*k/ 
which seemed to inspire the drummer to renewed exertion. 
The drum is a wooden hoop over which is tightly drawn a 
thin membrane from the skin of the reindeer. It has a 


handle on one side, and is beaten with a small strip of 
whalebone. This drumming never ceases from the moment 
the lights are out until the concert is over, which is gener- 
ally after about two hours and a half. 

We had a concert the first night at Yncdlin, and during 
the performance I heard Constantino breathing heavily and 
gasping, and occasionally breaking out into groans and 
tears. This attracted the attention of the performer, who 
stopped and asked if he were sick. He groaned a 'Yes,' 
and I thought I would have to resort to my medical stores, 
consisting of pills and bandages ; but I did not know which 
to use, for upon inquiry it transpired that lie had only a 
broken heart. He wanted to return to Tiapka, the village 
near Eeteetlan, where was an old woman named At-tung-er, 
who had grown up children and grandchildren, and with 
whom he, a lad of nineteen years, had fallen in love. When 
asked what he was grieving for, he said ' At-tung-er ;' and 
after that I felt relieved, for I did not believe he would die 
of his broken heart. During the entire journey this same 
scene was repeated every time the yarar was brought out, 
and as soon as the lights were restored he appeared just as 
cheerful as if nothing disagreeable had ever occurred to 

There were two girls about fifteen years of age in this 
household, one the daughter of my host and the other some 
relation, but I could never make out exactly what. The 
old man often tried to explain it to me by using the fingers 
of one hand, which he named, and showed that Tay-tin- 
con-ne was the same relation to his daughter, Mdm-mak, 
that his thumb was to his middle finger ; but there is where 
I always fell out. I never could satisfy myself as to the 
kinship of his fingers. Occasionally during the day or even- 
ing these girls used to dance, taking their places side by side 
as if on the stage for a double clog, and, accompanying 
themselves with guttural sounds that it is impossible to 
describe, executed in unison fantastic contortions and gyra- 
tions somewhat similar to the Indians of North America. 


Their costume was the usual evening dress of the country, 
and consisted simply of a string of beads around the neck 
and a narrow breechcloth of sealskin. This was an accom- 
plishment which, I found, had been acquired by all the 
children along the coast, and such entertainments were not 

On the 13th of January I moved to the next village, 
starting in the dark at three o'clock in the morning, and 
arriving at our destination before noon. There were two 
other sleds beside mine, which belonged to a man from 
Onman, who had with him his wife and son, a young man 
of about twenty-two years, with yellow hair and light hazel 
eyes, the first blonde I had seen with these people. I after- 
ward saw another, a woman, but they are very rare. 

Here, too, I had to wait four days, looking for Wanker or 
clear weather. These houses along the coast are all so 
many hotels for the accommodation of those traveling to 
and fro. The natives pay nothing for their entertainment 
or for feeding their dogs, but they expect much from any 
white strangers who may happen to pass their way. If the 
native traveler has tobacco or beads, and his host wants 
some, he gives it to him; but that is not paying for his 
board and lodging. He would do the same if he received 
nothing in return. 

While at Peelkan, the second station, I saw many natives 
who were returning from a trip to East Cape. They told 
me that Wanker did not intend to come along for some time 
yet, that he was trading along the coast. This was discour- 
aging, and I determined to proceed to Kolyutschin village 
as soon as possible and get along as well as I could. I 
knew I could easily find people going from one village to 
another until I reached Wankarem, but from there to North 
Cape was a long stretch without villages. There was, how- 
ever, an old man who came to Peelkan on his way back to 
his house at Wankarem, who said he would take me on from 
there. He wanted me to give him some biscuit to eat, as 


his teeth were not equal to .the contest with frozen walrus 
meat, and when he showed me the teeth I agreed with him. 

It was a long journey across the mouth of the bay to 
Kolyutschin Island, and my dogs were not equal to the 
emergency ; so when night came on I halted and built a 
snow house. The natives who had started with us reached 
the village that night, and were much alarmed for our safety 
when they found we did not get in during the night. Their 
anxiety was increased when the following day brought a 
snowstorm which shut out the island from view, and left us 
as they supposed without anything to guide us. 

When we started in the morning I cautioned Constantine 
tx>keep faithfully in the tracks of the sleds that preceded 
us, as they were but faintly discernible under the falling 
snow. He told me his leader was a good one and knew how 
to keep the road. For a while I trusted the dog's instinct, 
but when I found the wind upon my back instead of nearly 
directly in front of me, as it should have been, I began to 
doubt it, and asked Constantine where Kolyutschin Island 
was. He pointed straight ahead as I expected ; but I had 
taken the bearing of the island by my pocket compass when 
we halted the night before, and on again regarding it I 
showed my driver that we were going almost exactly in the 
opposite direction. 

I then took charge of the course myself, and after about 
an hour heard the barking and quarreling of dogs in a team* 
I could not see them, but shouted, and soon two sleds came 
up that had been sent out to look for us. They seemed glad 
to have found us, and said they had been worried all night 
thinking we were wandering around on the ice. I told them, 
however, that we were comfortably housed and that I knew 
where Kolyutschin lay, at the same time pointing in the 
proper direction. Then I showed them my compass, and as 
the island happened to be just magnetic north of us it 
appeared all the more wonderful to them. They imagined 
that it always pointed in the direction you wanted to go. 

While we were at Kolyutschin, Wanker came up, being 


nly eleven days behind, and I felt greatly relieved when I 
saw him. We subsequently moved to Wankarem and pro- 
ceeded on our journey with greater celerity than before, but 
not fast enough to satisfy one who felt so entirely dependent 
upon one man, and he thoroughly unreliable and bad. All 
along the route the natives, when an opportunity offered, 
cautioned me against him, and said he meant no good by 
me. They begged me to return to Eeteetlan and offered to 


take me there. The only thing I was afraid of was that 
Wanker would get up in the night and run off with his 
team, leaving me high and dry on the beach. 

From Wankarem to North Cape the weather was intensely 
cold, and the whole party, native and white (for there were 
three natives' sleds with us), suffered from frost bites, 
though not of a serious nature. We found plenty of drift 
wood at several points along the coast, and halted to make 
tea and cook some meat. This I found took the raw edge 
off the cold, and made traveling and sleeping without shelter 
much more endurable. From North Cape to Oogarkin there 
were villages at intervals of from five to thirty miles. From 


Oogarkin to Erktreen, a native village of nineteen houses, 
near Cape Chelagskoi, there were no houses, and we slept 
three nights on the snow. Drift wood was plentiful, and in 
ordinary weather camping out would not have been as dis- 
agreeable as might be supposed. 

We found several people at Eumatk, near Oogarkin, who 
were on their way to Nishni Kolymsk, and on the morning 
of February 8, eight sleds, drawn by ninety-three dogs, 
started. It was a brilliant sight, or would have been, if you 
could have seen it ; but the start was at four o'clock in the 
morning, about three hours and a half before daylight. 
Some of the sleds had gaudy calico storm coats thrown over 
them, and the harness of several teams was trimmed with 
red. One man had several small bells attached to his 
harness, but I never heard a sound from them, and doubt 
that they had tongues. I believe they were dumb bells, and 
intended solely for ornament. 

It was a pleasant day at first, but during the afternoon a 
storm of wind and snow sprang up from the direction of 
our line of march, and when we halted at night it was blow- 
ing a gale a genuine poorga which continued throughout 
the night and following day. When I lay down to sleep I 
sought shelter behind a shed, but soon had to leave it because 
I found myself nearly suffocated by the weight of snow on 
top of me. Then I noticed the natives, more wise than I, 
had lain down on the crest of the hill and were free from 
snow. Traveling the next day was simply torture, but it 
would have been equally bad to sit still out of doors, so we 
kept on. The night was a pleasant one and we slept well. 

The next halt was on the rocky coast not a great distance 
from Chelagskoi, and a huge cavern in the face of the cliff 
afforded small protection from the wind, but made a most 
picturesque camping place. The following day we reached 
Erktreen, and right glad we were, for a frightful poorga was 
raging and the dogs could scarcely make any headway 
against it. There were plenty of houses here, and but little 


food. In fact, in the house where I slept, we fed the 
occupants instead of eating their provisions. 

The next stretch was a long one, and we slept four nights 
in the snow. The natives were all very kind to me. They 
knew that Wanker was not helping me any more than he 
should, so they each had something for ' Keifey,' as is my 
Chukche name, and I believe I fared better than any one in 
the party. 

About noon time of the third day out we reached Bassarika, 
a deserted village of five log houses, which at one time con- 
stituted a village of Russian trappers. Here we found a 
large quantity of bear meat and dried fish for dog food 
which they had cached on their way down the coast, and, 
taking a good supply upon our sleds, we gorged like genuine 
savages that night and slept soundly and warm. 

As night approached on the day following we were near 
the native village of Diardlowran, the Barranno of the 
Russians. Three of the sleds halted on. the beach at dark, 
while the sled tp which I was attached and two others started 
to make a short cut across land to the village. One of the 
natives with us lived at that place, and was anxious to get 
home after an absence of two months and a half. But with- 
out landmarks on the bare waste of snow and no coast line 
to guide us even, he had to give up the search, though less 
than three miles from home, and we lay down in the snow 
to wait for daylight. But before dawn came the worst poorga 
I ever encountered, and when we started in the morning we 
could see less distance ahead than when we halted in the 
dark. It was a terrible struggle, that little march of about 
two miles and a half. The wind blew directly in our faces 
and drove the sharp particles of hard frozen snow against 
the eyeballs and cheeks, so that it was impossible to look to 
windward for more than a hasty glance. The dogs could 
not face the storm and lay dowft in the harness, so that we 
had to go ahead and drag them along, while we waded pain- 
fully through snow nearly waist deep. One sled was soon 


left behind, while Wile-d6te, the native of the neighboring 
village, and Wanker and I floundered on through the storm. 

