Greely, Adolphus Washington (1844-1935), a United States army officer and Arctic explorer. Greely was born in Newburyport, Massachusetts. He joined the Union Army and fought in the Civil War. In 1881 Greely, then a first lieutenant, was given command of a scientific expedition to the Arctic. They traveled to 83° 24' north, the farthest point reached to that time. Supply ships sent out during 1882-83 failed to reach the expedition. Most of the men died of starvation before a rescue party led by Captain Winfield Scott Schley arrived in June, 1884. Only Greely and five others of an original 25 men survived.
Greely supervised the building of telegraph lines as the army's chief signal officer, 1887-1906. In 1908 he retired as a major general. He received the Medal of Honor in 1935 for his Arctic expedition. Greely was a founder of the National Geographic Society. He wrote Three Years of Arctic Service (2 volumes, 1885). Reminiscences of Adventure and Service (1927) is an autobiography.