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Diary of Commander Joseph K. Taussig



Nov. 12


Although the Devonport destroyers come considerably to the westward of the relief rendezvous to join us Saturday evening they did not get up until 7 p.m. when it was very dark. I then signalled the five merchant ships which we were to take to Brest to change course to S 15° E magnetic at 8 p.m. and set wireless message to Nicholson, McDougall, and Warrington. The merchant ships changed as directed, but the destroyers had some difficulty in taking up their new positions. The Warrington had to back to keep from colliding with the Wadsworth, and we also came close to the Nicholson and McDougal. Before daylight of the 11th we picked up the lights on Ushant and at daylight changed course to the eastward – heading for the entrance to Brest harbor. One of our ships the Arcadia (American) was about five miles ahead and I chased after her and brought her back to the formation. Two French patrol boats met us and took charge. After the last ship had passed to Eastward of Pierres Noires light I ordered the destroyers to return to Queenstown. Our run here was uneventful. We arrived at 7 o’clock this morning. After breakfast went to the Admiralty House with Berrien, Fairfield, Dortch, Lee, Carpender.1 The Admiral2 told me I was to go home on the Bridge. I told him that for many reasons I was sorry to leave, but I was very glad of the opportunity to see my family. One He said he thought it a very good thing for some of the seniors to go back as we could tell people in Washington exactly what the conditions here are. . . .

     Johnson and Vernou are to go home on the Bridge also. Dortch is to relieve me; Claude is to relieve Vernou; Kenyon relieves Dortch. Gay has already relieved Johnson.3

Source Note: D, RNW, Joseph K. Taussig Papers, Mss. Coll. 97, Naval Historical Collection. In his diary Taussig included a copy of his orders relieving him of command of Wadsworth on 15 November 1917, and ordering his return to the United States.

Footnote 1: Lt. Cmdr. Frank Berrien, Cmdr. Arthur P. Fairfield, Cmdr. Isaac F. Dortch, Lt. Cmdr. William H. Lee, Lt. Cmdr. Arthur S. Carpender.

Footnote 2: VAdm. Lewis Bayly, R.N.

Footnote 3: Lt. Cmdr. Walter N. Vernou, Lt. Cmdr. Abram Claude, Lt. Cmdr. Jesse B. Gay.