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Drake Letters Index 63. Drake to Louisa 2 March 1855 ◄ ● ► 65. Drake to Louisa 9 March 1855
The Drake Letters
 
William Henry Drake (Balaklava) № 53 - Louisa Drake (London), 5 - 6 March 1855
№ 53 Balaklava March 5th
1855. 1
 
My dear Lu,
 
        Since my last as usual nothing of any consequence has occurred, this is truly as regards the Army a period of intense inaction   The Men are much improved in health & Cleanliness of appearance which is no light matter – Dry fine & warm weather ever since my last has done much to bring this about – The French have opened a very heavy fire from batteries of 8 Inch Mortars on the town [Sevastopol]. All Sunday the firing was very heavy on both Sides French & Russian I have not heard of any damage done – Our Batteries are in rapid progress I hear at all events when they do begin they will be very heavy 68 pounders & 10 & 13 Inch mortars
 
On Sunday 2 Lunday [sic] & I took a long walk some dozen miles   We did it constitutionally to get down our fat, during the past two months I have been getting quite corpulent – I walked some 8 miles on both Friday & Saturday so that I hope soon to be Slim & genteel again. I really wanted exercise & so determined to take it – I believe old Mr. F 3 begrudges every moment one is not polishing De Lisle 4 abhorrence a three legged Stool, 5 the fact is he is so dilatory & indecisive himself he cannot understand anyone else doing their work at once – The most deplorable of the indecisions as leading to immense outlay of money & waste of time is as regards Shipping – On Monday a Steamer is Sent express & conveys an order & on Tuesday another express Steamer is Sent to countermand the orders Sent by the first this occurs very frequently I have known it twice in one WEEK!! A Commissioner is coming out to make enquiry into Commissariat matters. Sir John Maclean 6 I believe from the E.I. Co. Service   I think he has been as a Commissioner in China or Ceylon   I am glad of it as I do not as regards my work fear any investigation & with the management none but the C.G. 7 & perhaps Adams in Some things have anything to do – We shall see perhaps his coming may shelve the Sexagenarians that will give me a lift up the list if nothing else not that it will do me much or any good but it can do no harm –   10 P.M.   Your Letter of the 18 February & Times just came in many thanks. I don’t know why old Daveney 8 should have Scurvy except it may be brought out by excess 9 of Rum, I don’t expect to get it as I seldom eat Salt Meat except my Ham or bacon breakfast & I don’t drink rum & seldom in fact any Spirit – I have Wine Beer, Pickles, Jams & all of which are antiScurvyites besides I keep up the potash in my System by eating plenty of bread & Vegetables which I get from each of our Ships as they arrive   Cabbage Soup is my principal dish & the best my man Friday makes, All else, Beef Mutton Fowls Ducks have one taste – which I don’t admire So I live on the Soups & get fat, I often dine on board Ship too & get very good dinners, I hope you will manage to come out now for The Climate is very fine which people ar [sic] just beginning to discover & a great change has taken place in all things for the better – I see it is Sir J. McNiell not Sir J Maclean coming out   Mr. F 10 won’t like it – Love to all fr. Your affectionate Hub


 

W. H. Drake
[Written across the page.] March 6 – All well, not much news – English opened a Small Battery yesterday   6 Guns of 68 lb did little harm   Russians opened 20 on the battery but could not Silence it – Yesterday I sent up patent Fuel to Seige Train to heat red hot Shot to fire at Russian Men of War in the Harbor – last week the Enemy Sunk a Line of Battle Ship, a two decker and two frigates right across the Entrance in behind those already Sunk – The Officers got up races yesterday & had good fun   I of course had not time to go
 
W. H. D.
 
 
© COPYRIGHT MEGAN STEVENS 2015 —
Footnotes
 
1. Private family manuscript (Judith Hall and Sally Mac, Auckland, New Zealand).
 
2. Henry’s Journal entry for Sunday 4 March 1855 reads: “Fine. Met Sir C. Campbell by appointment at 8 a.m. to go round the Stores & Wharves to arrange about the sentries. Tartars all run away. I reported verbally to Mr. Filder. Took a long walk & dined with D.ACy. Sutherland in camp. Very heavy firing by French.”
 
3. CG William Filder.
 
4. Surgeon Richard Francis Valpy De Lisle.
 
5. Three legged stool: I presume the Commissariat officers sat on these when performing their duties.
 
6. I could not find mention of a Sir John Maclean in The East-India Register and Army List, for 1855, by F. Clark, (London: Wm. H. Allen, 1855) (Google Books). It seems Henry was confused as to the exact name of who was going to be involved in the inquiry, as it was Sir John McNeill, a surgeon with the East India Company’s Bombay establishment, who was doing so, together with Colonel Alexander Murray Tulloch.
 
7. CG William Filder.
 
8. >Lieutenant Colonel Burton Daveney, 1st (The Royal) Regiment of Foot. In a previous letter, William Henry Drake (Balaklava) №15 to Louisa Drake (London) (12 October 1854), Henry writes of Lt. Col. Daveney, Commander of the Royals. I presume that this is the same Daveney.
 
9. Henry contradicts himself here. In his previous letter, William Henry Drake (Balaklava) №52 to Louisa Drake (London) (2 March 1855), he speculated whether sailors contracted scurvy less frequently than soldiers, even though they eat less fresh meat, because they got too much rum.
 
10. CG William Filder.
 
 
 

 
© COPYRIGHT MEGAN STEVENS 2015 —
Drake Letters Index 63. Drake to Louisa 2 March 1855 ◄ ● ► 65. Drake to Louisa 9 March 1855