William Rogers Taylor—born in Rhode Island on 7 November 1811—was appointed midshipman on 1 April 1828. The following year, he was posted to the sloop St. Louis of the Pacific Squadron and served in her until 1832. In 1833 and 1834, he attended the Naval School at New York and, in the latter year, was promoted to passed midshipman. The following year, he was assigned to the receiving ship at New York.
Taylor returned to sea in 1836. Assigned to the sloop Peacock cruising with the East India Squadron, Passed Midshipman Taylor was called upon to command a short expedition when his ship ran aground on a reef near the entrance to the Persian Gulf. Assuming command of a cutter, he took a diplomatic agent, Edmund Roberts, to Muscat, on the southern shore of the Gulf of Oman, to exchange ratified treaties. The voyage took five days and included a chase by some Moslem pirates. Midshipman Taylor, however, managed to overcome all obstacles and completed his mission successfully.
On 10 February 1840, Taylor was promoted to lieutenant. In 1842 and 1843, he participated in a survey of Tampa Bay on board the brig Oregon. During the Mexican War, Lt. Taylor served in the sloop St. Mary's and saw action at Tampico Bar on 8 and 15 June 1846. During the siege of Vera Cruz, he commanded an 8-inch gun in the naval battery.
Between the Mexican War and the Civil War, Taylor saw a succession of tours ashore punctuated by a single sea duty assignment. From 1848 to 1850, he served at the Naval Asylum at Philadelphia. His single sea tour came in 1851 and 1852 when he cruised with the Home Squadron in the sloop Albany. From then until the beginning of the Civil War, Taylor did a series of tours of ordnance duty, completing his last one at Washington, D.C., in 1861. While serving in this capacity, he was promoted to commander on 14 September 1855.
On 16 July 1862, Taylor was promoted to captain and, soon thereafter, assumed command of the steam sloop-of-war Housatonic which served with the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron through the remainder of 1862 and into 1863. He was the senior Union officer off Charleston on 31 January 1863 when the Confederate ironclad rams Chicora and Palmetto State made their highly successful raid upon the blockading ships. He served as Dahlgren's Fleet Captain during the operations against Morris Island and Forts Wagner and Sumter between 10 and 19 July 1863. In 1864 and 1865, he commanded the steam sloop Juniata of the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron and was present during both attacks on Fort Fisher.
Taylor's naval career continued for eight years after the Civil War. On 25 July 1866, he was commissioned commodore and, until 1867, served another tour of ordnance duty. From 1869 to 1871, he commanded the Northern Squadron of the Pacific Fleet, receiving his promotion to rear admiral on 19 January 1871. Rear Admiral Taylor's last assignment was as president of the Board of Examiners in 1872 and 1873. Rear Admiral Taylor was placed on the retired list on 7 November 1873. On 14 April 1889, he died at Washington, D.C.
Henry Clay Taylor was born in Washington, D.C., on 4 March 1845. He was appointed midshipman at the Naval Academy on 28 September 1860. When the Civil War expansion of the Navy engendered a pressing need for junior officers in the fleet, Midshipman Taylor's class was graduated a year early. He was commissioned ensign on 28 May 1863 and posted to the steam sloop Shenandoah operating with the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron. In 1864, he was transferred to the sloop-of-war Iroquois, in which he visited the Mediterranean and participated in the hunt for the Confederate raider Shenandoah.
After the Civil War, Taylor served in a succession of ships on various stations. In 1866 and 1867, he was in Rhode Island with the North Atlantic Squadron, and he was assigned to Susquehanna from 1867 to 1868. His next tour of duty, in 1868 and 1869, was with the European Squadron in the storeship Guard.
Between 1869 and 1880, Taylor sandwiched two tours at sea in between two periods of shore duty. His first assignment ashore—in 1869, 1870, and 1871—was at the Naval Academy. Following that, he was executive officer of Saranac, the flagship of the Pacific Squadron, from 1872 to 1874. Over the next three years, Lt. Comdr. Taylor commanded the Coast Survey steamer Hassler. In 1877, he came ashore once more, this time assigned to the Hydrographic Office. From there, he went to the Washington Navy Yard where he was serving at the time of his promotion to commander in December 1879.
