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London and New Brunswick ◄ ● ► Balaklava and the Crimean Peninsular

By this time, the rumblings of war against Russia in the Crimea were getting louder. Henry’s stay in London was therefore very short. On 20 May 1854 he boarded the steamer Orinoco, to join the “Eastern Army,” for what was to become the Crimean War. 1

His sister, Charlotte Augusta Drake, had the unenviable task of letting Louisa Drake and her three daughters know that Henry would not be there to meet them in London when they arrived from Canada. Charlotte Augusta wrote from her parents’ house at 27 Park Village East, Regent’s Park, on 29 May 1854, saying:

Henry was ordered away very suddenly and left England last Saturday week the 20th in the “Orinoco” Steamer with the 97th Regiment (for Greece we believe, but) they sailed under Sealed orders to be opened off Gibraltar, from whence he will write to us – this news dear Louisa will be a very great disappointment to you, and the thoughts of your disappointment has added greatly to our own, for we made ourselves quite sure of his remaining some time in England after he was put down in the Army List “London” – however it is useless to repine for those things which cannot be helped and after all our dear Henry went out under more favorable circumstances than if he had been sent to the Baltic which he expected and a much pleasanter Service and climate, Mr. Weir 2  who is a friend of ours of many years standing & knew Henry intimately in Barbados will be his Chief & joins the expedition at Malta, the Regiment selected for this Service is also one he knows & esteems – the 97th. 3    his short stay in London has certainly improved his standing at the Treasury, giving Sir Charles 4  an opportunity of becoming personally aware of his abilities – We received a few lines from Henry after he got on board, he had a Cabin to himself, which was a great comfort in a crowded ship … Henry took an unfurnished 5  from Midsummer, he had calculated that you would not arrive before the 20th June, in which case I was to have furnished it ready for you, but he left me to do whatever I thought best & I have decided that it will be best for you to have a lodging first, …” She added, “I have taken the same lodging 6  for you that Henry had, or rather where he had a bedroom – it is very small but clean & respectable; very near us, and close by your new house   a small drawing room in front   the back drawing room is a bed room & another bed room over the front drawing room, £1”4”–a week, I have taken it from Monday June 5th but it is quite ready for you if you arrive before … We shall do our best dear Louisa to welcome you, I hope you really will consider your husband’s family as your own, for we always think of you & love you as one of our own, & I sincerely trust a very few days will bring you safe & well to us. Papa 7  & Mama 8  desire their very kindest love to you all. Tomorrow will be Laura’s 9  birthday, we shall not forget it.”

On 1 June 1854, writing on board the Orinoco, Henry mused in his Journal about his family, saying, “Laura’s birthday. Where are they? At sea also?”

I covered Henry Drake’s time during the Crimean War in some detail in my thesis, so I will not repeat it here. There are, however, some occurrences which make interesting reading.


In Piræus, where the Orinoco docked on 4 June 1854, Henry had to deal with the British Vice-Consul, James Black, about supplies for the Army. Henry had occasion to meet James Black’s wife, Theresa, saying:

called on Mrs. Black, Lord Byron’s Maid of Athens now a respectable elderly Matron just like any French or Spanish lady of same age   Her daughter Miss [Caroline] Black is a very pretty girl  Speaks good English but with a slight foreign accent   Mrs. B. speaks only Greek & Italian – But tho’ Miss is pretty enough to be the Maid of the Piræus where they have resided 6 years the charm of the dress is gone. She dresses just a la mode Anglaise.

