Listing of All Cossack Formations1812. Part I.
A Complete Listing of All Cossack Formations in 1812.
By Dr. Frhr. von Baumgartner
with 8 pictures by Rudolf Trache after contemporary originals.
(Translation of “Vollständiges Verzeichnis aller Kosaken-Formationen 1812,” by Dr. Freiherr von Baumgartner, in Zeitschrift für Heeres- und Uniformkunde, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Heereskunde, 1943/II, Nr. 124/125, August 1943, pages 33-55.)
During the campaign year of 1812 there were about three times as many mounted cossack regiments in the Russian army as regular cavalry regiments, and in total they counted twice as many combatants in their ranks. However, nowhere in the sources does one find a detailed or even approximately complete enumeration of all of those forces that at the time were designated as irregular or cossacks. The reasons for that are manifold. Foremost is the fact that what is meant by the terms irregular and cossack is not well defined. That both these designations were treated in the Russian army at the time as synonymous leads to errors, since while all cossacks were irregulars (the small number of guards cossacks excepted), the reverse was not true. Furthermore, at the time a number of completely regular units were counted as irregulars and thus designated cossacks although they were in truth neither. This lack of clarity was also reflected in contemporary Russian troop returns, when many units were sometimes tallied under the heading of regular forces and at other times under that of cossacks.
In the narrow sense of the word, only those troops can claim to be cossacks that were raised by cossack communities. These were given directions as to the number of men to raise as well as their organization. Since cossacks had the privilege of raising their troops, including officers, as they saw fit, which is to say without coordination with the Russian military authorities, and of arming, clothing, and mounting them out of their own resources, they can rightly be termed irregulars.
Yet already during the eighteenth century mounted regiments had been raised from a number of ethnic nations within the Russian empire, whose organization followed that of cossacks. The raising of the men and the formation of these regiments was done, however, through the Russian military authorities (with one exception). Also, they were mainly commanded by Russian officers, although a certain consideration was practiced by also appointing some native princes and nobles. These regiments were thus true regular formations. But given that the ethnic personnel were in their national costume and served with their own arms and horses, in the Russian army they were always and without exception counted as irregulars and sometimes also falsely labeled cossacks. Only the regiment of Stavropol Kalmucks (or Kalmyks)—who since 1803 possessed cossack-style privileges and therefore raised their regiment on a self-determined basis—was in that respect irregular, even if not a true cossack regiment.
The term cossack tended to be used not only for ethnic national regiments, but also for troops of the mass levy raised in 1812. This resulted from their being only partially uniformed and to a great extent armed with lances, which thus gave them an appearance similar to that of cossacks. While the mass levy's foot units were always indicated as such in contemporary reports, the mounted mass-levy regiments were repeatedly placed among the cossacks. Not only did the name mass-levy cossacks become the usual usage, but a number of units were officially titled as cossack regiments. Some were additionally even organized in the cossack manner. Although the mounted mass levies were thoroughly regular troops, one must consider them cossacks in the broad sense of the word.
The last principle also holds for the few small volunteer corps raised against Napoleon, since in contemporary troop reports these were indeed almost exclusively counted alongside the cossacks.
To conclude, in 1812 in the broad sense of the words one included under the names of irregulars or cossacks:
A) Troops raised by cossack communities,
B) Formations raised from ethnic nationalities,
C) Mounted units of the mass levy,
D) Small volunteer corps raised against Napoleon.
In the following, not only are the formations that took the field against Napoleon assigned to these four groups, but also all those which existed in 1812 in both Europe and Asia.
A) Troops raised by cossack communities.
The old cossack communities that had formed during the course of the 16th century were designated in a political sense as hosts (voiska). In contrast, communities that were later artificially created by the Russian regime were called either a host or in many cases simply a regiment. Also, in Siberia since the 16th century there were small independent cossack groups in towns as well as village settlements (stanitsy) that were called town or settlement commands. Each community had a so-called ataman as its chief.
Since 1799 the ranks for cossack officers had been regulated and made equivalent to army ranks. The rank titles for general officers and field-grade officers were the same as in the army except for the field-grade of voiskovoi starshina (literally, the “host elder”), an old cossack rank approximately equal to lieutenant colonel but placed below that grade and above major. Among company-grade officers the yesaul corresponded to captain, the sotnik to first lieutenant, and the khorunzhii (mostly literally translated as ensign) to second lieutenant or cornet. There were also the quartermaster-adjutant in the rank of a sotnik and the polkovoi pisar' (regimental clerk, also called the kaznachei or cashier) who corresponded to a paymaster but was counted as a combatant.
For non-commissioned officers there was only one rank—the uryadnik (corporal). The non-commissioned officer used for administrative work, called a pisar', had the same rank and was also counted as a combatant. A desyatnik (decurion), also called a prikaznyi kazak (command-giving cossack) or simply prikaznik, was between a private soldier and a non-commissioned officer. An officer's servant was called a putzer.
