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George Washington DeLong

George Washington De Long (August 22, 1844 - October 31, 1881) was a United States Navy officer and ill-fated explorer.

Born in New York City, he was educated at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. In 1879, backed by James Gordon Bennett, Jr., owner of the New York Herald newspaper, and under the auspices of the US navy, Lieutenant De Long sailed from San Francisco, California on the ship "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. De Long and his crew abandoned ship and set out for Siberia in three small boats. After reaching open water, they became separated and one boat was lost, no trace of it was ever found. De Long'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.

George Washington De Long died of starvation near Mat Vay, Yakutsk, Siberia. Melville returned a year later and found the body of De Long and his boat crew. Overall, the doomed voyage took the lives of nineteen men.

A diary that De Long kept was edited by his widow and published in 1884 under the title, The Voyage of the Jeannette.

Last updated: 11-07-2004 17:43:24