Viewing page 1 of 8
It looks like you're using a mobile device. We recommend using a physical keyboard for transcription entry.
[Handwritten] Confidential [Handwritten] Ao. 14 THE AMERICAN POLAR EXPEDITION This expedition proposes to approach, and if possible to reach, the North Pole by the Franz Josef Land route. It will be under the leadership of the undersigned, who had boating and sledging experience in the ice at Lat. 81, north of Spitzbergen, in 1894. Franz Josef Land has been explored as far north as 82:05 (Cape Fligely), by Payer, in the 1873; between that point and the southern coast, by himself and the Jackson-Harmsworth expedition, now concluding its work and preparing to return; and by Dr. Nansen and Lieut. Johansen, who made the land after their memorable sledge journey at Lat. 91: 45, on the eastern coast. All these travelers saw open water along the west coast north of 80:40--Payer as far north as 82:05, where from an elevation of 1,000 feet he saw "high mountainous land to the north, lying beyond the 83rd degree," and also, though it was early in April, open water stretching a considerable distance to the north. The same month he saw some open water to the south. Jackson reports open water every year during his visit, and Nansen saw open water both in the fall of 1895 and the spring of 1896, and also during the winter. All travelers in this region have seen an abundance of game--ice-bear, walrus, seal, birds. So plentiful are food animals there that men can easily provision themselves with their guns, save during the three or four months of winter, and a week's shooting in the autumn will suffice to lay in an ample winter's supply. It had until recently been conjectured that the Franz Josef Land archipelago extended very far north, perhaps near to the Pole itself. The Fram, however, fitted through from east to west between 95:30 and 86 N. Lat, directly north of the conjectured northern trend of these lands. It is, therefore, determined that the land does not extend farther than 85, and probably not so far. All the probabilities are that the northern termination of these lands will be found between 83:30 and 84:30. The expedition will sail from Norway in a chartered steamer about July 1st, 1898. According to experience the southern shore of Franz Josef Land will be reached between July 15th and August 1st. A headquarters station or base of supplies will be established at Cape Flora, Lat. 80, where the Jackson-Harmsworth (English) expedition now is, and where it will leave a number of comfortable houses ready for use. The ship will immediately return to Norway, to go out the following summer to feth us home if we are by that time ready to return. The expedition will consist of 12 men, among them two or three men of science, a navigator, ice-pilot, picked sailors, and about 100 sledge-dogs. Three men will be left to guard the headquarters station, and the remainder, with most of the dogs, and proper equipment, will at once push forward through the British channel for the northern part of the Franz Josef Land archipelago. After forty or fifty miles of travel, some of it rather trying work through rotten ice while crossing the channel, open water will be reached. In the autumn of 1898 our party will certainly be able to reach Cape Fligely before going into winter quarters. There will be a fair chance, indeed a probability, of reaching Petermann Land (which Payer saw to the north from Cape Fligely), and the 83d deg. We may even reach 83:30 or 84. All of August and September are available for the advance. The advantage of open water, which is most extensive in autumn, will greatly facilitate the moving of our weights along the coast. In a month, with fairly favorable conditions, we should reach Petermann Land in ample time to establish the winter quarters and kill enough game for our winter's supply for men and dogs. We shall at least reach Cape Fligely.
Please note that the language and terminology used in this collection reflects the context and culture of the time of its creation, and may include culturally sensitive information. As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology. The information within this collection does not reflect the views of the Smithsonian Institution, but is available in its original form to facilitate research. For questions or comments regarding sensitive content, access, and use related to this collection, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.