International Polar Expedition. Report on the Proceedings of the United States Expedition to Lady Franklin Bay, Grinnell Land.

Greely’s official report is only 93 pages and records, mostly in monthly segments, the chief events of the expedition. It does not amplify what he already had published more expansively in his Three Years of Arctic Service (1886), but continues the defensiveness over some disputed actions. He is always concerned about the safety of the scientific records and other journals prepared by the expedition.

Volume I:

p. 13, November 1881: A tri-weekly school was commenced during the month and kept up through the winter, with benefit to the men attending. Of the educational qualifications of the expedition it may be said that every man of the party but one could write, and he acquired the attainment during the winter. A semi-monthly newspaper, The Arctic Moon, continued for four numbers, exciting interest and affording amusement.

The 24 was appointed as a day of thanksgiving and praise. Selections from the Psalms were read in the morning. Amusements of various kinds, races, rifle-shooting, etc., filled up the day pleasantly and added zest to the excellent dinner which followed.

p. 16: March 1882 re Lt. Lockwood’s trek to Thank God Harbor: Although the roof and a side were gone, the observatory building at Thank God Harbor was found yet standing, and the stores fairly protected from weather and animals. In quantity and variety the articles in no way agreed with the list in the Polaris narrative. [The records of the English expedition March 1876: Nares exped. aboard HMS Discovery] and their store-book were brought to Fort Conger. They form, with Lieutenant Lockwood’s orders and report, Appendices Nos. 38, 39, and 40. (p. 144-155, q.v.).]

p. 22-23, May 1882 when Greely sent Dr. Pavy to the Polaris Boat Camp (Hall): He returned on the 16 via Thank God Harbor, from which place he brought one hundred and ten pounds of pemmican, a grindstone, and three books belonging to the English Arctic expedition. The books were abandoned at Fort Conger. No written report of this trip was made by Dr. Pavy.” [see p. 147-48 where several books from Thank God Harbor are listed:

p. 147-8: List of stores at Thank God Harbor and their condition, includes the following:

2 volumes “Punch,” bound, good.

1 book (— —), good. [could be “Two in a Tower”?]

1 book (Eulalie) good. [a short lyric poem by Edgar Allan Poe]

1 book (Foul Play), good. [Charles Reade novel or Dion Boucicault dramatic adaptation]

1 book (Albert Nyanza) by Baker, good. [Samuel Baker’s The Albert N’yanza: the Great Basin of the Nile, for which a new edition appeared in 1874.]

p. 37: October 1882 I inaugurated a series of lectures for the winter, and was assured co-operation from Dr. Pavy and Sergeant Israel, my astronome.

p. 65-66, while describing the harsh trip towards Cape Sabine, Greely praises the general conduct of his party, with improprieties only on the part of a few members: Fortunately the party as a whole was never otherwise than subordinate and united. Such subordination and united action had been our safety in five hundred miles travel, which had ended in our party of twenty-five landing in health and strength, with records and instruments safe, on the barren coast of Ellesmere Land.

p. 68: I refused to abandon either records, instruments, or any part of our provisions until their ultimate safety was secured, by caching them on the island where the three provision depots were situated.

p. 73: To break the monotony of our winter routine I commenced on November 17 [1883] daily lectures on the physical geography, the history, the resources, etc., of the United States in general and the States in detail. The natives of any State generally supplemented my own knowledge. This arrangement occupied about two hours daily, and was continued throughout the winter, being omitted only on days when some other means of diverting the mind were adopted for a change. Readings were given nearly every evening, which lasted from one to two hours. Although scarcely able to spare the small quantity of seal-oil needful for the miserable light used at such times, yet it is impossible to doubt that in no other way could so much benefit come from it to the party. Later in the winter Dr. Pavy gave many very interesting lectures on various subjects, physiology, etc.

p. 76: The last days in January [1884] were occupied by me in copying our meteorological records and in writing letters to Lieutenant Garlington, the Chief Signal Officer, and others, to be carried to Littleton Island.

p. 107. VI. Memorandum of Outfit: List of apparatus to be furnished to Point Barrow and, with some exceptions and additions, to Lady Franklin Bay.

Blank books and forms.— Twelve diaries for 1881, 1882, and 1883, respectively, one to be kept by each man; two hundred and fifty books for original record of meteorological observations; fifty blank books for daily journal, for miscellaneous observations; fifty volumes Form 4, for copy of origin record; three hundred star charts, for auroras, &c.; one hundred forms for comparison of barometers; eight hundred forms for anemometer register.

