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Drake Letters Index 33. Drake to Louisa 22 November 1854 ◄ ● ► 35. Drake to Louisa 2 December 1854
The Drake Letters
 
William Henry Drake (Balaklava) № 25 - Louisa Drake (London), 25 - 28 November 1854
№ 25 Balaklava 25 Novr. 1854 1
 
My dear Lu,
 
        A report is current here that the Mail of the 13 Nov went down with all hands.   if so my No. 21 was lost with her 2   I think it was the first letter which notified the apparent intention of Lord Raglan to Winter here & the consequent impossibility of our being together for the Winter   If lost you will no doubt have had the substance of it in my Subsequent letters – under any circumstances it will now be better for you to await the announcement of our promotions which cannot be long after you receive this. I have almost made up my mind not to stay here if not promoted unless Mr. Filder at once gives me the Acting rank & Sends me to Pera   I certainly will not try another winter Campaigning   quite satisfied even with the fag & misery attending what has already occurred in this with every prospect of work to come
 
25th. P.M. I had written thus far when I recd. yours of the 8th and one from Mr. Wilson 3 which I send for yr. perusal – Of course I burn the enclosures as he requests but I send the Substance as he permits me to use it
 
Sir C T 4 to Mr. W. 8 Nov: 1854

My dear Sir,
 
        “I return Mr. Drakes interesting Letter with many thanks – The Strength of character & general ability which he has lately shown have been particularly gratifying to me”
 
-----------------------------------------------
Mr. Petrie 5 to Mr. W. 8 Nov.

My dear Wilson –
 
        “I read Drakes letter to you in Sir C. T’s room & now return it to you   Be assured that we are here fully alive to his Merits which will no doubt be confirmed by Mr. Filder when he reports on his Officers”
 
Now Mr. Filder made his report on the 23rd which I of course did not see as it is most confidential, but Routh 6 saw it & told me last night as follows – “He has recommended Mr. Smith’s 7 Acting rank to be confirmed & ante-dated; after which he Speaks of you in the very highest terms, quite extraordinarily so for him, in fact I don’t remember his ever saying so much for anyone before though he has spoiled it all be [sic] strongly recommending you for the Acting Rank of a Deputy Comss Y.”
 
Now if he has so recommended me I may have a chance of getting the rank   as to the Treasury giving the Acting rank just as they are casting us off 8 it would be just doing as little as they possibly could and not “liberal” – for if the War were to end, or illness compelled me to leave the Army here it would drop to the ground & however willing or zealous a man may be he is always liable in the midst of Exposure & hard living to get knocked up even for a short time
 
We have almost incessant rain today & rain by day & night for some time past our roads are all but impassable & our Transport Cattle Knocking up very fast – we are sadly off for Transport & labor both very essential to the wellbeing of an Army. I have every hope that the mail mentioned as lost, is still all right & that my letter No. 21 will be all in good time received – I have written to Mr. Wilson 9 thanking him & given him the detail of news here as regards the Seige. The 9th Regt. 10 has just arrived, they look so clean by the side of our old hands that they are easily known
 
My idea of the Acting rank is that it confers as small a boon as possibly can be granted & if given while they are giving real rank is very little compliment – If they give this Acting, it will show all our Officers that misery & hardships & Danger with unceasing hard work are estimated at the same rate as living quietly at a Station with plenty of Office duty but surrounded by one’s family & comfort
 
With best love to all believe me
 
Yr. Affectionate Hub
W. H. Drake

I got the Map of the Crimea duly – it is the very best I have seen – I have just had a grand present a piece of Corned Pork ready Boiled so I shant starve for a few days – Bread in Biscuit Rice & Sugar are plentiful
 
Our Seige operations go on very Slowly awaiting Stronger reinforcements   Since the Battle of Inkerman on the 5th little has been done except towards defending our lines more strongly   Five forts have been erected Three by the French & two by us to protect our right & right flank – Some 10 Inch Howitzers have been got to the front – the Entrenchment round Balaklava have been much added to & Strengthened but all looks as if the Allies would make no attack until very early in Spring – The French expect large reinforcements & several of our Steamers go shortly to Teulon [sic] to bring them up – One left yesterday – The Trent has gone to Constantinople for 250 or 300 pack animals to help our transport on through the Winter & a reinforcement of that kind is very necessary. Our live Cattle also will be a troublesome Supply in such tempestuous weather as we seem to have in Winter in the Bk. Sea. 11 – Yesterday I had arrivals with 9 or 10000 Bags Biscuit & 30000 Gulls. [sic] 12 Rum both acceptable   I have 17 vessels discharging & nearly as many in other ways coming, going, cleared or not yet begun   The Mail of the 14th has not arrived yet it was due the day before yesterday – The Russians profiting by our being quiet are refortifying many of their defences & making them even stronger than before – A sad loss of life must yet take place ere we enter Sevastopol – Pen won’t write
 
Yr. affect. Hub
W. H. D.

 
28 Nov. 9½ A.M. Mail just come in
 
Your Letters received but not yet read as the Mail is closing
 
 
W. H. Drake
 
 
© COPYRIGHT MEGAN STEVENS 2015 —
Footnotes
 
1. Private family manuscript (Judith Hall and Sally Mac, Auckland, New Zealand).
 
2. I have a copy of Henry’s letter No. 21, so it was not lost.
 
3. ACG James Wilson was stationed in London.
 
4. Sir Charles Edward Trevelyan was the senior Treasury official in charge of the Commissariat Department in London.
 
5. DACG Samuel Petrie was also a Treasury official in London.
 
6. ACG Leonce Routh.
 
7. ACG John William Smith.
 
8. Shortly after this, the control of the Commissariat passed from the Treasury to the War Department. Henry obviously had wind of this move for some time, as in his letters, William Henry Drake (Varna) #1 – Louisa Drake (London) (4 August 1854), and, William Henry Drake (Varna) #2 – Louisa Drake (London) (10 August 1854), he talks about “our Transfer from my Lords to my lord Duke”, and asks the question “What will our new Masters do, and what system adopt.”.
 
9. ACG James Wilson was stationed in London.
 
10. 9th Earl of Norfolk Regiment of Foot.
 
11. The Black Sea.
 
12. Gallons?
 
 
 

 
© COPYRIGHT MEGAN STEVENS 2015 —
Drake Letters Index 33. Drake to Louisa 22 November 1854 ◄ ● ► 35. Drake to Louisa 2 December 1854