Modern history

1968

Nowhere along the coast of Greenland have I seen such a desolate strip of shore as the site of Polaris House and its neighborhood, and the first glance shows that the selection of the site was not a matter of choice, but of the direst necessity.

ROBERT EDWIN PEARY, 1898

Beneath a threatening sky, four men stood beside the pile of dirt and willow-laced stones that marked the grave of Charles Francis Hall. The time was August 1968, three years and three months shy of a century since the coffin of the commander of the Polarisexpedition had been lowered into the frozen ground. Their presence was no mere coincidence. To stand on that desolate strip of rocky scree had taken months of hard work, research, and perseverance. The leader of this tiny group was Charles C. Loomis, professor of English at Dartmouth College and a renowned Arctic scholar with four previous explorations to the frozen North under his belt. His love of photography had led him to the Arctic, prompted by his filming of musk oxen on Alaska's Nunivak Island. Loomis was preparing a biography of Charles Francis Hall under a Smithsonian postdoctoral fellowship.

On their arrival the previous morning, a windless day and clear blue sky had greeted the group. The single-engine Otter leaped over the foothills ringing the plain and descended in widening arcs over the ice-free blue waters of Hall Basin. Following the scalloped shoreline of Thank God Harbor, the aircraft touched down on a relatively level site a mile below the wreckage of Emil Bessel's observatory. The large tundra tires bounced and scrunched over the rough shale, and the radial engine sputtered to a halt.

Time and clear flying weather are especially precious to every bush pilot. A storm might loom over the horizon at any moment, flipping the plane or forcing an unwanted stay. Hurriedly the passengers unloaded their gear and stepped back. The plane's engine coughed to life, belching a cloud of oily smoke. Revving the engine, rhe pilot, W. W. Phipps, spun the nose into the light wind and took off, trailing a cloud of glacial silt and pebbles. Phipps would return in two weeks, weather permitting. The men were on their own.

As Loomis watched their link to civilization vanish into a silver speck, the utter and terrible isolation of this place struck him. One minute they had been flying bumpily along, encased in a marvel of modern aeronautical engineering, and the next instant the four of them were standing alone on a desolate plain. Stretching as far as their eyes could see was a steely ocean and a brooding umber land that killed humans with total indifference.

Half-dazed, the four men pitched camp and wandered about the plain. They walked to the ruins of BessePs observatory. The four wooden walls built by Chester and Coffin lay shattered and blown down as if ripped apart by a bomb blast. The Arctic winds had flattened the unwanted building, but ice and snow had not destroyed the traces of that fateful party. Instead, the cold had preserved things that would have vanished long ago in warmer climates

Wandering about the wreck of the observatory, the four stepped back a century in time. The same brass nails, ice saw, cast-iron stoves, shards of glass, and scraps of sailcloth abandoned by the original Polaris expedition lay at their feet. In their hands they held objects that men long dead had touched. One of Loomis's companions, ex-marine Tom Gignoux, recently back from a tour of duty in Vietnam, uncovered a wooden board on which Sgt. William Cross of the doomed Greely expedition had carved his name before the land killed him. Gignoux recognized the round ice balls scattered about the ruins for what they wereice grenades, balls of ice packed with gunpowder, constructed long ago by the crew of the Polaris in their futile attempt to blast the ship free of the ice. The black powder retained its explosive properties in the cold climate.

Upon their arrival, the Arctic looked benign. Overnight its mood changed. Pewter clouds scudded overhead, so low that they appeared touchable. The sea took its cue from the darkened sky and turned leaden.

Unlike the sparse numbers of explorers who had passed Hall's grave, these modern visitors came to open it. After nearly one hundred years of questions, these men sought answers. During his research for Hall's biography, Loomis was troubled by the hasty judgment by the Navy Department's board of inquiry and its disregard of conflicting testimony. Studying the journals and transcripts gave Loomis no strong feeling that Hall had been murdered. He would later write in his book, Weird and Tragic Shores:

My conclusion was, not that Hall certainly had been murdered, not even that he probably had been murdered, but only that murder was at least possible and plausible. The conclusion of the Board of Inquiry that he died of “natural causes, viz, apoplexy,” also was possible and plausible, but it had been reached hastily and only by ignoring much of the evidence that the Board itself had wheedled out of the witnesses. Secretary Robeson had been under considerable pressure to end the investigation; scandal was in the making.

The unanswered questions prompted Loomis to seek an autopsy.

