Drake Letters Index 66. Drake to Louisa 12 March 1855 ◄ ● ► 68. Department Order 16 March 1855
The Drake Letters
William Henry Drake (Balaklava) № 56 - Louisa Drake (London), 16 March 1855
№ 56 16 March 1855 1
My dear Lu,
        Once more nothing new here, the fine weather still continues So warm that the men are walking about with their Coats off, at night it gets clear & chilly - The harbour is quite crowded with Vessels, we have 57 with Cargos on board altogether above two months Supply for the Army & yet the wretched Commissaries Starve the Army - We are all going to join in writing 2 to the Secretary for War 3 about Lord Palmerston's 4 Scurrilous lies 5 for they are nothing less & if nothing else I shall be delighted to see his ill consorted bankrupt in talent Ministry Kicked out 6   After saying we are neither Aristocrats or Gentlemen, the first I deem little honor if it or they lie as he does, he goes on to say we failed for want of ability intelligence Zeal and proper attention to our duties - this is a manifest & palpable lie - nothing less - If we failed it was from the Cursed red tape System of the Aristocrats of Office & their compéres 7 & minions 8 here - in not ordering & not making roads & now their gross jobs are so glaring in their desperate attempts to hold on by the loaves & fishes 9 that every body must see them - I wrote to my Brother 10 by way of Malta today - We have two Steamers going there & one to Genoa - I wish they would declare Peace & give me the Ionian Islands as my Station, that would suit very well - Very heavy firing yesterday & today with some slight advantages to the Allies   The Russians made Several Sorties which were repulsed with loss - but we have not yet reopened our fire, & when we do is equally uncertain
General Simpson 11 has arrived   I have not seen Sir J McNeill 12 or Col: Tulloch Mily Supdt. of Pensioners, 13 his associate, They have been making private enquiry but done nothing as yet systematically nor do I know when they will - Our weather is quite beautiful today. Clear with a Warm Sun & fresh breeze - Balaklava is becoming gradually clean Old houses being pulled down Hut put up in fact it will be quite a new place - My house is to be left as it is a good respectable building - I got a letter from Bush 14 and a newspaper from Mortimer late of 21st 15 written all over - With love to all, believe me ever   Yr. affectionate Hub
W. H. Drake

William Simpson: Balaklava harbour in spring

Balaklava harbour in spring, by William Simpson.
Photograph of the painting in Simpson's The Seat of War in the East, second series,
by Colonel (Ret) George W. Page, from the copy of this rare book at the Museum of the Heroic Defense of Sevastopol
through the kind offices of Dr. V. Krestiyannikov,
at, accessed 9 May 2015.

1. Private family manuscript (Judith Hall and Sally Mac, Auckland, New Zealand).
2. The Crimean Commissaries also wrote a joint “letter of remonstrance” which was published in The Times on 10 April 1855, p. 7. See following pages.
3. Fox Maule-Ramsay, Lord Panmure, Secretary of State for War.
4. Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston.
5. “that where evil has arisen from the want of capacity, of energy, of intelligence, or of the accurate and zealous performance of duty - it was not that the gentry, nor the aristocracy, not that the noblemen in the army were in fault, but persons belonging to other classes of the community. It is in the medical department, the commissariat department, and the transport department, which nobody contends are filled with the sons of the aristocracy or the gentry. It is there that your system has broken down - it is there that the service has failed; and this it is that has been the main cause of the suffering of which we are all complaining.” ["Parliamentary Intelligence. House of Commons, Monday, February 19," The Times, 20 February 1855, p. 5f.]
6. Henry was going to have a long wait. Palmerston remained Prime Minister until his death in October 1865, except for a brief period from February 1858 until June 1859 when Lord Derby was P.M.
7. Compere: Accomplice. [The Collins paperback French dictionary French-English English-French, (London, 1988), p. 76.]
8. Minion: A favourite; a darling; particularly one who gains favours by flattery or mean adulations. [The household dictionary of the English language, p. 463.]
9. I am not sure what he means by “hold on by the loaves & fishes.”. It probably means the same as “hold on like grim death.”, i.e. “to be courageously or obstinately persistent about.” something. [E. Partridge, A dictionary of historical slang, (Harmondsworth, 1972), p. 449.]
10. John Minshull Drake.
11. General Sir James Simpson.
12. Sir John McNeill.
13. Colonel Alexander Murray Tulloch.
14. Unfortunately I don’t know who this may be.
15. Probably John Lewis Mortimer.

Drake Letters Index 66. Drake to Louisa 12 March 1855 ◄ ● ► 68. Department Order 16 March 1855