Date: 16 June 1855
Recipient: Grace Fenton
Book: Annie Grace Fenton letter-book, Royal Photographic Society Collection, National Media Museum, Bradford

June 16th 1855

Dear Grace

Not off yet thought making every effort, I got notice that the [Hummalayer?] was to sail the day before yesterday, but the notice only came an hour before she sailed, and I require as yet 4 or 5 days notice. I send everything to 4th division tomorrow to be sold by auction, on Tuesday, or Wednesday & if I sell the van I can take the first vessel that leaves, but if not I must wait for a vessel that goes direct to England, as it would be impossible to tranship all the heavy cases at Constantinople. Since the capture of the Mamelon, & quarries all has been very quiet here. Immense efforts have been made to get guns into the new positions, & every thing is now ready for an attack on all the external defences, the Redan, Malakhoff, Flagstaff fort [&?] I believe that there would have been an attack yesterday, only all the vessels of war had not come back from Kertch. Most likely on Tuesday the affair will come off. No man one seems to doubt of success[.] If the Russians get dispirited they will probably evacuate the South side if they can, after the outside forts are taken. If not they will be completely at our mercy & can make a very short resistance at great cost to themselves.

Meanwhile they are very busy working inside endeavouring no doubt to make us purchase the victory as dearly as possible. I have not seen Edmund for two days, I went down to get him some fruit & waited yesterday for its coming up in order to take it to him, but it never came after I had waited till it was too late to go – I see some of his brother officers every day who let me know how he is. It seems to be the general opinion that he is a very lucky fellow to get hit so slightly & yet enough to keep him out of further risk for 2 or 3 months. His wound is ugly enough but when one thinks of poor Corbett, & the rest of the 88th who fell in that attack one thinks nothing of his arm being drilled through.

You will have heard of the narrow escape of Capt Adye brother of Col Adye to whom I took a parcel. He was showing some men how to fill a shell when I [sic] caught fire, & blew up he escaped death by a miracle for some of the pieces of the shell touched him, but he was frightfully burnt. His coat & wast waistcoat were quite charred & blew off his back. I saw him today frightfully disfigured, his neck, & face all d red, & charred & his hands shrunk, he is coming round however very nicely & very little trace will I believe be left. Sparling is still ill & I am much hindered by it. William has had a bad attack of dysentery but is well again. They are both very anxious to get home, & I shall very very glad to get them away from here as any one in a thoroughly bad state of body living at Balaclava runs great risk of cholera. I hope to get off at in a week’s time at the outside, but it must depend upon others as I cannot get away unless a ship is ready to go[.] Most likely I shall see the fall of Sebastapol within that time. All the generals are here on a council of war this morning. Kisses to my dear bairns & love to yourself from thine