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Drake Letters Index 17. Drake to Louisa 6 September 1854 ◄ ● ► 19. Drake to Louisa 20 September 1854
The Drake Letters
 
William Henry Drake (Crimea) № 8 - Louisa Drake (London), 15 - 16 September 1854
№ 7

My dearest Lu,
Kamuschu, Crimea
15th Sept: 1854 1
– 10 P.M. –
 
        When I wrote my last we were under the impression that we were off Cape Loucoul or Ulukul some 9 or 10 miles North of Sevastopol as usual just as we closed our Bag our news came & by observation we found ourselves off Point Eupatoria & soon after we came to anchor again off the City of Kazloff-Kazlov or Eupatoria a large place of 15000 inhabitants – A party of Marines & some Staff Officers landed & found the Russian part of the population had left & the Garrison 500 – Cossacks gone to Sevastopol they said they had no means of defence & were not inclined to use them for the Russians. They were all Tatars – We intimated our amicable feelings towards all but the Roossians – & left them. The C.G. 2 yesterday took me with him when he went to see Lord Raglan why I can’t say, he merely said “Mr. Drake I wish you to go with me”
 
We went to the “Agamemnon 91” 3 Capt. Mends 4 with the flag of Sir E Lyons 5    Mr. F introduced me to no one, I knew Capt. Mends & One or Two I saw there   So in course of the two hours I was in conversation at different times with the Duke of Cambridge; 6 Sir E. Lyons 7 whose heart I won by giving him some messages from Greece which I had to deliver in case I saw him from some very nice people there who he said were great Friends of his
 
Some half dozen Captains R.N. & Mr. Nasmyth, 8 Indian Army the hero (surviving) of Silistria – The Admiral Cog. [sp?] 9 Captain Kean Indian Army & I believe much to the astonishment of the C.G. Sir E Lyons took me by the arm & walked me up & down the deck during which stump Lord Raglan The Duke of C & other Big Wigs more than once stopped us to make remarks about the landing &c. going on – I found Captain King R.N. of the Leander 10 & Captain Peel 11 of Diamond 12 both of whom I knew & of course I went below & had a glass of the Admiral’s Ale  I had to turn out at daylight today about the landing   Yesterday they landed the Light 1st 2nd part of 3rd & 4 Divisions & a few of the Cavalry – I landed & went to a hill in the advance in possession of the Rifles after which I went off with a Gentleman as Interpreter to the other side of the lake  I had two Officers with me & the 2nd Officer of the Hope  We overtook, hailed & held confab with 18 Tatars. I could not get an escort & our horses were not landed, so though foraging I could only arrange & very fortunately I confined myself to that as our Tatar Friends told us 16 Cossacks were in the 1st Village 1½ mile off & 500 A Pulk, 13 at the next 2 miles further  as we returned to our Boat we saw some 10 Cossacks riding round the lake & eating what they cd. devour! Yesterday afternoon Sir G Brown 14 & two or three men in the advance reconnoitring passed 5 mounted Cossacks between their & our line but I don’t know how it occurred they got back all right – Our men were last night without Tents & it rained hard & blew so that today a heavy Surf has prevailed Stopped all landing before 12 & left a heavy surf all the afternoon
 
2  I went on bd. Agamemnon again today Duke of C & Ld. Raglan & all military B.W. 15 were on shore but my business was with the Navy – I did my work when Sir E. L. came up & was again very civil indeed to me – Yesterday the Furious 16 & another Steamer fired on & dispersed a body of Russian Troops some 3 miles below our landing place – One Shell burst in the midst of a Closed Company, did much execution & they all dispersed – The Troops have pushed some miles in such direction towards Sebastopol about 11 – at 5 miles at Almie or Alma 17 the Russians are entrenched on some hilly ground on the bank of a small river this place our Army probably attack tomorrow or next day if the Artillery are all landed in order tomorrow I believe I land, my Servant & horse are ashore safe  I have been ashore again, but the Surf was so great we got wet to the Waist, the second time I tucked up, off boots & got ashore tolerably. Lord Raglan & Genl. Airey Q.M.G. rode up to me & the Commr. in Chief began to talk loud about our Division &c. Brigade officer asked me if I was attached to any Division  I told him I was not but Superintending & that the very thing he was talking about Rum – I had been three hours trying to get a boat to bring ashore in case the Div: Offrs. failed in landing theirs  that I had just succeeded in landing 50 kegs (more than one days supply) & had moreover ascertained that the 2nd 3rd & 4th Div. had each 3 days & the 1st one if not 2 days with them  I told him also every exertion Sd. be made to keep up the supply – he seemed satisfd. & I arranged with Genl. Airey that Comg. Officers of Regiments whose Brigade Commrs. were not with them sd. draw from my stock just landed ten minutes after My Lord saw me like a Highlander!! stemming the briny Surf getting the Rum ashore & then going off so at least he saw I was at work in earnest
 
This is all the news of the Army I have to give you we are at least 20 miles N of Sevastopol with intelligence that the Russ. is Strong inside, and outside & has mined the High Road for 10 versts 18 some 7½ miles outside the Town – The French & some 6000 Turks have landed – We have more than 30000 men of all arms, while the French have only from 20 to 22000 & 6000 Turks this is their outside force in The Crimea!! This morning I had the pleasure of your Letters of the 28th Augt.
 
