Greely, Adolphus W.

Polar explorer, Army Chief Signal Officer, San Francisco earthquake relief military commander, awarded Medal of Honor

Price: $75.00

Description:
(1844-1935) US Army officer, polar explorer, recipient of the Medal of Honor. Entered Army at 17, brevet Major by end of the Civil War. Joined Regular Army 1866 as 2nd Lt. of Infantry; 1st Lt. 1873. In 1881, Lt. Greely was given command of the Lady Franklin Bay Expedition on the ship Proteus, to establish one of a chain of meteorological observation stations as part of the First International Polar Year. The expedition also was commissioned by the US government to collect astronomical and polar magnetic data, and to search for any clues of the USS Jeannette, lost north of Ellesmere Island. Without previous Arctic experience, he and his party traveled many hitherto unknown miles along the coast of NW Greenland, crossed Ellesmere Island from east to west, and Lt. James B. Lockwood & David L. Brainard achieved a new "farthest north" record of 83°23'8". In 1882, Greely sighted a mountain range during a dog sled exploration to the interior of northern Ellesmere Island and named them the Conger Range. He also sighted the Innuitian Mountains from Lake Hazen. Two relief parties failed to reach Greely's party camped at Fort Conger on Ellesmere Island. A later expedition, led by Capt. Winfield Scott Schley on the USRC Bear, was sent to rescue the Greely party. By the time the Bear, and ships Thetis and Alert arrived on June 22, 1884 to rescue the expedition (painstakingly relocated to Cape Sabine), 19 of the 25-man crew had perished from starvation, drowning, hypothermia, and, in one case, gunshot wounds from an execution ordered by Greely. The survivors were near death; one died on the homeward journey. The returning survivors were venerated as heroes, though the heroism was tainted by sensational accusations of cannibalism during the remaining days of low food. In June 1886, he was promoted to Captain after 20 years as a Lieutenant. In March 1887, President Cleveland appointed him US Army Chief Signal Officer and Brigadier General. While Chief Signal Officer, military telegraph lines were constructed, operated and maintained during the Spanish-American War in Puerto Rico (800 miles), Cuba (3,000 miles), and the Philippines (10,200 miles). In Alaska, under very adverse conditions, Greely constructed a near 4,000 mile telegraph system consisting of submarine cables, land cables and wireless telegraphy, the latter covering 107 miles, then the world’s longest (nearly 4,000 miles) commercial system. In 1905, he was 1st president of The Explorers Club. In 1906 he was promoted to Major General and was military commander during the aftermath of the San Francisco earthquake. He retired 1908, but in 1911 represented the US Army at the coronation of King George V. He was awarded the Medal of Honor 1935. In 1986, the US Postal Service issued a postage stamp in his honor. He authored “Three Years of Arctic Service” (1886); “Handbook of Alaska” (rev. ed. 1925); “Reminiscences of Adventure and Service” (1927); and, “The Polar Regions in the Twentieth Century” (1928). 2 3/4 x 3 1/2 card signed "AWGreely". Undated but ca. 1899.

Condition: Very good, light toning at right and bottom edges.
Type:Signed card






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