Reaching this point had not been easy. Flying to the remote site aboard a single-engine Otter, they quickly crossed the straits that had baffled so many before them. But surmounting the miles of red tape that had blocked their travel took months of dealing with the Danish Ministry for Greenland. Putting forth the argument that an autopsy would rightly have been ordered if Hall had died under suspicious circumstances in modern times, Loomis requested permission to visit the grave and disinter Hall's body.

The Danes referred Loomis to Count Eigel Knuth, an archaeologist and Arctic explorer who advised Denmark's Ministry for Greenland on proposed projects in its northern region. Knuth found the idea of digging up Hall's grave, which he had visited and considered “a hallowed place,” totally repugnant. Only after flying to Copenhagen to meet with Knuth could Loomis change the old explorer's mind. Loomis promised to return the grave to exactly the condition in which he found it.

Now he stood beside the grave with William Barrett, Tom Gig-noux, and Dr. Franklin Paddock, a pathologist. Paddock would perform the autopsy.

Things change slowly in the Arctic, and they hoped Captain Hall's body would speak from his grave. The recent studies on lead poisoning of Sir John Franklin's party gave reason to be optimistic. The frozen and well-preserved bodies of Royal Marine W. Braine and seamen John Hartnell and John Torrington, unearthed on Beechey Island in Lancaster Sound, provided useful information as to their deaths. Those men had died in 1846, long before Hall.

With some trepidation Loomis watched as Gignoux unroofed the shallow grave. Encased in ice, the Arctic retained its grip on the dead man. With luck the body would be perfectly preserved. The pine coffin appeared intact, even though the top was almost level with the ground. As the professor watched, he recalled the men of Hall's command laboring in the long night to carve the shallow grave out of frozen soil. Gignoux's task proved just as daunting. The layers of ice forced him to dig and shovel hunched over the coffin.

Suddenly the fetid odor of decay rose from the coffin. Loomis felt his heart sink. The mound of dirt had protected the pine wood, but the summer sun had melted the permafrost above the lid. Would the shallow nature of the grave defeat them? Was their quest in vain? Had Hall rotted in his tomb until only his bones remained? Loomis worried.

Gignoux's shovel caught a corner of the lid, splintering off a portion. Light fell upon white stars sewn on a field of blue. For the first time in almost a century, sunlight played upon an American flag that had flown when Ulysses Grant was president.

Loomis pried off the rest of the lid. The American flag covered Hall's face and the upper half of his body. Milky ice, melted and refrozen countless times over the century, encased the lower part of the body and held the back in its firm grip. Incongruously two stocking-covered feet poked through the sheet of ice.

Folding back the flag, Loomis studied Hall's face. Exposure to thawing and decay had altered the once-strong features. The robust beard and dark hair were gone, replaced by token wisps of brittle hair. Caught between the processes of mummification and decay, empty eye sockets and a sardonic grin greeted them. Minerals in the water had tanned what skin remained into a rich mahogany. In addition the dye from the flag had stained portions of the explorer's face blue, while the weave of the cloth textured the skin. To Loomis the face reminded him of a “Rouault portrait.”

Performing the autopsy proved next to impossible. Frozen into the land he loved, Hall's coffin and body resisted all inspection. In a way his body had become an inseparable part of the land, as his spirit had. Wisely the men decided not to totally exhume the body. Working bent over the grave, Paddock found the internal organs totally dissolved into a frozen soup of ice. Unlike the bodies examined from Franklin's expedition, no viscera could be studied or tested. No stomach or intestines could be sampled for traces of poison or infection. No lungs could be examined for pneumonia or tuberculosis. And certainly nothing remained of the brain to tell whether it had suffered the stroke that Emil Bessel diagnosed. In despair the pathologist collected scraps of hair and a single fingernail.

With infinite care born of respect, the men restored the grave to its original state. It bothered Loomis that they could not avoid stripping away the ground willow that Hayes and Sieman had planted so long ago. Loomis himself replaced Noah Hayes's crowbar at its crooked angle.

During the two-week wait for their pilot, the specter of Captain Hall seemed to haunt them. In long walks they found themselves avoiding the grave site. The patterned face lingered in their thoughts. During that time the Arctic teased them with its changing weather, just as it had the men of the Polaris. The clear Hall Basin abruptly filled with ice and icebergs. Ghostly fogs came and went.