Henry’s association with the Blacks continued, and on 11 July he wrote from Piræus to his wife, Louisa, saying:

Poor Mr. Black (Mrs. B the Maid of Athens) lost his eldest son [Frederick Procopius Black] this morning of typhus fever   He had been for some time past in H.M. Steamer Triton 10  as Interpreter at Volo & was brought in by her, ill, very ill on Sunday night – He is to be buried tomorrow morning at 8   We shall go  the Rev. Dr. Hill 11  who is to perform the service will breakfast with us. The Blacks have been very civil to us   He is our great Contractor for Bread Meat Wood & Forage

Henry did indeed attend Frederick Black’s funeral the next day, and wrote to Louisa saying:

I went this morning to the Funeral, I cannot now send you a description of it, as I do not feel equal to it – It has brought associations too painfully before me

He was more forthright in his Journal entry of 12 July, writing:

Up before 6. Mr. Hill breakfasted with us at 7, & we went to the funeral of Mr. Black’s son. 12  A very numerous assemblage of people, of Mr. B.’s family, the sons are Protestants, & the ladies of the Greek Church. Mr. Sydney Locock, 13  Atte. [Attache of Embassy?], went with us. Went up to sitting room, the Body was laid out on a stretcher covered with White Cloth, & covered with real & artificial Flowers. The Mother, Sister, Aunts, relations, & Friends sitting around, mourning, the Mother & Sister incessantly calling aloud the name of the deceased, coupled with endearing epithets & sentences. As I went in (& I observed the same with several well known friends), the Mother addressed me personally in Italian, “Signor Commissario”. I crossed the room to her, & after shaking hands with her, left. Poor thing, she was no doubt in deep distress at thus losing her first born in his earliest manhood. He seems to have been good looking & good tempered, characteristics of his Family, to have been master of English, French, Greek, Italian, Russian, & Turkish. Soon after I left the room, the body was placed in a handsome Coffin. Before this, it looked to me as if he had died painfully, & left in the position in which he died – decomposition is so rapid in this country, that although he had died not 24 hours since, the effusium was already unpleasant as the body was conveyed down the stairs & out of the house. The Mother & Sister, with their friends, rushed into the balcony overhanging the street, and commenced anew their plaintive cries. Poor Mr. Black contained himself well. The Band of the 97th accompanied the funeral, at the special request of the family, & it appears that a band forms part of every respectable Greek funeral. Mr. Hill read the service. It is the first funeral I have been at, since poor little Emily. I thought of her, & of my poor dear wife all the time & could hardly hold up, & since I have been home, I have cried like a child. Why should my sorrow for the dear child be renewed this day in particular. It must have been the most impressive of our services, that of Burial. For often, as I think of her departure, & of the gloomy hour of her burial, it perhaps has not been in connexion with the words of the Service. Today I felt them, as if I were burying her again. The Lord gave, & the Lord hath taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord. And as we have borne the image of the earthly, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. Thou knowest, O Lord, the secrets of our heart. O Holy & merciful Savior, Suffer us not at our last hour for any pain of death to fall from Thee. Dust to Dust. Amen. Mr. Merlin, 14  Vice Consul, Mr. Locock, & Mr. Green, 15  attached to the Embassy, the Rev. Mr. Arnold, 16  & Rev. Mr. Bush 17  came to our house.

Another memorable event from Henry’s time in Piræus was “a banquet to the French and English officers of the army of occupation, and also to the naval officers of the two powers, and to those of the Austrian navy, on the 22nd [June.] A hundred officers of the Greek army, or the ancient Philhellenic army, were remarked there. The banquet was given in the Acropolis, at the Parthenon.” 18

Acropolis Dinner

Fete to officers of the English and French forces, and the Greek Army and Navy, in the Acropolis at Athens.
Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation

Henry also attended this feast, and described it to his family as follows:

