Re the Lady Franklin Bay expedition, its retreat to the South and its terrible trials. A rather romantic reconstruction, with no index. Author claims his work is based on NYPL sources. There are some bits of reading material in the book.
p. 66, on ennui and what Brainard called “the treadmill existence of our darkest days.” Their amusements included checkers and long arguments: …even if most of the arguments are senseless, the men seemed to enjoy the excitement and I believe it must do them good. It’s exercise. As usual, the man with the strongest lungs won the debate… (Greely).
opp. p. 96 is a good photo of Greeley’s corner at Fort Conger, with lots of books.
p. 135: While collecting the clothing [at Cape Sabine]…Rice noticed a page of newspaper which had been used in the packing. The name Henry Clay caught his eye. It was an article by their friend who had left them at Fort Conger because of Dr. Pavy’s antagonism. This discovery inspired Rice and the others to collect each scrap of newspaper (many pages were wet and torn) to be carried back to camp. There they were dried and later provided much information and entertainment for men who had received no news of the rest of the world in more than two years.
It was from one of these scraps of newspaper that they learned President Garfield had died. The news had a special impact on the commanding officer who could recall his last meeting with the President before leaving with the expedition….
p. 180: In the evening there were readings from the books that were brought from Fort Conger and from the Army Register left in the cache by Lieutenant Garlington.
p. 185: The evening readings were designed to provide variety in readers and subject matter. Gardiner would read a chapter or two from the Bible. Jewell would read a chapter of Pickwick, and Greely, characteristically would read selections from the Army Register.
p. 215-16, re Lockwood’s depression: I do little talking, finding it difficult to raise my voice. I am pursued by ennui, aimlessness, apathy and indifference, induced by hunger, cold, gloom, dirt and all the miseries of this existence. I am very week, both physically and morally, and find it impossible to shake these sad thoughts off; but my spirits today are better than usual, and those of the party very good indeed.