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Charles Winans Chipp
Lt. Charles W. Chipp
Born (1848-08-23)August 23, 1848
Died September 12, 1881(1881-09-12) (aged 33)
Place of birth Kingston, New York
Place of death Arctic Ocean, off Siberia, Russia
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service 1868–1881
Rank Lieutenant

Charles Winans Chipp (August 23, 1848[1] – 1881) was a United States Navy officer and explorer.

Biography[edit | edit source]

Born in Kingston, New York, he was educated at the United States Naval Academy in Newport, Rhode Island and Annapolis, Maryland.[2] After graduating in 1868, he served in the steam frigate USS Franklin, flagship of the European Squadron. In 1871, he participated in the United States expedition to Korea. In 1873 he served in USS Juniata when that ship was ordered to the coast of Greenland to search for the Arctic steamer Polaris. Also serving aboard Juniata was Lieutenant George W. DeLong, who would later be Chipp's commanding officer. After service in several other ships, Chipp was ordered to San Francisco to serve as Executive Officer[3] of USS Jeannette, with DeLong commanding. Jeannette was fitting out for her mission, which would be to attempt to sail to the North Pole via the Bering Strait.

Tragic Arctic voyage[edit | edit source]

On July 8, 1879, USS Jeannette stood out to sea through the Golden Gate on her voyage of exploration. At that time, DeLong wrote to his wife:

Chipp is, as he always was and always will be, calm and earnest. He has always something to do, and is always doing it in that quiet, steady and sure manner of his. He smiles rarely and says very little, but I know where he is and how reliable and true he is in every respect.[1]

Jeannette reached St. Lawrence Bay, Siberia, August 27, 1879, then headed north into the Chukchi Sea. She became trapped in the pack ice near Wrangel Island and in June 1881 was crushed and sank. After the ship's crew trudged across the rugged ice to open water, they set out in three small boats toward the Siberian mainland. The boats were commanded by DeLong, Chipp and Chief Engineer George W. Melville. On September 12, 1881, the three boats were separated in a storm. Lieutenant Chipp's boat, with Chipp and seven other men aboard, was never seen again and no trace of it was ever found.

Namesakes[edit | edit source]

The Chipp River in northern Alaska was named in honor of Lieutenant Charles W. Chipp.[1] Chipp Peak on Kupreanof Island, in the Alexander Archipelago in southeastern Alaska is also named for him.[4]

Publications[edit | edit source]

  • DeLong, The Voyage of the Jeannette, comprising his journals, edited by his widow, Mrs. Emma J. (Wotton) DeLong (1883)
  • Leonard F. Guttridge, Icebound: The Jeannette Expedition's Quest for the North Pole (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1986) ISBN 0-87021-330-X.
  • Michael Robinson, The Coldest Crucible: Arctic Exploration and American Culture (Chicago, 2006)
  • John Wilson Danenhower, The Narrative of the Jeannette (Boston, 1882)
  • Melville, In the Lena Delta (Boston, 1885)

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 The Chipp Family in England and America, With Genealogical Tree, by Charles Edward Burnett, United Printing Company, Los Angeles, 1933, pp. 49-59
  2. During the Civil War, the Naval Academy was relocated from Annapolis to Newport.
  3. Lieutenant Charles W. Chipp, at Naval Historical Center
  4. Geographic Dictionary of Alaska, by Marcus Baker, in USGS Bulletin No. 299, U. S. Government Printing Office, 1906, page 179.

External links[edit | edit source]

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