Kane, United States Franklin Search Expedition, 1853-1855

Scope and Content

  • MS 248/430/3;D Report, 1853-1855 [To the United States Secretary of Navy] 6 leaves

Administrative / Biographical History

In 1845 Sir John Franklin sailed north in command of the British Naval Northwest Passage Expedition. Sent by the Admiralty the two ships HMS Erebus (Franklin) and HMS Terror (Francis Crozier) were to search for a passage via Lancaster Sound. With provisions designed to last three years the expedition sailed north in May 1845. Whalers in Baffin Bay were the last Europeans to see the two ships in July of 1845.

Many searches were conducted for the missing expedition during the course of which the main facts regarding the route taken and the final fate of the expedition were established.

The United States Franklin Search Expedition, 1853-1855 (leader Elisha Kent Kane) sailed from New York in May 1853. The expedition followed the west coast of Greenland through Baffin Bay and Smith Sound, to discover the broad basin later named Kane Basin. Between 1853 and 1854, boat and sledge parties examined and mapped Kane Basin, discovering the great Humboldt Gletscher, and explored the Kennedy Channel, thus establishing the routes that led later explorers toward the Arctic Ocean and the North Pole. Abandoning Advance in May 1855, the expedition travelled to Upernavik, later returning home with a relief expedition.



Alternative Form Available

MS 248/430/3;D This is a copy in the hand of Sophia Cracroft companion to Jane, Lady Franklin

Related Material

Material relating to this expedition can be found amongst SPRI collections GB 015 Jane Franklin and GB 015 Sophia Cracroft.