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First Name: Edward

Last Name: Taussig

Birthplace: St. Louis, MO, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Navy (present)


Middle Name: David

Date of Birth: 20 November 1847

Date of Death: 29 January 1921

Rank or Rate: Rear Admiral

Years Served:
Edward David Taussig

•  American Civil War (1861 - 1865)
•  Spanish-American War (1898)


Edward David Taussig
Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy

Edward David Taussig was born on 20 November 1847 in St. Louis, MO.

Taussig was appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy in 1863, during the American Civil War. He graduated from the Academy in June 1867 and was commissioned as an Ensign in late 1868. His early sea service was perhaps most remarkable for his time as an officer of the gunboat USS Wateree when a tidal wave washed her far inland at Arica (then part of Peru) on 13 August 1868. He was cited for his actions during this event. As a Lieutenant during the 1870s and 1880s, Taussig was stationed at a number of shore stations and in several ships, among them the Washington Navy Yard's receiving ship USS Relief, the USS Trenton, flagship of the European Squadron, aboard the replica of the battleship USS Illinois at the Columbia Exposition, and spent some years on survey duty. The latter work continued well into the 1890s, when he was a Lieutenant Commander. He became the Executive Officer of the USS Richmond in 1895. He subsequently was transferred to the Hydrographic Office and the U.S. Coast Survey. (During this time, he was an officer on the Coast Survey steamer USS Blake.)

Spanish-American War

Promoted to the rank of Commander in August 1898, his first command was the gunboat USS Bennington during the Spanish-American War. In December of that year, he was given orders to proceed to Wake Island and claim it for the U.S. He formally claimed the island on 17 January 1899. At the time, this action (ordered by President William McKinley) was seen as somewhat questionable, however, no other nation had claimed the island and there was no native population. It was primarily taken for its strategic value as a cable station, midway between Hawaii and the Philippines.

On 1 February 1899, Taussig arrived at Guam, re-captured it, and re-raised the American flag on the territory. The island previously had been captured by Henry Glass, who had left Francisco Portusach Martínez (an American citizen, but a civilian) in charge of the territory. Unfortunately, he had been deposed in favor of non-American leadership and Taussig was asked to intervene. In his short time, he set up a local council system of temporary government which lasted until the arrival of Louis A. Kaiser.

Shortly afterwards, he was relieved of command on 1 September 1899 for criticizing Admiral John C. Watson. He was assigned to duty with the Lighthouse Bureau. In 1902, he was again given command of a school ship, the USS Enterprise, operating out of the Boston Naval Yard. Between 1902-08, Captain Taussig's commands included the receiving ship USS Independence, and battleships USS Massachusetts and USS Indiana. He also attended the Naval War College, was Captain of the Yard at the New York Navy Yard and was Commandant of the Norfolk Navy Yard and the Fifth Naval District. In May 1908, while serving in the latter positions, he attained the rank of Rear Admiral. Retired in November 1909, Rear Admiral Taussig was recalled to active duty during World War I as Commandant of the Naval Unit at Columbia University.


The destroyer USS Taussig of 1944-1974 was named for him.

A street at Naval Station Norfolk in Norfolk, VA, is named for him.

Death and Burial

Rear Admiral Edward D. Taussig died on 29 January 1921 in Newport, RI. He is buried at the U.S. Naval Academy Cemetery in Annapolis, MD.

Honoree ID: 3137   Created by: MHOH




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