Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels to Commander Joseph K. Taussig, Commander, Destroyer Division Eight

NAVY DEPARTMENT

WASHINGTON

Apr  23, 1917.

SECRET AND CONFIDENTIAL

To:  Commander, Eighth Division, Destroyer Force, Atlantic Fleet, U.S.S. WADSWORTH, Flagship.1

SUBJECT:  Protection of commerce near the coasts of Great Britain and France.

     1.  The British Admiralty have requested the cooperation of a division of American destroyers in the protection of commerce near the coasts of Great Britain and France.

     2.  Your mission is to assist naval operations of Entente Powers in every way possible.

     3.  Proceed to Queenstown, Ireland.2 Report to Senior British Naval Officer Present and thereafter cooperate fully with the British Navy. Should it be decided that your force act in cooperation with French naval forces your mission and method of cooperation under French Admiralty authority remain unchanged.

Route to Queenstown. -

Boston to Latitude 50 N-– Long. 20 W to arrive at daybreak,

thence to Latitude 50 N-– Long. 12 W,

thence to Queenstown.

When within radio communication of the British Naval forces off Ireland, call “G C K” and inform the Vice-Admiral at Queenstown3 by British General Code of your position, course and speed. You will be met outside of Queenstown.

     4.  Base facilities will be furnished by the British Admiralty.

     5.  Communicate your orders and operations to Rear Admiral Sims at London and be guided by such instructions as he may give you. Make no reports of arrival to Navy Department direct.

Josephus Daniels.  

Source Note: Cy, DLC-MSS, Josephus Daniels Papers, Roll 35. These orders were typed on Navy Department stationery with a return address printed in the upper left-hand corner. Below that is an identification number: “Op-10.” Below the signature is a routing list for copies of this order: Copy to:/C-in-C, Atlantic Fleet. [Henry T. Mayo]/Comdr. Destroyer Force. [Albert Gleaves]/C.O. each vessel of division.”

Footnote 1: Destroyer Division Eight, in the weeks immediately before these orders were issued, was serving with the Atlantic Fleet then anchored in the York River. On the night of 13 April, Taussig received a phone call with orders to sail at daybreak on 14 April for New York City to fit out for “special service.” Taussig, Queenstown Patrol: 5-9. The division consisted of six destroyers—WADSWORTH, Davis, McDougal, Wainwright, Conyngham, and Porter. These were the newest destroyers in the U.S. Navy and those in the best overall condition. Davis and McDougal were replacements for two destroyers (Jacob Jones and Tucker) that were unable to sail immediately because of needed repairs. Still, Crisis at Sea: 332. For more on the preparations of the division for service in England, see, Taussig, Queenstown Patrol: 9-15.

Footnote 2: Present-day Cobh, Ireland.

Footnote 3: Adm. Sir Lewis Bayly, R.N.

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