A cossack regiment was normally divided into five sotnias (centuries) with the following regulation strength: 1 general or field-grade officer as commander, 1 quartermaster-adjutant, 1 paymaster, and 2 non-commissioned officers (pisarya) formed the staff. Each of the five sotnias consisted of 1 yesaul, 1 sotnik, 1 khorunzhii, 4 non-commissioned officers (uryadniks), 10 prikazniks, and 100 cossack privates. For the regimental commander 1 putzer was authorized. This was not only the only officer's servant, but also the regiment's sole noncombatant! The entire regiment thus numbered 18 officers, 22 non-commissioned officers, 50 prikazniki, 500 privates, and 1 noncombatant, or 591 persons in all. At the beginning of the year only 10 non-commissioned officers in all had been authorized for each regiment, but around April this number was raised to the 22 indicated above. If a second field-grade officer was assigned to a regiment, which for example was the case for about a third of all Don regiments, then he took the place of a yesaul as commander of the 5th (left-flank) Sotnia, while the 1st (right-flank) Sotnia to a certain extent was the regimental commander's own sotnia.
For armament all cossacks were prescribed: lance (not for non-commissioned officers), saber, and 2 pistols. Furthermore, each sotnia had muskets for 11 cossacks trained as marksmen. In 1812 there were at first not enough firearms, and the shortage was made good during the campaign by using captured weapons. A uniform was at that time prescribed only for hosts (Don, Ural, Orenburg, Bug, and Siberian) but was only partially worn. All other cossacks served in their national dress. Instead of spurs, which no cossack wore (except in the guards), a leather riding whip called a kamchu or nogaika was used, without which no cossack would mount his horse. To be sure, officers could don spurs, but made little use of them. There was no supply train and only the regimental commander had the right to bring a private wagon. For this purpose each cossack could have a second horse as a pack animal. Before the start of the war, however, the number of authorized pack horses for which fodder would be provided was reduced to one for every five riding horses. At that time there were no musicians in any true cossack unit (the guard excepted). The flags which some hosts possessed did not have the character of official army standards apart from a St.-George flag held by the Sysoev 3rd's Don Regiment.
A mounted cossack battery (officially called a horse-artillery company) counted 12 light cannons, the so-called unicorns (6 horses), with 2 ammunition caissons (3 horses) for each gun. Each battery also had 2 reserve gun carriages. There were authorized, in so far as this could be achieved, 8 officers including 1 field-grade officer as commander, 25 non-commissiond officers, 255 privates (75 of whom were riding gunners), and 1 officer's servant. Thus there were 289 men. Twenty train horses were supposed to be on hand, but it is an open question whether these were led as pack animals or in harness. No trumpeters! The rank titles for officers and non-commissioned officers were not in the cossack style, but the same as in the army.
The following formations were raised by individual cossack communities:
1. Don Host (formed about 1550).
a) One Life-Guards Regiment (raised 1798) of 3 squadrons, commander Major General Graf Orlov-Denisov. Counted as part of the regular guards cavalry, and so organized in regard to staff, squadrons, and train, with the men always uniformed and armed according to regulation (at government expense), the rank titles of officers and non-commissioned officers the same as in the army. Also, this was the only true cossack regiment with a trumpeter, and likewise the men wore spurs in accordance with regulations. No flags! The prescribed strength of a squadron was 6 officers (inluding one field-grade officer as commander), 1 sergeant [vakhmistr], 12 non-commissioned officers (including 2 trumpeters), and 160 guard cossacks (including 16 marksmen with muskets). The staff consisted of 4 officers (including 1 major general as commander) and 1 staff-trumpeter (a sergeant). The combat strength of the regiment was thus 542 men. Noncombatants (administration, medical, veterinary, train, and officers' servants) amounted to about 43 men with at least 9 wagons (exclusive of the officers' train!). The total strength was thus some 585 men.
b) 86 mounted regiments of 5 sotnias. Only 60 regiments were required, but in 1812 a further 26 were voluntarily raised (denoted by *) below), of which 2 reached the army at the beginning of the war and the remaining 24 in October.
The regiments were named after their commanders at the time, who were always a general or field-grade officer of the Don Host. When the regimental commander changed, so did the name of the regiment. If for some reason a new commander was not immediately assigned, the regiment in the meantime kept the name of its last commander with addition of the “formerly” or “temporarily.” When the commander was absent for only a short time and the regiment was commanded by another officer (sometimes one from the regular army), it nevertheless retained its name. It was a peculiarity of the Don Host that as each regiment (except for the Guard and Ataman regiments and the artillery) ended the 10 to 12 years of active service that was the norm at that time, it was replaced by a regiment newly raised from men throughout the entire Don territory, and was itself disbanded. Only the officers, insofar as they were not leaving active duty, received reassignments to new units. In this way a commander of a disbanded regiment could later take over a newly raised regiment. The latter carried the same name as the previous regiment, now disbanded, although they were in no way the same units. Since for the most part several members of the same family served as officers at the same time, for the purpose of distinguishing them they were (as in the army) assigned an identifying number. One exception to the regimental naming convention as described was the so-called Ataman Regiment, which formed a guard unit for the chief commander of the Don Host at the time and always kept the designation “Ataman” without changes.