They came very opportunely just before we made our start & made me very happy to find you all Well to that date & such satisfactory accounts of the young people. I thank C. A. D. 19 & Miss Lu 20 for their Letters – I have before told you not to be alarmed if you don’t hear from me regularly now – but I hope to send you a line every now & then depend upon it as often as possible, if it is only a line to say [as] I now do All Well – I have not forgotten that today is John’s 21 birthday. I drank his health in a bumper & yours too dearest Lu (but mentally only)  With love to all dearest Lu believe me
 
Your most affectionate Hub
[signed] W. H. Drake

 
16 Sept:
 
At 4 P.M. All well. a party of 2 Guns & 4 Squad: Cav. just sent out to try to capture 2 Russ. guns.
 
[Written across the page.] 16 Sept 5 A.M.
 
I have marked my Portmanteau better – Drake. I left my Cedar Chest at Constantinople at the Commisst. Officer in charge of Edwards 22 and after Selecting such things as I required I leave both my Portmanteau my deal Box formerly [sp?] Saddle on board the Hope.
 
I go ashore with Yankee Valise Rug (Opossum) Blankets two Big Coat, and a Water clock to put under this latter is a Waterproof thing  I have a tent but we have not Transport enough to take things at present, the Hope will be near and in a few days we hope to be at least in position under Sebastopol & shall be able to get more things as I require them especially my bed –
 
We land today the 16th. Lord Raglan landed yesterday & today the Troops advance – not yet at around 3 P.M.: I have been Knocking about all day among the Fleet getting our Stores ashore – Mr. Filder is on Shore with Mr. Adams & an order just recd. on board from the Adjt. Genl. 23 that all heads of Depts. are to land forthwith   I shall consequently make this up myself under cover to the Ty. and let it take its chance as the Post Mast. Genl. 24 has sent on board to say he is waiting for our boat to make his Mail for England – Adieu, dearest, With dearest love to all I am ever Yours most affectionately W. H. D.
 
2 Postscripts.
 
12 Frenchmen have been taken prisoners Report says – Yesterday Lord Raglan went in the Caradoc along the Coast to reconnoitre & found they had reinforced Alma with 10000 men making 16000 in toto
 
We attack them tomorrow – a Russian Genl. or Staff Officer saw the Caradoc quite close in bowed, waved his hat & pointed to the Guns in battery but did not fire on them – Adieu again dear girl
 
W. H. D.
 
 
© COPYRIGHT MEGAN STEVENS 2015 —
Footnotes
 
1. Private family manuscript (Judith Hall and Sally Mac, Auckland, New Zealand).
 
2. Commissary-General William Filder, C.B.
 
3. 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.]
 
4. Captain William Robert Mends, R.N.
 
5. Rear-Admiral Sir Edmund Lyons, second in command to Vice-Admiral Sir James Dundas.
 
6. George William Frederick Charles, 2nd Duke of Cambridge (1819-1904), British Field-Marshal.
 
7. Rear-Admiral Sir Edmund Lyons, second in command to Vice-Admiral Sir James Dundas.
 
8. Major Charles Nasmyth
 
9. Probably Rear-Admiral Sir Edmund Lyons, second-in-command to Admiral Sir James Dundas.
 
10. Leander, 50, Capt. G. St. Vincent King, 1841, Mediterranean. [“Stations of the Royal Navy in commission”, in Colburn’s united service magazine, Pt. 1, (London, 1855), p. 149.]
 
11. Captain Sir William Peel, third son of Sir Robert Peel. He was awarded the Victoria Cross for bravery in the Crimean campaign. [W. H. Russell, Russell’s despatches from the Crimea 1854-1856, pp. 114, 219.]
 
12. Diamond, 28, Captain W. Peel, 1849, Medit. [“Stations of the Royal Navy in commission”, in Colburn’s united service magazine, Pt. 1, (London, 1855), p. 148.]
 
13. According to William Howard Russell a Russian division consists of: 1 Rota = 250 men; 16 Rotas = 1 Polk = 4,000 men; 4 Polks = 1 Division = 16,000 men 2nd Division of Infantry. [W. H. Russell, Russell’s despatches from the Crimea 1854-1856, ed. Nicolas Bentley, (London, 1966), p. 140.
 
14. Sir George Brown was commander of the 5th (Light) Division.
 
15. Short for Bigwigs?
 
16. Furious, 15, st.-vessel, Capt. W. Loring, 1848, Mediterranean. [“Stations of the Royal Navy in commission”, in Colburn’s united service magazine, Pt. 1, (London, 1855), p. 149.]
 
17. The Alma River is situated about 16 miles north of Sevastopol Harbour, near Cape Ulukul. [The countryside around Sebastopol showing the positions of the contending armies after the fall of the south side and before the peace of 1856. [Map]]
 
18. Verst: A Russian measure of length consisting of 3,500 feet. [The household dictionary of the English language, p. 861.]
 
19. Henry’s sister, Charlotte Augusta Drake.
 
20. Henry’s eldest daughter, Louisa Maria Drake.
 
21. Henry’s son, John Drake was born on 15 September 1834.
 
22. ACG Alexander Edwards.
 
23. Adj.-Gen. Sir James Estcourt, Adjutant-General of the Head Quarter Staff of the Eastern Army.
 
24. Edward Smith was sent out as Army Postmaster.
 
 

 
© COPYRIGHT MEGAN STEVENS 2015 —
Drake Letters Index 17. Drake to Louisa 6 September 1854 ◄ ● ► 19. Drake to Louisa 20 September 1854