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Drake Letters Index 20. Drake to Louisa 22 September 1854 ◄ ● ► 22. Drake to Louisa 3 October 1854
The Drake Letters
 
William Henry Drake (Balaklava) № 12 - Louisa Drake (London), 27 - 28 September 1854

№ 12 Balaklava, some 7 miles South
of Sevastopol & 14 by Sea,
27 Sept 1854 1
 
My dear Lu,
 
         My last was of the 23 Inst. 2 & left to be sent by Sir E Lyons 3 bag after the action on the Almie [sic]. Since that I have not had a moment to write, & I now do so, at 11½ P.M. after being hard at work from 4 A.M., a pretty long spell   I make no apology for scrawl, & as the matter & fact of my writing at all is I know what is required –
 
I recd. your Letters (all) of 12 Sept. yesterday & of 7th today, & very delighted I was, amidst my work to hear you were all well, & poor Mollys 4 baby better again. I am well so it’s no use saying more about myself. – I now give you the news.
 
The place fr. which this is dated is one of the most singular in existence   There is a large Bay of Balaklava in a Corner of which there is an inlet or river I don’t know which we are in – thus

X entrance quite hidden a ship’s length across the places crossed ||||| are our own ships lying head & Stern or in a dock, the Agamemnon 5 90 guns cruiser, & several steamers being among them – The Russians after the Battle of Alma still expecting us from the North and continued to throw up works,
 
I saw the men at work myself – they sunk 5 Line of Battle & one other Ship across the Entrance to Sevastopol & placed their guns with Batteries facing Seaward & to North, & Prince Menchikoff 6 determined to leave Sevastopol garrison & get out with 30000 men – Lord Raglan by a most masterly strategy, marched from the Katska, & making a forced march of from 15 to 17 miles cut in between Menchikoffs Divisions & forced 13000 men back into the City, took his provision & baggage, or at least much of it, & made the Army with him of 17000 powerless, besides striking terror into them, & without loss to us, he then secured this place as a Depot & Base of Operations – They did this I believe for once totally without the French who were quite left behind & only got in here late today – This is a small village, very retired, & apparently a sort of Watering place, 8 miles South of Sevastopol – So little did they expect us that the Lady of a Russian Field Officer came into our lines yesterday trying to avoid us & the horrors of a Seige in Sebastopol – She says the fear of us there is great
 
The Russians say the French fight well, but the English are either mad or Drunk, even cannon won’t stop them
 
Sir Colin Campbell 7 gained great credit at Alma – I saw Shadwell 8 & helped him this morning to some grub on board & some things for the General – Sir G. Brown 9 & The Duke of Cambridge 10 both say they have never wanted supplies yet – I have worked hard that they should not. – Grapes & apples abound here, & every house has been to some extent robbed – I have picked up something myself, to wit a magnificent Priest’s Robe of State. As I came here early, I had a good chance, the Cossacks had only just left the house, & left some of their caps in it. The Owners had bolted from there long since. I have some minor articles, too numerous to mention, but nothing of any value except as curiosities –
 
2   The Seige Train is to be landed here tomorrow, the Army moved about one mile to front today – the Light House on Cape Kherson is in our possession – I saw our tars on the look out on top of it, we came here yesterday under fire of the Coast Batteries convoyed by the Highflyer Capt. Graham Moore R.N. 11
 
Tomorrow the Troops will move on in preparation for taking up a position for the Seige which we now hope will not be a protracted one 12    They call the English the Red Devils & well they may, they fought like devils at the Almie [sic]All the Officers doing/driving [sp?] though the 95 lost some 12 Officers the 23 more   Our total loss is above 100 Officers killed (200) 13 & wounded (64) & 1850 men killed & wounded   the French loss 250 to 300 killed & 300 to 350 wounded & the Russian loss is variously estimated at fr. 5 to 6000 yesterday & the day before They took 1600 prisoners – a General among them – There is much sickness still among the Troops aggravated in some degree by unmitigated eating of fruit. We have the Chief Officer of the Hope very ill from overfatique & drinking water I suppose while hot 14 By the next mail, I expect replies to my letters from 1st to 4 Sept. & look anxiously for them. I sent the Deed 15 by the same mail, that just before leaving Varna, as I am often away from the C.G. 16 I send all my letters through Sir E Lyons 17
 
The Newspapers in the Mail I do not get for weeks sometimes the mail being at the Katzka, all should be sent by Ty. Bag – There are many newspapers sent by it – The Shirts have not yet come to hand nor have I heard of them except from you. – Bt. Major Rose 18 55th Brother of Lt. Col. Cowper Rose 19 R.E. was killed at Almie [sic] – I saw him & Mrs. R 20 at Pera   Lt. Col: Beckwith 21 of the Rifles killed   Of the 95th two brothers, Eddington 22 all of whom I knew were killed – Ingilby 23 of the Artillery escaped unhurt – Lt. Cockerell 24 was killed close to him, I have not seen Ingilby since I came here –
 
28 Sept. While waiting for something to eat I get on with my note, It is believed that Prince Menchikoff 25 has left in hopes of effecting a junction with Genl. Osten Sacken 26 from Odessa who is said to be marching this way with 40000 men. I think in a fair field not entrenched in any way the Allies are more than a match for 60000 Russians
 
I have just had a talk with Mr. Russell 27 “Times” he has been unwell with fever, lost his horses & baggage & is in a fix. 28 I am helping him as much as I can which is not much. 29 I have got a priests robe, stick & missal plunder of course if I can I will some day send them to you the robe is very handsome
 
With love to all believe me
Dear Lu ever
Your affectionate Hub
W. H. Drake




Balaklava Harbour

Balaklava harbour, 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 Dr V. Krestiyannikov,
at http://www.xenophon-mil.org/crimea/war/simpson/simp32a.htm, accessed 9 May 2015.


