Lieutenant Schuetze to Mr. Bayard .
September 25, 1885. (Received November 23.)
Sir: I have the honor to report arrival here on the 21st instant on my way to the mouth of the Lena River.
My route from St. Petersburg was the one usually followed in summer from Moscow over Nishni Novgorod, Kazan, Perm, and Tiumen. From the latter place to Tomsk the travel by steamer occupied ten days, and thence by wagon to Irkutsk, seventeen days. From Tomsk the time was unusually long, the roads being the worst known for years, owing to the almost constant rains during the past summer. In many places the regular track could not be followed at all, and temporary roads or paths lay through swamps, cultivated fields, or forests. Accidents to the wagon were frequent, causing long stops for repairs. Where the road was particularly rough, travel by night was, if not impossible, not advisable. When once I attempted it, I was all of one night making a station of 14 miles.
Owing to this unexpected delay on the latter part of the journey, I shall have to wait here until the winter road opens to Yakutsk, probably in the early part of November. I shall then proceed to Yakutsk as rapidly as possible, fit out the expedition for the north coast, and, returning from the delta, try to reach Irkutsk before the spring breaks up. Cold weather has now set in near Yakutsk, and the only practicable summer travel, by boat, is interrupted.
I telegraphed his excellency, Mr. Lothrop, upon my arrival here, and shall communicate with him, agreeably to your oral instructions, whenever I shall have occasion to use the telegraph.
I have now definitely learned through the attending physician, Dr. Kapello, whom I met on the way to Russia, that General Tchernaieff, late governor of Yakutsk, died on June 12, after an illness of one month, of congestion of the lungs.
The usual visits with the officials of Irkutsk have been exchanged.
The newly appointed governor-general of East Siberia, Count Ignatieff, is particularly kind and courteous, and promises me all necessary official assistance in my journey to the north.
I have, &c.,
Lieutenant, U. S. Navy.