In 1880, Comdr. Taylor resumed sea duty as the commanding officer of Saratoga. In 1884 and 1885, he was on special duty at New York City. From 1885 to 1887, Comdr. Taylor served as a member of the Board of Inspection and then took a leave of absence in 1888. In 1890, he returned to duty to command Alliance on the Asiatic Station until September 1891 when he took another leave of absence until December 1892. After six months special duty in 1893, Comdr. Taylor became President of the Naval War College.
In April 1894, he was promoted to captain. Capt. Taylor assumed command of Indiana (Battleship No. 1) in December 1894. His ship was assigned to the North Atlantic Squadron, and he commanded her through the Spanish-American War in 1898. In the fall of 1899, Capt. Taylor was detached from Indiana and assigned to shore duty. In March 1900, he became a member of the General Board and, 11 months later on 11 February 1901, he was promoted to rear admiral. On 29 April 1902, he assumed the post of Chief of the Bureau of Navigation, which he held until his death on 26 July 1904.
The first Taylor (DD-94) was named for Rear Admiral Henry Clay Taylor, and the second Taylor (DD-468) commemorates Rear Admiral William Rogers Taylor.
(Destroyer No. 94: dp. 1,090; 1. 314'½"; b. 30'11¼" (wl.); dr. 9'0" (mean); s. 35 k. (est.); cpl. 122; a. 4 4", 1 3", 12 21" tt.; cl. Wickes)
The first Taylor (Destroyer No. 94) was laid down on 15 October 1917 by the Mare Island Navy Yard, Calif.; launched on 14 February 1918; sponsored by Miss Mary Gorgas; and commissioned on 1 June 1918, Comdr. Charles T. Hutchins, Jr., in command.
Upon commissioning, Taylor joined Division 12 of the Destroyer Force, Atlantic Fleet. She cruised with that fleet through the end of World War I and into the postwar period. By 1 April 1919, she was assigned to Division 8, Destroyer Force. In 1920, Taylor was placed in reduced commission though still operating on the Atlantic coast. That summer, on 17 July, the Navy adopted the alpha-numeric hull designation system, and Taylor became DD-94. In October, she was placed back in full commission and, until the summer of 1922, operated with Division 8, Flotilla 8, Squadron 3. On 21 June 1922, the destroyer was placed out of commission at Philadelphia.
Taylor remained inactive there until 1 May 1930, when she was placed back in commission, Comdr. George B. Keester in command. She was assigned to Division 33, Squadron 7, Destroyer Squadrons, Scouting Fleet, and operated from Charleston, S.C., until November when she was placed in reduced commission once again. At the same time, Taylor was detached from the Scouting Fleet and transferred to Division 47, Squadron 16, Training Squadorn. She was assigned to the 6th and 7th Naval Districts to train reservists and to carry Reserve Officer Training Corps midshipmen on summer cruises.
By 1 April 1931, her unit designation changed completely. Scouting Fleet became Scouting Force, and the destroyer was an element of Division 28 of the Training Squadron. She operated with that unit until early in 1934 when she joined Squadron 19 of the rotating reserve with which she remained until that fall.
On 1 September, she relieved J. Fred Talbot (DD-156) on duty with the Special Service Squadron. She cruised the West Indies and the Gulf of Mexico with that little force for the better part of a year to guard American interests during Latin America's sporadic political spasms. By 1 October 1935, Taylor was back with the Training Squadron as a unit of the newly established Division 30. She trained reservists until early in 1937 when she returned to the Special Service Squadron in relief of Manley (DD-74). The destroyer again patrpled the volatile Caribbean area protecting American lives and property.
Upon her return to the United States in 1938, Taylor was moored at Philadelphia to prepare for inactivation. The destroyer was placed out of commission on 23 September 1938. Although her name was struck from the Navy list on 6 December 1938, and she was offered for sale in July 1939, Taylor's service to the Navy was not yet at an end. On 11 July 1940, she was selected for use in training damage control parties and was designated Damage Control Hulk No. 40.
Moreover, at least a part of her saw duty in World War II. In May 1942—while patrolling off Martinique— one of her sister ships, Blakley (DD-150), lost 60 feet of her bow to a German torpedo. Taylor's bow was grafted onto Blakeley at Philadelphia that summer; and, in September, the latter destroyer returned to convoy escort duty in the Atlantic, Caribbean, and Mediterranean. The former Taylor continued to serve as a damage control hulk until almost the end of the war. She was finally sold for scrap in August 1945 and delivered to her purchaser on the 8th.