On the group's return home, the fingernail and hair were sent to the Toronto Center of Forensic Sciences for neutron-activation testing. No mention was made of the specifics of the sample, so the center had no idea who “C. F. Hall” was or the circumstances surrounding his death. Using neutrons to bombard the atoms in a test specimen causes that material's nuclei to become unstable. In the process those unstable nuclei decay, emitting electrons and protons. The half- ife of that decay and the type of particles emitted are specific for different atomic elements. Iron, silver, gold, and arsenic all give off unique patterns.

The hair and fingernails of living subjects readily take up arsenic, making those tissues accurate markers of arsenic poisoning. The problem used to be the need for large quantities of tissue for analysis. Neutron-activation testing of minute quantities changed all that. Using neutron-activation analysis to search for arsenic received much publicity in the 1960s, when Sten Forshufvud used it to prove that Napoleon Bonaparte had been systematically poisoned with arsenic. By the mid-1960s the timing of the poisoning could also be determined by analyzing the deposits of the poison along a single strand of human hair. Each 5 millimeters of hair length represents fifteen days in the subject's life, while fingernails grow at 0.7 millimeter per week.

The report from the Toronto Center shocked everyone. It read, “an intake of considerable amounts of arsenic by C. E Hall in the last two vjeeks of life,”

Hall's fingernail told the story. The tip contained 24.6 parts per million of arsenic, while the base of the nail contained 76.7 parts per million, an enormous amount. Arsenic was commonly used in the nineteenth century in various medicines. Fowler's Solution (potassium arsenate) was a common remedy for skin eruptions and fevers, and arsphenamine was the drug of choice for syphilis. Loomis notes,” ‘Arsenious acid,’ comments the Dispensatory of the United States of 1875 in one of its longest entries, ‘has been exhibited in a variety of diseases.’” Certainly arsenic compounds were among the medical supplies aboard the Polaris. But there is no record of the pious HaH's ever having been treated for syphilis, and the only documented medications and injections he received in the last two weeks of his life came from the hand of Emil Bessel. The doctor, for all his careful records, never mentioned using any arsenicals.

Also arsenic was found in high concentrations of 22.0 parts per million in the soil surrounding the grave site. Some might have migrated into the body over the years. Prior treatments and the soil might account for the high levels at the end of the fingernail, but nothing other than ingestion or injection could have produced the extremely high levels found at the base of the nail. And such high levels would have to produce distressing symptoms.

After nearly one hundred years, Charles Francis Hall had cried out from his grave. He had been poisoned.

Suddenly all the signs and symptoms at odds with a stroke fall into place. The too-sweet taste of the coffee, the intense burning of Hall's stomach, the vomiting, difficulty swallowing, dementia, and paralysis are all consistent with acute arsenic poisoning. Even the curious blisters about Hall's mouth are late signs.

But who would have poisoned Hall? And for what reason? The cook and steward initially handled the coffee cup, but they had no reason to poison their commander. Certainly Buddington and Meyer had their differences with Captain Hall and might have handed him the poisoned coffee. However, those two men did not constantly attend Hall during his illness. No one could seriously suspect Tookoolito. Her loyalty to Hall was well demonstrated by her pledge to preserve his writing desk. Despite her efforts to save the contents of the desk, nothing emerged from Hall's papers to shed any new light on his murder. The faithful Morton also is above suspicion.

That leaves only one person with the knowledge and the ready access to arsenic. That same person was frequently by the stricken man's side, administering potions and injecting solutions of his white powder. What better way to poison a person than openly, under the guise of treating him as a patient? With all his prestigious degrees, no one would doubt Emil Bessel's treatment plan. Bessel must have used arsenic from the ship's supplies. Clever criminals commonly used arsenious oxide, which is odorless and tasteless. That substance would definitely not be in the medical supplies. The sweet, metallic taste in the coffee suggests that another arsenic compound was used.

Now, too, Emil Bessel's early prognosis that Hall would never recover makes more sense. The Prussian physician was less a skilled diagnostician than a clever murderer. He made sure his nemesis would not survive, but it took him a second try. The hearty nature of Hall's physique required finishing the job by lethal injections. With all the attention drawn to the strange-tasting coffee and the sudden onset of symptoms after Hall drank it, Bessel probably decided to switch to injecting the arsenic to reduce the incidence of stomach symptoms.