At last we reached a hillside swept by the wind, and found 
sled-tracks which Wile-d6te recognized as the right trail, and 
we trotted along merrily until the sleds were caught by the 
wind and swept over a precipice. I saw Wile-d6te and his 
team disappear over the edge of the cliff into a cloud of 
whirling snow, and knew that in a second we must go too. 
I could do nothing but close my eyes and set my teeth when 
I felt myself in the air and falling I knew not where. 
Fortunately it was a fall of but about twenty feet to a snow- 
bank, down which the dogs, the sled, and I rolled to the 
bottom, while I saw Wanker, who had been sitting on the 
other side of the sled, with his back to tlie cliff, shot over 
my head and reach the bottom first. I knew no one had 
been hurt, for the snow was very soft and we were almost 
buried by the drift before we could regain our feet ; and I 
could not help laughing at the ridiculous figure poor Wanker 
cut as he passed over my head, rolled up in a little ball and 
desperately grasping his brake. He looked like a witch 
riding on her broomstick. Wile-d<5te's sled was broken, and 
falling on his leg caused a slight but not very painful con- 

We then began to look around to find some way out of 
this pit, but found it surrounded by a high wall of rock and 
snow, except one narrow drift that led again to the top of 
the hill. We plunged along as well as we could, but could 
only make a few yards' advance at a time, for the dogs had 
to be dragged along by main force. Time and time again 
we were compelled to throw ourselves down in the snow and 
rest for ten or fifteen minutes before making further exertion. 
Once again we were blown off the hill, but this time into a 
valley, which Wile-d6te recognized as the road to the village 
not more than half a mile away. 

We now moved along more rapidly and soon found the 
coast, and a short turn to the right brought us directly into 
the houses before we could see them. Several times during 


the morning' I had to remove from my face a perfect mould 
or mask of frozen snow, half an inch thick, and my nose, 
cheeks, chin, and forehead were badly frozen. My com- 
panions fared 110 better. Three of Wile-d6te's dogs perished 
during the storm, and I found, upon looking at my watch 
after entering the house, that we had been more than seven 
hours upon the road. The other sled got in toward night, 
but the three that halted on the beach did not overtake us 
until the second day after we left Diardlowran. At this 
village we found four Russians from Nishni Kolymsk, who 
were much interested in the recital of our adventures during 
the morning. 

The next morning we again set out upon our journey, 
three of the Russians accompanying us. Wanker put me 
on the sled of one of these people, and right glad was I of 
the change, for now I felt sure that I would reach my desti- 
nation. This man looked honest and intelligent, though he 
could not read, and said so. That night we halted at a 
deserted hut half filled with snow, but it was a sufficient 
shelter from a poorga that was raging at the time, and ever 
so much better than sleeping out of doors. Indeed, it was 
cheerful and cosey, with a fire blazing in the middle of the 
hut and a little of the smoke escaping through a hole in the 
roof, but most of it pervading the apartment. The tea-kettle 
hung over the flame and a large pot of reindeer meat was 
cooking on one side of the fire, while we ate frozen fish, 
which my new driver pulled from among the rafters. While 
we waited for the tea my new Russian friends sang a pretty 
little chorus, and I slept, dreaming of home, and feeling 
more at home than I had for weeks. I had at last reached 
the borders of civilization and had no longer to crawl at 
night into the huts of the savages ; and yet I could not forgefe 
how often I had been so glad to crawl into those same dirty 
hovels to escape from storms and hunger. 

The next day we reached quite a large deserted village, 
and Wanker here told me that the next day we would reach 
his house, and that there we would have to wait for Constan- 


tine, who was four days behind us, the sled he was with and 
one other having been separated from us during a poorga 
the first day out from Erktreen. 

Before reaching Wanker's house we stopped at a log house 
to get some tea. This was the first inhabited house I had 
seen, and I regarded it with due interest. There was but 
one room, with the fireplace in the corner, on which was 
blazing a glorious fire that made my frozen nose glow with 
the heat. There stood the steaming tea-kettle, and as we 
entered, the lady of the house, attired in a loose robe, not 
gathered in at the waist, but flowing from the shoulders half- 
way down her leather boot-legs, cut some pieces of reindeer 
meat from one of two carcasses that leaned against the wall, 
with the skins still covering them, and fried them in a pan 
over the glowing coals. In the meantime a frozen fish was 
cut into slices and placed before us, with an additional plate 
of dried fish and some preserved cranberries, and afterward 
the hot tea that made the remainder of my journey quite 
comfortable. While we were partaking of the hospitality of 
the Russian native, three sledge loads of Chukches arrived 
and were similarly entertained. I thought it must be a con- 
siderable tax upon the time and hospitality of those who 
live upon the lines of travel to entertain so many guests, 
for no one passes their houses without entering, and no one 
pays anything for hrs entertainment. All the guests, except- 
ing myself, even the Chukches, crossed themselves when 
they entered the house, as well as before, and after eating 
and when they left. 

I told Wanker that I would rather go on to Nishni 
Kolymsk, but he would not listen to it, and insisted that I 
should remain at his house. I poured my complaint into 
the ear of my driver that day, and though he understood 
little of what I said he did seize the main point, which was 
that I staid at Wanker's against my will and preferred to go 
to Nishni Kolymsk. He said, ' Da, da,' and meant ' yes/ 
and here our conversation ended. He delivered me at 
Wanker's that night and departed early next morning. 



There was one thing that struck me with considerable 
force when my course was turned from the northern coast 
of Siberia into the Kolyma River. The second day of my 
journey on that river, I noticed as we passed near the shore 
first, higher grass than I had seen before, then a short 
growth of bushes, then stunted shrubbery, and afterward 
two solitary, lonely trees standing side by side. In the 
course of a few miles the trees became more numerous 
along the banks of the river until I reached Wanker's house, 
which is situated in a grove of trees thirty or more feet high. 


I had not expected to see all this climatic change in one 
day's travel. 

At Wanker's house the entire family crossed themselves- 
in front of the pictures of saints in one corner, and bowed 
as they muttered their prayers. Wanker, too, went through 
the same forms, but not, I thought, sufficiently to make up 
for the time he had lost in the Chukche's houses along the 
coast'. He spoke the Chukche language perfectly, so that I 
felt certain that he was at least a half-breed. He wore their 
amulets to cure him when he was sick, and was with them a 
skillful shaman or medicine-man. No one could excel him 


in the performance upon the drum, and yet all these were 
laid aside at home, and he was apparently as pious as any of 
his family. 

The day following my arrival at Wanker's my good friend 
the driver came early with a stranger, and I felt certain that 
my hour of deliverance was near at hand. And sure enough, 
the stranger read my letter from the consul and told me I 
should go along with him. Wanker got very red in the face, 
and submitted with bad grace to an arrangement that I 
was certain did not please him. But I saw that the quiet 
stranger had some power, and could enforce his will. 

Glad enough was I to go away and with such a kind and 
considerate conductor, but I was overpowered when I found 
a covered sled in waiting to take me like a prince in triumph 
to my destination. It was a bitterly cold day, and I was 
pleased when we halted at a village half way to the town to 
get some hot tea and, as usual, with it frozen fish. Here 
the whole village had turned out to receive me, and the men 
stood in line with their heads bared and bowing as I passed 
them into the house. 

A friendly crowd greeted me at Nishni Kolymsk, also, but 
though of my own race I could only talk with them in the 
language of the savages. My new friend took me to his 
house, and did everything in his power to entertain me and 
assist in carrying out my plans. I found that he was a 
Cossack, and acting commander during the absence of that 
official in Sredne Kolymsk. I managed to make myself 
understood, and he told me that at Sredne I would find some 
one who spoke French, and that he would send me to that 
place with a Cossack who would take me in three or four 
days. At Nishni Kolymsk I first heard of the loss of the 
Jeannette and that some of her people had survived. 

After Constantine arrived and I had finished my business 
I started for Sredne Kolymsk with my Cossack guide, and 
bade good-bye to some of the kindest people I ever met. All 
seemed equally anxious to do something for me, and my 
landlord seemed really sad at parting. I had been at his 


house four days, and during that time he had devoted him- 
self entirely to me, trying to make amends for the ill con- 
duct of my traveling companion Wanker, who, by the by, 
had told the Russians we met at Diardlowran, that he had 
brought me to the Kolyma because I was big and strong, 
and he was going to keep me at his house until the winter 
was past, and then I would be a good hand to catch fish for 

I reached Sredne Kolymsk on Sunday, the 5th of March, 
and was met in the street by a fine looking old gentlemen in 
a handsome uniform, who addressed me in French and in- 
formed me that he was the Prefet de Police for the district, 
and invited me to his house. It sounded most delightfully 
to hear once more a familiar Christian language, and not to 
be compelled to converse with intelligent people in the lan- 
guage of the savage. At this house I met also M. Kotcher- 
offski, formerly prefet of the district of Verkhoyansk, but 
who had just arrived to relieve my host, M. de Varowa, as 
the latter informed me, at the same time stating that he 
would start for Yakutsk in a few days, and extending me 
an invitation to accompany him. I gladly accepted his 

Sredne, or Middle Kolymsk, is a Russian settlement of 
about 500 inhabitants, including Russians, Yakuts, and a 
few Chukches. The houses are all built of hewn logs, are 
but one story high, and the windows are glazed with blocks 
of transparent ice. Some of the houses have windows of 
glass, but these are always much broken and mended, so 
that seen from the outside they look like stained glass win- 
dows of a church. The most conspicuous building there, as 
in all the little Russian towns, is the church edifice, which 
is of Oriental architecture, with a dome surmounted by a 
cross and exceedingly florid in its style of ornamentation. 
Adjoining the church and within the same enclosure is a 
small wooden tower, surrounded by a block house, which 
was built by the first settlers of Sredne as a means of de- 
fence against the savage Yakuts and Chukches. The town. 


is irregularly built and extends over a considerable area of 
ground, the government buildings being situated about a 
mile from the center. By government buildings is meant 
merely the storehouses for grain and bread, and for the skins 
which are received for taxes. These buildings are of logs, 
with great heavy doors, and padlocks about the size of an 
ordinary valise, while the key is a load in itself. 

I paid a visit to the storehouses while in Sredne, to wit- 
ness the process of turning over the property to the new 
prefet or ispravnik, as he is termed, but it was a very unin- 
teresting process and the weather so intensely cold that I 
did not stay long. A gang of laborers, heavily clad in skin 
clothing, were running around with bundles on their shoul- 
ders and dumping them upon one- of the platforms of a pair 
of immense balance scales, such as I thought had long since 
become obsolete. The beam was suspended in the middle, 
and had a platform a yard square hung by the corners to 
either end of it. On one side were piled bundles of skins 
or grain in cow skin bags, and on the other were heaped up 
big iron weights about the size of a hundred pound shell, 
with handles. It looked as if the articles to be weighed 
were exactly counterbalanced by the proper amount of iron 
weights, and then they guessed how much iron there was. 