22nd June after closing my Letter Weir, 19  Archer 20  & I took a Cab to Athens took our Uniforms dressed at the Hotel D’Angleterre & went to a grand festival, it cannot be called a mere dinner, given by the Greek Minister of War to the French English & Greek Military & Naval   There were nearly 300 invited & present – It took place in the ruins of the Parthenon, on the Acropolis – the most celebrated ruin of Athens – The Greek Officers Regular Army were in their uniforms, Light Blue & Dark Blue & Silver & Green & Silver – the Greek irregulars in the true Greek costumes some of them very handsome, covered with Gold or Silver embroidery and lace – The Allies were of course in full dress – The French General led his Officers & Col. Lockyer preceded us we were all introduced – Field Officers & Staff singly the Regimentals en masse to General, Count Kalergi 21  (the Host) we sat down to dinner  I at a side table but I was hauled up to the Grand centre Kalergi sat in the middle. French Genl. Mayran 22  on his right Col. Lockyer 23  on his left – I sat three from opposite Kalergi (principally I think because I spoke French & had already made acquaintance with Sundry Greeks who turn out to be Generals!! Colonels!! &c. – all great grandees – I sat next to General Mavromichalis (Black Mike!) 24  whose Brother 25  assassinated Capo D’Istri, 26  the President of the Republic before they made Otho 27  King – Opposite was Col: Pittakys [sic] 28  conservator of Antiquities whom I mentioned in my former letter, both Great men, the former politically, the latter scientifically – The General & I got on very amicably I told him who the strangers were & something of English & French habits – & he did the same for me as regards the Greeks – Mr. Pyttakis [sic] introduced us & I had an invite to the Genl.’s House when I go to Athens

After feeding we promenaded the ruins & as Mr. Pyttakis [sic] took me under his wing I was rather lionised by the Greeks & was introduced to many among them General Church 29  who with Lord Cochrane 30  was one of the deliverers of Greece   he was very civil – after a time Ladies came up Mde Conditurri Kalergi’s daughter   Mrs. Wyse & Miss Wyse 31  – Sister in law & niece to English Ambassador 32    Baroness Leykam, an English lady, wife of Austrian Amb. with their husbands & many others – I escorted Mde Conditurri about, after the ceremony of our Ambassador having seated her. At night they lit a number of fires in braziers & it was a magnificent sight – we were home by ½ past 11 giving Dr. Downes 33  97th a lift home.

Dimitrios_Kallergis_-_Greek_Officer Major General Lockyer Richard_Church
Dimitrios Kallergis
Public Domain – Wikipedia
Lt. Col. Henry Frederick Lockyer
Roger Fenton: Getty Museum
Richard Church as Greek General
Public Domain – Wikipedia


Jane Digby, Lady Ellenborough

In Piræus too, Henry saw, and commented on, other interesting or controversial people of the time. On 2 July, he noted in his Journal, that he “saw King Otho & Queen Amalie. She is good looking rather embonpoint, they were riding, he in Greek costume. She in a Chapeau de paille. She honored us with a most gracious bow in passing the Hotel.” That same day, he also saw “Grievas, Hadje Pieotro & several of the Patrol leaders or Insurgents as they are called by the respective parties.” He then made a cryptic note, “Mde Theotoki – Lady Ellenborough – Miss Digby”, about one of the most controversial women of the era, who, at that time, was having an affair with Christodoulos Chatzipetros. Mary S. Lovell wrote an interesting biography of Jane Digby, called A Scandalous Life (1998), which gives a good idea of the views of the Victorian era.

Then, cholera broke out “with sudden and fearful violence” in Piræus. 34  Henry, and others, boarded the French Mail Steamer Nil, and left for Varna on 22 July. Henry wasn’t happy with the accommodation given to him, so he threw his weight about, and managed to secure a better berth. He wrote to Louisa on 28 July, saying:

I got on board the French Steamer “Nil” (Nile) & we left Piræus soon after noon that day – She had on board a number of French Officers – Engineers Artillery Line, Hussars, and Doctors Commissaries & to crown all four French Spies going out to the Army   There were also two or three French ladies going to join their husbands at Constantinople – I had some trouble in getting a Berth & only that I blustered a little I should have been palmed off in to a Second Class berth with another person – but I threatened to go on board to “Gomer” & ask my Friend Admiral De Tinan to send an Officer on board to see that I got what was right, this had the desired effect & there being no berth unoccupied & they did not wish to inconvenience the Officers, they gave me the Ladies Cabin which being the best place in the Vessel handsomely fitted up looking glasses, piano & velvet easy chairs & Sofas I graciously assented to & grumbled no more


Henry now started numbering his letters, starting at Varna on 4 August. He was disgruntled, saying to Louisa:

Varna is a wretched place dirty & disagreeable – Our Offices, for we have Several all rotten old buildings everyone is overworked and many have knocked up.

