The Eventful Voyage of the U.S.S. Alliance in Search of the Missing Jeannette North Pole Expedition


  • Douglas Wamsley Independent Researcher


In July 1879, the ill-fated U.S. North Pole expedition of Jeannette, made possible through the efforts of the flamboyant publisher of the New York Herald, James Gordon Bennett, Jr., embarked on an attempt on the pole via Bering Strait. By 1881, anxiety over the ship’s absence led to the outfitting of several naval relief expeditions for the missing vessel. This article examines the cruise of the Jeannette relief expedition by the American frigate, U.S.S. Alliance, to Iceland, Norway and Svalbard and the seas between Greenland and Svalbard. Little-remembered today, the Alliance relief expedition was initiated by Bennett. His desire for increased circulation of the New York Herald through the reporting of Arctic endeavors assured complete coverage of the voyage by a Herald correspondent and maintained the Arctic in the public eye. Though unsuccessful in its primary rescue mission, the novel cruise by an American warship in European Arctic waters achieved some noteworthy results while running its share of risks.