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


June 23

At sea

     Went ashore this morning to see if there was anything new. Did not find anything. In the afternoon wrote letters – then went to the Zinnia to see Wilson1 and take him letters I had written to Pringle and to Alfy Johnson.2 I forgot to record yesterday that Wilson had come on board to see me. He has been on the Zinnia for nearly three years and I should think he was good and tired of the patrol and escort duty.

     Captain Hough3 came to see me to find out my sentiments in regard to going ashore in Brest as Chief of Staff to the District Commander – I think I was not enthusiastic about it. He said Admiral Wilson4 asked him to come and see me. So I told him in substance that I much preferred to remain on the Little for a few months, but of course if the Admiral considered it a promotion and that I could do more for the cause on shore than at present, I could not object. But I do not want the Job – I much prefer to move up in the Destroyer Force and think that is what I really should do. I wrote immediately to Admiral Sims and to Captain Pringle telling them the situation.5 I hope they will not approve my going ashore in Brest but will keep me in the Destroyer Force.

     Mr. Grosclaude6 was brought on board in the Admiral’s barge. He was much perturbed that his luggage had not arrived, but as he brought two big hand bags I think there is sufficient. We fitted him out with sweaters heavy socks and boots – and he wanted to put them all on immediately although it is a beautiful day. Tonight he is very sea sick but does not understand why he should be as he has been to sea so much. However there is a long swell on and our speed of 21 knots gives us a good up and down heave that would make any landsman sea sick – We left at six o’clock – The Mount Vernon (Dismukes)7 and the Agamemnon (Sellers)8 escorted by the Little, Conner, Burrows, and Jarvis. The big ships are steaming at 20 knots. On the Mount Vernon are many officers going home to fit out the new destroyers. It is a fine bright moonlight night. The Burrows has signalled that her condensers are leaking so I directed her to return to Brest.

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

Footnote 1: Lt. Cmdr. Graham F.W. Wilson, R.N. On the reason Zinnia was at Brest, see: Sims to Josephus Daniels, 21 June 1918.

Footnote 2: Capt. Joel R. Poinsett Pringle, Chief of Staff, Destroyer Flotilla; Cmdr. Alfred W. Johnston, Commander, U.S. destroyer Kimberly.

Footnote 3: Capt. Henry H. Hough, District Commander, Brest district, and Commander, Squadron Three, Patrol Force in France.

Footnote 4: RAdm. Henry B. Wilson, Commander, United States Naval Forces Based in France.

Footnote 5: VAdm. William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters. See: Taussig to Sims, 23 June 1918. Taussig did not become chief of staff for the Brest district commander.

Footnote 6: On Étienne F. Grosclaude, see: Taussig diary, 22 June 1918.

Footnote 7: Capt. Douglas E. Dismukes, Commander, troop transport Mount Vernon.

Footnote 8: Capt. David F. Sellers, Commander, troop transport Agamemnon.

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