His billet was equally disagreeable. He wrote:

I am writing on a Camp Table i.e. a rough board on three unequal legs & my Seat an old candle box. – We live in a house belonging to Omer Pacha  4 Small bedrooms all opening on to a Single Sitting room the Stairs from below opening on it without partition & two flights of 4 Stairs lead to a sort of raised platform & small balcony at one end  the Window consist [sic] of 4 panes glass  Window  it is innocent of any paint – below is the Entrance below with Kitchen & Stable the latter just under my room   L Routh 35  – Carpenter, 36  Power, 37  Hawkins 38  & I am living here – no rent – 3 camp tables 3 camp Stools sundry boxes

Henry expanded about his living conditions in his next letter of 10 August:

I am doing what I always told you I would do for my Promotion – I work early & late from 6 A.M. to 7 & 8 P.M. – & really work very hard both actively & in writing & I assure you it is no joke as we have no comfortable home to fall back on – bare Walls – I have neither bedstead Washstand Chair or table – Bed on the Floor (no sheets, Bugs, Fleas, Flies & Cockroaches) my Seat a box my Table a larger box my Wash stand, a nitch in the wall – much glass broken in the Windows – Carpenter, Routh, Hawkins & I live together – Uniacke 39  will probably join us as he is coming in from his Division – replaced by Power – We have a table to eat on & Knives forks Spoons & plates (those I brought principally & some Routh has – We generally get tea sugar Eggs & sometimes meat for Breakfast – Milk sometimes, butter never – Dinner we have boiled macaroni (no cheese) meat bread and sometimes Potatoes. – Seldom touch wine & little Brandy but console ourselves with a Cask of Ale one out of the Store sent for officers at 4p. qt.

Even in Varna, cholera was rife. 40  On 7 August Henry noted in his Journal, “Cholera still making great havoc among all classes.”

A few days later, on the 10th, chaos erupted in the camp at Varna as a fire broke out. Henry wrote to Louisa at 5.30am on 11 August, saying:

At about 8 OCk. last night a fire broke out in the vicinity of the Turkish Powder Magazine it raged furiously burning all before it Thousands of Troops out, the crews of every Ship in the Bay – it was stopped near the Magazine by our Sappers blowing up a house which should have been done much earlier it then burnt away towards the French Magazine where a large quantity of Powder & Shells are and for three hours or so it was doubtful whether Varna would be a heap of ruins or not – at last it was turned rather than got under & we were not blown up Half the Town is burnt all the business part of our forage Corn Store with some millions pounds Barley, & some biscuit – We have plenty Barley but Biscuit we cannot afford to lose  Loss of course not yet ascertained – The [Commissariat] Money was Carted out to a Camp about 2 miles out   I went out & returned – A St. John 41  fire was not to be compared with this especially with the idea of being blown up – I met several French Officers with whom I was acquainted hard at work in fact every Officer worked hard & men too – About 30 lives were lost, many from men getting drunk & falling into the fire – Some Greeks were taken actually setting light to bundles of rags [sp?] with Matches in the Neighbourhood of the Magazine   The 38th brought one to me having just caught him, he was taken to the Main Guard. The French Zouaves stabbed two or three they caught under similar circumstances


William Howard Russell
Roger Fenton: Library of Congress

Henry doesn’t mention this, but not long after, the Times reported that “Two Russian agents who set Varna on fire have been arrested.” 42

It was in Varna that Henry first met William Howard Russell, correspondent for the Times, a relationship which lasted beyond the Crimean War. On 26 August Henry noted that he’d received a letter from “Mr. Russell Times Correspondent” about his rations.

After a month in Varna, Henry and others were ordered to embark on board the Hope on 4 September. They were on their way to Balaklava, on the Crimean peninsula, where Henry was to be stationed until the end of the war.

