Drake Letters Index 40. Drake to Louisa 25 December 1854 ◄ ● ► 42. Drake to Louisa 1 January 1855
The Drake Letters
William Henry Drake (Balaklava) № 32 - Louisa Drake (London), 29 - 30 December 1854
№ 32 29 Decr. 1854 1
My dear Lu,
        There is an alteration in the Mails, They leave this for London on every Tuesday & Saturday & those from London on Mondays & Fridays I believe   I heard this from young Lewis, 2 son of Mr. L 3 Paymr. Genl. Offr. from him or some of them at the Treasury you will be able to find out this. – Admiral Dundas 4 has gone home & transfered [sic] the Command of the Fleet to Sir Edmund Lyons 5 – He, Lord Raglan, Genl. Canrobert 6 Omer Pacha 7 & other great men it is said had a great palaver & it is decided to go at Sebastopol again. I do not think they will be ready with everything until the middle of January 1855. nous verrons 8
We have fine weather overhead but we are all a foot deep in Soft Mud. I have bought a pair of Adam Jack boots 9 & tramp through it very well   By my last 26th I sent 1st of Capt. Moorsoms 10 Bill for £50 I shall now send the 2nd & I then also sent 2nd of Bill for £30 of Lt. C Venables 11 – Lundy has not yet made his appearance of course he is expected daily
As you can’t see my blushes I must tell you of a passage in a letter from Mrs. Leonce Routh Montreal to her Cura Sposa – A.C.G. R. 12 here – Mr. D.C.G. Robinson 13 in Speaking of this War & Expedition said – “They have then at all events one good Commissary – Mr. A.C.G. Drake is one of the best I ever met and certainly the very best for undertaking Field Service. I shall be glad to hear of his getting his promotion”   So you will see I do not want a Trumpeter, I wish he had said this to some proper Quarter – Routh read it to Mr. Filder who said – Ah! I have no doubt Mr. Drake will at all events get the Acting rank – Mrs. Smith & family are at Pera & he [A.C.G. Smith] 14 told an old friend of his lately he should leave soon after the end of the year – Pera is uncomfortable & expensive I believe   He Mrs. S two girl [sic] & I think two Small fry one an infant pay £460 p.a. Board & Lodging – Wine & Washing Extra – which is pretty 15 well – Last night the firing in front was very brisk & constant – whether from our batteries or the City [Sevastopol] I have not heard but I think it was principally on the Side of the French – Dr. Read 16 Gren. Gds. called on me yesterday – He is quite well & rejoined the Hd. Qr. of his Regiment on the right of the lines before Sevastopol
I met Ewing 17 again looking better – Col. Hodge 18 I often see – De Lisle 19 I seldom see he is very busy, with plenty of Sick in Camp. Col. Haines 20 I see nearly every day. Of our own people – Webb is nearly if not the only one you know & I see him very often – Colquhoun 21 also frequently –
We have papers to the 11th Decr. as Parliament will adjourn about the 19 or 20 & meet again directly it can after Xmas we suppose our promotion cannot be delayed beyond the 20th as if my Lords are to give it, it must be while they have us under their Orders, So we expect each Mail to bring us our News   I of course am very anxious, as I have worked very hard for it I shall be proportionately disgusted if I don’t get it – however I hope for the best, & fag on –
I had a very handsome Cake given me on the 26 from Constantinople frosted & ornamented   Capt. Bowen of the Hope was the donor   I also had 6 bottles Port & 6 of Sherry from another Captain – So you see I am pretty well off   I may add to my presents a good loaf this morning & I bought a pot of Rasp: Jam 2 lbs 4/- spared as a favor  4/- per lb being the usual price   Our last news is to the 11th of this month now 18 days old   16 or 17 being the usual time, tomorrow it will probably arrive just after we have sent our letters away – Mail of 16th is now due
