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Crimean texts

[Transcribed by Megan Stevens]

The Times 26.2.1857 p 10



Sir, —In The Times of yesterday there was a letter headed “Transport in the Crimea”,1 which, with other matter, suggested that “had the Commissariat exercised the same forethought shown in this respect by the officers of the Guards, who kept the horses they had devoted to the purpose I have referred to (conveying supplies &c) at Balaklava, it would not have broken down, as it did, at an early period of the siege”.

The tone of the letter is so gentlemanlike, and so different from most remarks of late made on any subject connected with the Commissariat, that I trust the writer of it will pardon me if I set him right as to the Commissariat Division Transport.

The transport animals of the Light, Second, and Fourth Divisions were kept at Balaklava, and the Commissariat officers started thence early in the morning with their loads, as suggested in the letter. The writer may remember that Balaklava was a small village, affording only limited space for picketing horses, and that objections were strongly urged against keeping a large number there on sanitary grounds.

But, Sir, how can the intelligence of the Commissariat be expected to remain at all times equal to all emergencies (for it is to this department that every duty, not purely military or medical, is in time of war assigned), when we see those officers who were promoted for their zeal and exertions in the Crimea2 now rusting on half pay,3 with small prospect of active employment?

We all feel deeply that in your remarks yesterday on “those special corps which cannot, like regiments of the line, be augmented at discretion, but which require long and careful training” we were not considered worthy of notice, not being even alluded to.

No department requires a more careful training than the Commissariat, none needs a more thorough revision, and none is at this moment more dispirited and dejected.

I am, Sir, your very obedient servant,

Feb. 24.

[Transcriber's notes]
  1. Written by James Fergusson. See t570223a. For further reaction on the tabling of the Tulloch report see 1857/02/18 ERW London Times and 1857/02/19 H London Times.
  2. Henry had been promoted to Deputy Commissary-General on 1 Jan. 1855.
  3. At the time Henry Drake was probably on half pay. In a C.V. prepared by Brig. A.C.F Jackson for William Henry Drake, he states that Henry was 'on half pay about a year' from 8 Aug. 1856.
  4. I am convinced that this letter is written by William Henry Drake. His Journal entry for 24 Feb. 1857 reads: ‘Dined at Village. Evening with Mrs. Stevenson. Saw Russell, 5 Kemp Court. Letter to Times. [My emphasis.] L.M.D. & C.A.D.D. at Concert.’


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