Greeley (Greely) Adolph Washington 
(27.03.1844 - 20.10.1935)


North American meteorologist and polar explorer, general. 
Born in Newburyport, Massachusetts, USA, in a poor family. After graduating from school, Greeley worked as a teacher in a private house, but in 1861, after the outbreak of the civil war, he, despite the protests of his parents, enlisted as a volunteer. In the war, Greeley was wounded three times and rose to the rank of lieutenant. After enrolling in the regular army, he served at border posts, in the signal department of the US Army, took part in organizing the Weather Bureau, built military telegraph lines in Texas, along the Atlantic coast, and along the south-western border. 
In 1881, as a major of the 5th US Cavalry Regiment, Greeley was appointed head of the American Arctic expedition organized in connection with the I International Polar Year. On the instructions of the Minister of Defense, he was to build a meteorological station in the northeast of Ellesmere Island (Grant Land) at Fort Konger on the shore Robson Strait. 
In the Russian Arctic literature, this expedition and the personality of its leader are assessed as a whole rather negatively. It should be recognized that the author of these lines in previous editions took the same position. But now, having finally got acquainted with the book of Greeley, written on the basis of his field diaries, I am changing my point of view. 
The expedition, which had a two-year supply of food, was delivered from Newfoundland by the Protey steamer in early August. After half a month the ship went home, leaving 25 people. Polar explorers conducted regular meteorological and magnetic observations, examined the shores of Grant's Earth and northern Greenland, and visited the interior of the island of Ellesmere. In one of the sleigh trips in 1882, the group of Lieutenant James Lockwood reached a record for that period, a move to the north - 83º 24'30″. 
Starting out very promisingly, the expedition of the Greeks ended tragically. 
In the next two years, the ship could not get through to the winterers. In the summer of 1883, not waiting for the arrival of the vessel, detained by the ice, the Americans, on the orders of Greeley, set off in boats with a small supply of food. By this time, people were practically healthy. Unable to find food depots, which for a similar occasion should have been organized by the army quartermaster, the group was forced to stop for the third wintering at Cape Sabin on Pim Island in the Smith Strait . Eight painful months spent these unfortunate people in a primitive dwelling built of stones, tarpaulins, tents, boats, ice and snow. In extreme conditions, both the highest moral and volitional qualities of people, and, unfortunately, base feelings manifested themselves. Yes, there were quarrels, there were cases of unscrupulous sharing of products, there were cases of theft of products, but once again I want to say that only those who survived a similar test and adequately withstood it can judge the violators. To the end, Greeley led the group, did everything to save people, organized both food, and hunting, and providing leisure activities, while showing maximum restraint and diplomacy.And only when the actions of one of the members of the expedition became threatening for the whole team, was he forced to make a difficult decision to shoot the intruder. 
Almost until the very last days, Greeley kept a diary entry. His personality and attitude clearly characterize such a diary entry, made at the very end of the expedition on May 23, 1884, a month before the rescue: “The barometer crashed when we moved to the hill, and this is a great failure, because I hoped that the observations would be continue until the last of us dies. ” 
The seven surviving polar explorers, one of whom soon died, on June 23 was rescued by the whaling ship Tethys.

 

Expedition Members Greeley

(sit: the fourth from the left is A.Greely, the fifth is D. Lockwood)

(Photo from https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockwood,_James)


Subsequently, Greeley wrote a number of books on the Arctic, but he never went to the polar countries again. 
After the expedition, receiving the rank of general, Greeley continued his service in the army. In 1887, he was appointed head of the Signaling Department, headed the Weather Bureau, worked in Alaska, and participated in organizing telegraph and telephone communications in the army. Shortly before his death in 1935, he was awarded the honorary medal of the US Congress for his services in the study of the Arctic. 
Greeley was an opponent of the expedition F. Nansen on the "Frame". In August 1891, he published an article in the American newspaper The Forum, in which he wrote: “The Nansen Plan is based on misconceptions about the physical conditions of the Arctic countries and, if it is tried to be implemented, promises only useless results, not to mention that he faces death and suffering to the members of the expedition. " He further wrote that Nansen has no experience in Arctic research, his crossing of Greenland is just a popular venture, there is hardly any serious polar explorer who will support his plan. 
Even after the successful completion of the expedition on the "Fram", Greeley managed to blame Nansen for “having left his comrades on a vessel sunk in the ice without permission, hundreds of miles from any known sushi and did it with the intention not to return ...”. According to him, Nansen neglected the most sacred duty of the expedition leader. Greeley wrote these biased and simply unscrupulous words, knowing full well that Nansen had gone on his unparalleled heroic hike at a time when the position of his vessel was well defined, and the crew had accumulated experience ensuring a safe return. This is confirmed by the brilliant completion of his expedition. In this case, Greeley actually became like those who in a negative light represented all his own, even the most correct, actions. 
He died in Georgetown, USA. Buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

 

Island of Greeley and the Strait of Sternek. In the Strait of Brosh Island. View from Kane Island

(photo by N. M. Stolbov)


An island in the center of the archipelago Franz Josef Land and a cape in the north of the island of McClintock Archipelago Franz Josef Land. Opened and named in 1904 by the expedition A. Fiala. 
The fjord in the north of the island of Ellesmere. Opened by the sleigh squad of D. Lockwood in 1882.

 

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