Balaklava, Kertch and the spoils of war
The first letter Henry wrote to Louisa following his arrival in Balaklava contains the sketch in the banner showing the layout of the town and its harbour. The painting below it by William Simpson provides a better view of what Balaklava was like.
Henry’s letters and Journal at this time contain interesting descriptions of his domestic arrangements. He talks of his accommodation, his furnishings and his servants.
He mentions ongoing contact with William Howard Russell of the Times.
He also starts raising with Louisa the possibility of her coming out to the Crimea while leaving the younger girls in England to continue their education.
On 14 November 1854 he writes to Louisa to describe “One of the most miserable & wretched days.” This was the hurricane that destroyed and damaged many ships in and near Balaklava harbour and caused the loss of significant amounts of food, clothing and equipment just at the beginning of winter.
Henry worked and waited through the winter and in April 1855 heard that Louisa and their daughter Louisa Maria would leave Southampton at the end of the month. They arrived on 18 May, just in time to accompany Henry on the expedition to capture Kertch along with William Howard Russell and William Simpson.
The upper centre image in the banner is Simpson’s depiction of the burning of Kertch. The image below it, also by Simpson, shows the battleship HMS Agamemnon and the steamer Hope passing by Prince Woronzoff’s Palace near Yalta on the return voyage. The Drakes were onboard the Hope so would have enjoyed this view.
Not long after they returned, the British Commanding Officer, Lord Raglan, died. Henry was called on to provide lead for the coffin so that Raglan’s body could be returned to England. Louisa and Louisa Maria went to view the funeral procession which is depicted in the lithograph by William Simpson.
The cannon stands outside Ely Cathedral in Cambridgeshire and was one of those captured by the Allies and distributed by the Commission Mixte of which Henry was a member.
The new sections I have added are:
©Megan Stevens 2018