I saw another curious balance here, a sort of combination 
of the beam with the steelyard, which is for weighing small 
articles. It has a scoop suspended from one end of the 
graduated steel rod, in which is placed the article to be 
weighed ; on the other end of the rod is a fixed weight, and 
the balance is obtained by sliding the rod along the ring 
that holds it in suspension. I had been used to seeing the 
weight moved, and it was a novelty to see the whole beam 
sliding along instead. Pacing up and down near the scales 
with a gun upon his shoulder was a Cossack, who looked 
strangely bundled up in furs and under arms. Near the 
beam stood the new ispravnik, wrapped up so that nothing 
could be seen of him except his eyes. I do not remember 
ever having felt the cold more keenly, than during the first 


three days I was in Sredne. Unfortunately there is no 
thermometer in any of these towns north and east of 
Yakutsk, where observations of the weather would be so 

The dwellings in Sredne, as well as throughout that part 
of Siberia, consist usually of three rooms, and are heated by 
an open fireplace, built of poles, which extend up through 
the roof and form a low chimney. The poles are covered 
with mud to protect them from the flames, and the wood is 
stood on end in the fireplace, resting against the back. 
There is plenty of wood, and it makes a brilliant flame and 
an abundance of glowing coals. On this same fireplace the 
cooking for the establishment is carried on apparently with 
equal skill by the men and women. The culinary arrange- 
ments are, however, of the simplest character, the staples 
of food being fish, rye-bread, and tea. All the lakes and 
rivers abound with most excellent fish, and the poorer 
classes eat nothing else. I can attest the excellent quality 
of the fish, especially raw and frozen. 

Breakfast here consists of bread and tea, with, perhaps, 
frozen or dried fish, and later in the day meat, soup, and tea, 
and in the evening meat or fish and tea. It is impossible to 
imagine what these .people would do without tea. It is the 
universal beverage and they drink from four to fifteen cups 
at one meal, sometimes with milk and sometimes with 
sugar. The sugar is not put into the cup with the tea, it is 
too precious for that, but a lump is served to each person, 
and as he sips his tea he nibbles at the lump which is his 
portion for the meal. 

At Sredne Kolymsk, I saw several political exiles, social- 
ists, nine in all, who are sentenced for various terms. There 
were also two at Nishne one a socialist, and the other a 
Pole who had been implicated in political intrigues inimical 
to the imperial government. His sentence had originally 
been for twenty-five years at Ahlokminsk, between Yakutsk 
and Irkutsk, but one day, in a fit of indignation at the gov- 
ernment, he gave expression to his anger by spitting on a 


portrait of his late Imperial Majesty, and was sent to the 
most distant outpost of the government in Siberia. I found 
him a very pleasant old gentleman of polished manners and 
education, entirely distinct from the people with whom he is 
at present thrown ; but he has grown gray and aged since 
he left his home in Warsaw, and says he feels almost equally 
at home in Siberia. It was rather difficult to talk with him, 
as he only remembered a few words of French, though he 
spoke German fluently, but I didn't. 

I visited the socialists at their houses in Sredne, and 
found most of them pretty much the kind of keople I had 
imagined a sort of intelligent lunatic. But there were 
exceptions. There were gentlemen whom I could .not imag- 
ine guilty of an evil thought, and these I found were held 
in high esteem by the officers of the government who have 
them under their charge. They were all interested in the 
American stranger and seemed to imagine an affinity be- 
tween my countrymen and the socialists. They were much 
surprised when I told them that their party was but poorly 
represented in the United States and that such as we had 
were foreigners, that I did not personally know of a single 
native American socialist. 

I never saw religion so universal as the Greek religion in 
Siberia. Not only the Russian inhabitants, but the Yakuts, 
Tunguses, Amoots, and Chukches who reside near the settle- 
ments are all equally religious. It seemed to me to be a 
most convenient religion, for it consisted, as far as I could 
see, in crossing one's self and bowing before the pictures, 
and in fasting upon a fish diet when there was scarcely 
anything but fish to eat. The most pious old man I saw 
among them could scarcely restrain his anger at some in- 
fringement of his orders one day until he had finished his 
prayers. He then turned and opened upon the offending 
head such a volley of well, if not oaths, they sounded as if 
they would have been when translated. It is a beautiful 
religion at any rate, and abounds in affectionate salutes. 
All these forms are particularly dear to the Yakut, and 


never omitted, at least in the presence of a white man. 
After prayers every one kisses every one else three times, 
once on each cheek and once on the mouth. This is univer- 
sal men, women and children, servants and masters, sol- 
diers and their commanding officers. It is neither the 
ecstatic nor paroxysmal kiss nor yet the Platonic, but simply 
the kiss of devotion. 

The entire household join in prayers, all standing before 
the chromos of saints with metallic rays attached to their 
heads in the most realistic fashion, and cross themselves 
and bow in unison unless some one particularly devout pros- 
trates himself upon the floor and kisses the planks in the 
fervor of his religious zeal. It was a beautiful sight to me 
to see the gray haired prefet take the little Nanyah by the 
hand and lead her before the family altar, where they stood 
side by side at their devotions. When finished, she would 
cross her dear little hands and hold them suppliantly toward 
her companion, while he made the sign of the cross over her 
and dropped his hard hand upon hers. This concluded the 
devotion. It is a convenient religion for a lazy man, for in 
the 365 days that compose the year there are no less than 
450 saints' days or holy days, and no good Christian would 
work upon a holy day. Were it not that the fish are so 
abundant I fear these people would starve to death. , 

I never could make out the exact position occupied by 
la petite Nanyah in the household at Sredne. She seemed 
to unite the duties of a plaything, a daughter, and a servant. 
I first saw her the day that I arrived at the house of the 
prefet. My attention had been attracted by a brilliant 
costume of the Amoots, and to show it to better advantage 
the ever-useful Nanyah was called upon as a lay figure. 
There was neither hesitation nor boldness in her manner. 
She was simply showing the dress, not herself. She had 
neither fear of the stranger nor hesitation to accommodate 
him by wearing this gaudy, savage, costume. With her it 
was simply a pleasure to please others. 

I was told that Nanyah was to be our traveling companion 


to Yakutsk, that she was affianced to an officer of the regi- 
ment stationed there, and this would be the first time she 
had ever been away from Sredne Kolymsk. 

During my sojourn in Sredne, as well as in Nishni Kol- 
ymsk, I was frequently invited to partake of the hospitality 
of some of the inhabitants. At all such entertainments it 
seemed to be a principle with the host to insist upon my 
drinking a glass of vodka that is, diluted alcohol about 
every five minutes. At first I thought I must submit my- 
self to the custom of the country and sustain myself as best 
I could, and the consequence was that when dinner was over 
I had not the slightest idea whether I had eaten anything or 
not, but I was quite sure that I had drank something. 
Later I found out that all that was required was that you 
should sip the liquor and thus avoid the evil consequences 
of heavy drinking, and governed my drinking accordingly. 
I learned that the Russian rule is a glass of vodka before 
dinner, before each plate, during each plate, after eacli plate 
and after dinner that is all." 

From Sredne Kolymsk Mr. Gilder journeyed to Verk- 
hoyausk, where he heard of the loss of the Jeannette and 
turned north to join Melville, as stated in Chapter XXXII. 
Meantime the news of the burning of the Rodgers was 
carried to Yakutsk by a special courier, and transmitted to 
the United States by telegraph from Irkutsk. 



following chapters giving additional particulars of 
-L Noros and Nindermann's journey to Bulun, and of 
Melville's November search for De Long, etc., are compiled 
from Mr. Jackson's letters. Mr. Nindermann's narrative, 
given below, commences on the 6th of October. 

" On the 6th of October, Erickson's condition left no hope of 
'recovery, and it was feared that he would be unable to move 
on further. I was alone in the hut and the captain asked 
me if I was strong enough to go to Kumak Surka, which lie 
said was only twenty-five miles distant. He thought that I 
with a companion would be able to make the journey and 
return to them in four days. He told me that if we failed 
to find people at Kumak Surka, we should then go further to 
a place called Ajakit, which he said was about forty-five 
miles further to the south than Kumak Surka. ' If you find 
people,' he said, ' come back as quickly as possible and bring 
with you meat enough to feed us until we can get to the 

The captain asked me which of the men I would take 
with me on the journey, and I said Noros. He asked me if 
I would not rather take Iverson, but I said no, Iverson had 
been complaining of his feet for some days. He then agreed to 
my selection, and said further, < Nindermann, you know that 
we have nothing to eat, and that I can give you nothing with 
you on your journey ; but I will give you your portion of the 
dog meat.' 

As we talked about these things the doctor walked up and 
looked at Erickson, and exclaimed, c Ho is dead ! ' We were 
27 (449) 


all awed. The captain then said, ' Nindermann, now we will 
all go southward.' This was about nine o'clock when Erick- 
son died. 

The captain then asked me where we could find a place to 
bury him ; I answered that the earth was too hard frozen to 
dig a grave, and that we had no implements with us ; we 
could do nothing else than make a hole in the ice of the 
river, and bury him there. The captain said yes, it must be 
BO, and then told Noros and Kaack to sew the body up in a 
portion of the canvas belonging to the tent. 

At midday we were ready to bury him ; the flag was placed 
over him, and we had a little warm water with alcohol in it 
for our dinner. When we had drunk that the captain said : 
* We will now bury our shipmate.' All were very still, and 
the captain spoke a few words to us, and when he was 
finished we took our comrade toward the river, and then made 
a hole in the ice with a hatchet. The captain then read the 
service for the dead, and Erickson's body was let into the 
river, and was carried away from our eyes by the stream. 
Three shots were fired over his grave, and then we went 
back to the hut. The weather was very bad, the wind was 
very strong, and the snow drifted fearfully. We had not 
much to say one to the other. 