London and New Brunswick ◄ ● ► Balaklava and the Crimean Peninsular


1. “THE CIVIL SERVICE. – Deputy-Commissary-Gene-.” Times [London, England] 20 May 1854: 9. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 14 July 2012.

2. DCG Thomas Christie Bartrum Weir (died 1889).
DEATHS. WEIR. – On the 14th inst., at Folkestone, Thomas Christie Bartram Weir, Esq., commissary-general, son of John Weir, younger, of Hawksland, Lanarkshire. [“Births, Deaths, Marriages and Obituaries.” Morning Post [London, England] 17 Aug. 1889: [1]. 19th Century British Newspapers. Web. 13 Oct. 2015.]

3. The 97th (The Earl of Ulster’s) Regiment of Foot returned from Nova Scotia on 19 May 1853. [The new annual army list, and militia list, for 1854, by Major H. G. Hart, (London: John Murray, 1854), p. 249.]

4. Sir Charles Trevelyan (1807-1886).

5. Henry leased the house, 1 Gloucester Place, London (W1), for 12 months. Gloucester place runs between Park Rd. and Seymour St., and is situated near Regent’s Park.

6. The lodging was situated at 28 Park St., London (W1). Park St. runs between Oxford Rd. and Park Lane, and is situated near Hyde Park. The proprietor of the lodging was Mrs. Wood.

7. CG John Drake.

8. Maria Drake (née Story).

9. Laura Drake (born 1 June 1843, Perth, Western Australia). This was her 11thbirthday.

10. Triton, 3, st.-ves., Lieut.-Com. A. D. W. Fletcher, 1845, Mediterranean. [“Royal Navy in commission”, Colburn’s united service magazine, Pt. 1, (London, 1855), p. 150.]

11. American Missionary & Chaplain to the Embassy at Athens, Rev. Dr. John Henry Hill (1791-1882).  

12. Frederick Procopius Black.

13. Sidney Locock (1834-1885), son-in-law of Rev. Jonas King (1792-1869), of Athens. 

14. Charles Louis William Merlin (1821-1896), British Vice-Consul for Athens.

15. John Green – see, accessed 4 May 2015.

16. Rev. Albert Nicholas Arnold (1814-1883), Baptist minister at Piræus. 

17. On 10 June 1854, Henry noted in his Journal that Rev. Mr. Bush was a German from New York.

18. “LATEST FROM ABROAD.” Daily News [London, England] 11 July 1854: n.p. British Library Newspapers. Web. 24 Aug. 2017. See also”Military Fete at Athens.” Illustrated London News [London, England] 15 July 1854: 26+. The Illustrated London News Historical Archive, 1842-2003. Web. 24 Aug. 2017.

19. DCG Thomas Christie Bartram Weir (died 1889).
DEATHS. WEIR. – On the 14th inst., at Folkestone, Thomas Christie Bartram Weir, Esq., commissary-general, son of John Weir, younger, of Hawksland, Lanarkshire. [“Births, Deaths, Marriages and Obituaries.” Morning Post [London, England] 17 Aug. 1889: [1]. 19th Century British Newspapers. Web. 13 Oct. 2015.]

20. ACG William Spearman Archer (1815-1891).

21. Gen. Count Demetrios Kalergis (1803-1867).

22. Gen. Joseph-Décius-Nicolas Mayran (1802-1855). 

23. Lt. Col. Henry Frederick Lockyer (1796-1860), 97th Regiment.  

24. Possibly Tzanis Mavromichalis.

25. Konstantinos Mavromichalis (1797-1831).

26. Count Ioánnis Antónios Kapodistrias, the first president of the Greek republic, was assasinated in 1831.            

27. Otho I (1815-1867), King of Greece.

28. Col. Kyriakos Pittakis (1798-1863) was Greece’s first General Keeper of Antiquities. 

29. Gen. Sir Richard Church (1784-1873), British army officer in Greek service.                

30. Adm. Thomas Cochrane (1775-1860), 10th Earl of Dundonald.        

31. Winifred Mary Wyse (1823-1908).
DEATHS. WYSE. – On the 15th April, 1908, at Brompton-square, London, WINIFRED MARY, daughter of the late George Wyse, Esq., and niece of the late Right Hon. Sir Thomas Wyse, K.C.B., of the Manor of St. John’s, Waterford, in the 87th year of her age. R.I.P. [“Deaths.” Times [London, England] 23 Apr. 1908: 1. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 21 Aug. 2017.]

