The last day we travelled on the river, December 28th, the thermometer had registered during the day - 69 degrees in the morning, - 64 degrees at noon, and - 68 degrees at five o'clock in the evening; the lowest, 101 degrees below the freezing-point. Toolooah, Joe, and Ishnark went hunting the next day, but were unfortunate in not being able to secure any game, though they saw a small herd of reindeer. Toolooah reported the land sledging in good condition toward the south-east, much better than upon the river, and said there appeared to be plenty of game a day's march from the river in that direction. Lieutenant Schwatka, therefore, decided to abandon the river at once and strike directly for Depot Island, which had the advantage of being a straighter route than the one by the unsurveyed river proposed by Narleyow. With a guide that would have been feasible; but it would be running much risk to attempt to find our way by the longer route in a country whose game we knew nothing of, with a large party dependent upon the very difficult hunting for support.

It is a difficult matter to keep guns in working order in the intensely cold weather we were experiencing. At sixty and seventy degrees below zero everything freezes. Even the iron and wood are affected. Strong oak and hickory will break almost like icicles, and when guns were brought into the warmer temperature of an igloo to clean, they would gather moisture, which had to be removed from every portion of the lock and working parts before again meeting the cold, or they would be worthless as weapons. They must also be kept free from oil or any kind of grease, as all lubricants of that sort will harden and prevent the working of the lock. It is but fair to state in this connection that our fire-arms, in which all the best American manufacturers were represented, worked admirably under these trying circumstances, and I feel justified in saying that it was their superiority in rapid and accurate delivery, in the hands of good hunters, that carried us through this ordeal. It is a matter of great difficulty to get near enough to such wary game as the reindeer, in winter, when the sound of the hunter's footsteps, though the soles of his shoes are covered with fur, is carried on the wind and can be distinctly heard more than a mile away. I have frequently heard the crunching of the sled runners on the brittle snow - a ringing sound like striking bars of steel - a distance of over two miles. It was one advantage in travelling against a head wind, to counterbalance the discomfort, that it carried the sound of the sleds away from game we might be approaching. After the first day's march from Back's River we were never compelled to lie in camp for the purposes of hunting game, for when we did come upon a herd the breech-loaders and magazine-guns did their work so effectively that we could lay in a stock of meat for a day or two ahead.

We left Back's River behind on the last day of the year, and made about seven miles in a south-east direction, and encamped and stopped to hunt, the last halt we made for that purpose. The mean temperature for December was - 50.4 degrees Fahrenheit, the lowest - 69 degrees, and the highest - 26 degrees. January 3d the thermometer reached the lowest point that we saw during our sojourn in this climate - in the morning - 70 degrees, at noon - 69 degrees, and at five o'clock in the afternoon the extraordinary mark of - 71 degrees. Equeesik moved his igloo about ten miles ahead this day, but the other two igloos were compelled to wait for their hunters to come in. The day, notwithstanding the intensity of the cold, was very pleasant. There was scarcely a breath of wind, and our igloo door was open the entire day. In fact, it was a far pleasanter day to be out of doors than with 50 degrees warmer and the wind blowing. January proved a very stormy month; indeed, there were but eleven days in which we could travel, and we only accomplished ninety-one miles toward our destination during that time. One day, the 19th, we lay over to follow up some musk-ox tracks we had seen the day previous. The weather was fine, notwithstanding a pretty strong wind and a temperature of - 65 degrees.

We followed the tracks about twenty-five miles, and only desisted when we found that wolves were ahead of us and had already frightened the game away. The country is filled with reindeer, and on every hill-side their breath can be seen rising like clouds of steam. A herd that was frightened by the dogs, which were following the musk-ox tracks, scampered off in every direction, and it looked as if a lot of locomotives had been let loose over the country, the smoke coming from their lungs in great puffs as they ran, and streaming along behind them. When the sledges are moving during a clear cold day, the position of any one of them is known to the team, though they may be widely separated. Sometimes, for the advantage of hunting to be obtained thereby, our igloos have been separated by a day's march of about ten miles, and at that distance the condensed breath of the dogs and people could be distinctly seen and the position of the igloos located.