The captain told me to go out and see how the weather 
was. I went out, but the weather was so bad and the snow 
drifted so strongly that I could scarcely see anything ; and I 
said it would be better to wait till the storm abated, for we 
could not see where we were going if we started out. I 
thought the day was just such a day as the one in which we 
buried Captain Hall. The captain then said, < We will wait 
till to-morrow.' That evening we ate our last portion of dog 
meat. The captain said, ' This is our last meat, but I hope 
we will soon have some more.' Then we all laid down to 

On the 7th of October when we awoke the wind was pretty 
strong and the snow was still drifting. We made prepara- 
tions to continue our journey. We left in the hut a repeat- 


ing rifle, some ammunition, and a record. We took nothing 
with us but the records and papers, the captain's private 
journal, two rifles, and the clothes we wore. I suggested 
that all the papers should be left there in the hut, and that 
when we found people I would go back and fetch them; 
whereupon the captain answered : 

' Nindermann, the papers go with me as long as I live/ 

When we left the hut we made a short cut across a sand- 
pit, about southeast, then struck a river, went along on the 
west bank of the river for some distance to the south, then, 
as the river took a turn, we had to go southeast again, then 
struck another small river where there was no water at all, 
going south for a short time, then going to the east for a 
short distance, when we struck the Lena, as the captain sup- 
posed it to be at the time. That is the river he was found 
on. The captain said, i Nindermann, do you think the ice is 
strong enough to bear us ? ' I said, ' I will try it.' I went 
a short way on the river when I broke through, but was not 
very wet. When I looked around me I saw the captain 
quite near to me, and he had broken through up to his 
shoulders. I helped him out and we went back to the bank, 
made a fire, and dried our things. It was then midday, and 
we made some alcohol and warm water to drink." 

On Sunday, October 9th, after divine service, Captain De 
Long sent Nindermann and Noros southward, repeating the 
instructions to Nindermann that he had given him the day 
before Erickson's death. He also gave him a copy of his 
email chart of the Lena River, and said : 

'That is all I can give you on your journey; information 
about the land or the river I cannot give you, for you know 
as much as I do myself. But go southward with Noros, who 
is under your command, until you reach Kurnak Surka, and 
if you should not find any one there, then go on to Ajakit, 
which is forty-five miles southward from Kumak Surka, and 
should you fail to find people there, then go on to Bulun, 
which is twenty-five miles southward from Ajakit, and if 
there are no people there, go southward until you do find 


people. But I think you will find people at Kumak Surka. 
If you should shoot reindeer not farther away than one or 
two days' journey from us, come back and let us know.' 

He gave me, says Nindermann, orders not to leave the 
western bank of the stream, because, he said, on the eastern 
bank I should find neither people nor drift-wood. He told 
me that he could not give me any written instructions, be- 
cause if lie did the people would not be able to read them, 
but I should do the best I could, and use my own judgment. 
He gave me strict orders that we should not wade through 
the water. He then said adieu to us, and that as soon as he 
was ready he would follow in our footsteps as rapidly as 
possible. Then all gave us three cheers, and my comrade 
and I left them. They were all in good hopes that we would 
be able soon to bring back assistance. My hopes, however, 
were not so bright, for I knew that it was very late in the 
fall and that in all probability the people had gone away to 
the south." 

"We did not follow the river round, says Noros, but 
took a straight cut across the land. The mountains were 
ahead of us, and we knew that the river ran near them. Ifc 
was an island we were on. There was a river on the other 
side of it. Nindermann and I reached the river and walked 
along it about five or six miles. We stopped before noon 
and had a little alcohol. After that we walked on till wo 
came to a little canoe on the top of the bluff, and perched on 
the canoe we saw a ptarmigan. Nindermann shot at it with 
his rifle, and though he took out some tail feathers, the bird 
got away. We went down to the beach, where it was easier 
walking than on the bluff. We walked there about a mile, 
when we again took to the bluff, principally to look around 
us and to see if we could see any game. 

Nindermann happened to get up on the bluff first, and 
exclaimed, ' They are deer give me the gun.' We could 
see them ; they were not more than half a mile away, but 
partly to the windward. So Nindermann took off his heavy 
clothes and lightened himself up, and then crawled along in 


the snow. I gave him the cartridges and said, < Nindermann, 
make sure of your game ; that may be the saving of the 
whole of us/ He said, ' I will do my best.' I was almost 
smoke-blind at the time and could not see very well, but 1 
watched his movements very eagerly. I could make out his 
progress, and saw him crawling slowly up. There were sev- 
eral deer, perhaps a dozen; two or three were grazing and 
keeping the lookout and the others were resting on the 
ground. Nindermann got to within two or three hundred 
yards of them, when one of them caught sight or wind of 
him and gave the alarm to the rest. I saw Nindermann 
start up, and, seeing the deer making off, he fired three shots 
at them, hoping to bring down one with a chance shot. But 
he missed. They all escaped. Nindermann came back 
much disheartened. 4 1 could not help it,' he said ; 1 1 could 
not do any better.' So we had to put up with it. 

Then we started off again, and made another pretty good 
stretch till we felt exhausted and determined to seek shelter 
for the night. The best place we could find was beneath the 
high bluff, at a place where the earth had fallen away, and 
here we built a fire, had our alcohol, and there spent the 
night. We did not sleep much, it was so cold, and most of 
our time was occupied in keeping up the fire." (This camp- 
ing-place was near the place where Captain Be Long later 
built his last signal fire perhaps a mile from the deserted 

Next morning the two men started out again, believing 
they were on the south end of Tit Ary Island. The point 
which they were passing was, however, the bluff north of 
Stalboy. *At their feet the wide Bykoff arm of the Lena 
flowed eastward, and was full of floating ice. A gale from 
the southeast soon came on. 

"We had to go, says Noros, whichever way the wind 
blew us, and so we got away to the northwestward some- 
where. Anyhow that day's travel took us out of our course 
so far that it took us nearly two days to get back again to a 
point opposite to the bluff on which we were when the gale 


commenced. We pushed on in spite of the wind and the 
drifting snow and sand. That night we could not find any 
shelter on the banks, and so we dug a hole in the drift for a 
shelter. This took us three or four hours to do, as we had 
nothing to work with except our hands and sheath knives; 
but at last we managed to dig a hole large enough for the 
two of us to creep into. After we had got in the hole the 
wind drifted the snow upon us and soon filled the entrance 
of our little place, and next morning we had to work a long 
time before we could get out of the drift again. We got up 
and started out ; we did not use any of our alcohol to speak 
of we were saving it up as much as we could." 

On the llth, toward night, after a hard day's tramp, they 
came to a small hut on the bank, and passed the night in it* 
It had a raised fire-place in the center, and they started a 
fire and kept it going by burning up the benches built around 
the room. 

"We hated, says Noros, to leave the first shelter we 
had found since leaving the captain, but we went down to 
the river and started on. We had to face the wind from 
the southward, and we could hardly make any progress 
against it. We would have to stop once in a little while, 
unable to move a step further. We began to give it up in 
despair. At times we felt like going back to the hut, to 
wait there until death relieved us from our sufferings." 

They walked slowly on, and after a while saw some moun- 
tains ahead, and they thought they saw a hut close by, buft 
were not quite sure. There was water between them and 
the hut, and this they had to wade through up to their 
knees. They got across, and then found it was really a 
shelter-place, a little tentAlike hut, built of sticks, and plas- 
tered outside with mud to keep out the wind. It was Mot 
Vai. Noros thought Nindermann had followed him, but 
instead of that he had gone a mile further off, and had 
found another hut. There they saw two crosses, which 
marked the graves of natives. They stayed here a day and 
a half, and ate some refuse eelskins and fish heads which 


they found there. It was poor food, but gave them some 
strength. They supposed they had arrived at Kumak 

On the 14th they again started out, but the wind blew 
hard and they did not make much progress that day. At 
night they found shelter in a curious opening in the bank, 
two feet and a half broad, six feet high, and about fifteen 
yards in extent. It was, in fact, a kind of cave funnel, the 
other opening being on the top of the bank. 

Next day, the 16th, they had breakfast of willow tea and 
portions of sealskin pantaloons, and then started out again. 
They crossed numerous sand banks and small streams 
frozen over, and toward evening struck the Lena proper, 
close to the high mountains on the western bank. That 
day, thinking they might find game on the other shore, they 
crossed over to the mountainous eastern bank of the Lena, 
where they spent a most wretched night in a ravine in a 
mountain side. They then crossed over to the western 
shore of the Lena again. They began to congratulate them- 
selves that the streams were at last all frozen over and 
wading was now unnecessary. That night they had to 
camp under the shelter of a high bank, but, failing to find 
wood, they had neither supper nor shelter, and spent another 
wretched night. 

Next morning, the 19th, they started out again after a 
meal of willow tea and sealskin, going south along the Lena. 
They made nearly no progress at all, and every five minutes 
had to lie down to rest on the ice. Toward night Noros 
was walking on the edge of the river about half a mile ahead 
of Nindermann, and on turning a point of land he saw a 
square hut perched in a gully between two high mountains 
on the west bank of the river; on going toward it he saw 
two other huts tent-like structures of wood and plastered 
outside with mud. These were the huts of Bulcour. 

After staying at Bulcour two or three days, living on 
some blue moulded fish which they found there, they decided 
to start again on the next day, 22d ; but on that morning, 


although they had felt strong enough when sitting or lying 
down, they felt hopelessly weak when they stood up and 
attempted to walk, and therefore decided to rest there 
another day. 

This delay proved fortunate for them. They were cook- 
ing their dinner when they heard a noise outside the door 
that ' sounded like a flock of geese sweeping by/ Ninder- 
mann, who could see through the chinks of the door, said, 
4 They are deer.' He picked up his gun and was creeping 
up near the door, when it was suddenly opened, and a native 
stood before them. He was a Tunguse ; and seeing the gun 
in Nindermann's hands, he dropped on his knees, and 
pleaded, apparently, for his life. Nindermann threw down 
his gun and made signs to assure him that he would not be 
harmed ; and finally he fastened a deer-team, with which he 
had driven up, and came inside. 

"He began to talk, says Noros, but we could not under- 
stand what he was saying. We tried to explain to him 
that we wanted to go to Bulun. We were so glad when 
we saw him that we could have hugged him, for we knew 
then that we were pretty nearly all right. We tried to 
explain to him that there were others of our party away to 
the north, but he could not understand us. He examined 
Nindermann's clothes and then brought in a deer-skin, and 
then a pair of deer-skin boots, and made gestures as if to 
say that he would go away, but would soon return. He 
held up three fingers, and we thought he meant three days.'* 

Nindermann was for keeping him, but Noros advised that 
he should be permitted to do as he thought best. On follow- 
ing him out of the hut they saw four deer; they afterward 
learned that he had brought the two extra animals to put 
in a sled which he had left there some days previously, but 
which had been used by them for fire-wood. 

