Cannibal? Hero? Greely Expedition Survivor Sergt. Francis Long, 2nd US Cavalry, autograph card signed.
Incredibly scarce autograph of an arctic survivor who went through pure hell in trying to survive while awaiting rescue in 1884.
Signed shortly after their rescue in 1884.
This incredible arctic journey started with 25 U. S. Army personnel, and over the course of three years they accomplished many new arctic records and scientific achievements.
It was when they left their base at Fort Conger, after failing to be retrieved as agreed by the navy, that the real trouble began.
The horrors faced by the men on this expedition during this journey to be rescued defy description. Upon their eventual rescue by Admiral W. S. Schley's expedition, quiet charges of cannibalism were made against the survivors. The six survivors denied they did anything wrong, but as you see from Schley's report below, the bodies told a different story.
Please see details below. Card measures 4.25" x 2.5" and is in fine condition.
$350.00 plus shipping
Private Francis Long
Survived the expedition
Known for being cheerful, Francis Long worked as a hunter and a cook at Fort Conger. After surviving the Greely Expedition, Long went on another polar expedition in 1901 -- the Baldwin-Ziegler Expedition which would attempt to reach the North Pole. He died on June 8, 1916.
Francis Long - The death of Assistant Observer Francis Long, an old and faithful employee of the Weather Bureau, occurred at New York City on June 8, 1916.
Mr. Long's continuous service dates back to June 27, 1873, on which date he enlisted in Company G, Second Cavalry, United States Army. Mr. Long was connected with the Lady Franklin Bay Expedition, beginning April 12, 1881, and was promoted to Sergeant on August 1, 1884, "for specially distinguished service" in connection with the expedition mentioned. Following his return from the Lady Franklin Bay Expedition he had continuous service in the Signal Service and Weather Bureau.
At the time of his death Mr. Long was serving as an assistant at the New York City Weather Bureau station, to which he was assigned on July 20, 1895. He reported for duty, as usual, at that office on the afternoon of Sunday, June 4, last. At 5:13 p. m. of that date he called up the official in charge on the telephone to report some trouble with the triple registers, and to inquire about a record of precipitation which did not seem quite clear to him. On the failure of the New York newspaper offices to receive the usual weather report, a call was made at the Weather Bureau office at 10 p.m., where Mr. Long was found lying unconscious on the floor near the telephone switchboard. Upon receiving medical attention he partly regained consciousness and tried to give some directions about telephoning for assistance to take care of the office work and asked that his family be not notified. He was remove to a hospital, where he lingered until the morning of June 8. In closing his report on Mr. Long, the official in charge of the New York station says: "'The Sergeant', as he was familiarly known to the men in the office, had served many years on this station. So far as the observation of this official goes, he has always been willing to the limit of his strength, and faithful in the performance of every duty assigned him - always uncomplaining and cheerful."
Notification was given of Mr. Long's death to Gen A. W. Greely, under whom he served on the Lady Franklin Bay Expedition. In acknowledging the notification, General Greely wrote as follows: "He died, as did most of the men of my expedition, while performing his duty. That his last efforts were devoted to directions for the continuance of the work with which he was officially charged is like others of his comrades who died in the North. Any man is fortunate who is permitted to work to the end, and to pass onward without being a burden to himself and to others dear to him." -- June 1916
"To Sergeants Brainard, Frederick, and Long,
Private Henry having been repeatedly guilty of stealing the provisions of this party, which is now perishing slowly by starvation, has so far been condoned and pardoned. It is, however, imperatively ordered that if this man be detected either eating food of any kind not issued him regularly, or making caches, or appropriating any article of provisions, you will at once shoot him and report the matter to me. Any other course would be fatal leniency, the man being able to overpower any two of our present force.
A.W. Greely, 1st Lieut., 5th Cav.,
A.S.O. & Asst. Comdng., Lady Franklin Bay Expedition
"The work of taking up the bodies was one of little difficulty. It was only needed to remove the thin covering of sand from the mounds that formed the graves. Little could be seen of the conditions of the bodies, as they had been clothed, and all appeared to be intact. In preparing them subsequently, it was found that six, those of Lieutenant Kislingbury, and of Jewell, Ralston, Henry, Whistler and Ellis, had been cut, and flesh removed. Care was taken that there should be no mistake about their identity, and as each one was taken up, it was given a number corresponding with a number on a drawing made of the burial-ground. who had been in charge of the burials, so that identification was complete."
W. S. Schley, Commander.