January proved the coldest month of our experience, with a mean thermometer of - 53.2 degrees, lowest - 71 degrees, and the highest - 23 degrees Fahrenheit. We experienced one storm of thirteen days' duration during the latter part of January and early part of February, and found but thirteen days during which we could travel in the latter month.

It was almost our daily experience now to lose one or more dogs. They got plenty of reindeer meat, but it was usually fed frozen, and has but little nourishment in it in that state for cold weather, when fat and warming food is required. A seal-skinful of blubber each week would have saved many of our dogs; but we had none to spare for them, as we were reduced to the point when we had to save it exclusively for lighting the igloos at night. We could not use it to warm our igloos or to cook with. Our meat had to be eaten cold - that is, frozen so solid that it had to be sawed, and then broken into convenient-sized lumps, which when first put into the mouth were like stones - or cooked with moss gathered from the hill-sides and the snow beaten off with a stick. Meat will freeze in a temperature a little below the freezing-point, but it is then in a very different condition from the freezing it gets at from sixty to seventy degrees below zero. Then every piece of meat you put in your mouth has first to be breathed upon to thaw the surface, or it will stick to your tongue and sides of your mouth and lips like frosty iron, and with the same disagreeable results. The luxury of a cooked meal could only be indulged in on the days when we were lying over in camp, as to gather the moss and cook the meal would take from three to four hours.

The country began to swarm with wolves now, as well as with reindeer, and we would meet them daily. Often they would come close to the igloos, and one night Toolooah shot one of three that were eating the meat he had thrown out for food for our dogs.

They killed and ate four of Equeesik's dogs, and attacked him when he went out of the igloo to drive them off. He killed two of his assailants with his rifle, and two others by the most infernal traps ever devised. He set two keenly sharpened knife-blades in the ice and covered them with blood, which the wolves licked, at the same time slicing their tongues, the cold keeping them from feeling the wounds at the time, and their own warm blood tempting them to continue until their tongues were so scarified that death was inevitable. He also prepared some pills by rolling up long strips of whalebone, bound with sinew and hidden in meat, which freezing would hold together until it had passed into the animal's intestines, when the meat having thawed, and the sinew digested, the whalebone would open out and produce an agonizing death. If anything were bad enough treatment for wolves, these devices of Equeesik's might be so classed.

Toolooah was out hunting on the 23d of February, when a pack of about twenty wolves attacked him. He jumped upon a big rock, which was soon surrounded, and there he fought the savage beasts off with the butt of his gun until he got a sure shot, when he killed one, and while the others fought over and devoured the carcass, he made the best of the opportunity to get back into camp. It was a most fortunate escape, as he fully realized.

On the 25th we were detained in camp by a storm, which Toolooah took advantage of for hunting. He saw a reindeer not far from camp, and was soon astonished to see another Inuit following the same animal. The stranger, when he saw Toolooah, ran back to his igloo; but Toolooah let the reindeer go and followed the man, whom he found to be a Kinnepatoo acquaintance named Tsedluk. From him he learned that Depot Island was only two igloos, or three days off, with long marches and light sledges. We moved up to Tsedluk's igloo the following day, and bought some meat from him, as game was scarce beyond. Here we cached all our heavy stuff, and with light sleds and forced marches reached Depot Island on the 4th day of March, by way of Connery River, which we came upon on the 2d. The mean temperature for the past month had been - 44.8 degrees, and the coldest recorded - 69 degrees Fahrenheit.

