Cape Clay Diary, March 1 – June 21, 1884.

To an almost hallucinatory degree, this diary by one of the six survivors is remarkably full of recipes and lists of foods and ingredients. A veritable wish list for foods, and even desirable books, as in entry below:

p. 107: Spanish hash — Lt. G. Get mince meat [illegible] in Philadelphia — Gardiner. Guava jelly either in jars or boxes — the former the best. Proctor’s Star charts for students $2.50 — For general knowledge of solar system +c procure Newcombs + Haldens Popular Astronomy + Tait’s astronomical discussion in the International Scientific Series — Procure the latter work of which there eight or nine volumes published. Tribune Almanac the best for general information — the Scientific American also publish a similar work of great value.

Lost bet of Boston Box Oyster Stew with Biederbick. Bet copy of Plutarchs Lives with Ralston that seal would be got on or before April 18th 1884 and won Scollops [illegible].

p. 108: I made bet of Putmans [sic] Dictionary of Dates that our new pemmican had lime juice in it. (April 18th 1884)

Bet the same against a bushel of peanuts + on the same date with Lt. Greely. Get good work on Natural History. Purchase Eugene Sue’s Mysteries of Paris + The Wandering Jew.

p. 169. April 18, 1884: Lt. Kislingbury + I sealed the notebooks of Rice + they were turned over to my custody to deliver to the Chief Signal Officer by Lt. Greely.

p. 191, May 3, 1884: Tempt. at 6 a.m. at zero. at 11 am. +12. at 3 P.M. +6. The tempt remains very low for this season. Even nature is against us, will nothing be favorable for us. Our ration is now only 8 oz daily except the shrimps + kelp in which there is little or no nutriment. Will these days of misery + wretchedness never end — can we endure it much longer with thieves + men devoid of all honor in our midst. Tempt. inside at 6 a.m. [illegible] Lt. G has taken nothing but three or four spoonfuls of stew.

Will anyone ever be able to decipher this writing. It is in great part illegible the sentences incoherent, + all written in a hurry + with great rapidity and under the most trying circumstances that our miserable condition would admit of.

p. 230-31, June 1,1844: We are all very weak + much depressed, especially those who were exposed to the fury of the storm in the miserable shelter + without food for over thirty six hours + as the end of that time when deserving of the best breakfast that could be ordered at Delmonico’s were content with 3 oz shrimps in a little of their soup + a cup of tea. Lt. K. became unconscious at 8 a.m. + breathed his last at 3 P.M. The beautiful Episcopal Service was read this evening as has been the custom on all these occasions. A short time before he became unconscious he begged hard for water + wound up by singing the Doxology.