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Drake Letters Index 32. Drake to Louisa 17 November 1854 ◄ ● ► 34. Drake to Louisa 25 November 1854
The Drake Letters
 
William Henry Drake (Balaklava) № 24 - Louisa Drake (London), 22 - 23 November 1854
№ 24 Balaklava 22nd Nov 1854 1
 
My dear Lu,
 
        My last No. 23 of yesterday 2 was truly a very laconic Epistle but the facts were these, Lt. Caddell 3 of the E. I. Co.’s Service was despatched by Lord Raglan by Steamer to Varna & thence post to Bucharest from which he was to send telegraphic despatches to the Secy. of War 4 of course of great importance, he offered to take a letter for me & do the same with it as he was to do with several from Ld. Raglan & his Staff both public & private which was to give them to our Consul at Bucharest 5 who was to send them by Special Messenger to The Secy. of States’ Office – I hope you will get it safely – we expected the letters will be in London by the 1st Decr. as our letters by last mail did not go   I thought it well after the hurricane to let you know I was all well   Such a Hurricane it appears has not visited the Crimea since 1812.
 
Houses blown down, Trees torn up by the roots &c. a wretched scene
 
Our troops have been Strongly reinforced late from 12000 to 15000 French 6000 Turks & 3000 or 3500 English with all these I think we must do something I feel satisfied the Seige goes on Surely though Slowly – I saw De Lisle 6 the other day quite well – Col. Lockyer 7 Welsford 8 Dr. Downes 9 Cannon 10 & others of 97th – Harenc, 11 Venables 12 – Moore, 13 Obert, 14 & Harvest 15 are all at home   Obert has sold out & Moore is going to do so   Mrs. Handcock 16 is at Constantinople, living in the same house as Mrs. De Fonblanque (wife of Actg. A.C.G.) 17   Mr. Filder has written his Annual Report to the Treasury to go by this mail – I do not believe he can write otherwise than favorably of me & hope he has sufficiently so to get my Step especially as they say they are going to give us a very liberal promotion on handing us over to the Secy. for War, 18 you will know whether I am included or not before I do. I am very doubtful on the subject, doubting their liberallity [sic] – I send enclosed 2nd of Bill Capt. E. J. S. Ellison of West India Mail Steam Ship “Avon” 19 for £140 at 10 days sight on Capt. Chappell R.N. 20 55 Moorgate St. The 1st I sent by my overland letter
 
The 97 marched today to join the 1st Division   Mackesy 21 called to see me he is left to look for the baggage & will follow them tomorrow
 
I feel convinced before we get into Sevastopol you will hear of another very bloody battle the Enemy are very Strong still & must make another blow for it though I feel assured as to the result yet many lives of those in front may be lost. – Our position is almost everywhere much improved by Works   Since the battle of Inkerman on the 5th the French have thrown up three very pretty forts & we have built two, Guns are placed in them & entrenchments have been extended in all directions   Balaklava has been much Strengthened by entrenched grounds & more troops
 
I fancy the 97th are partly to assist in this forming the connexion between the Highland Brigade here & the Guards on the flank of our right front
 
two companies of the Guards are also here holding a small entrenched position over the road to this place – Our Seige Guns fire incessantly & all sorts of rumors are afloat respecting the Enemy & ourselves
 
They said this morning some Deserters came over Starving & said the dead were lying about the Streets in all directions, None being buried & many such tales – Our Rifles 200 on the night of the 19th gallantly Surprised an entrenched Camp of some 600 men – drove them out & held the position against two Strong Columns sent to retake it – The Russians had annoyed our entrenching parties seriously from it   The Rifles lost 1 Officer & 17 men in the whole affair   the enemy’s loss was Seven   Numbers however are not stated
 