William Simpson, Balaklava Harbour

Balaklava harbour, 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 Dr V. Krestiyannikov,
at http://www.xenophon-mil.org/crimea/war/simpson/simp18a.htm, accessed 9 May 2015.



 
 
© COPYRIGHT MEGAN STEVENS 2015 —
Footnotes
 
1. Private family manuscript (Judith Hall and Sally Mac, Auckland, New Zealand).
 
2. It seems to me that Henry mis-counted his letters, as his letter No. 10 was written on 23 September 1854. It seems he skipped No. 11, as there is no mention in his Journal regarding any letter after the 23rd, and that letter was definitely numbered No. 10, and this one No. 12.
 
3. Rear-Admiral Sir Edmund Lyons, second in command to Vice-Admiral Sir James Dundas.
 
4. I presume Henry sometimes called his sister, Maria Harriet White, Molly. In his letter of 4 August 1854, Henry wrote of Maria and her baby “doing well”. Caroline White was born 1 July 1854, and was Henry’s goddaughter.
 
5. 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.]
 
6. Prince Alexander Sergeyevich Menshikov was Czar Nicholas’ commanding general.
 
7. Sir Colin Campbell, Lord Clyde (1792-1863), British Field-Marshal
 
8. Lt.-Col. Lawrence Shadwell, A.D.C. to Sir Colin Campbell.
 
9. General Sir George Brown.
 
10. George William Frederick Charles, 2nd Duke of Cambridge, British Field-Marshal
 
11. Highflyer, 21, screw, Captain J. Moore, 1848, Mediterranean. [“Stations of the Royal Navy in commission”, in Colburn’s united service magazine, Pt. 1, (London, 1855), p. 149.]
 
12. Their hopes would have been dashed, as the Russians only evacuated Sevastopol on 9 September 1855, nearly a year later. [W. H. Russell, Russell’s despatches from the Crimea, 1854-1856, (London, 1966), p.17.]
 
13. The figure 200 was added later, obviously when Henry had received a more accurate report.
 
14. I find the concept of drinking water while one is hot to be a strange reason for falling ill. – But this might be covered in Amanda J. Thomas’s book, The Lambeth Cholera Outbreak of 1848-1849, where she talks about the theories of Dr. Alexander Billing in his book On The Treatment of Asiatic Cholera (1848), which suggested that “Heat did not promote recovery and sufferers should “drink freely of cold water”.
 
15. Henry’s brother-in-law, Francis Lochée of Perth, sent him a Deed of Trust to G. F. Stone, which he, Henry, executed before Mr. John H. I. Neale, British Consul at Varna.[Journal, 4 September 1854.]
 
16. Commissary-General William Filder, C.B.
 
17. Rear-Admiral Sir Edmund Lyons, second in command to Vice-Admiral Sir James Dundas.
 
18. Major John Baillie Rose, 55th Regiment, was killed at the Battle of Alma on 20 September 1854. (see also the following letter: William Henry Drake (Constantinople) – Louisa Drake (London) (28 July 1854).
 
19. Lt. Col. Cowper Rose, Royal Engineers.
 
20. Ellen Phyllis Rose (née Pattinson).
 
21. Lt. Col. Sidney Beckwith, Rifle Brigade, died of cholera on 25 September 1854.
 
22. Both Lieutenant Edward William Eddington and his brother, Captain James George Eddington, 95th Regiment, were killed at the Battle of Alma on 20 September 1854. – “More than ordinary interest was created by the circumstances under which Captain and Lieutenant Eddington, of the 95th, met their deaths. When the former dropped, early in the charge, with a ball in his chest, he was left for a few moments on the hill side, whilst the regiment fell back to re-form. A Russian rifleman, kneeling down beside him, pretended to raise his canteen to the wounded officer’s lips, and deliberately blew his brains out. This was in sight of the regiment, and as they charged up the hill, the Lieutenant, maddened by the sight, rushed forward to avenge his beloved brother’s death, but in a few moments met a similar fate, his breast being absolutely riddled with the storm of grape-shot and rifle balls.” [Medals of the British Army, and how they were won, by Thomas Carter (1893).]
 
23. Charles Henry Ingilby.
 
24. Lieutenant Robert Horsley Cockerell, R.A., was killed at the Battle of Alma on 20 September 1854.
 
25. Prince Alexander Sergeyevich Menshikov was Czar Nicholas’s commanding general.
 
26. General Baron Dmitri Erofeyevich Osten-Sacken commanded one of the Russian corps.
 
27. William Howard Russell, correspondent for The Times.
 
28. Russell describes what must be this incident as follows: “It was cold and dreary and if I could intrude the recital of the sorrows of a tentless and baggage-less man wandering about in the dark from regiment to regiment in hope of finding his missing traps.” He notes that “They were thrown out of the commissariat araba in which they had been place by order of the Commissariat-General and were abandoned to the Cossacks, so I never saw them again. It was found necessary to make room for some of the reserve ammunition which had been stowed in arabas that broke down on the march.” [W. H. Russell, Russell’s despatches from the Crimea 1854-56, pp. 74-75.]
 
29. In his family history, The Drake family connection, Brig. A. C. F. Jackson says that Russell of the Times scrounged potatoes off Henry. He says: “We have a begging note to that effect.” Unfortunately, I have not had access to this note. In his letter to me, dated 4 May 1995, Lt. Col. P. S. F. Jackson said: “I have no letter from Howard Russell.”
 
 
 

 
© COPYRIGHT MEGAN STEVENS 2015 —
Drake Letters Index 20. Drake to Louisa 22 September 1854 ◄ ● ► 22. Drake to Louisa 3 October 1854