Drake Letters Index 92. Louisa to Maria Drake 11 February 1856 ◄ ● ► 94. Trewman's Exeter Flying Post 21 February 1856
The Drake Letters
Louisa Drake (Balaklava) - Maria Drake (London), 18 February 1856
February 18th [1856] 1
My dear Mrs. Drake,
        As I find Louisa is writing a long letter to her sister, the only one she will manage this time, I shall give you the benefit of my scrawl, will you tell Charlotte 2 I shall write to her by next mail, as I have two of her letters unanswered, I am glad she has mustered Courage to try and learn to sing, though I fear all the noise of it must be a great bore to you. We are all anxiously waiting to hear more news, “Peace or no Peace”, the Russians we hear came down for another attack on the Tchernaya last night, but do not know, if it is true, I expect the firing will continue till the last moment if Peace is proclaimed: many now are calculating the time they will have to remain in the Crimea, I only hope, they will not be disappointed, Henry still thinks he will be left till the last; we have not heard of Sir George 3 since he left, but there has scarcely been time yet, I fear he will not have very pleasant weather for his visit, for today is perfect winter again, very cold snow & sleet all day, and now frozen hard with a bitter north wind: we have had some beautiful weather lately, & taken some good walks, which have been rather too much for poor Louisa, so she has been keeping very quiet in the house for the last two days; all the walks about Balaklava are so hilly, and on Saturday, as Henry was able to go with us, we perhaps went rather too far for her; he and I had a nice ride yesterday, 4 as the road, (the only one we can possibly go on) was dry, being Sunday, there were very few carts on the road, on other days, it is almost impossible to get out of a walk, and our horses are so dreadfully frisky and fidgety, having been so long without proper exercise, I fear it will be some time yet, before the Plain will be dry enough to venture on. The Ottowa has at last arrived, we were surprised at seeing Captn. Bowen early on Saturday morning, 5 his Ship was still outside, he has been to Kertch, and since then, has been fitting as a Sick Ship again, at Constantinople, so has his old employment, but now there are so very few sick to send away, that the ships are often kept some time waiting for these; the Captain does not appear to have much enjoyed his trip home, his time was so short and they were constantly moving his Vessel from one place to another, which obliged him to be with her, and then he has lost his very good ship’s crew, and got a very bad one, and only one of his old officers has come out again. I gave him all your messages, he says he much regretted not being able to call on you again, he got into a Hansom one day to do so, but turned back, finding he should scarcely get to the Train in time. We hear nothing of the Clifton 6 yet, I do not think she can be coming to Balaklava at all. I am glad Charlotte 7 found the Robertson’s [sic] at home, Louisa received a very kind letter from her friend Mary, by last mail; did I tell you that Sir George’s 8 two youngest daughters are at School at the Misses Cleves at Tooting; an elder one I think at Hammersmith, but am not sure that is the place, his youngest (grown up) son, has left the Army, and intends going into the Church, this must be rather annoying, when he [written across the page] thought him settled, as of course he will have to go to College. 9 Though it has been such a winter’s day, we have had several visitors, the Admiral 10 called, and brought his new Captain 11 with him (one instead of Captain Keppel) 12 a brother of our old friend Captain Rice in the 72nd. 13 Sir Colin Campbell is to have a Corps d’Armée, so Colonel Atherley 14 will still be a Colonel Brigadier, he was at Church yesterday, looking very well, he always enquires very kindly for you and the Commy. General. 15 Henry has plenty to do now, with Sir George’s 16 duties and his own too, but I do not doubt his getting through it all very well, I only wish he was Commy. General here, and would it not be grand pay, he is now taking a nap and giving us a little music, 17 but I will not disturb the poor fellow, for he must be tired, we saw nothing of him from half past nine this morning, till six this evening, a very good day’s work. I hope the Misses White 18 will enjoy their trip, I suppose they took lodgings in Coram St. 19 to be near Maria and the little lady, 20 or they would have gone into your neighborhood again for pleasant fresh air, however they have plenty of that at Brighton: you do not seem to have a very good opinion of this climate, but I really think it a lovely one, if it were not for the mud, we should get out constantly, but what can we expect, with such immense and constant traffic on the roads every day in the week from morning till night; the new road is a splendid one, but “what it must have cost”, many many thousand pounds. We have now added a dog to our establishment a Puppy sent from Baltchik by Mr. Gem, 21 promised to Henry when there, the young lady 22 claims it; her Pigeon is now sitting on two eggs, I hope she will be more fortunate this time; poor Lou, makes such a fuss about her numerous pets, I did not think she would ever take an interest in such things, how severe Punch is on Mrs. Duberly’s 23 Journal, if we wrote one, I fear it would be extremely domestic; I do not know Mrs. D_ often met him riding last summer; she is a good horsewoman; young, fair with very nice hair, they do say she is a little flighty; he is a Cousin of Mr. Griffins. 24 You will tire of this long scribble, for I have nothing of any interest to write about. Give my kind love to all; as usual the mail due today is not yet Telegraphed.
