The USS Arctic was bought by the U.S. Navy specifically for use in the continuing search for the Sir John Franklin lost Arctic expedition.
The Franklin expedition was a British voyage of Arctic exploration led by Captain Sir John Franklin in 1845. Franklin had been on three previous Arctic explorations, looking for the Northwest Passage through the Canadian Arctic.
His two ships became ice bound in Victoria Strait near King William Island.
Every member of the expedition, including Franklin perished (129 men).
There were many expeditions sent out to look for him back then and they have continued to this day.
A famous American, Elisha Kane, an explored and U.S. Navy medical officer, led the second Grinnel Expedition in 1853, the one the Arctic accompanied. They did not find Franklin.
Of interest, when Kane died in Cuba in 1857, his body was taken to New Orleans and placed on a funeral train that was met at nearly every platform on the way by a memorial delegations. It was said to be the longest funeral train in the United States during the 19th-century except for that of Lincoln.