Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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BRAINARD, David Legg, explorer, born in Norway, Herkimer County, New York, 21 December, 1856. He attended a district school until his eleventh year, when his father's family removed to Freetown, where he was sent to the state normal school. On 18 September, 1876, he enlisted in the regular army, and was assigned to the 2d cavalry, then stationed at Fort Ellis, Montana. He participated in the Indian campaigns under General Miles, and was wounded in the face in action with the Sioux at Muddy Creek, Montana, 7 May, 1877. In the following August he was one of the four men selected to act as escort to General Sherman and party in their tour through the National park. In July, 1879, he was promoted sergeant, and in May, 1880, recommended for detail on the Howgate polar expedition; but, the enterprise having been abandoned, he returned to his regiment at Fort Assiniboine. Early in the spring of the following year he was again ordered to Washington and made first sergeant (chief of the enlisted men) of the Lady Franklin bay expedition under Lieutenant Greely, which place he held during three years of Arctic service, being in command of many important boat and sledge expeditions. He was associated with Lieutenant Lockwood in all the important geographical work, and was one of the three who, on 15 May, 1882, attained the highest northern point on the globe ever reached by man, taking observations in lat. 83° 241/2', long. 40° 461/2' W. While the party was in camp at Cape Sabine, undergoing terrible privations, Sergeant Brainard fished for shrimps, and prolonged the lives of the party for about seventy days. Brainard received from the Royal geographical society of Great Britain a testimonial consisting of an elegant gold watch, with accompanying diploma; and the United States government attached him to the signal service department, and in October, 1886, commissioned him 2d lieutenant of cavalry.
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