We found open water at the rapids where Connery River empties into its estuary, and the ice four feet above water-line. It was with considerable difficulty that a safe passage was found for the sledges, but once on the salt-water ice we moved along rapidly. The prospect of reaching home the next day was very exhilarating, and the dogs seemed to catch the infection from their masters. The poor, jaded beasts coiled their tails over their backs and ran along barking until we halted for the night, within about twenty miles of our destination. We still knew nothing concerning Hudson's Bay since we left a year before, Tsedluk having seen no one since he came to the camp where we found him. The great question with us was, "Were any ships in the bay?" If there were, the prospect was that there would be some news from home and letters from our friends. We hoped that there were ships, and believed that they would be wintering at Depot Island, as it was the unanimous opinion of the officers of the fleet at Marble Island the previous year that Depot Island was a far preferable place to winter at, on account of the difficulty of getting fresh meat for the crews at the other harbor.

At any rate, we felt sure of finding our hard bread, pork, and molasses, together with some other provisions that Captain Barry said he could spare and leave with Armow, the native who had charge of our stuff at Depot Island, and the prospect of again eating some civilized food was most cheering. The natives exhibited an unwonted degree of activity, and we got under way at seven o'clock the next morning, moving off at the rate of three miles and a half an hour. We soon arrived in sight of Depot Island, and looked anxiously for sledge tracks, which we felt sure would be abundant here if the ships were near by. We saw no tracks for so long a time that we soon began to doubt that there were even any natives there.

About noon we were within four or five miles of the island, and saw some natives on the ice in the dim distance. Then all was excitement in our party, and it increased as the distance diminished. I never expected to feel so agitated as I did when I found myself running and shouting with the natives. Toolooah fired a signal-gun, then jumped on the sled and waved a deer-skin, which had been agreed between him and Armow as announcing our identity on our return.

At last the sleds drew near enough to recognize Armow, who was hastening up to us ahead of the others. When they halted he grasped Lieutenant Schwatka by the hand and shook it long and heartily, saying, "Ma-muk-poo am-a-suet suk-o" ("Plenty good to see"), and then he came to me, and I noticed, as he held my hand, the tears, warm from his dear old heart, were coursing down his cheeks. I was moved, as I scarcely anticipated, at the tenderness and earnest warmth of our reception. There were Eeglee-leock, Nanook, Seb-euck-to-lee, Shok-pe-nark, Con-we-chiergk (Toolooah's brother), Koo-pah, Eve-loo, and a host of boys, while Petulark, Ter-re-ah-ne-ak, and others came in later from the direction of Camp Daly.

From Armow we learned that there was only one ship in the bay, and that it was at Marble Island; and furthermore, that there were no provisions for us at Depot Island. This seemed utterly incomprehensible to us, as Captain Barry had about a thousand pounds of hard bread on board the 'Eothen' that belonged to us, besides some other provisions, and had promised to leave them with Armow, at Depot Island, for us, well knowing that we would need them there.

Armow said he had a piece of paper with some writing on, that he thought was from Captain Fisher; but we supposed it must be some explanation of this extraordinary circumstance. We therefore hastened with our Inuit friends to their igloos, which were on the ice about three miles from Depot Island, and found the note to be from Captain Fisher, giving some excuse for not leaving some things that he had expected to. The inevitable conclusion was then forced upon us that Barry had absolutely gone away with the food from us without a word of explanation, though he had landed at Depot Island and taken off the casks that held our bread when we came ashore. It is usually considered that those who encounter the perils of Arctic travel have enough to contend with from the very nature of the undertaking, and not only their own countrymen but all civilized nations have hastened to help them when opportunity afforded. Even the savages with whom they come in contact have pity for them.

Before resuming our march there was a painful scene at the sledges. Toolooah heard of the death of his mother, in whose charge he had left his little daughter when starting on the expedition, and a group of relatives and friends stooped around the sledge weeping, the women giving vent to their feelings in prolonged wails and moaning. This lasted for about ten minutes, during which I learned from the other natives that they had a very severe winter and much suffering for lack of food. Several deaths had occurred in the tribes since we left. A large portion was now at Wager River, but would be down in the spring or early in the summer. We afterward learned that they, too, had suffered for food. After shaking hands with other old friends at the camp we went into Armow's igloo and ate some frozen walrus meat and blubber that tasted delicious to us, the blubber especially, it having been so long since we had eaten fat food, though so much requiring it. They had but a short supply of meat on hand when we arrived, and the advent of twenty-two hungry travellers and nineteen starving dogs soon reduced their stores, so that, a storm at once setting in from the north-west, making it a useless task to hunt walrus, there was a famine in camp before the end of a week.

