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Drake Letters Index 16. Commissariat Order 3 September 1854 ◄ ● ► 18. Drake to Louisa 15 September 1854
The Drake Letters
 
William Henry Drake (aboard Hope) № 7 - Louisa Drake (London), 6 - 13 September 1854
№ 7 Baljik, Balshik or Balsheik Bay. Sept. 6 1854
Commissariat Steamer “Hope”
one of the Royal Mail “African Line” 1
 
My dear Lu,
 
        My last to you was dated the 4th in it I sent the 1st of Ty. Bill No. 134 for £50 I now send the 2nd of same Bill – I got yours of 22nd Augt. today & am glad to find you were all well
 
On Monday the 4th after I had packed off my Letter & the Deed   We all had a most tiresome & arduous days work, but wound up well by getting on board the Hope for a late dinner at ½ past 7. The following are our party – Mr. Filder   D.C.G. Adams   A.C.G. L Routh, 2   Carpenter, 3   Actg. A.C.G. Willan 4   D.A.C.G. Rogers, 5   Palmer 6   C.C. Hawkins (from Chief Remembrances Office) 7   Tempy. Ck. Thompson 8 a well informed Gentleman, & W. H. D. We have each a large & Comfortable Cabin, good table, a good pint of Wine & Cleanliness. In fact I am better off than I have been since my arrival in Turkey. Yesterday just before we sailed, our Contractor came on board to get receipts from some one for the quantity of Live Oxen Shipped with the Expedition 300 & the C.G. 9 told me to give them as I was to have the Charge & Superintendence. I thought it a favorable opportunity & wrote him the following
 
5 Sept. 1854
 
“Sir, While on Shore I refrained from addressing you respecting myself personally as I was fully aware of the important & arduous duties then claiming yr. attention, I trust that in yr. present comparative leisure you will permit me to do so – The favor that I wd. request at yr. hands is I well know not a slight one, but if the favor is great my gratitude for it will be proportionate, It is, that in nominating me to the Superintendence, under your directions, of The Commissariat embarked with this Expedition for Field Service, you will be pleased to advance me to the rank of Acting D.C.G. – In an Officer of your knowledge of our Department it wd. be superfluous to detail my Official claims, I will only mention that I entered the Service in 1828 & that since June 1831 I have served as Treasury Ck. & Officer without intermission – I feel assured that my success would be gratifying to the Officers of The Dept. as manifesting to them, that amidst the dangers & privations they have lately encountered their Services had been at least appreciated by their own Chief – I know that such Promotion is not in strict accordance with our Regulations, but all are convinced that on a Service of the nature of this in which we are now engaged the Will of The Chief must superrank Regulations more properly adapted for to times of Peace, in all cases of Necessity or Expediency – In preparing my Request of this favor I cannot profess an intention of increased exertion, as I have ever done my best in performing such duties as you have entrusted to me, but if advanced Rank imposes greater responsibility & by extending my utility brings with it more onerous duties I confidently expect, that no exertion shall be wanting on my part to perform them to your satisfaction & to deserve the favor I now respectfully solicit.”!! – Such was the Letter I wrote I showed it to D.C.G Adams Filders right hand man & solicited his support & on his perusing it, I gave it him for the Chief – Unfortunately yesterday Evg. Mr. F was taken ill with an attack of Asthma, did not come out to breakfast, but roused up for the English Mail when Adams I believe gave him my Letter – The Chief came to dinner & there it rests, I cannot say I count much on it but at least I have given him to understand what I want & in the present state of the Dept. here, daily insulted by General Officers, Snubbed by all, Sickness, Privation and Discontent, he may think it advisable to do something to shew he supports us – All the Dept. know I supported him at the finish in Varna – Suffered neither Snub nor insult & while trying to oblige all, let them know we were to be respected   But we shall see before I close this. You remember I said I never would let a high chance go by & now you see I have not. – I have not yet got my Shirts I fear Petrie 10 is keeping it for some Officer coming out on the 4 Sept. Packet to Constantinople, if so I shall get them just as they are quite useless, I ought to have had them today to be really in good time but the Ty. arrangements are all alike, infamously bad yet our Ty. mail bag was nearly empty
 
