Rear Admiral Albert Gleaves, Commander, Destroyer Force, to Lieutenant Commander Joseph K. Taussig, Commander, Destroyer Division Eight
[Cape Henry, VA,] 23 April 1917.
My dear Taussig –
Upon my return from Washington today, I found your letter of 20 April. The reason I radioed you was this:
Almost as soon as I went into Admiral Benson’s office, he asked why the Special Service Division was not ready. I replied that with the exception of docking and a possible increase in your ammunition allowance, you were ready at Hampton Roads, and then asked him to what he referred. His answer was that he had talked with you over the phone from Boston, and that you wanted bins for ammunition on deck, and also tops fitted; that the estimated time was ten days, but you thought it could be done in a week. As I considered these items desirable, but not beyond the capacity of the ship’s force to improvise, I was vexed at the delay and dictated in his presence the radiogram above referred to.
Your letter clears up the situation and I am glad to have it. As a matter of fact, I would have recommended to the Commander in Chief that the entire Division sail direct from Hampton Roads without going to the navy yard at all but there was a possibility that it might not be wise to do so unless all the vessels were docked. Neither the Commander in Chief nor myself knew of orders or instruction given you direct by the Navy Department, and beyond your letter I do not know what the ultimate definite intention of the Department is, nor does the Commander in Chief. I was only concerned in reporting “Ready” when I was called upon to furnish six destroyers for this service. I understand your point of view, and if you are to be delayed, before sailing it is wise to get everything done that is possible, only I am quite sure Admiral Benson from his conversation with you, understood that you were not ready to sail and would not be for several days in order to do the necessary work.
Hoping that this explains any doubt that you have in your mind in regard to my radiogram and attitude and again wishing you all manner of success, I am,
Very sincerely yours,
Source Note: TLS, DLC-MSS, Albert Gleaves Papers, Box 8. The signature is a stamp. Addressed below close: “Captain J. K. Taussig, U. S. Navy,/Commanding Division EIGHT, Destroyer Force,/U. S. S. WADSWORTH,/ Navy Yard, Boston, Mass. Gleaves did not give his location, but according to his diary entry for this date, he was at Cape Henry. DLC-MSS, Albert Gleaves Diary, Box 4.