George W. DeLong
|George Washington DeLong|
Lt. Cmdr. George W. DeLong, in 1879,
just before leaving for the Arctic.
August 22, 1844|
New York City, New York
|Died||October 31, 1881
|Buried at||Woodlawn Cemetery in The Bronx, New York|
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/branch||United States Navy|
|Years of service||1865–1881|
|Commands held||USS Jeannette|
Born in New York City, he was educated at the United States Naval Academy in Newport, Rhode Island. In 1879, backed by James Gordon Bennett, Jr., owner of the New York Herald newspaper, and under the auspices of the US Navy, Lieutenant Commander DeLong sailed from San Francisco, California on the ship USS Jeannette with a plan to find a quick way to the North Pole via the Bering Strait.
The ship became trapped in the ice and eventually was crushed and sank. DeLong and his crew abandoned ship and set out for Siberia in three small boats. After reaching open water, they became separated and one boat, commanded by Executive Officer Charles W. Chipp, was lost; no trace of it was ever found. DeLong's own boat reached land, but only two men sent ahead for aid survived. The third boat, under the command of Chief Engineer George W. Melville, reached the Lena delta and was rescued.
DeLong died of starvation near Matvay Hut, Yakutia, Siberia. Melville returned a year later and found the body of DeLong and his boat crew. Overall, the doomed voyage took the lives of nineteen expedition members, as well as additional men lost during the search operations.
In 1890, the officers and men of the United States Navy dedicated a granite-and-marble monument to the memory of Lieut. George Washington DeLong and the crew of the USS Jeannette. Lieut. George Partridge Colvocoresses designed the monument — a cross with carved icicles hanging from it that sits atop a cairn. The 24-foot (7.3 m)-high structure is in the U.S. Naval Academy Cemetery overlooking the Severn River.
- DeLong, The Voyage of the Jeannette, comprising his journals, edited by his widow, Mrs. Emma J. (Wotton) DeLong (1883)
- Emma Wotton DeLong, Explorer's wife, introduction by Vilhjalmur Stefansson, (New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1938)
- Leonard F. Guttridge, Icebound: The Jeannette Expedition's Quest for the North Pole (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1986) ISBN 0-87021-330-X.
- Michael Robinson, The Coldest Crucible: Arctic Exploration and American Culture (Chicago, 2006)
- John Wilson Danenhower, The Narrative of the Jeannette (Boston, 1882)
- Melville, In the Lena Delta (Boston, 1885)
- Edward Ellsberg, Hell on Ice: the Saga of the Jeannette (New York: Dodd, Mead, and Company, 1938)
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