Drake Letters Index 27. Drake to Louisa 27 October 1854 ◄ ● ► 29. The Standard 26 December 1854
The Drake Letters
William Henry Drake (Balaklava) № 19 - Louisa Drake (London), 2 - 3 November 1854
№ 19 Balaklava 2 Nov1854 1
My dear Lu,
        My last was of 28 Oct   Since which I have recd. nothing fr. you my last dates being 6.7.8 Oct: I don’t know what to say about John 2 there are such a host of young men here all strong claimants & so many appointed to the Colonies that I fear DACGs of 16 to 20 years must be the result add to which the fact of the introduction into the junior ranks as Actg. DACG Sub Officers of Irish Constabulary by the dozen & I think it really better to let him go on any where else – Our Dep[artment] is a disgusting one – Officers are frequently insulted by General Officers in the most ungentlemanly way & without any redress for Mr. Filder submits to any insult himself & never tries to support his Officers in any way   A man more disliked & despised it wd. be very difficult to find – Every other head of Dept. has recommended his Staff for Promotion & brought their Claims forward – He has done nothing & will not do anything for us   If we are to get neither Promotion or thanks we may as well be at a Station as Slaving our lives out amidst Cholera & Death & I for one can only say I shall object strongly to such a state of things continuing   Several of our very best Officers have fully made up their minds to quit the Service & most wd. if they could
I am very Spenetic [sic] today led thereto by an attack of Sciatica pains in the back & legs from the intense Cold of the past 3 days & nights
We are turned out once or twice every night & the night before last I, who have to look after the safety of some 70 Storekeepers & Labourers for whom Mr. F has made no arrangement whatever he himself having gone off to a Village near Hd. Qrs., turned out hot & went in again Cold   next morning I cd. hardly move: yesterday very bad: today a little better   I have not given up Work on either day but moved about like a Veritable “Chelsea” 3 – The Seige goes on at its usual pace, very slowly as far as we uninitiated think this is the 17th day & another week or 10 days must elapse before any thing is decided I fear
3 Nov: Lumbago much better this morning – no great news heavy firing all night & rumors of Storming this afternoon   Notice given to Surgeons not to leave Camp under any pretence today!!
If true, this looks like Something   last night & the night before we had ice so that is a very broad hint to the Generals that this state of things cannot go on much longer   The Russians count on the advance of the Winter to make a Second Moscow 4 3000 or 4000 French Troops have arrived part they say of a reinforcement of 25000, about 600 English & 200 Artillery have also joined just in good time to keep things going on well   Our work rather increases than diminishes & yet our ridiculous noodle of a Chief 5 sits & purs [sic] & grins after his old fashion
Give my love to all & believe me

Your affectionate Hub
W. H. Drake

1. Private family manuscript (Judith Hall and Sally Mac, Auckland, New Zealand).
2. Henry’s son, John Drake, then aged 20, was in Melbourne, Victoria at this stage. I don’t know what Henry was referring to in this cryptic comment. Maybe John wanted to work in the Commissiariat Department somewhere in the Colonies.
3. A Chelsea pensioner.
4. Henry is here referring to Napoleon’s disastrous campaign in Russia in the winter of 1812.
5. The Chief, CG William Filder.

Drake Letters Index 27. Drake to Louisa 27 October 1854 ◄ ● ► 29. The Standard 26 December 1854