Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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

[Extract]

Saturday

June 22

Brest.

     Received our sailing orders. We are to bring in 13 transports and I will have 16 destroyers to protect them. We will leave Brest in divisions. One division going to St Nazaire to take out the Manchuria and Matsonia; the other three divisions starting from here with the Mount Vernon, Agamemnnon; America, Orizaba; Powhatan, Aeolus; in pairs. The destroyers will assemble at a given rendezvous and then meet the home bound convoy. I wrote out my movement order and made a plan of the stations to be taken by the destroyers, which I sent to all ships concerned.1

     Went ashore with Vernou2 in the afternoon. Met Captain Sellers3 who commands the Agamemnon- Walked with him to the Admiral’s office.4 Here I was notified that the Admiral wished to see me. He told me that he would like me take out with me on the coming trip, Monsieur Etienne Grosclaude – a celebrated French journalist.5 Of course I said I would be glad to do it, although I must say that as a rule I do not care about having passengers. They are nearly always seasick. Then it is necessary to allow them to use my room which is more or less of an inconvenience even if I do sleep in the chart house at night. I called on Mr. Grosclaude at the Continental Hotel, found him a man of 60 years – with much moustache and beard and a good sized nose. He speaks English very well. I know he is going to be very sea sick and think it much better for him to stay at home. . . .

     When I got on board ship at eleven o’clock I was much pleased to find a mail for us had at last come. I[t] was brought by the Leviathian which arrived this afternoon with 16000 souls aboard. I received three letters from Lulie6 numbered 7, 8, 9 written between June 7 and 12th-. . . All our mail written between May 16th and June 6, is still astray somewhere. It is now after midnight so time to turn in.

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

Footnote 1: For the list of destroyers under Taussig’s command during this mission, see, Taussig Diary, 25 June 1918, Ibid.

Footnote 2: Cmdr. Walter N. Vernou, commander of U.S. destroyer Sigourney.

Footnote 3: Capt. David F. Sellers.

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

Footnote 5: Étienne F. Grosclaude, who was described by the New York times as “one of the last of old-school of journalistic commentators on Society and Politics.” New York Times, 9 January 1932, p. 17.

Footnote 6: Taussig’s wife, Lulie Johnston Taussig.

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