Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Diary of Captain Joseph K. Taussig, Commander, U.S. Destroyer Little

Saturday

July 27

At sea

     Thursday night and yesterday (Friday) it was too rough for comfort or for writing. Thursday morning I went to the operation office and saw Captain Day1 of the America who will was to be convoy commander of the ships due to sail that p.m. Reviewed orders to sail at 6:30 p.m. local time. The convoy is composed of America (Day) Matsonia (Luby) Aeolus (Kempff) Martha Washington (Shackford) Powhatan (Lincoln) Manchuria (Freeman) Sierra (Wilson) and French steamer Patria.2 Talked with Halligan & Fremont.3 The former showed me a report from Captain Jackson4 at Paris giving the number of troops and amounts of cargo that arrived at French ports during the month of June. I was surprised that over 100 000 U.S. troops came into Havre by way of England. I am inserting here a list of the Ex-German ships that are now carrying our troops to France.

PRESENT NAME OF VESSEL.

FORMER NAME OF SAME VESSEL.

TONNAGE.

1. Leviathan

-

1. Vaterland

-

54282

2. George Washington

-

2. George Washington

-

25570

3. America

-

3. Amerika

-

22622

4. Mount Vernon

-

4. Kronprincessin Cecilie

-

19503

5. Agamemnon

-

5. Kaiser Wilhelm II

-

19361

6. President Lincoln

-

6. President Lincoln

-

18168

7. President Grant

-

7. President Grant

-

18072

8. Covington

-

8. Cincinnati

-

16339

9. Von Steuben

-

9. Kronprinz Wilhelm

-

14908

10. Aeolus

-

10. Grosser Kurfurst

-

13102

11. Mercury

-

11. Barbarossa

-

10984

12. Princess Matoika

-

12. Princess Alice

-

10981

13. Pochahontas

-

13. Prinzess Irene

-

10893

14. Huron

-

14. Friedrich der Grosse

-

10771

15. Powhatan

-

15. Hamburg

-

10531

16. Susquehanna

-

16. Rhein

-

10058

17. Antigone

-

17. Nekar

-

9835

18. Madawaska

-

18. Konig Wilhelm II

-

9410

19. De Kalb

-

19. Prinz Eitel Friedrich

-

8797

20. Martha Washington

-

20. Martha Washington

-

8312

 

Besides these ships the following American, French, British and Italian ships are also carrying troops to French ports

          American

Calamares      Lenape         Northern Pacific    Sierra

Finland        Manchuria      Orizaba        Tenadores

Great Northern Matsonia       Pastores       Wilhelmina

Henderson      Mallory        Ryndjam        Icelandia

Kroonland      Magnolia       Siboney        Maui

British        French         Italian

Czar           Patria         Dante Aligheri Caserta

Czarita        France         Duc D’Aosta    Re d’Italia

Tuloa          Lutetia        Duc de Alrizzi America

                         Regina d’Italia     Tasmina

The ships in the above lists are those running direct to French ports and are escorted by the Brest destroyers. They carry only about 2/5 of the American troops coming into France, the 3/5 being taken first to England and then across channel – mostly to Havre.

     On leaving the office, met Shackford who had just come ashore, He said if I would take lunch with him he would call at the Little on the way out to the Martha Washington. I accepted. When I got on board ship found Coman5 who Commands the McDougal waiting to see me. The McDougal has just joined the forces here having completed the refit at Liverpool where she has her stern rejoined after being in collision.

     Had a nice luncheon on the Martha Washington while the American launch came alongside to take Shackford to a conference, so I went along with him. Collected all the captains who were to go out that evening. I did not get on the Little until nearly four o’clock which was the time I had set for the destroyer captains to come on board for their orders. They all arrived – Puleston, Coman, Fuller, Slayton, Rockwell, Williams, Pownall, Foster.6 Suddenly discovered that our fuel oil had not been delivered and we needed about 35000 gallons- signaled the Benham to ask if she could give us any oil – she said yes, so got up steam immediately and went alongside of her. After an hour the oil barge came alongside. We were an hour late in getting underway and had a stern chase which was somewhat delayed by trouble with one of our lubricating oil pumps. However we caught the Convoy just at dark and have been proceeding with them ever since. We have as a passenger Rev. Mr. Melville Gurley who is doing YMCA work. . . . yesterday, Friday, it was a Little too rough for comfort, but today it is fine. We have found that the farther from the coast we get, the better the weather. That is it blows much harder in the Bay of Biscay and at the Entrance to the English and George’s Channels than it does a couple of hundred miles off shore.

     It is now – 3pm. and we have just left the convoy in 17° west. We must wait until after daylight to push up the returned convoy. In the mean time we are steaming in line of divisions speed 12 knots -

Source Note: D, RNW, Joseph K. Taussig Papers, Mss. Coll. 97.

Footnote 1: Capt. George C. Day of America.

Footnote 2: Cmdr. John M. Luby of Matsonia, Cmdr. Clarence S. Kempff of Aeolus, Cmdr. Chauncey Shackford of Martha Washington, Cmdr. GatewoodS. Lincoln of Powhatan, Capt. C. S. Freeman of Manchuria, Cmdr. James D. Wilson of Sierra.

Footnote 3: Cmdr. John Halligan, Jr. and Cmdr. John C. Fremont.

Footnote 4: Capt. Richard H. Jackson, United States Staff Representative, Paris.

Footnote 5: Lt. Cmdr. Vaughn K. Coman.

Footnote 6: Lt. Cmdr. William D. Puleston, Lt. Cmdr. Douglas W. Fuller, Lt. Cmdr. Charles C. Slayton, Lt. Cmdr. Francis W. Rockwell, Lt. Raleigh C. Williams, Lt. Charles A. Pownall, Possibly Lt. Murphy J. Foster.

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