CAPTAIN FRANCIS COGSWELL, USN 1919 - 1923 ORIGINAL POST WORLD WAR I MANUSCRIPT DIARY HANDWRITTEN BY MUCH NOTED AND DECORATED COMMANDER OF THE USS CHANDLER AND HUSBAND OF AN AMERICAN SPY
USS MCDOUGAL USS CHANDLER 1919 Good+
On offer is the original post-World War I era manuscript 5-year diary of the much noted and decorated United States Navy Captain Francis Cogswell, Commander of the USS McDOUGAL in the early part of the narrative and then on September 25, 1919 he assumed command of the USS CHANDLER. He remained Commander of the USS Chandler until November 28, 1922. Then in 1923, the last year of these diaries, he and his wife bought a house in Dehlgreen, VA. A detailed biography follows. [It should also be noted that he was married to Foreign Service Agent and CIA operative, Grace Phillips Cogswell, whose diaries we list separately.] In his entries he writes with incredible detail of his voyages and experiences while going around the American coast and docking in places like New York, Boston, Norwalk VA, New Orleans LA, Newport RI, Key West FL, etc. But most of his time was spent on voyages abroad to destinations such as Hong Kong, Singapore, Venice Italy, Constantinople, Egypt, Cairo, Bombay, Paris, England, Saigon, Scotland, Manila, and others. Further writings range from the mundane to shocking details of his life in command of hundreds of men. One reads of mechanical problems and incidents that occur, damage to the ship, places they anchor, radio messages from other ships that he intercepts (including a ship whose frame broke and was being flooded, a report of a huge iceberg, crew inspections, having "full dressed ship" for the birthday of the crown prince of Italy, locations where the crew gets liberty and the trouble they get into while on shore (gambling, fights, robbing people, forcing themselves into a women's bathing place, shooting an English woman in her foot while at the beach, etc), what he does when he takes leave and goes ashore (the gambling he does, exploring an old Spanish fort, going to see Roman ruins and the pyramids in Cairo, seeing trenches and tanks in Paris, important people he spends time with and those he dines with, etc), often going on board other ships to dine with other Captains and Admirals, having tea at Mrs. Fletchers in Venice whom he notes was a "horrible artist", seeing sharks, a large 60 foot whale that comes along side the ship that a crew member shoots at with a rifle (which he writes did not seem to disturb the whale much) the USS Green having a boiler accident that kills two men, the crew having parties a French girl who tries to drown herself. Having "man overboard drills", firing "exercise torpedoes" and one circles and hits their ship, diving to retrieve torpedoes, crew members shooting each other ("accidently"), marrying a couple in Peking, attending many parties, a crew member getting killed by lightning a crew member trying to commit suicide and almost dying by cutting his wrist. Receiving "Legion of Honor" and attending other medal ceremonies attending a majors wedding flying ships flag half mast colors for two men killed in storeroom on USS Huron eleven crew members jumping ship Captain Curtis requesting that the men refrain from urinating on his naval base. Having seven Christmas trees decorated for the crew members and the gifts that he receives (including a silver coffee set and a gold cigarette case) his recollections of being shipwrecked in the pacific. He writes of taking on board 32 Russian refugees, and his fear that the rough seas would cause a woman to have her child. He writes: "They are disinfecting Russians from Eastern Victor. Szecin & __ (French) stood in with 5000 Rushies. Typhus on first one. Conditions horrible. Much yap about quarantine. No food. - Red Cross arrived. Thank god!", "One case of small pox on S.S. Siam (?) in __ with 460 including a 5 day old baby that hasn't been washed or had any milk yet, only sugar and water." Francis Cogswell also spends a lot time with Captain Hellweg. In one entry he tells how Captain Hellweg, while abroad, was taking an auto ride with a woman and killed a small boy. And he writes of the death of crew member "Skinner" after falling into coma. An inquest was held after an autopsy could not determine the cause of his death. He was the son of Major Geo. C. Skinner of St. Louis MO. Then there's the surprising entries in which he tells of Lt. Harris catching Lt. Sullivan committing sodomy with Callard (?) in the emergency cabin. They dock in New Orleans a couple of days later with them as "prisoners" but the Naval Station refuses to take prisoners. Two days later Sullivan "sawed off his irons" during the night and escaped! Collectors and researchers of naval and marine history and life will be hard pressed to find a more interesting World War I era diary. BIOGRAPHY: CAPTAIN FRANCIS COGSWELL U.S.N. was the son of Rear Admiral James Kelsey Cogswell, U.S.N. (a Spanish - American war hero). He was born at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, August 19, 1887. Captain Cogswell was appointed to the United States Naval Academy in 1903, and graduated in 1908. His record is replete with distinguished service and honors. Cogswell was awarded the Navy Cross for service during World War I, when he commanded the destroyers USS FANNING and USS MCDOUGAL. Cogswell's Navy Cross citation reads: "The Navy Cross is awarded to Lieutenant Commander Francis Cogswell, U.S. Navy, for distinguished service in the line of his profession as commanding officer of the U.S.S. Fanning and the U.S.S. McDougal, engaged in the important, exacting and hazardous duty of patrolling the waters infested with enemy submarines and mines, in escorting and protecting vitally important convoys of troops and supplies through these waters, and in offensive and defensive action, vigorously and unremittingly prosecuted against all forms of enemy naval activity." Captain Cogswell also had received the following medals and decorations: Officer of the Order of Leopold II by King of Belgium, Chevalier of the Legion of Honor by France, for participating in the rescue of survivors of the French cruiser Duppetit-Thouars, Mexican Service Medal, USS Florida, 1914 and Victory Medal, destroyer class, World War I. From 1919 to 1922, he commanded the USS CHANDLER, a Clemson - class destroyer in the United States Navy. She was the only ship named for William Eaton Chandler, who served as Secretary of the Navy from 1882 to 1886. In 1935, he commanded the USS OGLALA, the flagship of a flotilla of minesweepers assisting the US Coast and Geodetic Survey in charting the Aleutian Islands. Cogswell was Naval attaché in Paris, France in the late 1930s. In 1930, Francis Cogswell and Grace Cogswell were living at Indian Head, Charles Co, Maryland, with nephew Robert Phillips (age 16, born New York, parents born New York), a cook and a servant. Arriving June 20, 1932, Grace P Cogswell sailed with Francis Cogswell on the Pennsylvania to New York, NY. Her US address was 37 Catherine St, Newport, RI. Grace Cogswell worked for the US Foreign Service and later, the CIA, receiving a letter of congratulations from CIA Director Allen W. Dulles upon her retirement in 1954. From Feb 14 - 19, 1955, Grace Cogswell sailed first class on the Queen of Bermuda from Bermuda via Nassau, Bahamas to New York, NY. He died on September 22, 1939 in the Naval Hospital at Bremerton, Washington, of coronary thrombosis, at the age of 52 years. His wife, Mrs. Grace Philips Cogswell, to whom he was married in New York on November 25, 1916, was at his bedside. He was buried in SECTION 6 SITE 8709 at Arlington National Cemetery. A ship was named after Captain Francis Cogswell and his father, James Kelsey Cogswell, the USS COGSWELL DD-651. CONDITION: Captain Francis Cogswells diary has no loose or missing pages. The cover is chipped and worn, and the spine has clear heavy tape over it. Inside of the diary are a few newspaper clippings that he attached to a page with a paper clip.