They can only hunt walrus successfully at Depot Island with a southerly wind to hold the ice-pack to the floe. Seals are hunted with dogs to find the blow-hole of amog-low, or seal igloo, which, often covered with loose snow, is hidden from the hunter. When found, a wall of snow is built as a protection against the wind, while the hunter waits for hours, and sometimes for days, until the seal comes up to blow, when he is struck through the hole in the ice with a spear and held by a line attached to the boat. It is necessary for this style of hunting that the weather should be such that one can see at a short distance, or on the trackless waste of smooth ice the hunter is apt to get lost. Most of the time we were here it was blowing so that land could not be seen at one hundred yards' distance. It might be well to explain here that, when the wind blows, the dry snow fills the air so that it is thicker than the severest snow-storm in the temperate zone. The Inuits call this condition of affairs "pairk-se-uk-too", and one can witness it almost daily during the winter.

It was the eighth day after our arrival before the storm abated sufficiently to let the hunters out with any prospect of success. The wind was still from the north, and it was very provoking that they could see plenty of walrus and seal on the pack, but far beyond their reach. Affairs were getting desperate now. In the last five days we had but one meal a day, composed at first of about a quarter of a pound of walrus or seal meat, but lately of "kow" - that is, the thick hide of the walrus, with a thin cover of short hair on it, such as is seen on the old fashioned seal-skin trunks. As the hunters got nothing, we were without even our "kow" the next day, with the prospect of remaining without food until Eeglee-leock and Nanook got back from Marble Island, where they went for relief from the natives there three days ago. Lieutenant Schwatka went with them in order to try to get some food for us from the ship. All they had to eat on the way down was walrus blubber, and so great was their anxiety for us that Lieutenant Schwatka and Eeglee-leock left the sled behind at Chesterfield Inlet with Nanook, and walked one day and night without resting, reaching Marble Island at six o'clock in the morning, after a walk of about seventy-five miles.

One of the women in our camp died this day, her death hastened by privation. She was the wife of Te-wort, or "Papa," as he is universally called, not only by the white visitors to Hudson's Bay, but by his own people. The benignant Inuit custom that allows a plurality of wives to those that desire it, leaves him not altogether comfortless in his old age; but "Cockeye" was his first favorite wife, and the mother of the great majority of his children. The funeral ceremonies covered four days, and the morning of the fifth "Papa" visited the grave, and after his return there was nothing to prevent the usual course of events which the burial and mourning customs had interrupted. Even the dogs could be fed if there was anything to give them to eat.

It was a mournful camp after the hunters got in, Friday night, the 12th of the month, empty handed. They all felt the danger that again threatened them, as it had done twice before during the winter, when they had to kill and eat some of their starving dogs. People spoke to each other in whispers, and everything was quiet, save for the never-ceasing and piteous cries of the hungry children, begging for food which their parents could not give them. Most of the time I stayed in bed, trying to keep warm and to avoid exercise that would only make me all the more hungry. It was impossible to keep warm this night, and my aching limbs drove sleep from my eyes.

The closing ceremony was a most touching one. After "Papa" had returned from the grave, Armow went out of doors and brought in a piece of frozen something that it is not polite to specify further than that the dogs had entirely done with it, and with it he touched every block of snow in a level with the beds of the igloo. The article was then taken out of doors and tossed up in the air to fall at his feet, and by the manner in which it fell he could joyfully announce that there was no liability of further deaths in camp for some time to come.

