You are here: [ RESOURCESMEGAN STEVENS: DRAKE LETTERS ► 22. DRAKE TO LOUISA 3 OCTOBER 1854 ]

Drake Letters Index 21. Drake to Louisa 27 September 1854 ◄ ● ► 23. Drake to Louisa 8 October 1854
The Drake Letters
 
William Henry Drake (Balaklava) № 13 - Louisa Drake (London), 3 October 1854
№ 13 Balaklava (Fish Harbor),
3 Oct 1854 1
 
My dear Lu,
 
        No. 12 was of 28 Sept. the next day was my birthday 2 on which I worked like a Trojan & was rewarded by a Birthday present of a Forage Cap 4 Shirts & Gold lace &c. 3 I never expected to wear Moses & Co. on my head but it looks a good one & fits well. Shirts are only too good, Gold lace for Cap is being put on that for pants being that of a General Officer I can’t wear here but a General has begged it of me at price of new lace in England 22/6 per Yard & I let him have it as a favor – Genl. Bentinck 4 of the Guards called on me yesterday to thank me personally for saving two Carpetbags, his Bed & Bedding & his Writing Case at Almie [sic] & bringing them down – I did so for several
 
Did I tell you I had taken a room on Shore lest the Hope should be ordered away, close to Wharf small but clean I write to you from it now. My Interpreter, Horse & Servant are in outbuildings of same house   The Inhabitants are Greeks, Interpreter Hungarian Servant Greek boy who came up from Piræus with me taking care of my horse of which he hardly knew the Head from the Tail   For a Greek 5 he is honest, Interpreter is a first rate man – I have still the Supply of the Army, & Sup: under the C.G. 6 & D.C.G. Adams as the alter ego of The C.G. We pull well together, mainly because they don’t know their work either of them & could not stand the fag if they did   So I have quietly intimated my intention to have things done my own way & they agree as every thing is going on very well   Singular to say & to their Surprize [sic] better far than at Varna under the other officers or under myself cramped in a great degree to keep up the previous arrangements – From the first day here the whole army has been well supplied with Biscuit Meat Salt or Fresh Tea Rum Sugar Coffee & Rice & Scotch Barley!!   What says the C.G. to such an enumeration of Articles now supplied to Troops in the Field
 
Lord Raglan’s March fr. the Katska to this, is one of the finest on record as to Strategy   Intelligence was gained of the great strength of Sevastopol on the N. & N.E. Sides & to Seaward of very bad ground to the East & that Menchicoff 7 with 35000 men was bolting from the City to effect a junction with 16000 Cavalry from the North & harass the Seige operations until joined by other Corps or Winter set in, We were then at Katska 8 miles North of Sevastopol he made a detour round the City, fell in between the Russian Divisions Cut off & forced back some 13000 into the City, rendering the remainder of comparatively little use took the most of his Provisions & Baggage & moreover frightened them very much took Balaklava & we are now within 1½ miles of the City (I mean the leading Divisions, are so) laying our Seige Guns 60 are up & 20 or 25 more & ammunition going up now – Rumor says a Soft place has been found in the City & consequently we hope soon to be inside of it – I am very well & it is fortunate it is so for my work is incessant but I live tolerably & have a comfortable bed on board “Hope” taking care of myself – I enclose with this 1st of a Bill for £50 drawn by the Captain of “Hope” on Directors of African Steamship Co. 3 Mincing Lane dated 3 Oct: He wanted Cash for the Ship & it is just as well   My Lords should not think I have too much to remit   It is my Pay & Servants Allce. for Sept. & Field Allce. 1 Oct. to 31 Decr. 1854   This Bill is at 10 days sight –
 
We have 80 Guns on the ground, to be put in position directly, to bombard Sevastopol some batteries are 68 pounder 42 Cwt. guns. All seems going on well
 
With best love to all, dearest Lu
 
Believe me
 

Your affectionate hub
W. H. Drake

 
© COPYRIGHT MEGAN STEVENS 2015 —
Footnotes
 
1. Private family manuscript (Judith Hall and Sally Mac, Auckland, New Zealand).
 
2. William Henry Drake was born 29 September 1812, at Coimbra, Portugal, where his father, John Drake, was serving in the Commissariat during the Peninsular War.
 
3. These are items which Henry had requested that Louisa send him from London, in his letter of 17 July 1854, while still in Piræus, and that of 28 July 1854, from Constantinople.
 
4. Maj. Gen. Henry John William Bentinck, Coldstream Guards.
 
5. This seems to have been a fairly common English prejudice at the time, as Partridge points out. To call someone “a Greek” was to imply that the person was a card-sharp, or a cheat. [E. Partridge, A dictionary of historical slang, p.400.]
 
6. Commissary-General. William Filder.
 
7. Prince Alexander Sergeyevich Menshikov.
 
 
 

 
© COPYRIGHT MEGAN STEVENS 2015 —
Drake Letters Index 21. Drake to Louisa 27 September 1854 ◄ ● ► 23. Drake to Louisa 8 October 1854