Drake Letters Index 45. Drake to Louisa 8 January 1855 ◄ ● ► 47. Drake to Louisa 14 January 1855
The Drake Letters
William Henry Drake (Balaklava) № 37 - Louisa Drake (London), 12 January 1855
№ 37 Balaklava 12 Jany. [1855] 1
My dear Lu,
        Yours of 23/24 Decr. was recd. the evening before last. We have nothing new since my last on the 8th except that fine weather had good effect on man & beast   today we have a return of Snow. I have not felt it very Cold yet the Thermometer goes down to about 28ยบ 2 or some 48 degrees higher than at St John 3    nevertheless in Tents they suffer much from the Cold – I saw Major Welsford 4 yesterday he has been ill & looks thin but says he is better   The Regt. has suffered considerably
The great topic here is a great leader in Times of the 25th Decr. cutting up Lord Raglan & Staff severely 5    It has given great satisfaction to all here but the parties spoken of, & is generally considered as true – lots of timber & warm Clothing are landed & gone to Camps especially those near here but Timber for those in the lines before Sevastopol is a very long job, as to getting it up   We have not Transport enough for getting up the necessary Supplies – We have no tidings about the Promotion yet but expect to each mail as it arrives   You will know all whichever way it goes before this   we have all the nuisance of hope deferred
I was glad to hear my Fathers gout was better & hope it gradually disappeared altogether. We are gradually slipping through the winter the days are of course beginning to get longer
I think I mentioned Lundy had arrived at Constantinople but I have heard nothing of him except D.A.C.G. Blanc 6 who is under me saw him at Pera, he is to be here shortly. – Sir Colin Campbell 7 paid me another visit the day before yesterday about some things for his Highlanders
You see we are to have a Medal for our Service here at once rather an early gift considering the State of things but perhaps it is done to encourage the troops & something more than a medal is wanting for that   Winter Quarters I should think would always lead to grumbling but Winter & no quarters must naturally [word cut out from top of page] much more & I assure you we have plenty of it – I hope the Children enjoyed their Christmas Holidays every thing of course depended on the Weather – I should be very glad to be toasting my toes over a good fire in Gloucester Place 8 in preference to my present Visit to the Czars – there are constant rumors of peace yet & I shall be heartily glad to see them realized – I simply say hang the Christian Subjects 9 of the Porte at present they are the greatest set of rogues unhung & have done their best to assist Russia in their War – With love to all & thousands of Kisses believe me ever,

Your affectionate Hub
W. H. Drake

1. Private family manuscript (Judith Hall and Sally Mac, Auckland, New Zealand).
2. It is unclear whether this says 28° or 20°.
3. Henry and Louisa were stationed at St. John, New Brunswick from 1850 until 1854.
4. Major Augustus Frederick Welsford, 97th Regiment.
5. In part this leader reads: “Will it be believed that the authorities in the Crimea will neither take proper care of the sick and wounded themselves, nor allow others to do it for them? The chaplains, who at first gladly distributed the comforts procured by the fund at our disposal, have been peremptorily forbidden to do so any more, and it appears to be thought more in accordance with military discipline that an English soldier should perish from hunger or cold than that he should be clothed and fed by a private hand. ... Yet, for the honour of our country, for the honour of the Church of England, the credit of which is compromised in the neglect of Christian duty, – for the honour of Christianity itself in the presence of the Turks, we do beg and pray that the British hospital at Scutari, and still more that of Balaklava, may be rescued from the miserable, disorderly state, in which they have hitherto been. Every Englishman should blush to read the contrast between our hospital and that of the French, which is rather the difference between a barbarous and civilized people – between infidels and Christians, than between two neighbouring nations who have been a thousand years intimately acquainted with one another. We say it is the duty of Government to see that all our hospitals, at the camp, at Balaklava, and at the Bosphorus, shall be quite up to the French standard – more we cannot expect. ... Let us reform our hospitals to the French standard, and do it confessedly as following their example, and we shall show in deeds our high estimation of our allies. Next to the aid that brave men render one another in field, there is nothing that can bind soldiers together so much as working together in those pious works that remain to be done when the battle is over. We trust that Government will not allow even the prosecution of war itself to interfere with assistance to its victims. That is not the custom even of savages, and we shall not deserve success if we seek it exclusively by the neglect of all ordinary obligations.” [The Times (London, England), 25 December 1854, p. 6.]
6. DACG Charles Garrow Blanc.
7. Sir Colin Campbell, Lord Clyde, British Field-Marshal.
8. Henry had taken a 12 month lease on a house at 1 Gloucester Place, London (W1), between Park Rd. & Seymour St., before he left for the Crimea. His family were now living there.
9. The Crimean War was ostensibly started by the ultimatum sent by Tsar Nicholas I to the Turkish Sultan demanding that the Sultan recognise the right of the Russians to represent and protect his Christian subjects. The Sultan rejected this claim, and declared war on Russia. [C. McEvedy, The Penguin atlas of recent history: Europe since 1815, (London, 1982), p. 16.]

Drake Letters Index 45. Drake to Louisa 8 January 1855 ◄ ● ► 47. Drake to Louisa 14 January 1855