The wind was from the east Saturday, and a little better for hunting, so the men were off bright and early. About noon there was a joyful sound in camp. The women and children ran into our igloo shouting "Iviek seleko" (walrus killed), and fairly jumped up and down in their joy. I think the veriest stoic would have at least smiled. I know I laughed and said "good," though I tried to look dignified and unconcerned. Thank God, the danger was over, for the present at least, and I should be able to start for Marble Island in a day or two. It was not until the 17th, however, that I got away at last, as no sledges could move or the dogs be fed during the four days succeeding the death of "Papa's" wife. According to the Inuit belief, an infringement of this custom would cause a fearful mortality that I did not care to become responsible for, and had to wait patiently until the gods of the walrus and seal were satisfied that due respect had been paid to the memory of the departed.

The first day of my march to Marble Island I met Ikomar coming with relief for our camp, and took from his sled one of two boxes containing hard bread and some pork, molasses, and tobacco, sending another box and the remainder of the food to Henry and Frank, who would come down to Marble Island when Ikomar returned. I found a note from Lieutenant Schwatka, in which I read that a bottle of whiskey was among the stores sent; but in the excitement of the occasion and my interest in some papers of 1879, I forgot to look for it. My surprise and disappointment can therefore be imagined that night, when Toolooah dragged the bottle forth from the bottom of the bread box, and asked what it was. We each drank some of the contents, and I noticed, on pouring it into a tin cup, that it was of the consistency of thick syrup, and the cup absolutely froze to my lips, at the same time burning them as if with a red-hot knitting-needle. I had often before heard of a bottle of whiskey freezing to a person's lips, but until that moment I had regarded the assertion as a base effort to deceive and to divert the mind from the actual cause of a too prolonged hold of the bottle. I found the whiskey a great comfort on the trip to Marble Island, and could not help feeling that our long winter journey would have been made much more comfortable by some form of ardent spirits, probably diluted alcohol, to be partaken of in small quantities each night on arriving in camp, or after unusually fatiguing work and exposure.

I reached the ship 'George and Mary' at midnight of Saturday the 21st, and found every one in bed, except Captain Baker, who received me very kindly, and at once impressed me as a straightforward, generous-spirited man. The cabin of his vessel is exceedingly small and inconvenient, but the officers submitted to much discomfort in our behalf. I found that the crew had been entirely free from scurvy, which had so seriously afflicted the crews of the fleet at Marble Island the previous winter. The entire freedom from this disease seems to be attributable to Captain Baker's excellent management, and the constant feeding of fresh reindeer, walrus, or seal meat to the crew, as well as to those in the cabin.

He had, however, lost one man, George Vernoi, a Canadian, who died of consumption, with which he was suffering when he shipped at New Bedford, and one officer, Mr. Charles A. Lathe, of Swansea, Mass., first mate, who froze to death while on a hunting expedition to the main-land during the previous fall. He, together with Mr. Gilbert, the third officer of the vessel, and some Kinnepatoo Inuits, went ashore on the 1st of October to secure fresh meat for the crew. In five days they had killed seven reindeer, and started to return to the ship; but a gale prevented their working to windward, and, their sail torn from the mast, they drifted during the night to a small barren island, where in the morning their boat was broken and their provisions washed away. They were suffering extremely from thirst, having neglected to bring water with them from the shore, and found none on the island. A day was spent in endeavoring to repair the boat, and after another bitter night on the island, without water, they got away at nearly nightfall of the day following and reached another island where they found water and spent the night.

Mr. Lathe had already suffered extremely with the cold, as well as with hunger and thirst, and next day, after walking in a snow-storm about twenty miles toward the Kinnepatoo village, on the main-land, he gave up entirely and lay down to die. Mr. Gilbert urged his companion to make another effort, but to no purpose, and had finally to abandon him, though still alive, for the Inuits were nearly out of sight, and as they would not wait for him his own life depended on keeping them in view. Arrived at the Kinnepatoo camp, which was about ten miles from where his companion fell, Mr. Gilbert was much exhausted. The natives then treated him very kindly and supplied him with dry clothing, but no persuasion or promises of reward could induce any of them to go back and look after Mr. Lathe, whom they said would be dead before they found him. Mr. Gilbert remained here for more than two months, when the arrival of some of the tribe from the north brought the joyful news that the ice bridge had formed between Marble Island and the main-land, and then they were willing to conduct him to the ship, where he arrived on the 23d of December, long after all on board had given them both up as dead.

