The New York Times
Sunday, August 10, 1884
THE LAST OF THE ARCTIC DEAD.
SOLEMN FUNERAL SERVICES AT GOVERNOR'S ISLAND AND CYPRESS
Two black coffins, each covered with an American jack and
decorated with exquisite wreaths of flowers; a venerable white surpliced
clergyman standing with open books before them; an assembly of military-looking
gentlemen, with uncovered heads and badges of crape; young girls and children
ranged along one side of the room, which was draped in deep mourning; outside,
troops drawn up and mounted artillery; such was the scene at Governor's
Island early yesterday morning. The funeral of Private Charles B. Henry,
the unclaimed hero of the Greely arctic expedition, was to take place.
All the other coffins, with the exception of these two, had been safely
dispatched to their destination on the preceding evening. The eastern ward
of the hospital was soon to be entirely vacated, as the body contained
in the second coffin--that of Private Roderick R. Snider--also to be taken
to Cypress Hills Cemetery and placed in a receiving vault until such time
as it was found expedient to forward it to Chemnitz, Germany, the birthplace
of the dead hero. The flowers which lay on the two coffins yesterday had
been anonymously sent from this city as a fitting tribute to those whom
none claimed. The surpliced clergyman was the Rev. E. H. C. Goodwin, acting
Chaplain of Fort Columbus and minister at Trinity Church. Two military-looking
gentlemen were Gen. Hancock with his department and division staff, Capt.
George F. Price, of Company E, Fifth Artillery, to which Private Henry
had formerly belonged, and Mr. Robert S. Oberfelder, an intimate friend
of the dead man in Sidney, Neb., were also present. The troops outside
were the same employed on the preceding day.
The burial service was read inside the hospital by the
Rev. Mr. Goodwin, and two caissons were then drawn up, upon which the coffins
were placed. The procession was then formed by the mouted escort, the caissons,
the troops, and Gen. Hancock and his staff, and to the music of Prof. Wiegand's
band proceeded to the wharf. There lay the barge William Lewis, upon which
the procession embarked and were taken by the little tug May Clinton to
the foot of Atlantic street, Brooklyn. Gen. Hancock and his staff were
carried to the same destination by the Chester A. Arthur. At the foot of
Atlantic street, two light batteries under the command of Capt. Eagan met
the company, and the whole procession marched to Cypress Hills Cemetery.
The body of Private Henry was interred in the national part of the cemetery
devoted to the burial of soldiers. The body of Private Snider was placed
in the receiving vault. The soldiers then discharged their farewell shot,
the salvos rang loud and clear through the air, and the impressive ceremonies
were at an end.
"Ah!" said Mr. Robert S. Oberfelder, the friend of the
buried here, "how earnestly we all entreated this young man not to join
the arctic expedition. You know all his ideas on the subject were gained
from books. He was a spendidly educated young man and read deeply. He was
employed as letter carrier in the company at Sidney, Neb. I remember Capt.
Price's words to him when he stated his intention of joining Greely's expedition.
Said the Captain: 'If I had a yellow cat, and was mad with her, I wouldn't
send her out to the arctic seas.' Couldn't stop him. He had set his mind
on it. And now we're following him to the grave. I think he must have left
some letters with Lieut. Greely, and I am anxiously waiting for them. I
know he must have written to me. We were always such old chums--poor old
This Article was contributed By: James Urness
editior's Note: Rodrick Snider is actually Rodrick Schneider
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