Lieutenant Danenhower’s Narrative of the “Jeannette”

A well-written and sympathetic account by the syphilitic officer who actually served fairly well despite his periodic illnesses, and the opprobrium of having concealed his condition in order to join the expedition.

p. 3, natives offered to show them where the Vega had passed the winter [near Cape Kamen]: 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 [Vega] had passed safely out to the east. They talked of “Horpish” as having been able to speak their own language—probably referring to Nordquist, who, I notice, is mentioned in Nordenskiöld’s book. After purchasing some of the pictures and tin cans we returned to the ship.

p.10: The evenings in the cabin are passed pleasantly in games of cards, chess, back gammon, and the like, and in reading works of scientific interest or lighter literature.

p. 13: We were very much disappointed at not being able to shift for ourselves, and up to this time we had only demonstrated to our satisfaction that Dr. Petermann’s theory in regard to Wrangell Land being a portion of Greenland was no longer tenable, for its insularity was evident, as subsequently proved.

p. 15: On many occasions I heard the statements in “The Threshold of the Unknown Regions” [by Clements Markham] criticized. In it the authors says that “‘this part of the ocean is teeming with animal life” and that “navigable polynias are numerous.”

p. 30, Monday, June 6: At 1.30 p.m. divine service was read in the cabin.

p. 75-6: Danenhower had a cross which he showed to Siberian natives: It was the only article in possession of the party, indeed, 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 three years, and I never before felt so thankful to missionaries as I did on that day at finding that we were among Christian natives.