Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Commander Joseph K. Taussig, Commander, U.S. Destroyer Little, to Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters

U.S.S.Little         

June 23, 1918.     

Dear Admiral Sims:-

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          But I have been in hopes that there would be some billet for me in the expanding destroyer force as a flotilla commander or in some administrative billit where my experience in the destroyers would be of more service than I could render by going to an administrative billet ashore. For example the large number of destroyers here at Brest, at present, have no organization, I am the senior destroyer officer, but I have not been designated as a division commander or flotilla commander. Proctor1 on the Panther looks out for the fire coal burners only. Lyons2 on the PROMETHEUS has nothing to do with the destroyers except repairs. In fact there is no intermediary here between Admiral Wilson and the individual destroyer Captains, such as we had at Queenstown in Captain Pringle.3 I have looked forward to the arrival of the Bridgeport in hopes that then Jessop4 would be our Commander or your representative here, so that we will obtain an administrative organization similar to that at Queenstown. At present we are only a mob of boats, which is not a criticism of anybody or anything, but a true statement of facts, brought about [by] the sudden enlargement of the destroyer force here by a lot of individual units. If some such organization does take place I would much prefer to remainafloat as Jessops assistant or in any other billet connected with the destroyer force, rather than sever my connections with them.5 Inregard to my eventually leaving the Little I am frank to state that in four months time I think I would be perfectly ready for a change which I hoped would be a move upwards in the destroyer force rather than a move upwards outside of it.6

Very sincerely,

Sd. Joseph K. Taussig             

Source Note: TCy, DLC-MSS, William S. Sims Papers, Box 23. This copy appears to be excerpted from a longer letter. The editors believe the dotted line below the salutation indicates that only the final paragraph was retained in this copy. It is addressed below close: “Vice Admiral Wm S. Sims, U.S.Navy,/30 Grosvenor Gardens,/London, England.” Document is from: Admiral Sims’/Personal File.” Document reference: “1/3/J/10.”

Footnote 1: Capt. Andre M. Proctor.

Footnote 2: Cmdr. Frank Lyons.

Footnote 3: RAdm. Henry B. Wilson, Commander, United States Naval Forces in France, and Capt. Joel R. Poinsett Pringle, Chief of Staff, Destroyer Flotilla.

Footnote 4: Cmdr. Earl Jessop.

Footnote 5: According to a Taussig’s diary entry of 16 July, Wilson told him that he, Wilson, had been forbidden, presumably by Sims, from giving Taussig shore duty at Brest because Taussig and the Little would soon be transferred to Queenstown, Ireland. Ibid.

Footnote 6: In August 1918, Taussig was detached to the Bureau of Navigation where he became head of the Division of Enlisted Personnel.

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