After seeing the native drive away down the gully they 
went inside the hut to await events. As darkness came ou 
they began to fear that he did not intend to come back. 
4i We thought we had done wrong in letting him go, says 


Nindermann. Night came on and we had got a little 
under way with our soup, when we heard sleds drive up, 
and saw our Tunguse coming with two other natives and 
five reindeer teams. The original Tunguse came rushing 
into the hut, bringing some frozen fish, deer-skin coats and 
boots. We went for the fish. He picked up all our things 
and put them on the sleds. We put on the coats and the 
boots and soon started off. This was about midnight. We 
were driven about fifteen miles, when we came to two large 
tents and many sleds, the deer not being in sight. The 
natives took us and washed our faces and hands and got us 
looking a little decent again. They had a big kettle of deer 
meat on the fire, and we were motioned to help ourselves at 
once. After that they made us some tea, and then spread 
deer-skins for us to sleep on. This was our first comfort- 
able night since we left the captain." 

The native had brought them to a camp of traveling Tun- 
guses, who were on their way to Kumak Surka from a tem- 
porary settlement where they had been staying a little 
further to the north. In the caravan were seven men and 
three women, and seventy-five head of deer dragging thirty 
sleds. With this caravan Nindermann and Noros traveled 
two days, and arrived at Kumak Surka on the 24th of Octo- 
ber. Here the two men were well taken care of, Noros at 
one hut and Nindermann at another. 

They arrived at Kumak Surka during the evening, and 
amid the preparation of meals for a house full of people and 
the arrangement of bunks for the accommodation of the 
guests, there was no opportunity that night to engage atten- 
tion to the subject of their errand. The next day, however, 
Nindermann had the field to himself after the morning meal 
had been discussed. Some one brought him the model of a 
Yakut boat, which they called a 4 parahut,' and asked if his 
4 parahut' was like that. Then, with sticks to represent 
masts and spars, he showed them that it was bark rigged 
and moved by steam power also. All this they seemed to 
understand perfectly, and then asked how and where they 
lost the ship. 


Pointing toward the north he made them understand it 
was very far in that direction, and, with two pieces of ice, 
showed them how the ship was crushed and sank down into 
the sea. Afterward he cut the models of three small boats, 
and put sticks in them to represent the men in each boat, 
and told them, as well as he could, how, with sleds and dogs 
and boats, they had crossed great seas of broken ice and 
open water, and finally reached the shore of their country. 
He then got a piece of paper and drew the coast line and 
sketched the boat, illustrating the manner in which the 
landing was effected. Drawing in the river from the coast 
line to the south, he showed that they walked down the 
east bank of the river, and marked the places where they 
found huts or encamped. He indicated the number of days 
they had been walking by putting his head down and clos- 
ing his eyes as if to sleep and counting the number of sleeps 
with his fingers. He told them as plainly as he could lhat 
the captain, or 'kapitan/ as they called it, had sent him to 
get clothes and food and reindeer, to fetch them to the set- 
tlement, as they were very weak, and in a starving condi- 
tion. He told them he had left the party sixteen days ago, 
and that two days before his departure they had had nothing 
to eat. He used every effort to convey his meaning to the 
savages who had befriended him, and induce them to go to 
the succor of the captain and his party, but was not success- 
ful. Sometimes it seemed as if they understood him per- 
fectly, and at others he felt convinced that they had not 
understood a single thing he had told them. During tho 
entire day he kept talking to them by signs and illustrations 
upon paper, but without avail. 

The next day he renewed his efforts and resorted to every 
expedient to make them understand him. He did not ask 
them only to go alone, but wanted them to go with him. 
They would sigh and look distressed when he described the 
sufferings and condition of the party on the Delta, but when 
he urged that assistance should be sent to them the faces of 
his hearers were totally devoid of expression. He then 


thought of his companions as dead or dying, looking to his 
return as their only hope for deliverance. Weakened by 
fatigue, exposure, and famine, and feeling how utterly pow- 
erless he was when so much depended on him, this terrible 
strain was too much for him, and this strong, brave man, 
who had faced death and endured untold hardships without 
a quiver, sank into a corner and cried like a child. An old 
woman, the wife of the master of the hut, saw him and took 
compassion on him, and a long conference was held by the 
natives which resulted in their endeavoring to comfort him. 
Reaching a hand tenderly upon his shoulder they told him 
he should go to Bulun the next day. He had asked to be 
taken there, hoping to find some one by whom he could 
make himself understood, and it was to his anxiety to reach 
that town that they attributed his grief. 

The next day he again asked them to take him to Bulun 
to see the commandant, and they told him they had already 
sent for the commandant, and were expecting him. During 
the evening the Russian exile, Kusmah, came to the hut, 
and Nindermann asked him if he was the commandant of 
Bulun. To this he answered 'Yes/ or at least Nindermann 
so understood him. Then Kusmah asked, " Parakod Jean- 
nette?" and Nindermann replied, 'Yes.' He then told, as 
well as he could, the whole story of the loss of the Jeannette 
and the history of the retreat, illustrating by his little chart 
and by sketches. 

Nindermann soon felt convinced that Kusmah did not 
understand either the chart or his description. Then he 
told him that on the journey on land one man had died and 
that there were eleven alive. While he was telling him this 
portion of the story Kusmah kept assenting, and seemed to 
understand perfectly. He would keep saying, < kapitan, yes. 
Two kapitan, first kapitan, second kapitan/ alluding to 
Melville and Danenhower. Nindermann then understood 
him to say he couldn't do anything until either one or the 
other of them had telegraphed to St. Petersburg for instruc- 
tions. Therefore Nindermann wrote a telegram addressed 


to the American Minister in St. Petersburg, telling him the 
exact condition of affairs, and that the captain's party was 
starving and in need of food and clothing; and while talk- 
ing, before the despatch was quite finished, Kusmah took it. 
Three days afterward Kusmah handed the despatch to Mel- 
ville at Gecmovialocke. 

From Knmak Surka the two men were sent to Bulun, 
100 versts further south, where they arrived October 29th. 
As soon as the commandant learned of their arrival he sent 
for them and gave them quarters for the day. The next 
day they were transferred to the house of the priest's assist/ 
ant, but this gentleman did not appear to know the virtues 
of hospitality to shipwrecked men. After two days he sent 
them to the hut of a native, who also did not provide well 
for the guests. 

Mr. Melville describes his meeting with Nindermann and 
Noros as follows : 

"Arriving at Bulun, on the 2d of November, I found Nin- 
dermann and Noros of the captain's party. They were in 
the stansea, the common reception place for traveling 
natives, and terribly broken down. They were suffering 
from diarrhoea, and were feverish. They were totally un- 
manned, and burst out crying when they tried to tell me of 
their companions and of their own escape. Gradually I got 
from them as clear an account of their march as they could 
give, and a description of the place where they had left the 
captain's party. They complained to me that they did not 
get the proper kind of food, that after the commandant left 
they had been fed on stale fish that was not fit for any man 
to eat, and had no meat. A fire had been built in their 
place only twice a day, morning and night, and they had 
consequently suffered much from the cold. 

I failed to find anybody in authority in the village; but 
Nindermann and Noros having made the acquaintance of 
the priest's assistant the'Malinki pope,' as he was styled 
I visited him, and gave him to understand that the people 
must tie better taken care of. He said he could do nothing, 


as he had no authority. I told him that there were two or 
three empty houses in the village, and that on the following 
day he must see that the two men had proper accommoda- 
tion. That night I slept in the hole with the two men. 

Next morning the man came, and, feeling that he had 
overstepped his authority, did not want me to have a house ; 
but, finding where a good empty house was, I told him that 
as there was no authority in the village I would take the 
authority upon myself. So I inspected the vacant huts, 
selected the best, notwithstanding the protests of two or 
three people who had gathered around the < Malinki pope/ 
in particular told the men to come, built a fire, and then 
took possession of the new quarters. I told the < Malinki 
pope,' further, that I must have reindeer meat for the men, 
and that they must have as much bread as they could eat. 
I informed him, at the same time, that I was an officer of 
the United States that the governor commanding the dis- 
trict, General Tchernieff, would not allow an American, 
cast on the Siberian shores, to be abused. This appeared 
to bring him and the rest of the Russians and natives to 
their senses. They immediately got me a bag of meal, a 
quarter of a reindeer, the pope himself sending a live rein- 
deer, candles, sugar and tea for the use of the two men. 
Both of them believed that their companions had long since 
been dead when they themselves were found. " 



MR. MELVILLE describes the voyage from Semenoff sky 
Island and separation of the boats as follows : 

" We remained at Semenoffsky Island over Sunday, and on 
Monday morning all three boats were launched. We had 
filled everything we could with snow to be melted for water. 
We made a good run along the island until noon, and had 
our dinner on the edge of the floe, with clear water to the 

Previous to this there had been some discussion as to the 
best point to land upon on the Siberian coast. Captain De 
Long asked the opinions of all the officers. Lieutenant 
Chipp was very decided that we should make for Cape 
Barkin, as once in its vicinity the boats could not mistake 
the coast, running as it does to the west or to the south in 
a direct coast line. When my opinion was asked, I urged 
that if an attempt was made to enter the Lena at all, it 
should be done by way of the eastern mouth ; and I called 
to mind the fact that the captain of the 'Lena' had been 
unable to effect an entrance by any of the northern mouths, 
but had eventually entered the river by the eastern mouth. 
I also suggested that the mouths of the Yana or the Indi- 
girka would be better places for landing, offering at least 
no perplexity of entrances. Captain De Long listened to 
both of us, and then decided the matter in his quiet manner 
by saying: 

< Mr. Melville, I think Mr. Chipp is right. We will make 
for Barkin, and then for the Light Tower and Sagaster, and 
the northern mouth of the Lena.' 