32. Sir Thomas Wyse (1791-1862).  Also here.

33. Dr. Henry Downes (1818-1894), 97th Regiment. –TIVERTON. The death occurred at his residence, Springfield, Tiverton, on Saturday evening of Dr. Henry Downes, M.D., L.R.C.S. (Edin.), at the age of 74. Bronchitis was the cause of death. Deceased graduated at Edinburgh in 1839, and was for 22 years Deputy Inspector General of Hospitals in Hampshire. In 1869 Mr. Downes came to Tiverton; he retired from practice 15 years ago. He leaves one daughter, Mrs. Carpenter, who resides near London. [“Tiverton.” Western Times [Exeter, England] 1 May 1894: 8. British Library Newspapers. Web. 26 Aug. 2017.]

34. “FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE.” John Bull [London, England] 5 Aug. 1854: n.p. 19th Century UK Periodicals. Web. 22 Aug. 2017.

35. ACG Leonce Routh (1820-1905).
DEATHS. ROUTH. – On the 18th Aug., 1905, at his residence, 33, Beverley-road, Anerley, S.E., Commissary-General Lèonce Routh, eldest surviving son of the late Sir Randolph Routh, K.C.B., in his 86th year. [“Deaths.” Times [London, England] 21 Aug. 1905: 1. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 18 July 2012.]

36. ACG Frederick Stanley Carpenter (1817-1890). 

37. DACG William James Tyrone Power (1819-1911).
SIR WILLIAM TYRONE POWER. Sir William Tyrone Power died on Monday night at Kilmure, Tunbridge Wells, at the age of 92. Sir William Power, who came of a Monaghan family, was the son of Mr. Tyrone Power of that county by his wife Anne, daughter of Mr. John Gilbert. He held the position of Commissary-General-in-Chief from 1863 to 1869, when he became Director of Supplies and Transport. He served in China in 1843 and in 1857-8 and received the medal. He also received decorations for service in New Zealand (1846-7), the Kaffir War (1851-3), the Crimea (1854-6), and Canada (1861). In 1876 he was appointed Agent-General for New Zealand. He received the K.C.B. in 1865. Sir William Power married in 1859 Martha, daughter of Dr. John Moorhead, of Armaghmakerigg [sic] House, Co. Monaghan. She died in 1890. [“Sir Willlam Tyrone Power.” Times [London, England] 26 July 1911: 11. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 12 July 2012.]

38. DACG Villiers William Cæsar Hawkins (1824-1909).

39. DACG Redmond C. Uniacke (~1818-1910).
MR. REDMOND UNIACKE. The death is announced from Monkstown, county Cork, of Mr. Redmond Uniacke, Commissary-General (retired), in his 93rd year. Mr. Redmond Uniacke was the eldest son of the late General Richard Uniacke, Royal Irish Artillery, of Seaview, county Cork, by his marriage with Judith, daughter of Mr. Redmond Uniacke, of Old Court, county Cork; and a grandson of Colonel Robert Uniacke, of the 58th Regiment, who served at the siege of Gibraltar and in the Irish Rebellion of 1798. [“Mr. Redmond Uniacke.” Times [London, England] 29 Sept. 1910: 13. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 12 July 2012.]

40. “War with Russia.” Hertford Mercury and Reformer [Hertford, England] 12 Aug. 1854: 2. British Library Newspapers. Web. 23 Aug. 2017.]

41. St. John, New Brunswick, Canada, where Henry and his family were stationed from 1850 to 1854.

42. “Latest Intelligence.”Times [London, England] 26 Aug. 1854: 7. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 24 Aug. 2017.

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