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Drake Letters Index 23. Drake to Louisa 8 October 1854 ◄ ● ► 25. Drake to Louisa 17 October 1854
The Drake Letters
 
William Henry Drake (Balaklava) № 15 - Louisa Drake (London), 12 - 13 October 1854
№ 15 Balaklava 12 Oct 1854 1
 
My dear Lu,
 
        My last was dated the 8th, since which very little has occurred of moment. our men have been constantly working in the Trenches & they talk of opening fire tomorrow night with 40 large guns of ours & 40 French – On the 8th after I sent my Letter I rode out to Inspect our Supplies in the Front & take a look at the City – I went with an Officer 2 to the most advanced piquet & The Captain of it said, Now you are here the Russians seeing you mounted will take you for Generals at least & Salute you & in one minute a Splendid Shell went over our heads & fell well behind us & another fell short in front both harmless but as they had the range of the place we were satisfied with the honors and departed we went to the next picket but on foot & did not get saluted   On the 9th & 10th we had very blowing cold days & bitterly cold nights – yesterday & today fine genial weather again most fortunately we have had no rain
 
On the 10th I dined with Sir E Lyons 3 on board the Agamemnon, 4 full fig – 12 in all   I was very pleased at his asking me not for the Vanity of the thing but others seeing he is my Friend pull more cordially with me – My duty is hard & constant but I get on pretty smoothly. Today Mr. Filder & Adams are both away & I am left to do the duties – You wd. be rather amused at the personal appearance of Officers here Guardsmen & others Coats torn & soiled epaulet & feathers broken, boots out unshaven hair long few looking Clean. Dr. Munro 5 just gone out of my place having come to beg of me for auld lang syne to give or get him a cake of soap for himself a bar or part or one for his Servant & a tallow Candle or two, he is now Surgeon to 93rd Highlds – For myself, if you should ever be taking a morning Stroll on the Wharf at Balaklava & meet a tolerably stout person in Silver Specs, with long red beard very thick & fierce moustache, in fact hair only cut away, just to leave room for soup, blue old Coat (no Straps on Shoulder) 6 & Wt coat & Blk pants, blue forage Cap walking & talking very fast, that is your hub: I found in getting into my dress Coat the other day that I was rather thinner than when I wore it last which is rather an improvement.
 
Rumor was current also on the 10th that the Russian Governor of Sevastopol had sent notice to the Greek population in Balaklava that they were to clear out their families & baggage & the Town wd. then be fired – I was present when Lord Raglan, Genl. Airey the Q.M.G. Col. Steel Mil. Secy. 7 & Lt. Col. Daveney 8 Royals Commdt. arranged to send all the inhabitants out at once double sentries place extra guards &c. &c. It was done accordingly the place looks like a deserted one, permission was today given for Women & Children to return but they are afraid, partly of the Russians & partly of us & our Allies 9 – Yesterday, the 11th a Brig under Austrian Colors chartered by Smith 10 to bring Hay for us from Constantinople got under the Batteries of Sevastopol was fired at for more than an hour, Crew deserted her & she got on shore, fortunately in a place where she was nearly safe fr. shot   at night the Terrible 11 & another Steamer got her off & brought her in   5 Shot they say struck her, but she is all right & none the worse as far as we are concerned, that is in her Cargo. The Enemy also fired at our men in the Trenches all night but did no execution – tonight they are expected to attack our lines & all is I hear prepared for them & tomorrow the 13 their 1st. O.S. 12 they are to attack this place, now well fortified & ready   Marines, Sailors, Soldiers, English, French & Turks are all in position on very advantageous ground & several guns. –   13 Oct. 6 A.M. No attack last night except on the lines where the men are working & no loss. There are all sorts of rumors as to when we begin   I myself think it will be the day after tomorrow Saturday the 15th
 
With best love to all believe me
My dear Lu
 
Your affectionate Hub
W. H. Drake
 



Charlotte Augusta Drake

Exodus of the Greek Population from Balaklava,
from Karen W. Smith, Constantin Guys: Crimean War drawings 1854-1856, (Cleveland, Ohio, 1978), p. 17.




 
 
© COPYRIGHT MEGAN STEVENS 2015 —
Footnotes
 
1. Private family manuscript (Judith Hall and Sally Mac, Auckland, New Zealand).
 
2. Henry went with Capt. Bowen. [Journal, 8 October 1854.]
 
3. Rear-Admiral Sir Edmund Lyons, second in command to Vice-Admiral Sir James Dundas.
 
4. Agamemnon, 90 guns.
 
5. William Munro, M.D.
 
6. In this, Henry seems to be pre-empting a decision about commissariat uniforms, taken in December 1854. “THE ARMY. DUBLIN, FRIDAY MORNING. … The new commissariat uniform dispenses with epaulettes. … [The Standard (London, England), Saturday, December 23, 1854; Issue 9478.]
 
7. Colonel Thomas Montagu Steele.
 
8. Lieutenant Colonel Burton Daveney, 1st (The Royal) Regiment of Foot.
 
9. on tuesday 9th inst. a messenger coming from sebastopol has been taken by the vedettes & brought to the head quarters of L.R. – a short time afterwards the Gal himself came down to Balaklava and had the whole male population with their priests summoned round the Gal commissary’s House – There through an interpreter they have been told to leave the place within 3 hours, women & children alone might remain behind. any man after this lapse of time found in the town would be shot. this severe measure was caused according the general rumour to the discovery of a letter found on the above messenger directed to some parties in Balaklava intimating to them the order of setting fire to their houses the same very night. as there was to be simultaneously an attack by the Russian[s] – What at all events went far to confirm this, was the fact of most of the inhabitants, having already made during the previous day and all the morning, made preparations to leave, they were continually seen carrying away their things, saying that there was no more to eat in Balaklava and they were obliged to remove their families in the mountain’s villages The scene here is taken at the entrance of the village near the hospital. in the middle my humble self on horseback on my return from the advanced post, near Sevastopol – I met an old priest with whom I had had before several conversations, and as soon as he perceived me, he came to me, to relate the harsh measure he was victim of – it was the fourth time he had been turned out from his House, pillaged, ruined, &&, once in Candia – in the Peloponise war, in Stamboul, & now – his house was devastated when possession was taken of Balaklava by the English, his wife & children had run away before – he knows now [not?] where, and he with few servants and relatives could not obtain leave from the Gal to remain – a party of highlanders some 100 remaining under arms, higher up had been sent from the Camp to enforce this orde/ two companions were seen in each street, every house ransacked, every man turned out – of course women did not avail themselves of Raglan’s permission to remain behind their husbands or fathers &&&. – every one is carrying bundles – some on their heads && – few men are seen amidst the crowd – two or three tartarian carts loaded with baggage some old dying man children && now & then highlanders – tents on the declivity of the hill – few trees round the scattered houses – intermixed with tents – & smoke – I must say that the highlanders performed their difficult task with an exemplary patients and with all the regard for the pitiful condition of these peopl[e] …” [Karen W. Smith, Constantin Guys: Crimean War drawings 1854-1856, (Cleveland, Ohio, 1978), pp. 17, 72.]
 
10. DCG John William Smith.
 
11. 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.]
 
12. O.S.: Old Style. [The household dictionary of the English language, p. 977.]
 
 
 

 
© COPYRIGHT MEGAN STEVENS 2015 —
Drake Letters Index 23. Drake to Louisa 8 October 1854 ◄ ● ► 25. Drake to Louisa 17 October 1854