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Diary of Captain Joseph K. Taussig, Commander, Little


May 21

At sea.

     We have been having fine weather – clear and mild with light breezes. This morning something happened to the Duc d’Abruzzi’s steering gear and she dropped out of sight astern. The Huntington signalled the Little to come within hail. When we got close aboard Captain Robison,1 using a megaphone, directed me to proceed to the Abruzzi and ascertain her trouble and when she could rejoin. So back we went and found the Abruzzi just starting ahead at 15 knots, but steering irregularly, evidently using her main engines for the purpose. She signalled that her servomotor was disabled and it was impossible to tell how long before it would be repaired, but that she would continue on course at best speed to rejoin. So back we went at 20 knots and reported to the Huntington. I then went to the Abruzzi and kept with her until she caught up to the convoy. In the meantime the Re l’Italia which had been ahead joined, and the Kimberly coming direct from Boston joined. So tonight our force is complete. I find that not being the senior officer present, as I have usually been during the convoy duty, makes a great difference as to the weight of responsibility.|2| Having only my own ship to look out for and to make decisions for seems very easy in comparison with having the responsibility of the entire force.

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

Footnote 1: Capt. John K. Robison, Commander, Huntington.

Footnote 2: Taussig had previously commanded Destroyer Division Eight, and was one of the first American officers to arrive in Europe after the U.S. declared war.

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