Drake Letters Index 64. Drake to Louisa 5 March 1855 ◄ ● ► 66. Drake to Louisa 12 March 1855
The Drake Letters
William Henry Drake (Balaklava) № 54 - Louisa Drake (London), 9 - 10 March 1855
№ 54- 9th March 1855 1
My dear Lu,
        I received yours & my Fathers of 22 February on the 8th for which thanks, we had the intelligence of the death of the Empr. of Russia 2 on the 7th it was telegraphed by Lord J Russell 3 from Vienna to Lord Raglan despatch dated 2d   So we shall hear nothing of it by Mail until about the 18 & then only the fact & none of the results arriving from it. It must be of Service to the Allies either as one of a Master Mind has [sic] been removed from opposing them or perhaps better still there may be a Peace Spring from it, I sincerely hope there may be – I don’t think our Generals are fit to carry on the War with honor to themselves or the Nation   Inactivity & delay seem to prevail
Sir John McNeill 4 has arrived at Constantinople on route to this. Our Chief 5 seems to dislike his coming   for my part I cannot say I care much about it or rather I think it must do good for young Officers by tending to Shelve old ones & thus it may lead to my getting a good Station some day when the War ends   all Castle building you see   One thing gained another is at once longed for. Our weather is still beautiful & at the time you were all frozen in 6 we were enjoying mild Spring weather – your pity for us supposing we were Suffering more from Cold than yourselves, was quite misplaced – I should say we have had about 10 cold days in the whole Winter of these 3 or 4 were like North American days from Cold Winds but not otherwise – We opened a 3 gun battery lately & out of 60 Shots struck a Russian Steamer 5 or 6 times the very first Shot broke the Shaft of her paddle Wheel & she lay helpless they kept a large Steamer off which tried to come to her assistance, the crew left in their boats after slipping the cable & the Vessel drifted out of Shot – Very bad firing or else she would have been sunk, She was only from 500 to 600 yards off   She was one of the most active of the Ships against us & has fired from the same place for Weeks, they were afraid to fire on her as they thought the Batteries would annihilate the Guns   when we did open fire the Enemy fired 240 Shots at it & did not hit it once   So much for our Engineers & Artillery & their decision   10th Mch. Nothing new   The Chiefs are all on the fret about the discussions at Home & the Commissions &c. appointed   Lord Raglan is I hear very low & the report that he has sent in his resignation gains ground   No one would see him leave I think without some regret for in private life he bears the character of an amiable gentleman   His age must be his apology for not having been more active in his Superintendence and more decided in the Seige   After all I blame his Staff more than him   Genl. Estcourt Adjt. Genl. is also a very amiable quiet man too much so but Genl. Airey Q.M.G. is most thoroughly disliked by all & all would rejoice at his recall. It is singular their head men bear characters just similar to their Chiefs   Col: Gordon A.Q.M.G. 7 is very much disliked   He is a Son of Lord Aberdeen 8 – Mr. Filder is also down about Sir J. McNeill   No one likes him as regards private life or considers him Clever in his Official one   How Sir C Trevelyan 9 found out his great talent I don’t know   I get on very well with him & all the others but I must say for the Sake of the Army there is some change requisite, With love to all believe me ever
Your affectionate Hub
W. H. Drake

1. Private family manuscript (Judith Hall and Sally Mac, Auckland, New Zealand).
2. Nicholas I (6 July 1796 – 2 March 1855), Tsar of Russia from 1825. His Balkan ambitions led to war with Turkey 1827-1829 and the Crimean War 1853-1856. [The Wordsworth dictionary of biography, (Ware, Herts, 1994), p. 317.]
3. Lord John Russell.
4. Sir John McNeill.
5. CG William Filder.
6. London temperatures fell to 13 degrees Fahrenheit, about 19 degrees below freezing. There is a good description of how the Thames and the Serpentine froze over, and how the population of London reacted to this very cold snap, published in Jackson’s Oxford Journal. [“THE WEATHER, THE LONDON PARKS, AND THE THAMES.” Jackson’s Oxford Journal [Oxford, England] 17 February 1855: n.p. 19th Century British Newspapers. Web. 18 July 2013.]
7. Colonel Hon. Alexander Hamilton-Gordon.
8. George Hamilton Gordon, Earl of Aberdeen, prime minister 1852-1855, resigned because of the hostile criticism aroused by the miseries and mismanagement of the Crimean War.
9. Sir Charles Trevelyan was the senior Treasury official in charge of the Commissariat Department in London.

Drake Letters Index 64. Drake to Louisa 5 March 1855 ◄ ● ► 66. Drake to Louisa 12 March 1855