Drake Letters Index 41. Drake to Louisa 29 December 1854 ◄ ● ► 43. Drake to Louisa 2 January 1855
The Drake Letters
William Henry Drake (Balaklava) № 33 - Louisa Drake (London), 1 January 1855
№ 33 Balaklava 1 Jany 1855 1
My dear Lu,
        A happy new Year to you all, by some unexplained chance I hear our Mail is to close today instead of tomorrow this curtails my writing as I have to do it surrounded by people talking on all Subjects
Since my last the French have had out a large party some 8000 men & cleared the Valleys & hills around Balaklava of all Stray Russians & Cossacks & burnt their huts & houses   Our people go on as miserably as ever   It wd. scarcely be believed that this large reconnaisance of our Ally was not accompanied by a single Staff Officer of our Army to look at a Country & a River of which they are totally ignorant & which must be the scene of operations in the Spring – but so it was a more useless set of idlers I never saw regular red tapists 2 are the best of them snug & comfortable they care not for the Army a jot.
I was sorry to hear of my Fathers gout but trust long before this he is quite well again & on his feet – I sent Mrs. C. Reeds [sic] 3 letter away the same day I recd. it   I have not seen or heard of Mr. Seivright [sic] 4 of the 9th   Lundy not yet arrived
Yesterday morning at getting up I found about an Inch of snow covering the ground, but not cold – today dull but not cold – I was much pleased to find you got a good look at Her Majesty 5 & Prince Albert 6 as well as the Great Nobility it is well worth seeing once at all events   We are all getting anxious about our Promotions for the Year
Your letters of 14th arrived just after my last was closed but we hear Mr. Filder delayed sending the bag so long that the Steamer had left, they were sent by one going to Constantinople but I think probably too late for the French Boat & you will get that & this together – He alters every Letter so often that he is seldom ready – We hear Sir Geo: Maclean 7 is employed on Special Service learning the Commt. System of Austria & Prussia with a View to the Duke of Newcastle 8 setting us all to rights. – One thing I can vouch for Much is Wanting in our Dept. but more with every other of our Army – I think the worst of our Weather is past I mean the wet & blowing   we shall now probably have it colder but that is of far less consequence & is more healthy though for my own part I prefer Summer & heat to wintry Cold especially when without the luxuries which make winter tolerable – I got a Stove yesterday & intend putting it up tomorrow it will add much to my comfort if the weather gets colder – Our mud is however just as bad as ever more than ancle [sic] deep & very claggy – It makes everything dirty & disagreeable – We must make the best of it until the Spring & then if we have any men left I suppose we shall make a campaign – I find my house very comfortable in bad or cold weather it is wind & water tight the poor fellows in Camp must Suffer very much – It would not do for an old rheumatic fellow like me & I should not try it – Young Lewis 9 is now waiting for my Letter so I must close it at once with love to all

Yr. affectionate Hub
W. H. Drake

1. Private family manuscript (Judith Hall and Sally Mac, Auckland, New Zealand).
2. Red-tapist: A public or government official who adheres rigidly to the customary forms and routing of the office. [The household dictionary of the English language, (London, [before 1893]), p. 620.]
3. Wife of Surgeon Constantine Caridi Read.
4. Paymaster Andrew Sievwright, 9th (The East Norfolk) Regiment of Foot.
5. Queen Victoria.
6. Albert, Prince Consort.
7. CG Sir George Maclean. In 1849, when Henry Drake was stationed in Hobart, DCG George Maclean was in charge of the Commissariat Department situated in Macquarie St., Hobart. [J. Wood (comp.), The Tasmanian royal kalendar, colonial register and almanack 1849, (Hobart Town, 1849), p. 96.] Sir George Maclean wrote a paper on Austrian Military Intendance. [J. Sweetman, War and administration: The significance of the Crimean War for the British Army, (Edinburgh, 1984), p. 53.]
8. Henry Pelham Pelham-Clinton, 5th Duke of Newcastle, was Secretary of State for War from June 1854 to February 1855. Henry canvasses the possibility of the Commissariat being taken over by the War Department in his letters, William Henry Drake (Varna) №1 to Louisa Drake (London) (4 August 1854), William Henry Drake (Varna) №2 to Louisa Drake (London) (10 August 1854), and, William Henry Drake (Balaklava) №25 to Louisa Drake (London) (25 November 1854).
9. Henry Clutterbuck Lewis.

Drake Letters Index 41. Drake to Louisa 29 December 1854 ◄ ● ► 43. Drake to Louisa 2 January 1855