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Drake Letters Index 36. Drake to Louisa 7 December 1854 ◄ ● ► 38. Drake to Louisa 18 December 1854
The Drake Letters
 
William Henry Drake (Balaklava) № 28 - Louisa Drake (London), 13 December 1854
№ 28 Balaklava 13 Decr 54 1
 
My dear Lu
 
        Since my last I duly recd. the letter of the 23rd & the warm gloves – things have been going on a little better as regards the Army   We have had fine weather which has dried up the Camps & roads before if you can fancy Oxford St on one of the muddiest & rainy days after being uncleaned for a week & then pitch a tent Such was the Camp, the Trenches were frequently Knee deep in mud & water   On the night of the 11th the Russians made a very well concerted attack on our whole front & part of the French – We were all prepared & they were driven back at once very little loss on either side   We took a number of prisoners   Their loss was ten times more than ours   I expect every day they will again attack us in force as the weather has dried up so that the Artillery can be moved – Yesterday I was at work fr. daylight until long after dark, I was from 12 to 4 inspecting Ships to carry Sick hence to Scutari – There are 3000 Sick, half went yesterday they accumulated in Camp as there were no means of bringing them down at last the French did it for us & they are going to finish it & I can assure you it was a fine sight to see how carefully & tenderly they behaved to our poor fellows – Their system is a far better one than ours there is no doubt about it – Officers do their duty & are not above doing their proper work
 
They are also making a road for us to get our Seige Guns up to the front, Guns of greater Calibre than we have now there   We give them each a ration of Rum for this – Yesterday I had a message from one of their Generals that the ration was too much & asking me to give only half & a little biscuit instead for the men to eat with it – today his Chef d’Etat is to come to ask it Officially & of course I do it on my own responsibility – Mr. F 2 being shut up on mail days – I send herewith Treasury Bill No. 330 for £100. to keep the pot boiling – Our weather is very mild yesterday on the Water the sun was quite hot & powerful so I shall not want the Ears 3 but if sent can take care of them but I want a flannel belt to go round my waist with good strong tape strings – this is very good to prevent Choleraic complaint but I want it for lumbagoic
 
By the by Col: Haines 4 21st Foot is made Commandant of Balaklava 14/6 per day – He was President of our Board yesterday. I called on him & renewed our old Acquaintance – He was very Cordial indeed & we talked over old Kirdford 5 times – We shall have much to do with each other now & it is just as well we know each other – Two or three days ago Colonel Hodge 6 of the 4th Dn. Guards called at my Office to make my acquaintance & was very civil. He asked after Miss White 7 of whom I knew little more than he himself – I have one Officer & 120 of his troopers now landing with Biscuit for one of the Infantry Divisions they don’t like this duty exactly –
 
2   The Sub in charge is a man with £8000 a year 8 – more noodle he to be here in the 4th D. G. Our people here are but one Step in advance of the Civilians in England. In fact Lord Raglan is a “Civilian” knowing much of Military rules, etiquette, &c. he writes good Despatches no doubt – but this advance in Rank has much disgusted the whole of the Working & fighting part of the Army   He is said to have done absolutely nothing at Inkerman 9 not issued one order – au contraire I heard more than one Officer (persons I did not know) say he asked the most puerile questions “Is that a Russian battery” &c. which if it had been wd. have annihilated our Army then he extols The Duke, 10 & all Generals but not a word about the Soldiers   while every body says Inkerman was a Surprise from the negligence of a Genl. & his Staff & only maintained by sheer hand to hand fighting by the men but totally without Generalship
 
These remember are not my own ideas or opinions, in fact I don’t form any I don’t know my Lord, he don’t know me!! I do not begrudge him his advance, I think he earned it as Mily. Secy. 11 but so have others earned it also – Only the Silver Spoons get these things
 
How the Wooden houses are to be got up to our men I can’t form an idea – We cannot get up Bread Meat & Rum for them if we get wet weather or snow at present we can having had a fair Spell of Several days – We continue to have plenty of Supplies of all sorts here for the Army the only thing wanting is Transport to Camp   Our Mules died rapidly during the heavy rains but those that are left are improving with the fine weather better care & feeding.
 