During the year that we were absent from the verge of civilization, as the winter harbor of the whalers may be considered, we had travelled 2,819 geographical, or 3,251 statute miles, most of which was entirely over unexplored territory, constituting the longest sledge journey ever made, both as to time and distance, and the only extended sledge journey ever accomplished in the Arctic, except such as have been made through countries well known and over routes almost as thoroughly established as post-roads. Our sledge journey stands conspicuous as the only one ever made through the entire course of an Arctic winter, and one regarded by the natives as exceptionally cold, as the amount of suffering encountered by those remaining at Depot Island attested, and further confirmed, as we afterward learned, by the experience of those who wintered at Wager River, where many deaths occurred, attributable to the unusual severity of the season. The party successfully withstood the lowest temperature ever experienced by white men in the field, recording one observation of - 71 degrees Fahrenheit, sixteen days whose average was 100 degrees below the freezing-point, and twenty-seven which registered below - 60 degrees Fahrenheit, during most of which the party travelled. In fact, the expedition never took cold into consideration, or halted a single day on that account.

During the entire journey its reliance for food, both for man and beast, may be said to have been solely upon the resources of the country, as the expedition started with less than one month's rations, and it is the first in which the white men of an expedition voluntarily lived exclusively upon the same fare as its Esquimau assistants, thus showing that white men can safely adapt themselves to the climate and life of the Esquimaux, and prosecute their journeys in any season or under such circumstances as would the natives of the country themselves. The expedition was the first to make a summer search over the route of the lost crews of the 'Erebus' and 'Terror', and while so doing buried the remains of every member of that fated party above ground, so that no longer the bleached bones of those unfortunate explorers whiten the coasts of King William Land and Adelaide Peninsula as an eternal rebuke to civilization, but all have, for the time being at least, received decent and respectful interment.

The most important direct result of the labors of the expedition will undoubtedly be considered the establishing of the loss of the Franklin records at the boat place in Starvation Cove; and as ever since Dr. Rae's expedition of 1854, which ascertained the fate of the party, the recovery of the records has been the main object of subsequent exploring in this direction, the history of the Franklin expedition may now be considered as closed. As ascertaining the fate of the party was not so gratifying as would have been their rescue or the relief of any member thereof, so is it in establishing the fate of the record of their labors. Next in importance to their recovery must be considered the knowledge of their irrecoverable loss.

It may be needless to say here that to Lieutenant Schwatka's thorough fitness for his position as commander of such an expedition may be attributed its successful conduct through all the various stages of its experience. The thinking public will place the credit where it so well belongs, and he will soon find the reward of success in the approval not only of his countrymen, but of all interested in the extension of geographical knowledge and scientific research. It is not too much to say that no man ever entered the field of Arctic labors better fitted for the task, physically or by education and habits of life and mental training, than Lieutenant Schwatka. He is endowed by nature with robust health and a powerful frame, to which fatigue seems a stranger. A cheerful disposition that finds amusement in the passing trifle, and powers of concentration that entirely abstract him from his surroundings, keep him free from "ennui" that is not the least disagreeable feature of life in this wilderness. And he possesses a very important adjunct, though to the uninitiated it may seem trifling, a stomach that can relish and digest fat. The habit of command gives him a power over our Inuit allies that is not to be disregarded. "Esquimau Joe" says he never knew them to mind any one so strictly and readily as they do Lieutenant Schwatka. With all these qualifications for a leader, and the prestige of success following close upon his heels, it would not be too much to predict for him a brilliant Arctic career in the near future.

His excellent management secured his entire party from many of the usual misfortunes of those in the field, and deprived the expedition of the sensational character it might have assumed in less skilful hands. All our movements were conducted in the dull, methodical, business-like manner of an army on the march. Every contingency was calculated upon and provided for beforehand, so that personal adventures were almost unknown or too trival to mention.