Drake Letters Index 38. Drake to Louisa 18 December 1854 ◄ ● ► 40. Drake to Louisa 25 December 1854
The Drake Letters
William Henry Drake (Balaklava) № 30 - Louisa Drake (London), 22 - 23 December 1854
№ 30 Balaklava 22 Decr. 1854 1
My dear Lu,
        Last night late I received all your Letters from 1st to 7 Decr. papers &c. Lundy 2 has not yet arrived, expected daily
We remain here quietly just as before little doing in the Seige way – The Russians make an attack two or three times a week on the lines of the French & ourselves with varied success   Sometimes for instance yesterday morning Three or four Officers of the Line were killed or wounded – Yesterday Major Möller 3 Capt. Frampton 4 & Lt. Clarke 5 50 Regt. were either killed or prisoners – It was a bad affair altogether   At 3 A.M. the Russians attacked our Trenches & it is said our men were asleep   Major Welsford 6 was The Field Officer on duty – he had made his rounds very carefully & frequently & had been gone only a quarter of an hour   they killed 15 or 16 of the 50th took our advanced parallel but were again driven out with some loss to them – At Balaklava we are stronger than before better fortified & have generally two additional Regt. just arrived camped close to us & the whole of the Cavalry & a Depot of 400 Artillery within 1 or 1½ miles   We never think of Russians attacking us now as besides our Strength we are surrounded or nearly so by a deep swamp through which they could not get their artillery & without it they are nothing   I send this time 2nd of Treasury Bill left out by mistake last time & 1st of Bill for £30 of Lt. Cav: Venables 7 57 Regt. on Cox & Co. at 10 days St. – I have sold another horse very well I think I am now reduced to 5!! 2 are bat horses baggage animals – The Bill is endorsed by a Lt. Norman 8 of Same Regt. V. is cousin to our V. of the 97th 9 – The weather with you is or rather has been worse than with us, we have had plenty of rain but little cold   I have a good roof, & a tolerable house in respect to weather I think it is wind & water tight altogether very comfortable for campaigning work & I fare pretty well. I have plenty of Port, Sherry, Brandy & Bottled Ale Not so bad – I also bought lately a whole lot of patent Gravy Soups made up like a sausage each making a pint of first rate Soup   I have potatoes & onions plenty Salt Pork, Biscuit & occasionally Bread a pot of raspberry jam!!! Butter, and a good plumb pudding – Now I have two 4 lb. loaves & ½ a good cheese – most of these things are presents. The Capt. of Ottowa sent me the Bread pudding & a doz. of Splendid Sherry selling here at 52/. The Cask of Beer from another Captain – so you see I shant starve yet –
Thank Mr. Rorauer 10 for his Scrap of a note I hope he will be comfortable in his New Office – A note from Mr. Wilson 11 lends me to hope for my Promotion this year – I know what pleasure it will give you all at home if I get it & disappointment if I do not. Of course I feel so too – perhaps ere this it is all Settled – Webb 12 has just brought me a letter from old Mr. Wollaston 13 dated Albany 14 29 Sept: I pick up the following Scraps from it – Geo Cheyne 15 lives in A[lbany] – is building a house bigger than Symers’ 16 – J. R. Phillips’ 17 family all gone to Adelaide except one daughter who is Mrs. Vernon Bussell 18 – Taylors 19 are at Candyup 20 Mr. W thinks very badly off – Daniel 21 sold his beach house & building very largely next [to] Hassell’s 22 – H’Opera Jack 23 turned out of Kyndannup 24 Agency & Peter Belches 25 appointed Agent. – Josephine Morley 26 engaged to Lt. Crossman 27 Royal Engr.   Carpenter Knight 28 Churchwarden & much esteemed   Mrs. Swift (Black Rosa) has married another white Gentleman (Mr. Ws Servant) on the Supposition that Mr. Swift is defunct, they were married by the Registrar not by Mr. W. There is a direct road between Perth & Albany 29 through Kojonup 30 & all the rivers are bridged 31 – Fremantle the old gentleman says is becoming a large place, His Family are all dispersed at least his sons. – Now really nearly all this might have happened in a month after we left it in 1839 – The place has certainly not progressed much – Mr. W. says Lady Spencer 32 generally “is very quiet but now & then bursts out with a racketing party”   Your dear friend Mrs. Cooper he does not mention   poor Dolly!! 33 It is very Singular that neither Lochée or Emma 34 write at all, The Bank still pays 12½ for Cash.
23rd Decr.   My dear Lu, I am going to begin this part of my Scrawl, by asking you a favor & if not granted I shall ask the others to abuse you   I want you to go to M: Hervé 35 in the Strand or some other person of the sort and get your likeness taken and sent to me in a letter never mind its being large in our bag far larger things come I assure you – You must not refuse me this though you wd. not before when in England as you said I had the original to look at, now I have not. 36 – I must mention that a few days ago Mr. Filder asked me to dine with him on Christmas Day he subsequently asked Adams & I suppose we shall have Routh 37 & Carpenter 38 but I don’t know. The first invitation he has given since he left England!! fancy that for an honor. however we get on very Smoothly in our Official relations, he knows I am Slaving & it must be conducive to his K.C.B. ship which is the object of his ambition – I don’t care for that Style of thing now – If I get my Step perhaps that will be my next ambition as we are always wanting something. 39 When we drink absent Friends at his dinner I shall not forget all my dear dear Friends near the fort 40 & Albany!! I wish you all a happy Christmas & New Year – A very merry one I don’t think you will have while this war is pending but at least I hope it will be as comfortable as my letters can tend to as regards myself – I never miss a mail or stray chance as that of the 21 Nov via Bucharest shows you – You see that preceded my No. 22 of the 18 probably by many days & gave you nearly 4 days later account of my health & being – With love to all & again wishing next year may bring us better times
Believe me   Your affectionate Hub
W. H. Drake
[Written across the page.] As our Letters of 18 bags [sp?] by Mail of 20 from Constantinople did not go until the same day as ours of 23 Ty. [sp?] on the 25 mine of 21st wd. probably be at home about the 10 or 11 Decr.
