Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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GREELY, Adolphus Washington, explorer, born in Newburyport, Massachusetts, 2'7 March. 1844. He was graduated at Brown high-school in 1860, and enlisted in the 19th Massachusetts regiment on 3 ,July, 1861. After rising to the rank of 1st sergeant, he was appointed 2d lieutenant in the 81st United States colored infantry, 18 March, 1863, was promoted to 1st lieutenant, 26 April, 1864, and on 13 March, 1865, was brevetted major of volunteers for faithful services during the civil war. He was appointed 2d lieutenant in the 36th regular infantry. 7 March, 1867, assigned to the 5th cavalry on 14 July, 1869, and promoted to 1st lieutenant, 27 May, 1873. Soon after the war he was detailed for duty in the signal service, and in 1881 was selected to command the expedition sent into the arctic regions by the government, in accordance with the plan of the Hamburg international geographical congress of 1879, to establish one of a chain of thirteen circumpolar stations for scientific purposes. His party, twenty-five in all, sailed from St. John's, Newfoundland, in the "Proteus," on 7 July, 1881, and reached Discovery harbor, lat. 81° 44' N., long. 64° 45' W., on 12 August, 1881, taking with them materials for a house, instruments for scientific observation, and stores for twenty-seven months. Arrangements had been made to send out expeditions in the summers of 1882 and 1883, with additional stores for the party; but Greely was ordered, if these expeditions failed to reach him, to abandon the station not later than September, 1883, and retreat southward along the coast by boat. The party remained at Discovery harbor nearly two years, frequent explorations being made into the surrounding country. On 15 May, l882, three of the party succeeded in reaching a point farther north than any previously attained. (See BRAINARD, D.L.) Lieutenant Greely made two trips into the interior of Grinnell Land in the summer of 1882, discovering a lake sixty miles long, which he named Lake Hazen, two new mountain ranges, the altitude of whose highest peak, Mount Arthur, was 5,000 feet, and many rivers and glaciers. Meanwhile, the two relief expeditions had failed to reach Discovery harbor. That of 1882, in the "Neptune," under Lieutenant Beebe, only succeeded in reaching lat. 71° 20' N., and that of 1883, in the "Proteus" and the "Yantic," tinder Lieutenant Garlington, resulted in the destruction of the former vessel by the ice. Both expeditions left stores in caches at various points. On 9 August, 1883, Greely and his party set out on their retreat southward, after making, during nearly two years, systematic observations of temperature, atmospheric pressure, the direction and height of the tides, the velocity of the wind, and the intensity of gravity. The health of all, up to this time, had been excellent. On 15 October, after meeting with various adventures, drifting about Smith sound for thirty days on an ice-floe, and being compelled to abandon their steam launch in the ice, they reached Cape Sabine, where they established their winter quarters. Here they suffered greatly from wane of provisions, and were finally forced to live on boiled strips of seal-skin, lichens, and shrimps. Sixteen of the party died of starvation, one was drowned, and one, Private Henry, was shot by Lieutenant Greely's orders, on the ground that he repeatedly stole food. The seven survivors were rescued by the third relief expedition, under Captain Winfield Schley, on 22 June, 1888, in so exhausted a condition that forty-eight hours' delay would have been fatal. Since the return of Lieutenant Green he has been charged with incapacity and arbitrary conduct in his management of the expedition; but these charges have not been listened to by his superiors. He was promoted to captain, 11 ,June, 1886, and in 1887, after the death of General William B. Hazen, was appointed by President Cleveland to succeed that officer as chief of the signal-service corps, with the rank of brigadier-general. In 1885 he was given the queen's gold medal by the Royal geographical society of London, and he has also received a gold medal from the Paris geographical society. He has published " Three Years of Arctic Service "(New York, 1886). See also "The Rescue of Greely," by Captain Winfield S. Schley, United States N. (1885).
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