You must not believe all even the Times says about the Numbers of the Russians or strength of Sebastopol – They are said by the best informed here to be under 75000 of all arms & in very bad condition – Much exposed to the Weather & Cold, Short of supplies & disheartened at their defeats especially at the Inkerman under the eyes of the Two Young Archdukes 22   Our Lines also are very strongly fortified & protected   besides that the deep mud prevents them from any very Active work Such as Surprising us or bringing up many guns on the other hand – their Artillery is excellent, their Infantry not to be despised & their courage good, they stand cold & short commons very well, Sebastopol is more strongly barricaded than ever but its great defences are nearly overthrown   The others will cause no doubt a great loss of life but attacked I have little doubt it will fall – We are preparing & have nearly completed a 40 Gun battery of very heavy calibre   I hear many of the 13 & 10½ Inch mortars are placed in it & very near to the walls I fancy when that has played some time, then the Fleet & Army will make a simultaneous assault – The Wooden Houses have arrived but they cannot be got to the front – We can scarcely get up their provisions (we don’t always)   the houses are to be put up a mile or so from this for Sick & Convalescents   We are building Stores (commence tomorrow) this falls on me too, my work is incessant but the worst is being bored by long complaints sent thro’ Ld. Raglan about some man not getting barley for his horses until late or not at all & having to reply to them, I have sent them a Stinger or two in reply – I had a letter from Mr. Weir saying he expects to be ordered on here Shortly   Edwards has gone on duty about Cattle to Smyrna, which reminds me I have just had a box of figs fr. there presented me which I shall eat in spite of Dr. Madden!! 23    30 Decr. 6 A.M. Nothing new this morning fine weather, & place trying to dry but can’t   No mail in yet since that of 11th
With love to all & plenty of kisses to the Chicks & all round   Believe me
Your affectionate Hub
W. H. Drake

1. Private family manuscript (Judith Hall and Sally Mac, Auckland, New Zealand).
2. CC Henry Clutterbuck Lewis.
3. Frederick Lewis, of the Paymaster-General’s Office.
4. Vice-Admiral Sir James Whitley Deans Dundas, commander of the British fleet.
5. Rear-Admiral Sir Edmund Lyons had been second in command to Vice-Admiral Sir James Dundas.
6. General François Certain Canrobert, commander of the French Army.
7. Omar Pasha, born Michael Lattas, supreme commander of the Turkish army.
8. Nous verrons: We shall see. [The household dictionary of the English language, (London, [before 1893]), p. 914.]
9. I presume that these were what are now referred to as jackboots. Jackboots are so called because the leather was “jacked” (stiffened). They were first used in 1812. [Household Cavalry Regiment: Jackboots, riding boots and shoes., Accessed 5 July 2013.] Jack-boots: Large boots reaching above the knee, and serving to protect the leg. [The household dictionary of the English language, (London, [before 1893]), p. 395.]
10. Firebrand, 6, st.-vessel, Capt. W. Moorsom, 1851, Mediterranean. [“Stations of the Royal Navy in commission”, in Colburn’s united service magazine, Pt. 1, (London, 1855), p. 149.]
11. Lt. Cavendish Venables, 57th West Middlesex Regiment of Foot.
12. Emma Routh (née Pardey), wife of ACG Leonce Routh.
13. DCG William Henry Robinson.
14. Agnes Campbell Smith (née Maclen), wife of ACG John William Smith.
15. Pretty: In irony, petty; mean; despicable; contemptible. [The household dictionary of the English language, p. 577.]
16. Surgeon Constantine Caridi Read.
17. Surgeon John Ewing.
18. Colonel Edward Cooper Hodge.
19. Surgeon Richard Francis Valpy De Lisle.
20. Cololonel Frederick Paul Haines, 21st Regiment of Foot (Royal North British Fusiliers).
21. Francis Crossley Colquhoun.
22. Grand Duke Constantine (1827-1892), the second son, and Grand Duke Michael (1832-1909), the fourth son of Tsar Nicholas I.
23. Probably Assistant Surgeon Charles Dodgson Madden, M.D.

Drake Letters Index 40. Drake to Louisa 25 December 1854 ◄ ● ► 42. Drake to Louisa 1 January 1855