Emil Bessel's inconsistent actions point toward his guilt. When the first cup of coffee had been served to Hall, Bessel insisted he was in the observatory, but Morton and Mauch thought Bessel was present when Hall drank his coffee. The fact that the doctor refused to perform an initial emetic suggests he wanted the poisonous contents of the coffee to remain in Hall's stomach. The later purgatives ensured that the poison would travel the length of the man's digestive trace and would be maximally absorbed rather than vomited out. When Hall rejected his medicine, Bessel's refusal to allow either Buddington or Bryan to sample the potion raises the question of whether the mixture was harmful. What reason had Bessel for continuing his injections of “quinine,” which he said were to lower the wild'y high temperature, once Hall's temperature had returned to normal? Hall rapidly recovered when he rejected Bessel's treatment. Only after Bryan convinced the captain to place himself under the coctor's care once again did the fatal relapse occur.

For a physician who had hovered over his patient, why did Bessel suddenly race to his observatory when Morton notified him that Hall had taken a severe turn for the worse? Was he trying to establish an alibi?

Bessel's actions surely troubled the examiners. Yet they refused to beliee the evidence. Skirting the obvious, they couched their questions so as to get their fears refuted.

“Die you not think there was any difficulty between Captain Hall and any of the scientific party, that would be an inducement for them to do anything toward injuring him?” the board of inquiry had asked George Tyson.

“No, sir,” Tyson answered quickly. But then he reflected and replied, “unless a man were a monster he could not do any such thing as that.”

What were Bessel's motives? Surely his intense dislike for Hall was enough. As Noah Hayes noted, “the one long night” went far to destroy “moral responsibility.” A grain of hatred grows in the Arctic darkness to monstrous proportions. Jealousy, envy, a desire to lead the expeditionall add to the possible reasons. In France arsenic was known as “the inheritance powder,” and Emil Bessel's actions prove that he felt himself best suited to inherit overall command of the expedition. But first he had to create the vacancy. There is no doubt that Bessel underestimated the physical requirements and stamina needed to reach the North Pole by sled. Most members of the expedition did. Since Bessel already considered himself superior to Hall as a scientist, it is easy to surmise that the German doctor felt he would also be a better explorer. The glory of reaching the North Pole would be added to his scientific achievements. Only Charles Francis Hall stood in his way.

Possibly Bessel was working under orders from Bismarck to sabotage the American effort. Did Germany feel threatened by the prospect of an American presence at the North Pole and by closer ties between Denmark and the United States? A strong ally like the United States backing Denmark would not suit Bismarck's goals. Killing Hall guaranteed failure of the expedition and weakened the American presence in the Arctic. In those days an American flag planted at the North Pole would have laid claim to the area for the United States. Looking across the globe, one sees that the North Pole is dangerously close to Germany's North Sea. No documents could be found to substantiate a Prussian plot. But Germany had sought to alter America's actions before this and would attempt to do so in the years to come. The use of Hessian soldiers during the American Revolution and the Zimmerman telegram promising Mexico the return of Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico are two examples, along with two world wars.

Nevertheless, Bessel's ongoing loyalty to Germany demonstrated that he had not transferred his allegiance to the United States. His first telegrams on being saved were to Germany. His first publication of his scientific findings from the Polaris expedition was also in German, and he was in no hurry to produce an English version. Eventually he would return to die in the fatherland. Clearly Bessel's allegiance lay somewhere other than the United Statesbut that alone is not enough to convict a man. However, given the presence of motive, opportunity, and in all likelihood access to the substance that killed Hall, Bessel is the most logical choice.

Was Buddington a willing or unknowing accomplice? His actions after Hall's death suggest that he knew or suspected more than he let on. In E. Vale Blake's Arctic Experiences, George Tyson's diary alludes to “an astonishing proposition” made to him by Buddington. Tyson told this to Captain Bartlett while aboard the Tigress. Tyson accused Buddington of proposing that the two men take the Polaris south into heavily traveled whaling waters and scuttle the ship. According to Buddington, they could then winter on land in i elative safety until spring. After being rescued by whalers, the two could collect their pay and avoid any risks. When the Tigress's owner passed this information on to the American Consulate in Scotland, he was advised to keep it secret. Fifty years after the rescue, the family of the owner of the Tigress repeated the story.

One other event raises the question of Buddington's complicity with Bessel. On June 4, 1873, when prospects of his two boats' being rescued by sealing ships grew certain, Captain Buddington became deathly ill after eating supper. Davis notes, “Captain Buddington suddenly became very sick, and for a time there was doubt of his recovery. …” No one else got sick, and they had all eaten the same hot soup made from captured auks. Buddington's abrupt, severe illness to the point that he was expected to die, followed by an equally rapid recovery, raises the question of another poisoning attempt.

Was Emil Bessel trying to tie up loose ends? Had he tried to poison Buddington because he knew too much? Both men took that answer to their graves.

