Drake Letters Index 50. Drake to Louisa 19 January 1855 ◄ ● ► 52. Drake to Louisa 24 January 1855
The Drake Letters
William Henry Drake (Balaklava) № 41 - Louisa Drake (London), 22 January 1855
№ 41 Balaklava 22 Jany. 1855
Monday. – 1
My dear Lu,
        My last was written on the 19th just a Scrap to give you latest news & my principle of never letting any chance of writing to you pass unimproved – I got your Letter of 4th on Saturday & the Times of the 3rd. I also got a letter from Mr. Wilson 2 & The London Gazette & today I got Maria’s 3 Letter by Mail – These were the first news we had of the Promotions beyond the Crimea, they are not extensive & create few Vacancies – Weir will I think get Canada – if Greece is kept up Strickland 4 is trying for it, Some A.C.G. will go to Newfoundland – I had no idea I had been put over the heads of so many. 10. Many of them I know   Swan 5 – McFarlan 6 Wybault 7 Smidt 8 Ackroyd 9 all men of about 60.   Of those promoted few are very juvenile   J. W. Smith 10 close on 50 is the youngest except myself 11 Graham 12 55. Mylrea 13 56 – Wilson 14 Swain 15 & Coxworthy 16 all above 60. The promotion will be by no means a Satisfactory one to the A.Cs.G. & had I not got my own I should have thought it a very Shabby one compared with all other branches of the Army – Smith antidate does not affect me as I was his junior 17 – Mr. Archers 18 words have singularly come to pass about those promoted over my head in 1844   he wrote “they will never be in your way”   poor Lempriere 19 is gone & De Smith [sic] 20 I have passed over in my turn – Of course as it is I am a Selection & it is the more complimentary & under any circumstances it is very acceptable, very. We have now only to hope for an end to the War and then I suppose they would put me for a year or two on Half Pay – They usually keep a newly promoted Deputy about three Years before giving him a Station but most of the Deputies now employed are to be shelved it is said that is – Green, 21 Goldsmith 22 Thompson 23 Dinwiddie 24 – We must live on in hopes of getting a good Station some day – I was very sorry to hear such bad accounts of my Father & Mother but your Weather seems to have been wretched, I hope it has since improved – Ours is much as before but milder   Some old Greeks say the worst of the Winter is over – but our roads are nearly impassable – The Army is much about the same as it was not worse I think it scarcely could be but not much better   Sickness is very prevalent in the Camps about 1800 or 2000 per month are sent down Sick & 1000 die.   it is very shocking to think of & that much might have been avoided by timely precautions – The Huts now coming out daily have arrived too late   The roads are such they cannot be got up to the men. Since the attack by the Times Lord Raglan has been seen out several times and as they have been found fault with the Adjt. 25 & Qr. Master Generals 26 are both collecting all they can against the Commissariat evidently trying to put all the blame on us – They send daily a long string of complaints but even if well founded our errors will not palliate their blunders & they fritter away their own and our time in these frivolous bickerings – Dr. Marshall 27 came down Sick from Camp two or three days back & is living on board Ship he is much better he says today   I got a note from De Lisle 28 he is well – Lundy is better & at work   Col. Lockyer 29 & Legh 30 were here yesterday to see me & Congratulate me they are well   Col: L commands the 2nd Brigade 2nd Division Legh vois [sp?]   A.D.C. Mackesy 31 is Sick on board Ship – All sick Officers are sent on board certain Ships in harbor – In the Seige way all is nearly at a Stand Still 32 The Russians made Strong Sorties on the 18 & 19 on the French & were repulsed with loss, The French have taken our position at or rather over Inkerman & the Trenches in that direction, Rumors are daily afloat of all Kinds   Yesterday & today there has been one that Sir E Lyons 33 telegraphed that great good news would be made public in a day or two   All hands thought at once it was peace but I think otherwise   I think they are projecting a combined attack by Sea & Land & for this reason by many Soldiers & Sailors it would be the most welcome news of the two and as to peace we know nothing can be said even at home until after the 14 of this month 34
Col: Haines 35 has resigned the Commandantship of Balaklava the Adjt. Genl. 36 intimated to him that another Field Officer was wanting at the Regt. We have now a Lt. Col: Harding 37 – a couple of months back a Captain – Haines desired to be Kindly remembered to the Villagers 38 – Our weather is quite mild & fine but mud something beyond belief – Lundy leaves his ship today – I have had visits from Sir Colin Campbell 39 & Genl. Estcourt 40 & a note from Genl. Airey congratulating me on my Promotion – all very satisfactory – Since the sundry Articles in the Times Lord Raglan has been twice to Balaklava!! & two or three times has been here near the Divisions – this will astonish the people at home as much as it did the Regimental men here – I think if the weather continued fine we should get a little out of the state of wretchedness into which the Army has fallen
Our Friends in the Sans Pariel who have been at work with us from the first are going to leave for England this week – We shall have some other in their place I presume – it matters little as to Society for I have not time for much of that
Adieu   I sincerely hope this may find you all better – With best love to all believe me My own Wife

