You are here: [ RESOURCESMEGAN STEVENS: DRAKE LETTERS ► 36. DRAKE TO LOUISA 7 DECEMBER 1854 ]

Drake Letters Index 35. Drake to Louisa 2 December 1854 ◄ ● ► 37. Drake to Louisa 13 December 1854
The Drake Letters
 
William Henry Drake (Balaklava) № 27 - Louisa Drake (London), 7 - 8 December 1854
№ 27 Balaklava 7 Decr. 1854 1
 
My dear Lu,
 
        I duly recd. yours of 17th Novr. my last was of the 3rd & I send sent 1st of Ewing’s 2 Bill for £20 of which I now send the 2nd.
 
Since I wrote things as regards the Seige are little changed – Soldiers are much discontented at the apparent Supiness & inactivity & grumble much at Their General 3 – The Wet Weather has much increased the Sickness in Camp & the mortality has I hear been very great – I now feel the benefit of being under a good Water tight roof   My house is as comfortable as can be in such a place & as I told you in one of my last I have a good warm warm bed. I have also received from Edwards at Constantinople such of my warmer clothes as I wanted out of my Cedar Chest in fact as my health is very good I am really able to say that I live in tolerable comfort when you consider I am in Crim Tartary. I have tolerable grub at home & am a very welcome, nay an honored guest, on board of almost any Ship in Harbor, especially among the Great Mercantile Steamers – On the 5th I dined on board the “Ottowa” & after dinner & Champagne I went with the Captain on board the Cleopatra to a Musical Party!! They have a piano on board & The Captain played & sang well: Three or four of the Navy were there one of whom played the Piano & three the Guitar we passed a pleasant & rational Evening & then had a nice supper my neighbours were the 1st Lieut. 4 of the Vesuvius 5 & Lord Chas. Hay, a civilian here to see his Brothers 6 – My Lord I thought rather Soft – yesterday I dined with Capt. Bowen of the Hope who being unwell asked me off to have a quiet chat – I have my own boat & Crew, a Maltese boat which I brought. On H.M.S. 7 fr. Varna.
 
Yesterday the Russians abandoned their Camp opposite to our Lines, near & surrounding Balaklava they set fire to their brush huts & our people traversed the whole Camp freely & I hear caught two or three horses there was a report of an action between the Russians & a body of French & Turkish Troops beyond Sevastopol on the North
 
I think I mentioned that 4000 French had been sent to Eupatoria. They were Light Troops, Cavalry & Horse Artillery evidently a Strong reconnoitring Party – probably to look out the points for a larger body to land north of the City which I really believe is intended – I fully expect to find in about a couple of Weeks that we shall have regularly invested the place on all sides & if we can cut off their Army outside the Walls we shall have made a grand Step
 
2   You must however remember I am not a Military character nor am I in the confidence of Lord Raglan, but it is clear they have waited the arrival of more Troops – 1200 Turks arrived today they go tomorrow to Eupatoria to aid the French – French reinforcements are said to arrive daily – We had the 90th 8 three or four days ago & 700 men drafts of Regiments today – Our Armies are now becoming numerous, but alas our Cavalry is nearly defunct & our Artillery very very badly off. The Horses dying from Cold, exposure & hunger – Lord Raglan instead of trying to make matters better makes them worse by sending snagging snarling letters to the C.G., 9 he refers them to me & much valuable time which ought to be bestowed on attending to the Wants of the Men is taken up in useless recriminations – I feel it is disgusting when you do all in your power & feel really deeply when what you have done is insufficient for all, to have to explain & write & waste time in such letters however I have sent them such a Stinger on the last occasion that I hope not to be bothered again –
 
