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Drake Letters Index 95. Drake to John and Maria Drake 23 February 1856 ◄ ● ► 97. Louisa to Maria Drake 17 March 1856
The Drake Letters
 
Louisa Drake (Balaklava) - Maria Drake (London), 29 February 1856
  Balaklava
February 29 [1856] 1
 
My dear Mrs. Drake,
 
        I have at last succeeded in finishing a letter to our dear Father, 2 though not without many interruptions, it is nearly dark, but I begin this at once, thinking Captain Bowen may come in the Evening and prevent me, for he often strolls here for tea; he seems pleased at his Ship being kept a little while, for the Black Sea is not a pleasant place in March, I believe he really has to wait till there are sick, for him to take away, we are so very healthy here now, there are only two sick ships, and they have to wait to be filled, can you really imagine that in this very immense Army of so many thousands, there was not one death reported last week, this speaks well for the Climate, which is so changeable, since we last wrote we have had a heavy fall of Snow as deep as the middle of winter, but it is thawing off fast, though it has kept us prisoners since Tuesday, I had a ride on that day, but my horse was so frisky and disagreeable, and the snow and sleet in our faces, all the way home, that it was not a very pleasant ride, but I always drag poor Henry out, either to walk or ride, whenever I can, to make him think of other than Office affairs; for he has much to employ his thoughts just now; tho' being made a C.B. has put him in great spirits, and given him something agreeable to dwell upon. Sir George 3 is still at Constantinople, says he shall return soon, but appears to be in the same bad health and spirits, I sincerely hope he will get over it, as we expect to be here such a short time now. We heard this morning that an Armistice was to be arranged today, and our neighbor the Sardinian Commandant 4 who was here this afternoon, said our Admirals and the Generals had gone to the Tractir [sic] Bridge this afternoon, to arrange it, but really in Balaklava you know nothing and often hear much more than you can believe, those who tell you these things, on repeating what they hear, however, Henry told me there was something going on at the Tractir [sic] Bridge at ten o'clock this morning, so we hope soon to hear no more heavy guns, the plain is in such a muddy state that it was not possible to ride and see for yourself, very often, the first we know of anything happening here, we read in the English Papers. [written across the page] I very seldom read any papers, but the Illustrated, but am now obliged to become a Times reader, to know the news of the day. We think Mr. Weir 5 very fortunate in getting so nice a Station as Halifax, but if Henry could get Gibraltar it would please us much better I think; 6 such a nice short distance from England where I think you and Grandpapa 7 might pay us a visit, Henry has often talked of Gibraltar as a Station, but I tell him he is so fond of building Castles, however now his of the C.B.-ship is really come to pass, I suppose I must say no more about his dreams. We are in a sad mess now, having our Kitchen fire place, made a little more English and useful, it really smoked most fearfully, and was most tormenting, Miss Lou told a gentleman that I kept a Turk to wipe my eyes while making pies &c., but without joking the smoke of green wood always made me cry most miserably, yesterday morning Captn. Kreuger [sic] 8 who had just come from Baltshik, asked me when I would like to have a Sucking Pig, he had brought for me, tho Louisa asked him if he could not cook it for us too, so at six last evening poor Pig arrived with a beautiful dish of Potatoes, the Ship’s Cook coming to see [if it was] all right; I have not seen the Capt. to thank him; for he is off for Sinope tonight, but this shows you how kind people are to us, and after thinking of our wants, there is no fear of our starving, yesterday Mr. Midwood 9 sent me a fine Ham, which we immediately cut to have a piece for breakfast, which Henry enjoyed with nice fresh eggs. Having finished my page on eating, I must close this scrawl with kind love to all, and believe me,
 
Ever Your Affecte. Daughter
Louisa Drake


 
WH Drake Journal
 

Mch. 11. Dull but fine, blowing first. C.B.’s get their Decoration from Her Majesty but to buy ribbon and fastening, Hunt & Roskill. 10 Mail of the 25th Feb. arrived. Rode to Head Quarters with Sir G. M. Met Sir John Hall, saw Mil. Secy., Chief of Staff, Adjt. Genl. & Q.M. Genl. The General sent for me confidentially &c. Telegraph to 6 March received. Sir G. M. Hay [sp?].
 
Mch. 12. Sir G. M. very ill, in bed spent great party of day.
 
March 17. Cold, high breeze North East. Plenty of Ice. Went to Head Quarters about Sir G. Maclean’s health, he in bed all day. Sir J. Hall saw Sir G. M. after which Sir G. sent me to Head Qrs. to say he wished to go home as recommended by Sir W. Codrington & Sir J. H. Therm. 13° night.

 
 
© COPYRIGHT MEGAN STEVENS 2015 —
Footnotes
 
1. Private family manuscript (Judith Hall and Sally Mac, Auckland, New Zealand).
 
2. Henry’s father, retired CG John Drake.
 
3. CG Sir George Maclean.
 
4. General Alfonso Ferrero De la Marmora.
 
5. DCG Thomas Christie Bartrum Weir.
 
6. Henry was posted to Gibraltar as DCG from 27 April 1858 till 21 June 1859.
 
7. Louisa’s father-in-law, John Drake.
 
8. Captain Kruger, of the steamer Lion, was from Hull. [Richard Cunningham McCormick, A Visit to the Camp Before Sevastopol, 1855, p. 128,
https://archive.org/details/visittocampbefor00mcco, accessed 30 April 2015.
 
9. ACG Thomas Wroot Midwood.
 
10. Hunt and Roskell were formerly Storr, Mortimer & Hunt, and were situated at New Bond Street, London –
http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/search_the_collection_database/term_details.aspx?bioId=85240, accessed 30 April 2015.
 
 
 

 
© COPYRIGHT MEGAN STEVENS 2015 —
Drake Letters Index 95. Drake to John and Maria Drake 23 February 1856 ◄ ● ► 97. Louisa to Maria Drake 17 March 1856