What we do know is that what came to be called the Polaris expedition was beset by problems from its inception. Polar exploration is a daunting task, and the toll that the natural elements exact or human beings is heavy. Charles Francis Hall and the men of the Polaris not only had to face the worst that the implacable Arctic had to offerbiting winds, fierce cold, and spirit-numbing darkness. They also engaged in a battle with the darker parts of their own fragile human nature as they explored the other side of heroism That all but one of them returned from that journey is a remarkable testament both to the whims of fate and to the raw power of human will.

AFTERMATH

In 1874, a year after the Polaris inquiry closed, a British admiral wrote, “The navy needs some action to wake it up from the sloth of routine and save it from the canker of prolonged peace.” In a direct reference to Charles Francis Hall's grave, he continued, “The rude wooden monument to the intrepid American, standing lone in the Polar solitude, is at the same time a grand memorial, a trophy, and a challenge”

Accordingly the Royal Navy launched the Alert and the Discovery under Capt. George Nares, with Captain H. F. Stephenson second in command, to assault the North Pole. In the spirit of cooperation, Secretary Robeson offered the British expedition the use of the American stores of coal and supplies stockpiled at Disko and Thank God Harbor. The British gratefully accepted.

While cohesion of their party was far superior to that of the Polaris, the Nares expedition fared little better. To guide them, they enlisted the services of Hans, the Inuit, by now a legend in his own time. Retracing Hall's path, Captain Nares stopped at Buddington's winter camp, where “some boxes of books, instruments, etc. were found.” Making no attempt to bring them back, the British pushed on. The Discovery, under Stephenson, wintered at Lady Franklin Sound, opposite Thank God Harbor, while Nares, in the Alert, beat northward.

On their way north, the British passed through Polaris Bay. The ruined remains of Bessel's observatory greeted them in mute testimony. A coil of wire, an ice saw, and the tattered remnants of a canvas tent littered the field. The weathered piece of door marking the head of Hall's grave rose some distance away. Noah Hayes's crowbar maintained its lonely vigil about a foot from the headboard. Ttie ground willow that Sieman had planted covered the mound.

On May 13 Captain Stephenson raised an American flag over the grave and erected a brass plaque at the head of the mound. Brought from England, the tablet read:

Sacred to the Memory of

CAPTAIN C. F. HALL

Of the U.S. ship ‘Polaris’

Who sacrificed his life

in the advancement of Science

on Nov. 8,1871

This Tablet has been erected by the British Polar Expedition

of 1875, which, following in his footsteps, has profited

by his experience.

Within weeks disaster would strike the Nares expedition. In a fateful preview of things to come, the British elected to explore northward using manpower instead of dogs to pull their sleds. One group used fifteen men to pull three sledges loaded with two whale-boats and sixty-three days of provisions. With every sled weighing more thai two thousand pounds, each crewman pulled four hundred pounds. To cross the hummocks and sastrugi, they were forced to cut a road with picks and shovels. Men died of exposure, scurvy, and frostbite before they turned back. For all their sacrifice, they readied 83°71' N, not much farther than Hall had got.

Stumbling back, the party returned to Polaris Promontory. There James Hand, one of their crew, died of scurvy. On June 8, 1875, they buried Hand near Captain Hall's grave. After the turn of the century, Scott would repeat the same fatal mistake of substituting men and ponies for dogs when he attempted to reach the South Pole.

Six ye ars later Adolphus Greely with members of his expedition crossed the straits to visit the site. The lonely, windswept spot had acquired rhe name of Hall's Rest by now. While Greely searched for cached supplies amid the ruins, a bored Sgt. William Cross carved his name on a broken board at Bessel's observatory. Scarcely one year later the Arctic would claim the life of Sergeant Cross along with eighteen other members of the ill-fated Greely expedition. On that score Greely's group fared far worse than the Polaris expedition. Forced to eat their leather clothing to stay alive as George Tyson's party had done, only Greely and six of his men survived.

Ironically among the dead was Dr. Octave Pavy. In a bizarre twist of fate, Dr. Pavy had listened to Charles Francis Hall give his impassioned speech to the American Geographical Society before the Polaris sailed. Pavy would accompany Greely as his chief scientist. The European-educated Pavy would hamper Greely's efforts just as Emil Bessel had Hall's. The soldier Greely found Pavy insubordinate and disobedient, while Pavy condescended to deal with his uneducated commander. History repeated itself with fatal results.

