Drake Letters Index 22. Drake to Louisa 3 October 1854 ◄ ● ► 24. Drake to Louisa 12 October 1854
The Drake Letters
William Henry Drake (Balaklava) № 14 - Louisa Drake (London), 8 October 1854
№ 14 Balaklava 8 Oct 1854 1
My dear Lu,
        I have this moment heard that a Steamer leaves with a mail at noon I have but half an hour to write & dispatch this but still I write if only to say I continue well but very busy
My last was dated 3rd & I sent 1st of a Bill for £50 of which I now send 2nd. Capt. Bowen 2 of Hope on Directors of African Steam Ship Coy. 3 Mincing Lane. I have a wretched pen but never mind –
I have worked every day from dawn until 10 or 11 at night, After a day or two talking of it – Ld. Raglan & Hd. Qr. Staff left this on the 5th for a Farm House about 4 miles nearer Sevastopol – Mr. Filder has not yet gone, nor do I know when I may hope he will – We pull very well together that is I have my own way in essentials & as I only have the interest of the Service in View & the proper Supply of the Army it shd. be so. To day I sent off my Greek Servant today as he was trying to drive a trade by selling grog to the Soldiers – I have also had 3 of our labourers up and punished by the Provost Marshal for Theft – very Summary jurisdiction
Qn. Oh! Mr. D do you say these men did it? – Yes 1 [one] did it 2 [two] received it – Very well 25 lashes each
in a ¼ of a hour they left the yards with jackets in hand 3    perhaps I am one of the only people occasionally looking for the Provost Marshall most get out of his way. Do not imagine that, because I write quietly that nothing is going on   Our Army is in front of Sevastopol & for the last six days they have kept up a pretty regular fire on us from the Ships & Forts   They have only during this time killed one man a Sergeant killed by a Shell, 4 as yet, we have not answered this cannonade – I believe they, i.e. the Commanders in Chief, mean [sp?] to open an overwhelming fire at one time &
It will begin tonight, Sunday the 8 Oct. I hear from about 200 very heavy guns – The Terrible, 5 The Sans Pareil, 6 The Arrow 7 & other Men of War have landed part of their Guns made them into regular batteries Commanded by Naval Officers – Capt. Peel 8 is one they have 68 Pounders in plenty
Our last mail bag has somehow or other been mislaid or I should have had the happiness of hearing from you yesterday in reply to mine of from 1 to 4 Sept. I hope I got 3 London Illustrated, & Punch by mail but the best way for Papers, is by Ty. Bag in which they send many
My getting these was a lucky charm   I have about 7 different Ships landing Supplies at this moment, a busy scene the Wharf crowded with Artillery Engineers Soldiers, Mule Carts – Arabas (the ox carts of this part of the World) Pack horses, Sailors Maltese Greeks Turks French & Tartars 9    I employ about 20 to 24 Asst. Storekeepers & although my Accounts are very heavy & every one says I am incessantly marching about the Wharves, I have no Clerk & yet my accounts are not yet in confusion though not very regular as to form & most receipts are in pencil on duty scraps & backs of letters – Since I have had the Superintendence the only complaint I have had was one I mentioned before fr. a young Spoon that the men cd. not drink their Coffee as they had no Sugar – The C.G. 10 said to Routh 11 yesterday – I managed to keep him freer from Complaint worry & annoyances than he had ever been before – in fact, he never heard of one – he was terribly worried in Varna by things wh: shd. never have gone to him – I fear neither General nor responsibility & as they begin to know & feel this they come to me very Kindly & Civilly & we manage to pull through
You know my old maxim “That we are paid to be civil & that to oblige if possible is a part of our peculiar duty” Well I act up to it rigidly enforcing it among the Division & Brigade Officers & I may say as regards the Regular Commt. they support me in it & work most manfully – in fact dearest it is no use disguising it, our duty is arduous & difficult in the extreme only hard work and determination has pulled us through both the C.G. & Adams Good men of Business are not au fait at the “Supply Branch” & run too much to detail and minute points of form but both have fortunately sense to see it won’t do at present & they do their best to pull on too. – Our poor fellows (Officers) knock up one after another – two are generally ill & recruiting strength to go to work again, none of the Regular Dept. give up if they can help it – Our Auxiliaries from Irish Constabulary are useless Storekeepers knock up daily, I have sent 4 away, 2 more go today & 1 is dead & 1 dying – this is since we came here – I myself keep in good health and in as good spirits as can be expected from one separated from all those who are dear to him but if success crowns the day I hope to have many a good tale to tell of [written across the page] our Campaigning in the Crimea.
With warmest love to all believe me ever your most affectionate Hub

W. H. Drake.
  Marshall St Arnaud 12 died lately at Pera of disease of the heart & dysentery. –
General Canrobert 13 Commands the French Army

Lord Raglan's Headquarters at Khutor Karagatch

Lord Raglan’s Head Quarters at Khutor-Karagatch, by William Simpson.
from Central University Libraries, Southern Methodist University, accessed 6 May 2015.

1. Private family manuscript (Judith Hall and Sally Mac, Auckland, New Zealand).
2. William Henry Bowen.
3. Whether Henry was using a colloqualism here, I am not sure. However, a “jacketing” was a colloguial term for a “thrashing”. [E. Partridge, A dictionary of historical slang, p. 484.]
4. THE WAR. THE ARMY IN THE CRIMEA. (From a Correspondent of the Times.) BALAKLAVA, SUNDAY, OCT. 8. … Since my last letter I have taken another ramble across the dreary-looking country towards Sebastopol, and again looked down upon the enemy hard at work at the fortifications of their doomed city. No shots were on that day fired from the batteries on the North side, but they blazed away occasionally from the white tower near the head of the harbour, and from their new works in that neighbourhood, their shot and shell being principally thrown among the Third Division. While I was sitting in the friend’s tent there the shot and shell frequenly came whizzing over us, and, during my stay, a shell unfortunately fell and exploded in a tent occupied by soldiers of the 68th, killing a sergeant and a sentry whose post was 200 yards off, and severely wounded three others. [“THE WAR.” Belfast News-Letter [Belfast, Ireland] 27 October 1854: n.p. 19th Century British Newspapers. Web. 10 September 2013.]
5. Terrible, 21, st.-ves., Captain J. J. McCleverty, 1848, Mediterranean. [“Stations of the Royal Navy in commission”, in Colburn’s united service magazine, Pt. 1, (London, 1855), p. 150.]
6. Sanspareil, 81, sc., Capt. S. C. Dacres, 1840, Medit. [Ibid.]
7. Arrow, screw gun-vessel, Lieut.-Com. W. R. [sic] Jolliffe, 1845, Mediterranean. [Ibid.]
8. 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.] Henry mentions Capt. Peel in a previous letter, William Henry Drake (Crimea) #8 – Louisa Drake (London) (15 September 1854).
9. Roger Fenton’s photograph, entitled “Landing Place, Ordnance Wharf, Balaklava; Genoese Castle in the distance” (1855) can be seen at
10. CG William Filder.
11. ACG Leonce Routh.
12. Marshal Armand Jacques Leroy de Saint-Arnaud was in joint command, with Lord Raglan, of the Anglo-French force in the Crimea. Apparently, he died of cholera, not dysentry, on 19 September 1854.
13. General François Certain Canrobert took over command of the French Army after Saint-Arnaud’s death on 19 September 1854. [R. Parkinson, The encyclopedia of modern war, p. 48.]

Drake Letters Index 22. Drake to Louisa 3 October 1854 ◄ ● ► 24. Drake to Louisa 12 October 1854