British Army Officer and holder of the Victoria Cross.
ALS. 7pp. 23 Devonshire Place, W. 9th September [no year]. To [William] Woodall. Together with fine portrait photograph.
"Your letter has given me more pleasure than I can express. In former days the civil side of the War Office even when appreciative of the martial or social qualities of the soldiers employed in Pall Mall never dreamt of trusting them with more than very small sums. The allotting to soldiers of large financial responsibilities was at least so far as I am concerned first brought into force when you assisted the Secretary of State, and your warm congratulations are therefore doubly gratifying to me. I do not know how nearly I missed being Adjutant-General but the question was balanced for some time. Personally, I am very sorry to loose Buller and Haliburton. Knox who is very able will probably change his bent of mind when he moves into Haliburton's room. Hitherto he has as soldiers imagine been rather more intent on economy than on getting efficiency. We have got a very difficult problem. There are 14 battalions more abroad than there are at home and the result is so serious that the question must be faced next Session. With many thanks for your kind letter."
8vo. Approx 7 x 4.5 inches. The 7 page letter has been tipped together at the spine book style. Mounting traces on blank verso of last leaf, else fine. The photograph is a fine 19th century gelatin silver print. It measures approx 5.75 x 4 inches (excluding mount), laid down on card. It shows Sir Evelyn Wood directly facing the camera, his chest bedecked with his many decorations and medals, including the Victoria Cross. There are very slight mounting traces on verso of mount but the photograph is in fine condition.
Both the letter and the photograph are from a 19th century collection made by the radical Liberal M.P., William Woodall. Evelyn Wood had worked with Woodall when the latter had been Surveyor of the Ordnance and subsequently Financial Secretary to the War Office. The reference to Buller and Haliburton made by Evelyn Wood are to Sir Redvers Buller and Sir Arthur Haliburton, respectively Adjutant-General and Under Secretary of State for War. Haliburton was replaced in 1897 by Sir Ralph Knox and Evelyn Wood was promoted to Adjutant-General that year. Clearly, Wood has a somewhat jaundiced view of Sir Ralph. His letter responding to Woodall's congratulations must be dated 1897, the year of his promotion. Sir Evelyn Wood was a remarkable soldier who saw action in several campaigns. He was first recommended for a V.C. in the Crimean war and finally received the decoration following his bravery in the Indian Mutiny.