Drake Letters Index 51. Drake to Louisa 22 January 1855 ◄ ● ► 53. Drake to Louisa 29 January 1855
The Drake Letters
William Henry Drake (Balaklava) № 42 - Louisa Drake (London), 24 - 25 January 1855
№ 42 24 January 1855 1
My dear Lu,
        I received yours of the 7th on the 23rd   I wonder at you not having any of mine as I write & despatch my Letters regularly twice a week by the Bag   perhaps the change in the Mails may have made some irregularity
The Times of the 8th gives some idea of Peace 2 I hope it may prove true this however a short time must determine –
I am glad to find the young Ladies 3 enjoyed their party at Mrs. Stevensons 4    I have no doubt they gave a very good Supper in the V.D.L. 5 liberal Style, they were all famous for that   Do you remember Chapman Webbs 6 supper – I did not tell you of my extravagances lately of course on Promotion, The Alma in which Lundy came had good things on board & I thought I would get a Case of Jam 1 doz. 1 lb. pots 50/-. I told L to get me one but he was taken ill, yesterday, on going on board he bought one, but the price had been reduced to 30/- imagine what a profit the rascals must have wanted at first – Our weather has been very fine lately today quite a beautiful day. Sir E Lyons 7 is here having a conference with Lord Raglan   Our Siege operations are no better than they were nor are they more advanced 8    I am not a croaker, but I shall be very glad to hear Peace is proclaimed as it will prevent some disgrace befalling our Army not a very unlikely affair I fear – One never knows when one’s honors are to end (not over work)   Lord Raglan has just selected me by name expressly to be one of a Board to enquire into the feasibility of the Railway here, His words were, “Tell Mr. Filder I request he will nominate Mr. Drake”   ahem – you see my grandeur will become rather troublesome however I don’t care for the work if credit is to be got, & especially now I have the Substantial [sic] – Mr. Beattie 9 Civil Engr. who was at St John is here now in some capacity
25th. Fine weather continues   We sent 80 mules with Houses or rather parts of them to the front yesterday under charge of a D.A.Q.M.G. – 80 are to go daily so by the end of this month each Div. will have a Hospital House in progress – that will be something
2 P.M. Well my grandeur had plenty of work today. The Board (Railway) sat for 4 hours, Sir Colin Campbell 10 President – a long business & but little done as at every first meeting to say nothing of it being a parcel of Soldiers –   26th. The fine weather has done us good, Guns & Mortars of Seige Calibre are now placed & our entrenchments have been repaired very well – Lots of firing last night but no damage sustained –
I write when I get a few minutes to myself – my Letters are not very [written across the page] connected in consequence but as I write twice each Week they keep you pretty well up in news – Rumors are constantly afloat of Peace Attack – Storming &c. Now the first is hoped for the 2nd premature & the latter a farce
The last rumor is that on Sunday they will reopen heavy fire on the City [Sevastopol] from our heavy 13½ Inch Mortars if nothing is heard by Mail before – It is true the Mortars are ready or nearly so and they have lots of Ammunition & Shot & Shell up in front   They have also got plenty of Warm Clothing – Planks and get full Rations so they are not so badly off as before – Scurvy is however showing itself among the men & I have just had a Confab with Genl. Estcourt our Adjt. General & agreed with him to issue Limejuice to every regiment
If the fine weather continues I think the men will get over their Sickness – They have in a great degree got over their despondent feelings & are in better Spirits & better order not before it was wanted   I believe Lundy & Colquhoun 11 are both here chatting about Halifax times   both desire to be remembered to you & Lundy thanks you for writing to his Wife 12 about the Promotion.
Give my love to all   With love & lots of kisses believe me ever
Your Affectionate Hub
W. H. Drake

1. Private family manuscript (Judith Hall and Sally Mac, Auckland, New Zealand).
2. The leader of The Times concludes: “... although we entertain no expectation that the Emperor of Russia will submit to the terms of peace until Sebastopol has fallen, the terms of his manifesto show that he has abandoned all hope of deriving advantage from this war, and that he may still terminate it by the acceptance of conditions which are not incompatible with his own declarations to Europe.” [The Times (London, England), 8 January 1855, p. 6:3.]
3. Henry’s daughters Louisa Maria Drake, Charlotte Augusta Dring Drake, and Laura Mary Drake.
4. Could this be Louisa Phillis Stevenson (née Swan), wife of Leader Cox Stevenson, who had their first baby in Davey Street, Hobart, on 1 August 1848, around the time the Drakes arrived in Hobart? The Stevensons seem to have been living in London by this time.
5. VDL: Van Diemen’s Land.
6. Could this relate to Hobart’s confectioner and hotelier, John Webb, of Murray Street? He hosted a number of balls and suppers for the citizenry of Hobart during the time when the Drakes were in Hobart.
7. Rear-Admiral Sir Edmund Lyons.
8. The Russians eventually evacuated Sevastopol on 9 September 1855. [W. H. Russell, Russell’s despatches from the Crimea 1854-1856, (London, 1966), p. 17.]
9. James Beatty.
10. Sir Colin Campbell, Lord Clyde, British Field-Marshal.
11. DACG Frederick Crossley Colquhoun.
12. Anna Maria Lundy (née Askin).

Drake Letters Index 51. Drake to Louisa 22 January 1855 ◄ ● ► 53. Drake to Louisa 29 January 1855