Your affectionate Hub
W. H. Drake

1. Private family manuscript (Judith Hall and Sally Mac, Auckland, New Zealand).
2. ACG James Wilson was stationed in London.
3. Henry’s sister, Maria Harriet White.
4. ACG Edward Strickland.
5. ACG Thomas George Sanden Swan.
6. ACG John McFarlan.
7. ACG Joseph William Wybault.
8. ACG Johannes de Smidt.
9. ACG Robert Ackroyd.
10. DCG John William Smith.
11. At the time Henry was 42 years old, having been born on 29 September 1812.
12. DCG Thomas Graham.
13. DCG Frederick Thomas Mylrea.
14. DCG James Wilson.
15. DCG Charles Swain.
16. DCG Ferguson Thomas Coxworthy.
17. DCG John William Smith’s promotion was dated 30 December 1854, as opposed to Henry’s, which was dated 1 January 1855.
18. I think this probably relates to Thomas Archer, who served in the Commissariat in the early days of the Australian settlement. He subsequently settled in Northern Tasmania, and as such his path is likely to have crossed with Henry’s.
19. ACG Thomas James Lempriere died on 5 January 1852.
20. ACG Johannes de Smidt. De Smidt had been Henry Drake’s senior by one year.
21. DCG William John (Goodall) Green was promoted to CG on 1 January 1855.
22. DCG Oliver Goldsmith.
23. DCG James Thompson.
24. DCG Gilbert Hamilton Dinwiddie.
25. Adjutant General Sir James Bucknall Bucknall Estcourt.
26. Brigadier General Sir Richard Airey.
27. Dr. John Marshall.
28. Surgeon Richard Francis Valpy De Lisle.
29. Colonel Henry Frederick Lockyer, 97th Regiment.
30. Captain Edmund Cornwall Legh, 97th Regiment.
31. Ernest Randolph Mackesy, 97th Regiment.
32. The Russians eventually evacuated Sevastopol on 9 September 1855. [W. H. Russell, Russell’s despatches from the Crimea 1854-1856, p. 17.]
33. Rear-Admiral Sir Edmund Lyons.
34. I have not been able to ascertain why the 14th is of such significance.
35. Colonel Frederick Paul Haines.
36. Adjutant General Sir James Bucknall Bucknall Estcourt.
37. Commandant at Balaklava, Brevet Lieut.-Col. Francis Pym Harding, 22nd Foot.
38. Presumably Henry’s family, particularly his mother and father who lived at 27 Park Village East, Regent’s Park.
39. Sir Colin Campbell, Lord Clyde, British Field-Marshal.
40. Adjutant General Sir James Bucknall Bucknall Estcourt.

Drake Letters Index 50. Drake to Louisa 19 January 1855 ◄ ● ► 52. Drake to Louisa 24 January 1855