Believe me ever, Your Affecte. Daughter
Louisa Drake


1. Private family manuscript (Judith Hall and Sally Mac, Auckland, New Zealand).
2. Probably Louisa’s daughter, Charlotte.
3. CG Sir George Maclean.
4. Henry’s Journal entry for 17 February 1856 reads: “Sunday. Fine day. Louisa & W. H. D. rode out past the Col de Balaclava.”
5. I am yet to find out anything about the Captain of the Ottawa, which was launched in 1853 for the Canadian Steam Navigation Company -, accessed 30 April 2015;
also, accessed 30 September 2017. I cannot be sure whether the Captain is Captain William Henry Bowen, who also captained the S.S. Hope, but it does sound like it.
6. Clifton (British transport ship).
7. Louisa’s daughter, Charlotte Augusta Dring Drake.
8. Commissary-General Sir George Maclean. He had three sons and three daughters by his second wife -, accessed 30 July 2015.
9. John Lindsay Maclean, son of of Sir George Maclean.
10. Admiral Charles Howe Fremantle.
11. Captain Ernest Bridges Rice.
12. Captain Henry Keppell.
13. Captain Cecil Rice, 72nd (Duke of Albany’s own Highlanders) Regiment of Foot.
14. Cololonel Mark Kerr Atherley.
15. Louisa’s father-in-law, John Drake, a retired Commissary-General.
16. Commissary-General Sir George Maclean had gone to Pera.
17. Henry must have been snoring!
18. The sisters of Henry’s brother-in-law, Edward Marshall White. As Henry’s sister, Maria, had married her first cousin, the Misses White were also Henry (and Maria’s) first cousins. Edward Marshall White came from what could only be referred to as a “numerous” family, as he had 16 brothers and sisters, of whom 14 survived to adulthood. None of his sisters married, so there were 6 Misses White who had come to vist “Maria and the little lady”, Charlotte, Emily, Louisa Harriet, Maria Caroline, Sarah Ann, and Augusta Matilda. They seem to have shared a house at 6, College Place, Brighton.
19. Coram St. is not far from Regent’s Park in London.
20. Henry’s sister, Maria, whose daughter, Caroline, would have been about 18 months old.
21. ACG Thomas Gem.
22. Louisa’s daughter, Louisa Maria Drake.
23. Frances Isabella (Fanny) Duberly (née Locke).
24. Both Henry and Louisa have mentioned a Mr. Griffin before. Henry writes of Mr. George Griffin, Paymaster of the 97th Regiment; and Louisa mentioned Lieutenant Frederick Cockburn Griffin, Royal Artillery.

Drake Letters Index 92. Louisa to Maria Drake 11 February 1856 ◄ ● ► 94. Trewman's Exeter Flying Post 21 February 1856