Drake Letters Index 30. Drake to Louisa 7 November 1854 ◄ ● ► 32. Drake to Louisa 17 November 1854
The Drake Letters
William Henry Drake (Balaklava) № 21 - Louisa Drake (London), 13 November 1854
№ 21 Balaklava 13 Nov 1854 1
My dear Lu,
        We have had very wretched Weather since I wrote last nothing but rain & blow the consequences have been much damage to the Shipping & mud ancle [sic] deep through the whole of this Town making it one of the most wretched dreary places I ever saw
This is the 28th day of the Seige & it still draws its weary way onward, The Russians have made no attack on us since the 5th but their Guns answer ours just as well as ever Many of our Great Men are going or gone – Genl. Bentinck 2 wounded & gone   Sir De Lacy Evans 3 sick & going. Duke of Cambride [sic] 4 sick on board Ship & rumor says he has quarrelled with Lord Raglan
There is no doubt the Grand Duke Constantine 5 was at Sevastopol on the 5th   He is said to have left for large reinforcements – But this morning a report has just come in from the Front that the Emperor Nicholas 6 has himself arrived in the City – If so there will soon be some more sharp work – To prepare for this continued bad weather I am going to move into a better house for my Quarter and Office – My lumbago has all but gone & I am otherwise well much better than I have been for a fortnight past – Dr. J Marshall 7 arrived here a few days ago, I have done all I could to assist him   he said W.M. 8 had refered [sic] him to me – The Doctor is attached to the 2nd Division – I drank my Fathers health on the 11th in a bumper of excellent Sherry some bottles of wh. I bought by good luck – Yesterday I dined by invitation on board one of our Ships & met among others young Boyle 9 of St. John 10 he is Senior Ens: 38th & Stationed with a small party at Balaklava he has just recovered from an attack of Small Pox – How he got [it] they can’t make out – It is not prevalent if there are any cases of it at all. – I see Dr. Munro 11 three or four times a week
Capt. Shadwell 12 I often see but I have not yet met Sir Colin Campbell 13 – I expect he will get posted to the 2 or 4 Div. both being Vacant – Our difficulties increase very much with the bad weather – The roads are very much cut up   our animals getting in bad condition, bad times for landing stores – I believe they really think of Wintering as we are – Hutting the Army & for this purpose they have sent a D.A.C.G. & Engineer Officer to buy all sorts of Timber & we are writing to Constantinople for Nails Hammers &c. Our laborers are all dying or giving up being Maltese they cannot stand Cold & Wet – Mr. Filder has sent to England to ask them to ship 200 or 300 – but all these arrangements are made so late that the probability is we shall lose more men by exposure that [sic] we should by Storming the City – Ld. Raglan does not seem to have forseen [sic] any such Contingency & to be quite unprepared
But, the worst of all, is that had he after Alma 14 pressed on the place would have been evacuated or had he the day after reaching this the 27 Sept, the enemy were quite unprepared – While we were getting ready so were they & for one Gun we placed they mounted 3 or 4   We allowed them to throw up Earth works the Guns fr. which have puzzled & damaged more than any other & are as yet unsilenced – It could not have been done worse by us – Still I have hope because the French Generals are young men & not Old Women. It is a strange hope for an Englishman but it is that of many here – The 97th are said to have arrived in the outside anchorage   the 3rd 15 were to go to Greece to relieve them – We recd. last week about 1000 men & the French 4000
I have no letters from you since my last – I don’t comprehend Mr. Petrie 16 saying there were but 3 mails – 6 arrive
[Written across the page.] In fact you usually write by what is called the long mail going 3 times a month to Malta
I don’t think there is any change for the Winter but if so it is advertized in the Times – I see Mr. Filder’s Times frequently – I have sent the Punches & Illustrated on to Mr. Read, 17 I have not seen him yet –
With best love to all believe me

Your Affectionate Hub
W. H. Drake

WH Drake Journal
29 – Nov 14. One of the most miserable & wretched days. I sit down to record our most serious & melancholy diaster. At about 6 a.m. it began to blow very fresh, & I got up to see if it was likely to do any damage. I was half dressed, when the gale increased in force, & blowing in my front window, blew out the two at the back. I went into my sitting room dressed, and looked out. It blew a hurricane. The Sans Pareil ground astern. Ships were grinding against each other, masts & spars falling. The spray went clean over the houses near the beach. The Ships were, many of them, on shore, all more or less injured. At last, the Verandah of the house gave way, &, with it, pulled off most of the roof. I got away with my things into the Office, in a part of the house joining, but not built with, the other, & solely a ground floor. We packed up all the office things, & moved to the house, in which I now write. Report says that several vessels have gone down, & all hands perished. Of these, the fate of the Wild West, No. 63, Progress, Il Malti, Wanderer, Resolute, St. Pinner, is almost beyond a doubt, & the Pettona 18 has also gone, but the crew are all saved. Lady Valiant’s crew, but the ship will be a total loss. In the Steamer Prince were 137 people, crew, & £140,000 in gold, belonging to the Govt., the winter clothing for the Army – a most valuable cargo.

William Simpson, A supply column

A supply column, by William Simpson.
Photograph of the painting in Simpson's The Seat of War in the East, second series,
by Colonel (Ret) George W. Page, from the copy of this rare book at the Museum of the Heroic Defense of Sevastopol through the kind offices of Dr. V. Krestiyannikov,
at, accessed 9 May 2015.


1. Private family manuscript (Judith Hall and Sally Mac, Auckland, New Zealand).
2. Major General Henry John William Bentinck, Coldstream Guards.
3. Sir George de Lacy Evans.
4. George William Frederick Charles, 2nd Duke of Cambridge.
5. Grand Duke Constantine (1827-1892), the second son of Tsar Nicholas I.
6. Nicholas I, Tsar of Russia.
7. Dr. John Marshall, 15th (The King’s) Regiment of (Light) Dragoons.
8. Possibly William Marshall, Clerk in the War Office.
9. Ensign John Frederick Clinton Boyle, 38th (The 1st Staffordshire) Regiment of Foot.
10. St. John, New Brunswick, Canada. Henry and his family had been stationed there from 1850 to 1854, just before Henry left for the Crimea.
11. William Munro, M.D.
12. Captain Lawrence Shadwell.
13. Sir Colin Campbell, Lord Clyde, British Field-Marshal.
14. The Battle of the Alma took place on 20 September 1854.
15. 3rd E. Kent Regiment of Foot (The Buffs).
16. DACG Samuel Petrie of the Treasury in London.
17. Dr. Constantine Caridi Read, 1st (or Grenadier) Regiment of Foot Guards.
18. Transcribed as Preltona (?).

Drake Letters Index 30. Drake to Louisa 7 November 1854 ◄ ● ► 32. Drake to Louisa 17 November 1854