From 1881 to 1884 Greely led a military polar expedition to the arctic to collect scientific data. The first year went as planned, but the following summer, supply ships failed to arrive. When supply ships didn’t come the next summer either, Greely followed pre-existing orders to take the men in small boats to a location where they could be reached more easily. After more than a month and a half at sea fighting ice, the men finally reached land, barren though it was. The men wintered there, but supplies ran out and most of the 24 men died from starvation and hypothermia. Eventually, three years after the expedition originally set out, the 7 remaining men, including Greely, were rescued, though accusations of cannibalism later tarnished the reputation of the expedition.