Before leaving the floe, Mr. Chipp reported to the captain 
that his boat was very heavy, and that it was impossible for 
him to keep up with us. For this reason Captain De Long 
determined to relieve him of two men he had then ten 
and put one in the whale-boat and one in his own, the first 
cutter, leaving Mr. Chipp then with eight men all told six 
men and two officers. These two men were Ah Sam, the 
Chinese cook, and Mansen, seaman, the latter of whom was 
given to the whale-boat. Up to this time Mr. Chipp had 
been relieved of carrying his pemmican. When we were at 
the edge of the floe, before starting out to sea, he was known 
to have but half a can of pemmican, but whether he received 
his pro rota of pemmican afterward none of us know. He 
did not get it when we were there. 

The three boats left Seminoffsky in company and contin- 
ued together until about seven o'clock in the afternoon, the 
wind increasing from a fresh breeze to a full gale, the first 
cutter and the whale-boat running with close reefed sails. 
The second cutter being a duller sailer than either of the 
other two, I do not know whether she had reefed sails or 

At seven o'clock in the evening the gale was blowing very 
hard, and the boats were taking in so much water that it 
was absolutely necessary that each boat should take care of 
herself. The whale-boat was a hundred yards to the wind- 
ward of the first cutter, and probably a hundred yards in 
advance, when I heard the captain or some of his people 
hailing, and then saw a signal. I looked round and saw 
Captain De Long waving his arm. Not knowing whether he 
wanted me to go on or to come down to him, I gybed the 
sail and ran the boat down to within hailing-distance, when 
he waved the whale-boat off, shaking his head and arm, 
making a signal for the second cutter, and I supposed he 
wanted to give Chipp his share of pemmican. Nindermann 
informs me that the captain only wanted to tell the boats to 
keep together ; that there was no pemmican passed from the 
first to the second cutter ; and that the sea was so heavy 


that the second cutter never came within hailing-distance of 
the captain's boat. 

It is my opinion that Chipp never reached land, but that 
he was swamped during the gale. The second cutter was 
about the shape of a dry goods box. She was short and 
deep, and although flying the lightest of all three boats, she 
was bad to steer, and, as Mr. Chipp once said, ' eternally fly- 
ing up in the wind.' Being short, if she was hove to, as she 
would undoubtedly have to be, as the others were, she would 
not lie as well." 

The following is Mr. Melville's narrative of his search for 
Lieutenant De Long in November 1881 : 

" At Burulak I secured two teams of dogs driven by 
Wassili Koolgiak and Tomat Constantine the latter being 
one of the natives who had rescued Nindermann and Noros 
at Bulcour. I made Baishoff understand that all expenses 
would be paid ; that I had no money, but my government 
and the Russian authorities would sanction everything I 
said or did. 1 told them I wanted ten days' food for myself, 
drivers and dogs. I had with me then a description I had 
taken down from the narratives of Noros and Nindermann 
of the whereabouts of Captain De Long and his party when 
they had left to come in advance for assistance. I got 
away that afternoon, and that night slept at Kumak Surka. 

Next day I traveled fifty versts, and slept in one of the 
huts of Bulcour the place where Nindermann and Noros 
had been found by the natives. This was the beginning of 
my search, following the river to the northward. During 
the night a snow storm arose and the natives would not 
move. I had not yet recovered from the frozen condition 
of my feet and limbs, so that I had to trust to the natives 
for my safety, and thought it best to wait until the gale 
was over. I was detained one day and the second night. 
Next morning it was calm enough, and I set out again. 
From Bulcour to the hut of Mot Vai is about 130 versts. 
The drivers told me it would be necessary to camp in the 
snow after going half the distance, and that if we were 


caught in bad weather it would be bad not only for them 
and their dogs, but for me, already so feeble. 

We started out and visited a small hut twenty versts 
north of Bulcour, where Noros and Nindermann had stayed. 
I found evidence of their having been there where they 
had eaten their boots and burned the sleds. We camped 
on the snow that night. Next day we traveled as far as 
the place that Noros and Nindermann had designated as the 
two crosses. I searched the huts and saw evidences of 
their having been there, and by midnight arrived at the hut 
of Mot Vai, where we slept. In the morning, when getting 
ready to start out, I found a strange waist-belt, which upon 
examination I knew had been made on board the Jeannette. 
I thought I had struck the first evidences of some of De 
Long's party. Neither Noros nor Nindermann, in their 
description of their journey, made any mention of Mot Vai, 
and they had forgotten all about the place until they after- 
ward visited the hut and recognized it as one of their halt- 
ing places. 

Very much to my surprise, I was then told by the dog 
drivers that they had no more provisions, either for dogs or 
men and this was only the fifth day out. I then inquired 
of them how far it was to the nearest village. They told 
me North Bulun was about 120 versts distant, northwest. 
I gave orders to the drivers to take me 'there, in order to 
get a fresh supply of food. I stopped and slept at Khaskata, 
and visited a number of huts on the way north. 

The next night, about midnight, I arrived at North 
Bulun. On my arrival there I found a considerable village 
of nearly 100 inhabitants. During the first half hour a 
man came in to give me a paper. He made me understand 
he had found it in a hut fifty versts to the eastward of 
North Bulun. I read it and saw it was one of De Long's 
records. Next morning natives brought me a gun and two 
other records, the most important of which was very nearly 
being lost, as a woman had carried it in her bosom until 


the lettering had become almost obliterated and had then 
thrown it away, and there had been some difficulty in find- 
ing it again. By these three records I learned where Lieu- 
tenant De Long had been, and of his course to the southward. 
I then went to look up the natives who had found the 
records, and told them they must take me to the most 
northerly hut, where one of the papers had been found. 

Next morning I started for Ballock, the northermost hut, 
before starting making the people distinctly understand that 
1 must have twenty days' provisions for myself, the dogs 
and their drivers. As there was nothing but frozen fish, I 
selected twenty good ones for myself, allowing myself one 
a day, telling the drivers they should get two apiece for 
themselves per day and sufficient for the dogs, all of which 
they perfectly understood. But in loading the sleds they 
put on the twenty fish I had selected, put on as few as they 
could for themselves, but none at all for the dogs. I found 
out afterward that the people had really no food at all to 
live on, and had given me all the fish they could spare. Of 
this I knew nothing at the time. We arrived at Ballock 
that night. 

Next morning at daylight, following the direction of the 
record, I followed the main northern branch of the Lena, 
keeping the east bank aboard until I reached the sea. 
Then I hurried, and followed the coast for five or six miles, 
and, very much to the surprise of the natives, sighted the 
pole of the flagstaff which De Long had planted to mark 
the cache. They were very much astonished that I should 
tell them what would be found there. I found the things 
carefully placed on a groundwork of sticks to keep them 
clear of the earth, and then carefully covered with old sleep- 
ing bags and rags and bits of canvas. The wind had carried 
away the canvas and most of the covering, and the cache 
was covered with snow. I took the things out and loaded 
the sleds with everything that I found, with the exception 
of one oar. The ice had shoved up on the beach within a 
few yards of the cache. After searching the beach for a 


distance of five or six miles, and a mile or a mile and a half 
off shore looking for the first cutter, darkness came on. It 
commenced to blow hard, and so I determined to carry 
everything I had found to Ballock. On my arrival at Bal- 
lock again, very much to my astonishment, the drivers told 
me they had but one day's food for themselves and dogs, 
and I was, perforce, obliged to return to North Bulun for 
more provisions, carrying the relics with me. 

At North Bulun I picked out everything of importance 
and value, throwing out the old sleeping bags, clothing, 
boots and worthless objects I had brought from the cache. 
The day following it blew very hard. After I had made 
arrangements to start, all the drivers but one said it was 
impossible to go out in such a wind, but I said I would go 
whether they all went or not. Finally, all the drivers 
agreed to start in the gale, and we went to the next shelter 
hut southward of Ballock. Thence I went to Usterda, the 
place where De Long had left the last record found, in 
which he stated that he was about to cross the river to the 
west bank and follow it until he reached a settlement. 

After visiting Usterda I slept at a hut a mile further to 
the south, other huts being filled with snow. I crossed the 
river, as De Long had done, and followed the west bank 
southward, as his record had directed. Noros and Ninder- 
mann having informed me of the different huts the captain's 
party had stopped in, and of the hut in which Erickson 
died, I made the natives understand that I must visit every 
hut, old or new, on the Lena between Usterda and Mot Yai. 
Proceeding south about as far as I supposed the party 
would travel, I came across an old broken-down hut answer- 
ing the description of Erickson's hut as given me by Ninder- 
mann. I searched it thoroughly, but found no evidence of 
the party having been there. I then proceeded south, and 
on the east bank of the river found another hut in good 
repair. I searched it thoroughly, inside and out, but found 
no evidences of the missing men. 

It then came on to blow very badly, and the drivers told 


me it was necessary to seek the shelter of a hut. The 
nearest to us was Sisteraneck, where I slept over night. 
Next day it was still blowing very hard, and the natives 
were loath to start out. As we had a very small amount of 
provisions on hand, and the drivers told me that the gales 
sometimes continued for ten days at a time, I urged them 
to move on, and they said they would go forty versts further, 
to Qu Vina. I searched the hut and all its surroundings, but 
found no evidences of the missing people. 

By this time I felt that I was off the track. I had only 
three or four hours of light during the day to work in. I 
could place no dependence on the natives as regards food. 
Although I was unable to stand on my feet from the effects 
of previous freezing in the whale-boat, I was able, even in 
my semi-disabled condition, to stand the cold, and desired 
to continue the work ; but I found the natives disinclined 
to venture out in the storm. They assured me that if we 
went out both myself and they would most certainly be 
frozen to death. So I made up my mind to return to Bulun. 

The weather was so bad that the drivers would not leave 
Qu Yina that day, and so I had to wait there till the follow- 
ing day, when, the weather being fine, I started on the 
return journey, intending to stop at Mot Vai. As the 
weather continued fine I passed by Mot Vai without stop- 
ping, and camped in the snow further on the way, about 
eleven o'clock at night. Not having a tent we dug a hole in 
the snow, and there lay down for a sleep. During the 
night a terrific storm arose, with dense snow, and contin- 
ued to rage for forty-eight hours, during which time I had 
no food except raw frozen fish. As soon as the gale abated 
we started for Bulcour, eighty versts distant, but we did 
not reach this place till after eighteen hours. A gale had 
arisen, the dogs could not work, but lay down and whined. 
But eventually we arrived at Bulcour and the shelter of the 
huts there. 