Sept. 7. Adams has not yet given the Letter to the Chief, he says he wd, as soon as a good opportunity offered, & tell him why it was delayed (on account of his indisposition)  He is still ill – This morning the Whole Fleet got under Weigh, about 108 Steamers & Transports & 40 Men of War, 3 three deckers ... [illegible] 80 to [sp?] 4.50 [sp?] it was a fine sight at 12 nearly all had cleared out of Baljik Bay & had passed us at ½ past 2   We were then about to take up our position in the rear when the hawser between the Lady Valiant and the Guizeppe P. the two ships we have to tow parted & we are now waiting while it is got right again  The Trafalgar 11 120 & Queen 12 120 just passing close by us –   8th Sept. at ½ past 4 we yesterday started to take our place in rear of the Fleet which we now gained  Mr. Adams told me this morning he had given Mr. Filder my letter of the 5th.  he is still unwell was not out at breakfast but is up. We have a beautiful day – Fleet in sight ahead except the Vulcan 13 & the two ships she has in tow, they have dropped into our line & on the other side one of the Ships in tow of the Golden Fleece – broke her hawser & they are behind us – Our Commt. Fleet I have just been signalling, to keep in better line & preserve their Stations – I am the executive Officer as in Charge of the arrangements for the Expeditionary Force
 
9th Sept. This would have been the Mail day for England but no Steamer is sent from the Fleet, so I continue this scrawl.
 
Up to this time the C.G. 14 has given no Order about my duties, who I am to have to assist me or anything else, the consequence will be a grand confusion, Delay, procrastination & indecision wreck every movement & tend to paralyze the best efforts of the Dep: everything being unarranged at the last moment all in hurry, confusion & of course is badly done – No Officer under him has the slightest chance of making a good arrangement for carrying on his duties – I have not heard from him in reply to my Letter yet, but I expect no good from it at all, He has but one paltry object in view & of the interest of others is to say the least apparently indifferent – He is civil to us but yesterday he was regretting that all his best Sherry was gone & it was the universal remark afterwards, “You drank it all yourself never asking a Single person in or out of the Dept. to taste it & par consequence its finale was no object of interest to the community at large” –   10th Sept 1854 Sunday  I pray that you may all be well, The fleet this morning are all lying to   The 3rd Division which had been left far astern recovered its place it is a most beautiful day after heavy rain during the night –    11th. Remained at Anchor all day & night Mr. Filder sent for me & in the presence of D.C.G. Adams said, I must postpone your the consideration of yr. Letter (that of the 5th) until we have taken Sevastopol or some such event, when I shall recommend you to the Treasury for Promotion – it must go to them first, I have little doubt if I recommend it you will get it I don’t like to recommend unless I am sure of getting a thing which is the reason I am not refused – He also said Mr. Cowan’s 15 going was a good ground for recommending it
 
Page 2 11th September continued.

So much for my chance of Promotion, of which you can judge nearly as well as myself – without being sanguine it is far from being improbable and the reply was more gracious than I expected. I think if we, that is the Army take Sevastopol, my Lords would scarcely refuse it & what a difference will it make to me!!
 
We hear we were delayed at Anchor, while Sir E Lyons in the Agamemnon 16 & Lord Raglan in the Caradoc 17 went to reconnoitre the place for Landing the Troops some 7 miles N of Sevastopol they returned to the Fleet at 6 A.M. I suppose they then had a Council until ½ past 11 when the Signal to Weigh Anchor & proceed was made   At noon we are under Weigh & taking up the two ships we have in tow – I shall send with this a plan of the order of the Fleets Sailing 18 given to me by Captain Mends R.N. 19 Flag Captain to Sir E Lyons 20 in the Agamemnon 21 – Sir E. L. has the whole of the executive duties of the Naval position of the Expedition & I believe Sir G. Brown 22 of the Army. Admiral Dundas 23 & Lord Raglan are I believe myths or like the Great Llama more Supposititions [sic] than real & only in the event of Success to be found & Crowned with laurels – When our anchor came up it was covered with Sea weed & muscle shells – I took some to dry & keep as a curiosity – “A Specimen of Seaweed from the rendezvous before the taking of Sevastopol”!! if we are successful & why should we doubt it, it will be invaluable –    12th Sept. Kept on quietly all night this morning we are in Kalamita Bay about 10 miles South of Point Eupatoria the Southern part of Promontory of which Cape Tarkan is the most prominent feature  Lol 24 may be able to find our place out on a good map.
 
