You are here: [ RESOURCESMEGAN STEVENS: DRAKE LETTERS ► 44. DRAKE TO LOUISA 4 JANUARY 1855]

Drake Letters Index 43. Drake to Louisa 2 January 1855 ◄ ● ► 45. Drake to Louisa 8 January 1855
The Drake Letters
 
William Henry Drake (Balaklava) № 35 - Louisa Drake (London), 4 - 5 January 1855
№ 35 4 Jany. 1855 1
 
My dear Lu,
 
        I got yours of the 16/17 yesterday at 4 oCk. On the 2nd I sent you a Short note, to say all’s well one day later & sent 1st of Navy Bill for £16.13.8. I now send you one for £94.18.9   I shall have some more to send as soon as I can get Bills for it   I do not know exactly how I am off at home for Funds but I think I must be flourishing   I don’t know what you have spent since you have been at home I dare say you have been very extravagant as usual!!
 
Last night we dined on board The Hope a party of 36. 15 or 16 Commrs. an excellent dinner and plenty of Champagne Claret &c. I was asked to act as Vice President & did so. D.C.G. Adams was our Senior there & sat on Capt. Bowens right. I got away quietly just before 12, quite Sober – Many complain of Headache today. I landed in a perfect Snow Storm & snow two inches deep on the ground – The Ships lie quite close to the Shore some 30 yards off & we have deep Water to within 6 feet of the Wharf. I saw Sir Colin Campbell 2 two or three days ago – he claimed acquaintance with me he said on account of his intimacy with John 3 who he said was a most excellent Officer “one of our best in India”   He came to my House & we got on very well together   his A.D.C. Shadwell 4 is just made a Brevet Major – Sir Colin was very facetious 5 he complimented me on my having worked hard & well here & said he had told my Chief 6 so who said “he knew it” as I fancy he does
 
2.   I find by some accident I have begun on a half Sheet however the form is not of much consequence – We may now fairly consider our Winter as set in – Bitterly cold they have it in Camp while down here I do not think we shall feel it very cold
 
I have plenty of warm clothes, in fact my Kit was better adapted for Cold than for heat which was so far fortunate, By the bye You had better begin a list of Articles I shall want if I stay long in Turkey or Crimea   first then 4 good warm night Shirts   2ndly. a Coat – if our New Uniform is out I will have that Coat as it is something of a Short frock Coat I want & I may as well get the correct thing – Blamey at Charing X 7 has my measure & would make it well enough so some day go & ask him about our new dress. We heard it is to be a Blue Tunic without Epaulets   Several Regiments have the new Tunic in wear – I only want the Coat as I have breeks or rather I should say as you have been in Gurka land – “Pants.” – I don’t know what the distinction of the ranks may be but that perhaps Mr. B. may know   I want it made of good Strong Cloth for every day hard work   if it buttons the buttons & button holes to be extra strongly done –   5th. A Mail has just arrived   They do not come here direct now they are taken to Kameish Bay, Cape Chersonese being only some 2 or 2½ miles from Lord Raglans – The bags are then taken to his Lordship & our bag is sent for from here – I have just sent for that now reported as arrived & this Evg. I shall despatch another mounted Storekeeper with this mail for England it leaves by Steamer tomorrow morning – I hope to get my letters before closing this just at all events to say I have them – This morning it was a very Sharp frost & upon yesterday’s Snow, it reminds me more of New Brunswick 8 than anything else but not nearly so cold   I turned out in rough Canada pants tied with red tape about the ancles [sic] a pair of thick long stockings & over that long boots to my knees   I never did so much to keep warm at St John but I was not so exposed there, but I have succeeded in keeping my toes dry & of course warm – got my Stove going & am as comfortable as could be expected – My great Standby is a dry good bed & dry clothes – The Bills I now send are – Paymaster of Sans Pariel 9 £94.18.9 & Paymaster of Wasp 10 £44.10.11 £139.9.8 – in all enough to buy you new bonnets & gowns & bread & Cheese
 
Our Mail Mr. F 11 has just [received] – Plenty of Timber & of the Houses have arrived but there is no possibility of getting them to the Front, a few planks are issued to those who can get them up & they are building Huts at about a mile & a half from this for Sick & Convalescents so far it will be a very good move, Much warm clothing has also arrived & been issued but the men will perish from Cold by hundreds & hundreds in the Trenches –
 
Cold as last night was the men prefer it to the Wet – Last night a very sad thing occurred. Two of the 97th Capt. Vicars 12 & Lt. Ramsbottom 13 came into camp wet from the Trenches made up their Charcoal fire, laid down & went to sleep – An Officer going in found Vicars nearly & Ramsbottom quite dead Suffocated by the fumes of the Charcoal this will quite damp the Old Regiment   I knew the poor fellow of course but not intimately   he was one of three Officers of the 4th 14 Cashiered some 3 years ago & after fighting as volunteers at the Cape 15 reinstated in different Regts.
 
The Mail not yet come to hand but I must close this for fear of not being in time – With best love to all & thousands of kisses believe me always
 

Your affectionate Hub
W. H. Drake

 
 
© COPYRIGHT MEGAN STEVENS 2015 —
Footnotes
 
1. Private family manuscript (Judith Hall and Sally Mac, Auckland, New Zealand).
 
2. Sir Colin Campbell, Lord Clyde, British Field-Marshal.
 
3. Henry’s brother, John Minshall Drake, 10th Regiment of H.M. Indian Army.
 
4. Lawrence Shadwell.
 
5. Facetious: Given to wit and good humour; merry; sportive; jocular; characterized by wit and pleasantry. [The household dictionary of the English language, (London, [before 1893]), p. 247.]
 
6. CG William Filder, CB.
 
7. Charing Cross Rd., London.
 
8. New Brunswick, Canada. Henry and Louisa had been stationed at St. John, New Brunswick from 1850 to 1854
 
9. W. P. O’Brien, Paymaster Sanspareil, 1855.
 
10. Wm. L. Wright, Paymaster Wasp, 1855.
 
11. CG William Filder.
 
12. Captain Hedley Shafto Johnstone Vicars, 97th Regiment.
 
13. Lieutenant Henry Batson Ramsbottom, 97th Regiment.
 
14. 4th King’s Own Regiment of Foot.
 
15. Cape of Good Hope.
 
 
 

 
© COPYRIGHT MEGAN STEVENS 2015 —
Drake Letters Index 43. Drake to Louisa 2 January 1855 ◄ ● ► 45. Drake to Louisa 8 January 1855