The fault was with Lord Raglan himself – Two of our Mails went together but those of the rest of the Army were left a Second time & their mail went off by the same Steamer.
What a shame!!
W. H. D.
Decr. 23. Mail just closing   lots of fighting last night the French are said to have repulsed the Russians with heavy loss – No news of what part our people played
1. Private family manuscript (Judith Hall and Sally Mac, Auckland, New Zealand).
2. DACG James Bell Lundy.
3. Death: On the 22nd ult., before Sebastopol, from a gunshot wound, while gallantly cheering on his men to repel a sortie of the enemy, Major J. Olaus Möller, of the 50th Regt., third son of C. Champion Möller, Esq. of the late 18th Hussars. [The Times (London, England), 17 January 1855, p. 1:1.]
4. Captain Heathfield James Frampton, 50th Regiment, went missing in action on 20 December 1854.
5. Lieutenant Montague de Salis McKenzie Gorgon Augustus Clarke, 50th Regiment.
6. Major Augustus Frederick Welsford, 97th Regiment.
7. Lieutenant Cavendish Venables, 57thRegiment, cousin of Captain Thomas Venables.
8. Lieutenant George Herman Norman, 57th Regiment.
9. Captain Thomas Venables, 97th Regiment.
10. James Roraner/Rorauer acted as witness to Henry’s father’s will. The spelling of his surname is vexing, as I found obituaries under both Roraner and Rorauer.
11. DCG James Wilson was stationed in London.
12. DACG George Joseph Webb.
13. Rev. John Ramsden Wollaston.
14. Albany, Western Australia (King George’s Sound).
15. George Cheyne was building Norman House, 28 Stirling Terrace, Albany,, accessed 30 April 2015.
16. Captain Thomas Lyell Symers.
17. John Randall Phillips.
18. Joseph Vernon Bussell married Mary Elizabeth Phillips on 9 February 1853 at Albany, Western Australia.
19. Patrick Taylor.
20. In 1840 nearly 200 sheep and some cattle died from poisonous plants between Kojonup and York, which nearly ruined some of the settlers. [D.S. Garden, Albany, p. 71.] I have found a reference to “Candyup poison”, also referred to as blind-grass, a Western Australian tufted grass-like perennial Stypandra imbricata and S. grandiflora (family Liliaceae), which are toxic to horses and sheep, causing blindness. [The Australian encyclopaedia:vol. II, p. 34.]
21. N. W. McKall wrote in his column “Walks with Yesterday: Albany Reminiscences, No. 6”, that The Freemasons’ Hotel “was partly built in the ‘forties, for a Mr. Daniels, but it was not completed until well into the ‘fifties. … We next come to Capt. Hassell’s residence, and shop.” [Western Mail (Perth, WA), Thursday 3 March 1927, p. 18.] This makes it clear that Henry is referring to James Daniells, then owner of the “Freemasons Hotel”.
22. Captain John Hassell.
23. It seems that this is a long story, involving confidence tricksters Frederick Boucher (1801-1873) and Charles Boucher (fl. 1823-1840), and Frederick’s brother-in-law, Capt. John Hassell. Frederick Hassell had established the British and Australian Bank in London in 1838. The bank failed in 1841. Peter Belches was appointed as the bank’s trustees agent to “realise Boucher’s assets”. It is unclear which of these characters was “H’Opera Jack”. [Kendenup, Western Australia,,_Western_Australia, accessed 30 April 2015; ‘Boucher, Charles (?-?)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 30 April 2015; & Register of Heritage Places: Hassell Homestead,, accessed 30 April 2015.]
24. Kendenup, near Albany, Western Australia, south of the Stirling Ranges.
25. Captain Peter Belches, R.N.
26. Catherine Josephine Morley, stepdaughter of Peter Belches.
27. Lt. William Crossman, R.E.
28. Stephen Henry Knight.
29. Henry and Louisa’s second eldest daughter, Charlotte Augusta Dring Drake, was born in Albany on 10 March 1838, so they were very familiar with it.
30. Kojonup, near Albany, Western Australia, north of the Stirling Ranges.
31. A map of 1833 shows the commencement of a road between Perth and Albany. [The Australian encyclopaedia: vol. VII, p. 453.] However, the building of the mail depot at Albany precipitated the completion of the road by convict labour in mid-1853. [D. S. Garden, Albany, p. 116.]
32. Lady Anne Warden Spencer (née Liddon).
33. Dorothea (Dolly) Cooper.
34. Henry’s wife’s sister, Emma Lochée (née Purkis) and her husband Francis.
35. Charles Stanley Herve de la Moriniere.
36. I have copies of a couple of photographs taken of Louisa, either of which could have been taken at the time. Louisa would have been 40 years old at the time.
37. ACG Leonce Routh.
38. ACG Frederick Stanley Carpenter.
39. Henry was elevated to the honour of a K.C.B. on 20 May 1871. Filder, however, never achieved that honour.
40. I do not know which Fort Henry refers to. Up to this time he had been stationed in Barbados (before he met Louisa), Swan River Colony (Albany), Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania), and St. John, New Brunswick (Canada).

Drake Letters Index 38. Drake to Louisa 18 December 1854 ◄ ● ► 40. Drake to Louisa 25 December 1854