This morning I encountered my first mishap on board “Hope” a leak in the Deck, very small but before I was up it dripped steadily into my Valise, so that I am sitting surrounded by shirts drawers & socks & pockethandkerchiefs hanging up to dry
 
At 11 All the Fleet stopped apparently for Stragglers to close & take their places in the line – Mr. Filder’s asthma very bad, he was coughing nearly all night, independent of all other reasons he is too old & too feeble for this duty & service.
 
13th Sept. We waited all day for our Allies the French & Turks the latter came up this morning the French last night – This morning we are off Cape Loucoul which bears S.S.E. distant about 10 miles (at 10 A.M.) but we are approaching it. Houses & Villages are very plainly to be distinguished on the Shore, We are just abreast of a Clump of White houses marked on our charts as Zamzuk 7 miles from the Cape which is called Loucoul or Ulukul, a Tatar word of which I don’t know the meaning –   4 OCk. Signal just made that letters may today be sent to England so I shall close this in a hurry – All well at 5 P.M. –
 
We are just opposite a fortified place North of Sevastopol but not a man has yet landed nor has a shot been fired  Glad shall I be when it is a settled affair
 
God bless you all & with love & kisses all round believe me ever  Your most affectionate Hub
 
W. H. Drake
 
We have just come to an Anchor we are in our position
 

 
 

Charlotte Augusta Drake

The landing at Kalamita Bay, 14 September 1854, by William Simpson.
Photograph of the painting in Simpson's The Seat of War in the East, second series,
by Colonel (Ret) George W. Page, from the copy of this rare book at the Museum of the Heroic Defense of Sevastopol through the kind offices of V. Krestiyannikov,
at http://www.xenophon-mil.org/crimea/war/simpson/simp29a.htm, accessed 9 May 2015.




 
 
© COPYRIGHT MEGAN STEVENS 2015 —
Footnotes
 
1. Private family manuscript (Judith Hall and Sally Mac, Auckland, New Zealand).
 
2. ACG Leonce Routh.
 
3. ACG Frederick Stanley Carpenter.
 
4. DACG James Sholto Curwen Douglas-Willan.
 
5. DACG John Francis Rogers.
 
6. DACG Charles Palmer.
 
7. CC R. Hawkins.
 
8. Temporary Clerk Alfred Robert Thompson.
 
9. Commissary-General, Mr. Filder.
 
10. DACG Samuel Petrie.
 
11. Trafalgar, 120, Captain H. F. Grenville [Greville], 1832, Mediterranean. [“Stations of the Royal Navy in commission”, in Colburn’s united service magazine, Pt. 1, (London, 1855), p. 150.]
 
12. According to Denis Judd, the Queen had 116 guns. [D. Judd, The Crimean War, (London, 1975), p. 188.] Queen, 116, Capt. F. T. Mitchell [Michell], 1830, Medit. [“Stations of the Royal Navy in commission”, in Colburn’s united service magazine, Pt. 1, (London, 1855), p. 150.]
 
13. Vulcan, 6, screw troop-ship, Com. E. P. B. Von Donop, 1849, Mediterranean. [“Stations of the Royal Navy in commission”, in Colburn’s united service magazine, Pt. 1, (London, 1855), p. 150.]
 
14. Commissary-General, Mr. Filder.
 
15. DCG Edward Alphonso Frederick Cowan.
 
16. Agamemnon, 90, screw, Rear-Adm. Sir E. Lyons, Bart., G.C.B., Capt. W. R. Mends, 1852, Mediterranean. [“Stations of the Royal Navy in commission”, in Colburn’s united service magazine, Pt. 1, (London, 1855), p. 148.]
 
17. Caradoc, 2, st.-packet, Lieut.-Com. S. H. Derriman, 1842, Mediterranean. [“Stations of the Royal Navy in commission”, in Colburn’s united service magazine, Pt. 1, (London, 1855), p. 150.]
 
18. This plan of the Fleet’s sailing is no longer extant.
 
19. Capt. William Mends, R.N.
 
20. Rear-Admiral Sir Edmund Lyons, second in command to Vice-Admiral Sir James Dundas.
 
21. Agamemnon (90 guns).
 
22. Sir George Brown was commander of the 5th (Light) Division.
 
23. Vice-Admiral Sir James Whitley Deans Dundas, commander of the British fleet.
 
24. Henry’s youngest surviving daughter, Laura Mary Drake.
 
 
 

 
© COPYRIGHT MEGAN STEVENS 2015 —
Drake Letters Index 16. Commissariat Order 3 September 1854 ◄ ● ► 18. Drake to Louisa 15 September 1854