Smith 12 at Constantinople is very cross & testy he cannot pull even with goodnatured Edwards. I had a note from the latter yesterday he sent my Chokah [sic], homespun waistcoat, Canada cloth breeks & other warm things for me & of course sent the letter about this the following week – I got both safe as I was on the look out for them. Kynaston 13 has been posted for the naval part of the attack he is a very lucky fellow but a very short time a Commander. I am now engaged with Capt. Heath R.N. 14 at present Comg. “Sans Pareil” 15 as Capt: Dacres 16 has gone home sick in a plan for roasting Coffee for the Troops   He is the Senior Naval Officer here & a very good fellow – I manage to pull very well with all these folks and above all with our C.G. 17 the worst of the latter is, he sends & turns every kind of work on me – His failing is want of extension or the inability to embrace many topics in an enlightened way. So once getting a man in his mind he loads him until he breaks down – he has done this to Several already – Is doing it to Smith 18 & trying it with me. But as I know it it won’t do – I positively refused some of the duties & told him so plainly & said Send Archer 19 there & Archer was sent. So long as I can have my own way well & good & I shall as long as I can you may well be assured
 
Kiss all for me and with best love to all believe me ever
 
Your affectionate Hub
W. H. Drake

 
Burton 20 says Mrs. Lundy 21 is in Canada   2 P.M. All well.
 

 
 
© COPYRIGHT MEGAN STEVENS 2015 —
Footnotes
 
1. Private family manuscript (Judith Hall and Sally Mac, Auckland, New Zealand).
 
2. CG William Filder.
 
3. Henry must here be replying to a question Louisa must have asked in her letter. I presume that this refers to some attachment to a hat or cap, or to ear-muffs.
 
4. Colonel Frederick Paul Haines, 21st Regiment of Foot (Royal North British Fusiliers).
 
5. District of Chichester in West Sussex. It was the home town of Colonel Haines’s father, the late Commissary-General Gregory Haines, who had served in the Peninsular with Henry’s father, John Drake.
 
6. Colonel Edward Cooper Hodge, C.B.
 
7. Could this relate to Henry’s goddaughter, Caroline White, who was born on 1 July 1854?
 
8. Hon. Matthew James Hastings FitzMaurice Deane, 4th Dragoon Guards.
 
9. The Battle of Inkerman, north of Sevastopol, took place on 5 November 1854. The Russian Army of 50,000 men attacked the Allied forces of 15,000. French reinforcements saved the day for the Allies, who lost about 3,000 men. The Russian loss was put at about 12,000. [R. Parkinson, The encyclopedia of modern war, (New York, 1979), p. 83.]
 
10. George William Frederick Charles, 2nd Duke of Cambridge (1819-1904), British Field-Marshal
 
11. Lord Raglan acted as Military Secretary to the Duke of Wellington from 1827 to 1852. [R. Parkinson, The encyclopedia of modern war, p. 136.]
 
12. ACG John William Smith.
 
13. Com. A. F. Kynaston, who commanded Spiteful, 6, st.-ves. He had been appointed in 1852. Mediterranean. [“Stations of the Royal Navy in commission”, in Colburn’s united service magazine, Pt. 1, (London, 1855), p. 150.]
 
14. Capt. Leopold Heath.
 
15. Sanspareil, 81, sc., Capt. S. C. Dacres, 1840, Med. [“Stations of the Royal Navy in commission”, in Colburn’s united service magazine, Pt. 1, (London, 1855), p. 150.] Capt. Sidney Dacres.
 
16. Captain Sidney Colpoys Dacres, R.N.
 
17. CG William Filder.
 
18. DCG John William Smith.
 
19. ACG William Spearman Archer.
 
20. Capt. Fowler Burton, 97th Regiment.
 
21. Anna Maria Lundy (née Askin), wife of DACG James Bell Lundy.
 
 
 

 
© COPYRIGHT MEGAN STEVENS 2015 —
Drake Letters Index 36. Drake to Louisa 7 December 1854 ◄ ● ► 38. Drake to Louisa 18 December 1854