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Drake Letters Index 26. Drake to Louisa 22 October 1854 ◄ ● ► 28. Drake to Louisa 2 November 1854
The Drake Letters
 
William Henry Drake (Balaklava) № 18 - Louisa Drake (London), 27 - 28 October 1854
№ 18 Balaklava 27 Oct 1854 1
 
My dear Lu,
 
        Since my last of 23rd we have had some serious doings – 23 I dined on bd. the Steamer Melbourne, the Ship which was so unfortunate in her trip to that place 2 Captain Austin R.N. Perm: Agent of Transports has his Broad Pendant on bd. of her – 24 all quiet but on 25th early the Russians in great strength made an attack on the lines of entrenchment held by our Turkish Allies around Balaklava   I had just sent large convoys of Supplies out so I had to go & look after them – The Enemy took three batteries fr. the Turks in all 12 . 9 pounder guns – the cowardly Villians [sic] did not await an attack but rushed off pell-mell
 
The English Light Cavalry Brigade attacked the enemys guns they killed a great many but their own loss was also very severe two batteries opened on them at once & they left nearly 500 men out of 1100, Killed wounded & missing Many Officers also. The Russians then attacked the direct line to this in Column – the 93rd 3 only were opposed to them, they had not time to form Square but the brave fellows showed so steady a front in line that the Enemy wavered and then fell back under a heavy & gulling fire which did much execution
 
The Heavy Cavalry then charged a very large body of Cossacks cut through them & back   the Scots Greys distinguished themselves, the Heavy Brigade lost but few but had many slightly wounded – They mowed down the Enemy – who then blew up two of the Captured positions & held the 3rd. – They do so still & we hear as they are too distant from us to do mischief they are still there  they are erecting a strong battery there & at other points – Yesterday we had orders to prepare to quit this at short notice & all the Ships were towed out of the bason [sic] of a Harbor – alarms all night of an Attack but none took place – they however made a Sortie fr. Sevastopol in the morning with some 4000 men on the 2nd Division Sir De L Evans 4 – they were beaten back by the Pickets & Supporting parties – Our loss 2! d. enemy from 400 to 500 among them are many Prisoners – Several Officers 2 Engineer Officers one being the actual person who took Lord Dunkellin 5 Prisoner a few days back   Lord D is on his road to Moscow & St. P. 6
 
Seige still going on French expect 20000 men daily – they have one battery 300 yds. from the wall our nearest is 1200 we cannot advance before they capture the work in their front   Sir E Lyons 7 came into this [Balaklava] with “Sans Pariel” this morning   he says this is impregnable & must be retained so here I suppose we stay for the present. – So much for public now for myself – On the 25th as I rode out several Cannon Balls crossed the road within my Sight. a shell killed an Arty. Horse just before me, I sent on the Carts & to avoid Shot & Shell rode nearer the fight but more under Shelter of the Hill, in safety but I must needs go up & see it so I went to the battery of a Friend in the Arty. & saw it all well, Charge of Scots Greys &c. While there a Horse about two yards from me was killed by a cannon ball so I only stayed to see the Russ. go over the opposite Hill & I retired never intending from curiosity to put myself in such a chance again   I wd. not like to own I was frightened as I did not really feel so knowing the uncertainty of long shots but I thought I was a noodle fr. curiosity to risk anything – So off I went   Carpenter 8 whom I joined near this & I then went on top of a high hill overlooking the whole scene & perfectly safe, being out of range & not in the line of fire, in future I take up such positions alwayscuriosity satisfied.
 
At night I had to get Supplies up to the Division encamped on the Field, & passed thus over a Second Field of Battle, less bloody than Alma & much less distressing in the nature of the Wounds generally, I never wish to see another but if we take Sevastopol I fear a worse fight awaits us – I am not quite the thing today being up often in the night to patrole [sic] in case of attack & up at 4 this morning has affected my interior economy – So I am keeping very quiet, Our weather is splendid but hot in the sun & cold at night. –   28th. Alarms three times last night at 11, at 2 & ¼ Past 4 A.M. each time had to turn out but after each I turned in & slept I am better today in my interior – The Alarms given last night, were the Russians firing & then shouting lustily – thrice this occurred   The French Arty. Fired & we also a few shots – this morning 80 Russian Horses fine chargers all greys made a Charge into our Camp without riders, [written across the page] and were captured from this I fancy last night The Russians were drunk & hence the shouts   perhaps the Grand Duke 9 has arrived to take the Command – Adieu   God bless you all
 
Your Affectionate Hub
W. H. Drake

 
Seige Guns are still incessant
 
The Russians have 4000 killed in Sevastopol – but plenty left to fight
 

Your affectionate husband
W. H. D.
 
© COPYRIGHT MEGAN STEVENS 2015 —
Footnotes
 
1. Private family manuscript (Judith Hall and Sally Mac, Auckland, New Zealand).
 
2. I’m not sure which of these apply here. – The City of Melbourne, screw steamer, “went ashore during the easterly gale on the afternoon of the 7th instant”. [The Argus (Melbourne, Vic.), Thursday 16 September 1852, p. 8.] – I. Nicholson, Log of logs: Vol. 2, (Nambour, 1993), p. 332: “Melbourne 1852-1853, iron SS, 1450t, of Aust. Royal Mail Steam Nav. Co, (b. 1849, as screw frigate Greenock, but was condemned, & sold to Aust.RM Co). First mail steamer to Aust: Lon, 28.9.1852 – Plymouth, for repairs, sailed, 31.10, but fouled 2 hulks & delayed 2 more days. Put into Lisbon with storm damage, & left again 21.11 – Cape Town – Melb. – Sydney, 4.2.53. Had propeller and engine problems on return trip, finally breaking down off Fayal, 23.6, when reverted to sail only; + Precis of voyage in, *North Star to Southern Cross, JM Maber, 1967. + Papers of Adm. Sir A. Phillimore, who as Cdr. sailed as Admty Agent inc Diary, 20.11.52-24.7.54; + SS Melbourne remark book, October 1852-July 1853; Out letterbook, 1848-53, + Memoir of service in SS, 1853, * NMM Greenwich, PHL/4/19; +/4/26; /4/29, +/4/49; +AJCP? idc? Note: Steamer sold by Aust. RM Co. 1854, & was converted to sailing ship clipper, 196t, of R&H Green, Captain HARRISON: Lon/Gravesend, 2.6 – Melbourne, 18.8.80: + Journal extracts, in a 3-part letter, by Rev. W.A. Purey-Cust, *copy, Wellingston Maritime Museum, 2597/91 ditto. + Diary of voyage, Eng-Melb, 1881, *ML, Sydney, MSS 4492 ...”
 
3. 93rd Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders Regiment of Foot.
 
4. Sir George de Lacy Evans, commander of the 2nd Division.
 
5. In 1860 Ullick Canning, Lord Dunkellin was serving with the Coldstream Regiment of Foot Guards.
 
6. St. Petersburg, Russia.
 
7. Rear-Admiral Sir Edmund Lyons, second in command to Vice-Admiral Sir James Dundas.
 
8. ACG Frederick Stanley Carpenter.
 
9. Grand Duke Constantine (1827-1892), the second son of Tsar Nicholas I. In a later letter, William Henry Drake (Balaklava) №21 – Louisa Drake (London) (13 November 1854), Henry says that Constantine was at Sevastopol.
 
 
 

 
© COPYRIGHT MEGAN STEVENS 2015 —
Drake Letters Index 26. Drake to Louisa 22 October 1854 ◄ ● ► 28. Drake to Louisa 2 November 1854