The quest to reach the North Pole would continue. Germany, Sweden, Great Britain, and the United States mounted further explorations. Most amassed mountains of scientific data but scarcely passed the highest point reached by Captain Hall. Thirty-eight years after Hall's death, Robert E. Peary reached the top of the world by dogsled with his companion Matthew Henson. Even now controversy swirls about this claim. Richard E. Byrd did land at the North Pole using an airplane in 1926, followed in that same year by Roald Amundsen and Lincoln Ellsworth in a dirigible flown by the Italian Umberto Nobile.

In regard to the survivors of the Polaris, some fared better than others. The Inuit Hans almost lost his life when a fit of depression caused him to desert the Nares party. What caused his despair is not mentioned, but it may have been alcohol. British ships even now are not “dry,” as the U.S. Navy ships are. Perhaps some infirmity convinced him his useful life was done, and he chose the time-honored Inuit way of removing an unnecessary mouth to feed. Tracking the despondent native down, the British found him huddled in a hole in the snow, prepared to die. They brought him back to camp, and eventually he recovered.

Ebierbing and Tookoolito bought a piece of land with a small house near New London, Connecticut. With their adopted daughter Puney, they lived the life of celebrities while Ebierbing fished the warmer waters.

Tragedy touched the valiant Tigress. After she was sold back to the sealing enterprise of Harvey & Company, of St. John's, Newfoundland, her boilers exploded while she was sailing amid the ice. Coming one month shy of a year after the ship had rescued George Tyson and his men, the explosion killed ten of the Tigress's crew outright and burned another eleven so badly that they died the next day. Captain Bartlett emerged unscathed and brought the ruined ship safely home.

Sidney O. Buddington's reputation and career were ruined. He never captained another whaling vessel. In fact, he never returned to sea at The head of any sailing vessel.

Capt. George Tyson returned to the Arctic as the sailing master of another Arctic exploration, headed by Capt. Henry Howgate.

As the only one to salvage his scientific records, Emil Bessel publishec the findings of his studies in German. Over a period of ten years, he represented a thorn in the side of the Smithsonian. Despite letters from Spencer Baird urging him to accelerate his efforts, Bessel dragged out his work to compile an English version. Ensconced in a small room at the Smithsonian, Bessel grew more acerbic aid eccentric with each passing year. A New York Herald reporter described Bessel's strange office: “When the portals are entered, passing under the heavy folds of green drapery which nearly hide the entrance, the visitor would suppose he had been suddenly translated into the retreat of Faustus.”

Interviewed while the United States prepared for the International Polar Year of 1882, Bessel criticized a failed Arctic exploration under the command of Capt. Henry Howgate, the same Signal Corps officer who had served on the Polaris board of inquiry. In discussing Howgate's adventure, Bessel slipped into blending it with his own experience with Captain Hall. Referring to the scientists aboard, he snapped, “They had to submit to the orders of an incompetent, harsh skipper, who most seriously interfered with their duties.” However, this time the “incompetent, harsh skipper” was George Tyson.

By 1883 Spencer Baird had had enough. Bessel's salary was cut off, and he received a pithy note from William Rhees, Baird's secretary:

Dear Doctor:

We need immediate possession of the room now occupied by you near the north entrance, as we find it necessary to make improved toilet arrangements for visitors. Please therefore remove your property and greatly oblige.

Yours truly, Wm. J. Rhees

Displaced by a toilet, Bessel returned to Germany. In another twist of fate, in 1888 he died from apoplexy.

SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY

Blake, E. Vale, ed. Arctic Experiences, Containing Capt. George E. Tysen's Wonderful Drift on the Ice-Floe, a History of the Polaris Expedition. New York: Harper &c Brothers, 1874.

Davis, C. H. Narrative of the North Polar Expedition, U.S. Ship Polaris, Captain Charles Francis Hall Commanding. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1876.

Governrient Printing Office. Examination of the Party Separated on the Ice from the United States Steamer Polaris Expedition toward the North Pole. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1873.

Hyde, A., A. C. Baldwin, and W. L. Gage. The Frozen Zone and Its Explorers: A Comprehensive History of Voyages, Travels, Adventures, Disasters, and Discoveries in the Arctic Regions. Hartford, Conn.: R. W. Bliss & Company, 1880.

Loomis, Chauncey C. Weird and Tragic Shores: The Story of Charles Francis Hall, Explorer. New York: Knopf, 1971.

Sargent, Epes, and W. H. Cunnington. Wonders of the Arctic Worfd: Together with a Complete and Reliable History of the Polaris Expedition. Philadelphia: Philadelphia Book Company, 1873.

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