Books. —Instructions to Observers, Signal Service, U. S. A.; Annual Reports of the Chief Signal Officer, from 1873 to 1880, inclusive; Loomis’s Treatise on Meteorology; Buchan’s Handy Book of Meteorology; Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections, Vol. I.; Guyot’s Meteorological and Physical Tables; Church’s Trigonometry; Chauvenet’s Practical Astronomy; Bowditch’s Navigator; Bowditch’s Useful Tables; Lee’s Collection of Tables and Formula; American Nautical Almanac for 1881, 1882, and 1883; Admiralty Manual of Scientific Inquiry, 4 ed.; Admiralty Manual and Instructions for Arctic Expedition, 1875; Nares’s &c., Reports of English Arctic Expedition; Nares’s Narrative of Voyage to Polar Sea, London, 1878; Charts, United States Hydrographic Office, No. 68, and British Admiralty, Nos. 593, 2164, 2435; Bremiker’s edition of Vega’s Logarithmic Tables; Barlow’s Tables; Coast Survey Papers on Time Latitude, Longitude, Magnetics, and Tidal Observations; Everett’s Translation of Deschanel; Sigsbee on Deep Sea Sounding, &c. (U. S. Coast Survey Report); Markham’s Collection of Papers Relating to Arctic Geography, London, 1877; Schott’s Reduction of Observations of Hayes, and Sontag, of Dr. Kane, and of McClintock; Manual of Military Telegraphy; Myer’s Manual of Signals; J. R. Capron, Auroræ: their characters and spectra; Pope’s Modern Practice of the Electric Telegraph; Instructions for the Expedition toward the North Pole, from Hon. George M. Robeson, Secretary of the Navy; stationery, as ordinarily supplied; drawing paper and instruments.

All officers and observers of the expedition are charged to at once familiarize themselves in detail with these instructions, and in the practice of the duties they prescribe, together with a thorough knowledge of the instruments and their use; and commanding officers are specially charged to see that these requirements are observed.

The identical list is found in P. H. Ray, Report of the International Polar Expedition to Point Barrow, Alaska….Washington: Government Printing Office, 1885. p. 17.

p. 109, records left at Southeast Cary Island from the Nares expedition were returned to the Admiralty, via the war department.

p. 110, Aug. 2, 1881. Kislingbury finds fragments of books at Life Boat Cave, where Polaris crew camped after ship went down, and where Nares later visited.

p. 117, report of Sgt. Jewell Sept. 3 1881: …in the ice was in small packs, with no apparent movement. This apathy of the ice did not long continue, as an inward movement was discovered about 11 a.m., the pack bearing down upon the boat from the eastward.

p. 132, Dr. Pavy report from Cape Henry, Feb. 17, 1882: Like a symphonie of nature in such a far away place I shall never forget; and for a long time the noise of the howling of the winds and the grinding of the floes…will remain impressed on my memory.

p. 147-8, for a list of surviving Polaris books see p. 22-23 above.

p. 213, Lockwood found considerable records between Drift Point and Gap Valley in May 1882—he made shorthand copies and left originals there.

p. 225-27 provides transcripts of records left by the British Arctic Expedition 1875-’76 (Nares) at Stanton Gorge, Repulse Bay in 1876 recounting some woes of that trip, scurvy in particular.

p. 335, in Medical Report of Hospital Steward Biederbick, December 8, 1884: Our amusements were varied. We had an excellent library, and the greater part of our spare time was passed in reading. Games of cards, chess, checkers, dominoes, &c., were indulged in. In November, 1881, a small bi-monthly newspaper, the “Arctic Moon,” was started, but the interest in it lessened considerably after a few months’ existence, and its issue was discontinued. A few private theatricals were also indulged in, but, as the talent among us for such entertainments was very limited, interest in these was soon lost. Lieutenants Greely and Lockwood, Dr. Pavy, and Sergeant Israel delivered interesting lectures. Lieutenant Greely especially persisted in his efforts to entertain and amuse his party during the long arctic nights, when, perchance, one or more would show signs of depressed spirits.