The weather for the last two days has been very fine but the roads between this & Camp are dreadful – Knee deep in thick, clammy mud – our Pack Horses & mules are dying daily & we are very much Straitened for land Transport – Knowing this we sent a Steamer the Jason to Constantinople for 250 Horses we had there but The Services pull so badly under some of the high people that Admiral Boxer 10 took that opportunity to dock the Jason for repairs & thus I have no hesitation in saying of killing some hundreds if not thousands of our men for they will not stand Severe cold on half rations – I hear this Evg. that a large body of Cossacks are again on the ground which the Enemy left the night before last, they are very strong in Cavalry & have excellent Artillery very well served & of heavy calibre – You will receive this about Christmas, I wish you all a merry one I shall drink all your healths that day as I dare say you will drink mine – we must not be downcast but try & keep as happy as we can, under the circumstances, To keep happy assists in keeping well
 
I had a note from Mr. Reed 11 Grenadier Guards yesterday he was well he promises to come & see me, I sent him some newspapers Punch. Dr. Bryce 12 has gone to Scutari where most of the sick are congregated – Ewing 13 also there he was looking old & seedy from his West Indian sojourn – Genl. Pennefather 14 has had Cholera, has recovered partly & is here for his health – Generals are very Scarce in Camp – Lord Cardigan 15 is going home – Col. Lockyer 16 is to be a Brig: & have a Brigade in the 4 Division away from the 97th. I heard fr. Welsford 17 today he was well, I saw Dr. Marshall 18 well the day before yesterday   I sent Webb to the Light Div: today under A.C.G. Darling 19 son of Old D 20 & nearly as mad.   Decr. 8. Nothing new this morning – Cold Night plenty of Ice – My house nice & warm & as I yesterday got my warm Clothes fr. Edwards today I sport them & in warm drawers & Breeks my old thick Greys 21 with my Chokak [sic] as a dressing gown I am writing [written across the page] very comfortably with a Window open in the next room my bedroom – Adieu dear Lu love & kisses for all – Thank Caroline 22 for her letter by last mail & believe me ever
 

Your affectionate Hub
W. H. Drake

 
© COPYRIGHT MEGAN STEVENS 2015 —
Footnotes
 
1. Private family manuscript (Judith Hall and Sally Mac, Auckland, New Zealand).
 
2. Staff Surgeon John Ewing, M.D.
 
3. Lord Fitzroy James Henry Somerset Raglan.
 
4. Lieutenant Hubert Campion, R.N.
 
5. Vesuvius, 6, st.-ves., Com. R. A. Powell, 1851, Mediterranean. [“Stations of the Royal Navy in commission”, in Colburn’s united service magazine, Pt. 1, (London, 1855), p. 150.]
 
6. It seems that two of Lord Charles Hay’s brothers could have been in the Crimea in 1854: Lord John Hay, Captain of the “Wasp”, and Lord Arthur Hay, who was also in the army.
 
7. Henry had travelled on the Steamer “Hope” from Constantinople to Varna, leaving on 5 September 1854.
 
8. 90th Regiment of Foot (Perthshire Volunteers) (Light Infantry).
 
9. CG William Filder.
 
10. Rear-Admiral Edward Boxer.
 
11. Dr. Constantine Caridi Read.
 
12. Dr. Charles Bryce.
 
13. John Ewing, M.D.
 
14. General John Lysaght Pennefather.
 
15. The Earl of Cardigan.
 
16. Colonel Henry Frederick Lockyer, 97th Regiment.
 
17. Major Augustus Frederick Welsford, 97th Regiment.
 
18. Dr. John Marshall.
 
19. ACG Montague William Darling.
 
20. I think “Old D” is most likely ACG Henry Charles Darling, who was serving in Van Diemen’s Land in 1841 when ACG Montague William Darling started his career in the Commissariat.
 
21. I do not know what Henry means by his “Greys”.
 
22. Henry’s sister, Caroline Manning Browne (née Drake).
 
 
 

 
© COPYRIGHT MEGAN STEVENS 2015 —
Drake Letters Index 35. Drake to Louisa 2 December 1854 ◄ ● ► 37. Drake to Louisa 13 December 1854