On the journey down the loads proved so heavy carrying 
the things I had collected that the natives were obliged to 


walk all the way. I, being unable to walk, was carried on 
one of the sleds. When within twenty versts of Bulcour 
the sleds broke down, first one and then the other, in the 
dark night. The natives spent a long time in repairing 
their sleds, and it was not till some time near morning that 
we arrived at Bulcour. I then thought it best to leave the 
greatest part of my load at Bulcour, to make for Kumak 
Surka and then send back for them. The distance was 
fifty versts, which we covered in fourteen hours. On bad 
roads next day I arrived at Burulak, and the day following, 
about midnight, at Bulun, after being absent twenty-three 

I found that the ' commandant ' had made no effort in the 
search, but had been somewhere up north in the locality 
attending to his own private business. There was a report 
in the Russian newspapers that the Yakutsk government or 
somebody else Russian had sent the deputy ispravnik or 
some other person to aid and assist in the search. This 
was not so. There was neither a doctor nor anybody else 
sent to assist in the original search. Nobody accompanied 
me except the two Yakut dog drivers." 

When Nindermann was searching for Lieutenant Chipp 
on the northern coast of the Delta, in April 1882, as he ap- 
proached the place where Lieutenant De Long landed he drove 
out on the frozen bay, and found the first cutter imbedded 
in the ice and buried in a snow-drift. She had filled with 
water and frozen up as high as the rail both inside and out- 
side. A few small articles were brought away by Ninder- 
mann as relics. 



The following account of the arrival and reception of Engineer 
Melville and his companions at New York city is copied and com- 
piled from the New York Herald: 

"The party of relatives, comrades, and friends of the returning 
heroes, who had gone down to Quarantine to meet them on the 
Navy Yard boat, the Catalpa, spent Tuesday afternoon and night 
in waiting, most of them spending the night at the Staten Island 
hotels. Arrangements were made for calling the passengers of 
the tug together at any time of the night if the steamship was 
signalled. There was fortunately no necessity for doing so, and 
when the meeting did take place it was beneath the fairest of skies 
and amid the balmiest of breezes a perfect autumn day. 

About ten o'clock, Wednesday morning, word was received on 
the Catalpa that the Parthia had passed Fire Island. An hour 
later Mr. William P. Clyde's steam yacht, the Ocean Gem, having 
on board another party of welcome, glided past the Quarantine 
dock amid an exchange of cheers, and on toward Sandy Hook. 
On the yacht were Aldermen Roosevelt, McClane, and Brady, of 
the Aldermanic Committee; Colonel Church and Judge F. J. 
Fithian, of the Citizen's Committee; Chief Engineers Loring and 
Allen, and Past Assistant Engineers Kelly and Barry, of the 
United States Navy; Messrs. H. C. Ellis, J. Bryar, F. M. Can- 
field, John Collins, and others. 

Health Officer Smith had kindly agreed to go out to the Par- 
thia in the Catalpa, and when at half-past twelve she swung off 
from her dock upon the announcement that the Parthia was com- 
ing up the Narrows, she carried that official with her, as well as 
one of the gayest and most expectant parties ever seen. There 



were on board Mrs. John A. Demorest and Maggie Melville, sis- 
ters of the chief engineer ; Mr. Alexander Melville, his brother; 
Miss Lydia V. Demorest, his niece; Miss Newman, the affianced 
of Nindermann, and her mother and brother; Captain J. A. W. 
Watton, the father of Mrs. De Long ; Mr. Gustavus W. Lindquist, 
a mate of Nindermann on the Polaris expedition; Mr. John C. 
Morrison, who shipped the crew for the Jeannette; Surveyor 
Graham, Chief Engineer Maggee, United States Navy; Com- 
mander Kane, United States Navy; Paymasters Caswell and 
Skelding. United States Navy; Lieutenants Jacques and Drake, 
United States Navy; Past Assistant Surgeon Russell, of the 
Naval Hospital, Brooklyn; Mr. R. C. Stone, and others. 

The Catalpa met the yacht Ocean Gem, which had turned 
back again, and then the two went down the Lower Bay in com- 
pany. All were in a state of great expectation. When Dr. 
Smith was asked if it was not an unusual thing for him to go 
down so far to meet a steamship, he replied that this was an un- 
usual occasion. 

At a little after one o'clock the two parties approached the 
Parthia. A scene of the wildest enthusiasm, and which the par- 
ticipants will never forget, ensued. First the Ocean Gem ran up 
to the steamship and saluted her, the steamship blowing two 
whistles in response. Then the turn of the Catalpa came, and as she 
ran up toward the Parthia on the starboard side, they also ex- 
changed salutes. Long before their voices could be made to 
reach across the distance which divided them, the passengers on 
both vessels were frantically waving their hats and handkerchiefs 
or whatever else was conveniently at hand to wave; and by the 
especially strong demonstration proceeding from the Parthia's 
after deck, it was evident to those on the tug that the party they 
had come to welcome was there. And so it proved, as the two 
came nearer, and shouts and cheers took the place of hats and 

' We've got him! ' shouted a hundred voices from the Par- 
thia. 'We've got him! He is here!' and they pointed in the 
direction where Melville was standing, and urged him to a more 
conspicuous place on the ship's side. He did not require much 
urging either, but scrambled upon the railing and shouted until 
he was hoarse, or would have been if he were not such an old 


sailor. His sisters cried their welcome to him, and he pulled his 
cap from his head like an overjoyed boy and flung it toward 
them. It fell into the water, though intended to reach the 
deck of the Catalpa; but no matter about the hat. 

The wildest excitement prevailed when the Parthia took the 
lines of the tug, and preparations were making to open the freight 
port amidships for the health officer. Friends of Nindermann, 
Noros, and Berry saw their dear old faces above the railing of the 
steamship and laughed and cheered and cried; Melville and his 
family and fellow officers were hurriedly exchanging greetings, 
and all the other passengers on both vessels were crowding to the 
sides and hurrahing, except some in the steerage of the Parthia, 
who took up the familiar air 

Home again! home again! 
From a foreign shore. 

From a foreign shore, indeed! Wide open swung the iron 
doors of the freight port, and up went the doctor, helped by a 
dozen pairs of hands. At his heels was Lieutenant Jacques, who 
was supposed to be the only other person to board the Parthia ; but 
Commander Kane, Paymaster Skelding and several others fol- 
lowed him. They brought down Melville, or rather they followed 
him, for Melville was too eager to be brought, and the first arms 
into which he fell, as he reached the deck of the tug, were those 
of Chief Engineer Maggee. They embraced like lovers, Melville 
dropping his head upon his old friend's shoulder and then kissing 
him on the cheek, both of them in tears the while. The shouting 
had to be done by the mere spectators now, for the voices of all 
the others were choked with emotion. Melville embraced his 
brother, and others of his companions in the navy, and then meet- 
ing Captain "Watton, fell upon his neck, and they cried together. 
Those tears were for De Long, but not a word was necessary to 
make it understood. 

Then Melville went back upon the steamship to look after his 
luggage, and two boxes that were to be transferred to the tug, 
the two boxes which, as he afterwards said, he had not once lost 
sight of these many months, containing all that was found belong- 
ing to De Long and his companions, including the log and the 
private records. Melville's old comrades declared he looked 
almost the same as ever, except that he had lost a little flesh, and 


that his hair, which grew long upon his neck, was a little thinner. 
His rather tall and heavy figure looked pliant as ever, and his 
gray eyes, surmounted by a high forehead, which looked all the 
higher because of a little baldness, beamed with their old, affec- 
tionate lustre. 

'Welcome, Noros! ' cried a score of voices, as the athletic figure 
of a young man, with a bronzed face, blue eyes, and a light brown 
moustache, clambered with a sailor's agility through the port in 
the steamer's side down upon the rail of the tug, there to have his 
hands grasped and to be hugged about as enthusiastically as Mel- 
ville had been greeted. Noros is the most youthful of any of the 
returned explorers. He does not look to be more than twenty- 
five years, and he is as shy as a girl. He looks like a New Yorker. 
He has rosy cheeks, a frank face, is fleshy, and appears none the 
worse for his terrible experiences, although, as he explained, he 
carries with him rheumatic pains which he fears will not easily be 
shaken off. 

Nindermann was the next to make his appearance amid 
another burst of cheers and affectionate greetings. He is a short 
man, with a thick-set frame, and looks like what he is a sturdy 
Swede. He has a long black moustache, reaching down to the 
corners of his chin, and his face and hands are tanned to the color 
of leather. 

Then Melville came again on the tug and renewed his welcomes 
until he was conducted to the pilot-house, where Nindermann and 
Noros had gone before him, and where the ladies were awaiting 
them. They were left alone there for a time with those belonging 
to them, and the joy of such a meeting may easily be imagined. 

The tall form of Commander Berry issued from the side of 
the Parthia, and that completed the party intended for the tug. 
Commander Berry's parting from those on the steamship was of 
the most affectionate kind, several of the lady passengers kissing 
him, and the men on the deck cheering him lustily when he 
descended to the tug. His welcome there was as sincere and 
demonstrative as his parting had been. Bancroft Library 

Meanwhile the steamship and tug were moving at a good rate 
of speed toward Quarantine. The navy officers had not been 
wasting their spare moments. Bottles of champagne were opened 
in the pilot-house, wherewith the family and friends of Melville 


were to drink his health; and Paymaster Skelding passed some of 
the "beverage up to those on the Parthia, where it was hastily made 
way with, and the bottles were smashed upon the deck of the tug 
by way of a parting favor. 

'Engineer Mellville,' said Lieutenant Jacques, as he stepped 
into the pilot-house, < I have the honor to extend you a hearty wel- 
come on behalf of the Secretary of the Navy, and the commander 
and officers of this station.' 

The returned explorer bowed his thanks, and added that such 
a reception was more than he had looked for. 

A scene of a different kind was soon to follow. Poor Captain 
Watton stood on the deck outside the pilot-house, and he and 
Melville met again. The captain asked him something about De 

1 My God ! ' cried Melville, bursting into tears and grasping 
Captain Watton's hand, ' you have lost a son and I a friend. They 
may say what they like, but I assure you for Melville that he has 
lost a friend.' 

