Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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MELVILLE, George Wallace, engineer, born in New York city, 10 January, 1841. He was educated in his native city, and entered the United States navy in July, 1861, as third assistant engineer, with rank of midshipman, and has passed through all the intermediate grades to that of chief engineer, with the rank of lieutenant-commander, which he attained in 1881: He was engineer of the "Jeannette," which sailed from San Francisco, 8 July, 1879, under the command of Lieutenant George W. De Long (q. v.), with the object of discovering an "-opening to the supposed polar sea by a northeast passage near Wrangel land. After the sinking of the "Jeannette," 13 June, 1881, Engineer Melville accompanied De Long over the ice to Bennett island, and after the party divided, Lieutenant John W. Danenhower being disabled, commanded one of the "Jeannette's" boats on the subsequent perilous passage to one of the eastern mouths of the Lena delta, which was reached on 17 September, 1881. He now searched for Lieutenant De Long and his party, and discovered some of the huts where De Long had stayed, and obtained from the natives certain of his records. In the following spring Melville explored the delta thoroughly for traces of the missing party, and about the end of March the remains of De Long and his eleven companions were found. Melville subsequently returned to the United States, and was appointed chief of the bureau of steam-engineers, with the rank of commodore, 8 August, 1887, and engineer-in-chief of the United States navy. He is the author of "In the Lena Delta," (Boston, 1885).
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