Drake Letters Index 34. Drake to Louisa 25 November 1854 ◄ ● ► 36. Drake to Louisa 7 December 1854
The Drake Letters
William Henry Drake (Balaklava) № 26 - Louisa Drake (London), 2 - 3 December 1854
№ 26 Balaklava 2 Decr. 1854 1
My dear Lu,
        I received your letters of the 13 Novr. just as I was closing my last on the 28th.   our news seems by some mischance to get home very slowly I write regularly every fifth day & the mails leave Constantinople every fifth day – 5.10.15 & so on – With the letters I got the Times of 13th Illustrated 4 & 11 & Punch – I do not think we have any idea of taking Sevastopol until the Spring by we I mean the Allied Generals
Our Army are much dissatisfied & in a very disorderly State they are a set of marauders & do even that clumsily
Ever since I wrote it has rained, the road to Camp is all but impassable, the Streets of Balaklava knee deep & every Tent in Camp ancle [sic] deep in mud   Some Regiments have at last been badly supplied with rations though we have abundance here and two Vessels in with Hay of which we had lost all. Now we have abundance of every article of food for Man & Horse & today the Weather is fine – The French have & continue to have strong reinforcements and our whole Army is much Stronger than it was a month ago – fortified better & well prepared. but au contraire the Russians have refortified many places we had put down have built many earthworks in the City. Strengthened every place & fire nearly as steadily as ever while our Artillery have orders in some places not to fire unless fired at & at others not to fire at all. Lord Raglan it is said has not been seen at the Camp since the 5th of last month!! He has not looked at any of the new Regiments & I hear the Men are much disappointed at it – Opinions are divided as to whether the enemy will again attack our lines – if they do they will find themselves worse treated than before
4000 French have been sent to Eupatoria on the North – Some say to keep the place others to harass Genl. Demidoff or others off [sic] coming down with troops from Odessa probably for both purposes – On dit 2 that 20 or 25000 French are to be landed at Katska North of Sevastopol 6 miles & attack the City from that Quarter – Lord Cardigan 3 is going home ill so that our Generals are evidently clearing off for Winter
Balaklava is a most miserable hole
Among those most comfortably off is Mr. W. H. D. My House is tolerably wind & Water tight – I have two small private rooms furnished No. 1 Bed room has stump Bedstead, flock mattress & feather bed – plenty of blankets, 2 Chairs, one table with Washand [sic] 4 basin & Jug (I brought them from Athens) Sitting room. One sofa!!, one armchair, one table, one chest Drawers (my pantry.) My Servants have all bolted & my Interpreter has been confined to his bed for the past 3 days so that I have dined on board Ship each day by invitation   one of my boatmen a Maltese boy gets me Water boils my Kettle, cleans boots   I make my own bed & fortunately the captain of a Ship sent me ready boiled a large piece of Corned Pork, I have plenty of Tea, Cocoa, Sugar Rice Preserved Meat Soups & Biscuit & Wine is to be had at some 5/- per bottle, so that I am much better off than many. Of course we get meat rations fresh or Salt & I have potatoes & onions to help out, & have just got some Flour & as my Interpreter is better & up today in a day or two I hope to get some sort of Soft tack. I send you enclosed the result of a horse Spec (or rather part of one) I bought some good horses when forage was not to be had & no one wd. buy the chargers of deceased Officers. I bought three or four one I gave £3.15.0!! for. Yesterday three Vessels arrived with Hay & a Field Offr. wanting a nag offered me £25 Cash!! which I took – I met Ewing 5 just after just landed & in a fix to get money so I took his £20 Bill on Kirkland 6 which is now sent you – As our Mail closes early tomorrow I have only to sit up tonight & write – The day this will probably reach you the 16 I shall have been 9 years an A.C.G. & hope ere a week after to get my Step but who knows my Lords liberality!! If I do not though disappointed I shall grin & bear it – I intended writing to my dear Mother & Miss Chip 7 in reply to theirs of last Mail but have scarcely had time to do anything these last few days
Tomorrow I dine on board Str. Ottawa by invite – a grand party – Ewing came out in her but he leaves by the Jura in the morning
Believe me
Your affectionate Hub
W. H. Drake

3rd Decr. all well
Mr. Webb 8 just arrived.
[Written across the page.] I send you a Turkish Return from Rustem Pacha to assure me of his having 8605 Men & 163 Horses to be fed which fact I doubted
W. H. D.
1. Private family manuscript (Judith Hall and Sally Mac, Auckland, New Zealand).
2. On dit: They say; report; a flying rumour. [The household dictionary of the English language, p. 915.]
3. Lieutenant General James Thomas Brudenell, 7th Earl of Cardigan.
4. Henry probably meant “washstand” instead of “washand”.
5. Staff Surgeon John Ewing, M.D. In his Journal, Henry says that he had seen “Dr. Ewing”.
6. Sir John Kirkland.
7. Probably Henry’s daughter, Charlotte Augusta Dring Drake. Charlotte was called “Pops” by her sisters, but maybe Henry also referred to her as “Miss Chip”. Unfortunately Henry does not mention from whom he received letters on 28 November 1854, which was when the “last mail” had been received, but his Journal entry for 7 December 1854 reads: “Up at 7. Fine. Rather cold. Yesterday the Russians deserted their camp opposite Balaklava. I began letter to Lu, my Mother, & Charley. (49th Year of my Father & Mother’s marriage.)”
8. DACG George Joseph Webb.

Drake Letters Index 34. Drake to Louisa 25 November 1854 ◄ ● ► 36. Drake to Louisa 7 December 1854