The Catalpa had cut loose from the Parthia, whose passengers 
gave a parting yell for Melville that might have been heard in 
Coney Island, opposite to which these scenes transpired, and the 
Ocean Gem ran alongside the tug. Melville first and many others 
afterward, including some of the relatives of the honored guests. 
were transferred to the yacht. On her decks the scenes of glad 
greeting were repeated. As the yacht started for the city, Alder- 
man McClane made a speech of welcome to Melville on behalf of 
the city authorities, tendering him the Governor's Room for the 
purpose of a public reception ; and Colonel Church followed with 
a speech of welcome on behalf of the citizens of New York and 
of the country. A handsome lunch was spread in the cabin of 
the yacht, to which Melville and his companions were invited ; but 
they were too much elated to remember their stomachs, and after 
a show of eating and some real drinking, a happy speech by 
Alderman Roosevelt, and a complimentary resolution to Mr. Wil- 
liam P. Clyde for his courtesy and assistance, the party went on 

Here, on the after-deck, an extraordinary contrast was at one 
time presented; one of those rain-in-the-sunlight scenes which 
form so strange a phase of our human life. On two camp-stools, 


side by side and hand in hand, sat Melville and Captain Watton, 
talking together in low tones, and the tears coursing down the 
cheeks of both. Within arm's reach of them, and also side by 
side and hand in hand, sat Nindermann and his affianced bride; 
but they spoke only with their eyes, and their faces were so happy 
that they rained smiles on all around them." 

A crowd of people awaited the arrival of the yacht at Twenty- 
third street. Mellville disembarked amid the greatest display of 
enthusiasm, was led off the dock between two files of marines, 
and, followed by the entire party, took carriages which were in 
waiting to convey them to the Hoffman House. Shortly after- 
ward a delegation from Philadelphia waited on Melville and his 
companions, and tendered to them the hospitality of their city in 
the name of the committee of citizens they represented. 

Mr. Melville had been invited to visit Public School No. 3, at 
the corner of Grove and Hudson streets, and was there at nine 
o'clock precisely. Many friends and relatives of the pupils were 
present. After being introduced, Mr. Melville, in a short speech 
said that he had himself received his first instruction at this very 
school; that he looked back to those days as the happiest of his 
life, and that he hoped all his juvenile hearers would ' make hay 
while the sun shines,' and grow up to be useful members of the 

After Mr. Melville had returned to his hotel, two ladies 
dressed in deep black called upon him. They were the sisters of 
[Lieutenant Chipp, and there were tears in the eyes of all three as 
they took their leave. Later in the day, Melville called on Mrs. 
De Long, at the residence of her father, Captain Watton, and con- 
veyed to her the last messages of her dead husband. In the af- 
ternoon, at a public reception in the Governor's room at the City 
Hall, many citizens called on Melville and Noros. 

In the evening about 150 gentlemen sat down to a banquet 
tendered to Melville at Delmonico's. Judge J. R. Brady presided, 
and in a short speech said that they had met to honor men who 
had shed glory upon the American name in the Arctic regions. 
As an explorer, Melville had distinguished himself by his fortitude, 
fidelity, courage, and heroism. 

'But,' he continued, 'while the national heart throbs with 
great pleasure at his return, and while in every household in the 


United States his name is as familiar as a household word, we 
must turn to the unfortunate comrades whose lives were lost in 
the same noble pursuit in which he was engaged. And, gentle- 
men, now I ask you to turn for a moment to the unfortunate 
De Long and his comrades, and to drink to their memory in 
silence and standing.' The toast was drank amid the most intense 

In response to cheers given in his honor, Mr. Melville spoke 
hurriedly as follows: 

'GENTLEMEN: In behalf of myself and my two comrades 
two sailor men who are here to-night I will say two or three 
words I won't count them, but I shall say only two or three, 
and, indeed, I should prefer to say nothing at all. I can only say 
that I feel that we did our whole duty, that we did all that we 
could do, and that if we had not tried to do that we would have 
been no men at all.' 

Letters of regret from several distinguished gentlemen were 
then read. Among them was one from Rev. H. W. Beecher, who 
expressed admiration for the hero of the evening, and his com- 
panions in hardship, and concluded with the declaration that there 
was no invention of art of so much value as that which raises the 
standard of simple manhood. Mayor Grace then made a speech, 
from which the following are extracts: 

' There sit here beside us the survivors of a brave company, 
the history of whose fateful voyage we know so well. These men 
and their companions, whom we shall see no more, have displayed 
such courage and endurance as the world rarely sees. There is 
no one so thoughtless, none with so poor a memory, that their 
story is not graven on his heart. After twenty months of tortu- 
ous drifting, clamped in oceanic ice, their stanch ship stanch 
as wealth and skill could devise went down in the darkness of 
Arctic night. Then came months of wandering, and cold, hunger, 
and death; but their hearts were stancher than their ship. Their 
invincible courage never faltered. To you, sir, and to all the gal- 
lant crew, from the dead leader to the humblest surviving seaman, 
do all brave hearts owe their testimony, that, though our navy may 
be deficient in hulls of iron, she yet has her hearts of oak. At 
that parting scene the most pathetic in the history of Arctic 
exploration when on the banks of the Lena, standing knee deep 


in snow, the men gave three cheers to the two comrades who 
were going forth for rescue, the last words from the already clos- 
ing grave were these: 'When you get to New York, remember 
me.' Yes, we do remember them. We remember their gallantry, 
their courage to dare, and still higher courage to endure. 

1 There is no man with capacity for growth who is not made 
better and stronger by contemplation of the characteristic bravery 
and will of these gentlemen and their dead comrades. It is these 
things which spring directly out of human nature which touch a 
sympathetic chord in every man's heart, where a Newton or a 
Kepler are cold abstractions. It is because these gentlemen have 
shown us in themselves the very types of courage and unselfish 
devotion, that this city and this country welcome them with a joy 
which is tempered only with grief for the loss of the brave men 
who will come home no more.' 

Chief Engineer Isherwood said that Melville's brother engi- 
neers were not surprised when they read of his exploits. He did 
precisely what they should have expected from him. Engineers 
were trained to grapple with and overcome the forces of nature. 
The chief distinction between the ancient and the modern civil- 
izations, lay in the fact that the ancients had no engineers. 

Judge Brady remarked that in the navy it was impossible to 
get on without hatchways, and introduced Uncle Rufus Hatch, 
inviting him to say whether he was a ' bull ' or a ' bear ' on engi- 
neering. The Wall street sage made some amusing references 
to his recent trip through the Northwest, and apropos des lottes 
remarked that < all of us ' would have at the end of our lives a 
little obituary notice in the Herald provided the survivors were 
able to pay for it. But when all ordinary obituaries had been for- 
gotten, the names of Melville and his companions would still be 
fresh and brilliant in the pages of the history of heroism, and 
would be pointed to with pride by their posterity. 

Senator Jones was then called upon to respond in behalf of 
the United States Senate. He delivered a glowing eulogy upon 
the heroism and self-sacrifice of the men of the Jeannette. As 
dangers thickened, and the chances of life decreased, he said, the 
humanity and fellowship of the sufferers increased. Those whom 
God permitted to survive did not save themselves at the expense 
of their fellow-sufferers. This was the highest manifestation of 


human virtue, and if we honor Melville for perilling his own life 
we ought to honor him still more for valuing the welfare and 
safety of his companions above his own. God grant that he 
might long continue to enjoy the honors that he deserves from his 
fellow-creatures. He was a man all Americans should be proud 
of. The good qualities he displayed in presence of danger were 
peculiarly American. 

Judge Brady then said that he had not forgotten that there 
were two companions of Melville present Messrs. Nindermann 
and Noros. He proposed their health, which was drunk with 
enthusiasm and three cheers. 

' Bring them to the front! ' was the cry after the toast had 
been honored; and the two seamen were led to the dais at the 
head of the table amid a round of applause, to which they blush- 
ingly bowed their acknowledgment. 

Captain Parker responded to the toast to the health of Nin- 
dermann and Noros. He said that it was well to do honor to- 
lead ers like Melville; but they should remember that it was the 
faithfulness, courage, and obedience of the subordinates that ren- 
dered the glory of their leaders possible. 

After speeches by several other gentlemen, the meeting dis- 
persed with three hearty cheers for Melville, Nindermann, and 

About noon the next day a deputation of citizens of Philadel- 
phia and officers of the navy stationed there, proceeded to the 
Hoffman House to escort the Arctic voyagers to the City of 
Brotherly Love. This committee consisted of Commodore 
Rodgers, U. S. N., chairman; James A. Wright, Geo. W. Childs, 
Colonel John Price Wetherill, General Weitzel, U. S. A. ; Chief 
Engineer Hilbert, U. S. N. ; Pay Director A. W. Russell, U. S. N.; 
Joel Cook, 0. E. McClellan, Edward W. Clark, and H. T. Kenny, 
of the Pennsylvania Railroad. The party traveled in the special 
car of President Roberts of the Pennsylvania Railroad; and on 
arriving at Philadelphia, and while stopping there, Melville and 
his companions received a welcome no less hearty than that 
accorded them in New York. Melville's interview with a depu- 
tation, fifty in number, from the Association of ex-engineers of 
the United States Navy was particularly interesting and affecting. 


< God bless you, old fellows,' was Melville's first greeting, as he 
sprang among them. 

From Philadelphia Mr. Melville proceeded to his home at 
Sharon Hill, Pennsylvania, and was cordially received by citizens 
of that town. While in New York he had received from them a 
congratulatory letter, which closed as follows: 

' But if you have not brought us tales of new lands and new 
seas which hide behind the glaciers of the Arctics, there has come 
to us over that polar messenger, the telegraph, other tidings of 
frightful sufferings, manfully borne of partial rescue and finally 
of a self-devotion and heroism in the search for your lost com- 
rades, that throws a melancholy sweetness over the monotonous 
agony and the final deep tragedy of the voyage of the Jeannette. 

'The whole civilized world is thrilled to the core with the 
story of your search for the dead. You, as the leader of that 
search, have earned a foremost place in the roll of Arctic heroes. 
And we, your neighbors, in welcoming you back to your home 
in common with the rest of mankind accord to you the respect 
and the homage due to one who holds life as of little worth when 
duty or humanity calls. May the past years of suffering be atoned 
for by an unclouded future a future in which no long Arctic 
night will have a place, but where all will be warmth, and sun- 
shine, and happiness. "With heartfelt respect we greet you,