2   I need not say that as Xmas gets nearer I am anxiously looking out for the Promotion – I think Mr. Filder might have ensured it for me by making me an Acting D.C.G. when he gave me the most responsible duties of the whole Army – Passing over the two Deputies by leaving Mr. Ramsay 22 at Varna a most paltry duty & by not assigning any duty whatever to Mr. Adams 23 who has done almost nothing since we landed in the Crimea – Not that he wished to be idle for au contraire he is fond of work but he avoided the duty I was ordered to & there actually was no other for a Deputy for I could not carry on my work if controlled or interfered with & Mr. Filder has I must do him the justice to say left me very completely to myself in the business. The fact I believe is Adams though an excellent Office hard worker even now does not understand the Field Work & Executive branch & therefore feared failing & also the responsibility – Now I never feared the latter & determined to deserve my Step by working so hard as to ensure success & up to this moment the Army has wanted nothing   I have not only worked hard but I have acted Courteously to all & I am assured our Department generally have consequently risen in the estimation of those capable of judging & grateful for many civilities we are able to do them   I may say I have kept on the best terms with the whole of the Staff Great & Small & by this means greatly facilitated my own work
 
Well after this Slaving and facing danger both from Cholera which has more or less prevailed ever since I joined the Army, but also from the Enemy for I have had my Supplies frequently under fire if after this I do not get my Promotion I certainly shall be convinced that work as a man may to evince Zeal & deserve the reward of Merit it is useless & I shall assuredly look to being relieved by some of those Officers who have been quietly living in a Colony enjoying their comparative ease & luxury, not Separated from their families
 
In fact my health would not hold out much longer with such duties as I have had to perform & to work under the dull feeling of no reward & no appreciation of ones Services would be intolerable
 
I have borne all, in the hope of my promotion & if that hope fails I shall at once request or rather insist on being relieved from my present duties –   23 Nov: Nothing new this morning the Storm going on as before with heavy firing last night. Give my best love to all & believe me
 

Your affectionate Hub
W. H. Drake

 
 
© COPYRIGHT MEGAN STEVENS 2015 —
Footnotes
 
1. Private family manuscript (Judith Hall and Sally Mac, Auckland, New Zealand).
 
2. I do not have a copy of this letter. Henry’s Journal entry for 21 November 1854 reads: “Up at 6½. Welsford & Downer had breakfast with me. Capt. Anderson R.A. told me his cousin, Mr. Caddell of the E.I. Co. Service was going home express, & would take a letter for me. Sent 1st of Bill for £140, Capt. E.J.S. Ellison of R.M.S.P. Avon, cm Capt. Chappell R.N., 55 Moorgate St., at 10 days’ sight. Hurriedly finished L.L. No. 11, & wrote a note No. 23 merely to say all well. (7th arrived & sending the Bill.)”
 
3. Probably Lieutenant Robert Cadell, 20th Regiment Native Infantry.
 
4. Henry Clinton, 5th Duke of Newcastle was Secretary of State for War from June 1854 to February 1855.
 
5. Robert Gilmour Colquhoun was the British Agent and Consul General at Bucharest.
 
6. Surgeon Richard Francis Valpy De Lisle.
 
7. Colonel Henry Frederick Lockyer, 97th Regiment.
 
8. Augustus Frederick Welsford, 97th Regiment.
 
9. Henry Downes, MD, 97th Regiment.
 
10. Osborne Barwell Cannon, 97th Regiment.
 
11. Archibald Richard Harenc, 97th Regiment.
 
12. Thomas Venables, 97th Regiment.
 
13. Isaac Moore, 97th Regiment.
 
14. Marcus Antoine Obert, 97th Regiment.
 
15. Edward Douglass Harvest, 97th Regiment.
 
16. Ellen Georgina Handcock (née Williams), wife of the Hon. Henry Robert Handcock, 97th Regiment.
 
17. Wife of DACG Edward Barrington de Fonblanque.
 
18. Up to this time the Commissariat had been a civilian organisation controlled by another civilian organisation, the Treasury, under Sir Charles Trevelyan. By 1856 control of the Commissariat had been placed in the hands of the War Department, under the Secretary of War, who at this time was the Duke of Newcastle. [J. Sweetman, War and administration: The significance of the Crimean War for the British Army, (Edinburgh, 1984), pp. 41-59.]
 
19. Captain Edward Jenner Lambert Ellison.
 
20. Captain Edward Chappell, R.N.
 
21. Ernest Randolph Mackesy, 97th Regiment.
 
22. DCG Thomas Warton Ramsay.
 
23. DCG George Adams.
 
 
 

 
© COPYRIGHT MEGAN STEVENS 2015 —
Drake Letters Index 32. Drake to Louisa 17 November 1854 ◄ ● ► 34. Drake to Louisa 25 November 1854