George W. DeLong

George W. DeLong

Infobox Military Person
name = George Washington DeLong
born = Birth date |1844|8|22
died = Death date and age |1881|10|31|1844|8|22
placeofbirth = New York City, New York
placeofdeath = Siberia, Russia
placeofburial= Woodlawn Cemetery in The Bronx, New York

caption = Lt. Cmdr. George W. DeLong, in 1879, just before leaving for the Arctic.
nickname =
allegiance = United States of America
serviceyears = 1865–1881
rank = Lieutenant Commander
branch = United States Navy
commands = USS "Jeannette"
unit =
battles =
awards =

George Washington DeLong (August 22, 1844October 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 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.

As well as collecting scientific data and animal specimens, De Long discovered and claimed three islands (De Long Islands) for the United States in the summer of 1881.

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 was lost; no trace of it was ever found. DeLong's own boat reached land, but only two men sent ahead for aid survived. (See: William Henry Gilder) The third boat, under the command of Chief Engineer George W. Melville, reached the Lena delta and was rescued.

DeLong died of starvation near Mat Vay, Yakutsk, 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.

DeLong and five of his men are buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in The Bronx, New York.


Two US Navy ships were named USS "DeLong" in his honor, as were the DeLong Mountains in northwest Alaska.

In 1890 the officers and men of the United States Navy dedicated a granite-and-marble monument to the memory of Lieut. George Washington De Long 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 convert|24|ft|m|sing=on-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)
* 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)

External links

* [ Jeannette Arctic Expedition]

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