The spirits of the party during the dark winter months were sometimes a little depressed, but never very low. Loss of appetite and a general feeling of lassitude were quite common complaints, always successfully treated with tincture of iron, taken after each meal, and an extra diet of raw meat.

p. 344, in Lieutenant Lockwood’s supplementary report on hygiene: Bagatelle, chess, cards, rifle-matches, &c., reading, lectures, and the editing of a paper were resorted to. No indulgence ever requested by either officers or men was ever refused. Every possible plan was followed to induce cheerfulness, confidence, and harmony, conditions in arctic service which are not only essential to health but success.

p. 461, in Brainard’s Diary of the period from “Besetment” to the final rescue. Sunday October 21, 1883: Everyone complains of excessive weakness, and even the strongest of our party may be seen to stagger while walking along. A lemon in lieu of lime-juice was issued to each man this evening. The scraps of newspapers in which the lemons were wrapped have been carefully removed and dried for future reading. It was indeed a rare treat to again receive news from the civilized world. From these scraps we have already learned that Garfield died on September 19, 1881, and that Arthur is now President. [These papers came from a cache of provisions found at Rice Straits.]

p. 462, Thursday, October 25, 1883. The first of a series of very pleasant entertainments took place to-night. The scraps of newspapers taken from the lemons were read aloud for fifteen minutes by Rice just after dinner. This will be repeated every night until all are read. I observed an aurora this evening at an early hour. The next day the sun disappeared for the winter.

Saturday, October 27, 1883: Lieutenant Greely has decided to call this place “Camp Clay,” in honor of Mr. Henry Clay, a fellow-passenger on the Proteus in 1881 to Lady Franklin Bay, from which place he returned to St. John’s. We found a Louisville Courier-Journal in one of these caches, which contains an article written by Mr. Clay regarding our deplorable situation, and making certain specific recommendations which, it is needless to say, have not been followed by the Government. He predicts in this article our present condition, and urges that Cape Sabine (where we now are) should be provisioned. Tobacco was issued to the smokers this evening.

Monday, October 29, 1883: In order that our minds may be lifted from this mire of morbidness and prevented from sinking into a state of torpor an hour or so is devoted each evening to reading aloud. Gardiner reads the Bible; Lieutenant Greely the Army Regulations; and Rice is perusing one of Hardy’s novels, entitled “Two in a Tower.” With the exception of Gardiner’s Bible, these books, together with several others, were found in the wreck cache. [from the Proteus, see p. 23]

p. 468, Saturday, November 17, 1883: Lieutenant Greely entertained us this morning with a description of the physical conditions of North America, in which he is well versed. In his remarks he confined himself principally to the United States. This will be followed by lectures on astronomy by Israel, and on natural history, physiology, and the history of France by Pavy. The evening’s entertainment will be contributed to by all the other members of the party, who will relate their early experiences, converse on various subjects, and read aloud from the few books in our possession.

p. 475, Tuesday, December 25, 1883: The records from Brevoort Island, which were found by Rice in October, were read again aloud and many moistened eyes were observed at its close.

p. 481, Wednesday, January 23, 1884: Dr. Pavy, who is an indefatigable talker on all subjects and at all times, enlivened the evening by recalling reminiscences of his journeyings through Switzerland and adjacent countries. Kane’s Arctic Explorations were also produced and read aloud.

p. 485, Monday, February 11, 1884: Without firm ice on which to cross the sound to Littleton Island but slight hope for life can remain for us. The words contained in Lieutenant Garlington’s record, written after the crushing of the Porteus by ice, ‘Everything within the power of man will be done to rescue the brave men at Fort Conger from their perilous position,’ brought tears to the eyes of the strong men who listened to the reading of the letter that night in October in our dimly-lighted hut at Eskimo Point. Situated as we then were his words inspired us with hope, but months have passed without bringing the promised assistance, and now I am of the opinion that his hopeful words were written without due consideration, and without a full knowledge or appreciation of the difficulties to be encountered.

p. 488, Thursday, February 21, 1884: Dr. Pavy is entertaining us with a series of lectures on the history of France from the earliest authentic date to the present time.

p. 499, Brainard reports that the record cache at Peyer Harbor is in “excellent condition, no portion of the cairn having fallen.”

Volume II: Note on p [ii]: In the House of Representatives, June 17, 1886. Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring). That 4,500 copies, with the necessary illustrations, be printed of the Report on the Proceedings of the International Polar Expedition to Lady Franklin Bay, Grinnell Land, by First Lieutenant A. W. Greely, Fifth Cavalry, United States Army, Acting Signal Officer; 1,250 copies of which shall be for the use of the Senate, 2,500 copies for use of House, and 750 copies for distribution by the Signal Office to foreign libraries and Arctic explorers.

The rest of Vol. II is scientific reports and observations from the expedition.