The regiments in existence on 1 November 1812 were as follows, in alphabetical order (name changes before or after this date are added in parentheses):
Ataman Regiment (raised 1798). Commander – the ataman, General-of-Cavalry Graf Platov, but in practice commanded by Major General Kuteinikov 2. Unlike other regiments, this unit not only continuously received replacements, but was documented as having an increased strength. For each sotnia this appears to be 4 officers, 10 non-commissioned officers (probably only 5 before April), 160 privates (including 16 marksmen with muskets). Total authorized strength with staff and 2(?) servants: 879 men.
Voisk. Starsh. Ageev 2nd's (stationed in Georgia); Voisk. Starsh. Ageev 3rd's (Caucasus); *) Col. Andreyanov 1st's; Lt. Col. Andreyanov 2nd's; *) Voisk. Starsh. Andreyanov 3rd's; Lt. Col. Arakantsov 2nd's (Caucasus); Lt. Col. Astakhov 4th's (Moldavia).
Formerly Lt. Col. Balabin 1st's (commanded by Yesaul Polyakov, in Georgia); Lt. Col. Barabanshchikov 2nd's; *) Col. Bikhalov 1st's (joined the army at the beginning of the war); *) Voisk. Starsh. Belogorodtsev's (by the end of the year commanded by Voisk. Starsh. Gorin 1st).
*) Col. Chernozubov 4th's; (Voisk. Starsh. 5th's – see Grekov 2nd); Lt. Col. Chernozubov 8th's (until 27 June Lt. Col. Gordeev 1st's, then until 5 Sept. Maj. Gen. Krasnov 1st's); Lt. Col. Chikilev's (voisk. starsh. until 12 Oct.).
Maj. Danilov 1st's (Georgia); *) Maj. Danilov 2nd's; (Maj. Gen. Denisov 6th's – see Grekov 18th's!); Maj. Gen. Denisov 7th's; Col. Dyachkin's.
*) Voisk. Starsh. Golitsyn's (from about 27 Dec. Voisk. Starsh. Rebrikov 3rd's); (Lt. Col. Gordeev 1st's – see Chernozubov 8th); (Voisk. Starsh. Gorin 1st – see Belogorodtsev); (Voisk. Starsh. Gorin 2nd – see Melent'ev 3rd); *) Voisk. Starsh. Grebtsov 2nd's; *) Maj. Gen. Grekov 1st's; *) Col. Grekov 2nd's (from about 27 Dec. Voisk. Starsh. Chernozubov 5th); *)Voisk. Starsh. Grekov 3rd's; Col. Grekov 4th's; *) Col. Grekov 5th's; Maj. Gen. Grekov 8th's; Col. Grekov 9th's; *) Voisk. Starsh. Grekov 17th's; Lt. Col. Grekov 18th's (Voisk. Starsh. until about 30 June; titled Maj. Gen. Denisov 6th's until about 27 June); Voisk. Starsh. Grekov 21st's.
Lt. Col. Il'in 1st's (Caucasus); *) Maj. Gen. Ilovaiskii 3rd's; Maj. Gen. Ilovaiskii 4th's; Maj. Gen. Ilovaiskii 5th's; (Lt. Col. Ilovaiskii 8th's – see Zhirov); *) Col. Ilovaiskii 9th's; Col. Ilovaiskii 10th's; Col. Ilovaiskii 11th's; Maj. Gen. Ilovaiskii 12th's (Colonel until 12 Oct.); Col. Isaev 2nd's; Lt. Col. Izvalov's (Caucasus).
Maj. Gen. Karpov 2nd's; Lt. Col. Kharitonov 7th's; Voisk. Starsh. Kireev 2nd's; Voisk. Starsh. Kisel'ev 2nd's (Finland); (Voisk. Starsh. Koshkin's – see Troilin); *) Voisk. Starsh. Komissarov 1st's (joined the army at the beginning of the war); (Maj. Gen. Krasnov 1st's – see the Ataman's); Lt. Col. Kuteinikov 4th's; *) Voisk. Starsh. Kuteinikov 6th's.
Lt. Col. Loshchilin 1st's; Col. Lukovkin 2nd's.
Lt. Col. Melent'ev 2nd's (with the detachment in the Crimea); Formerly Voisk. Starsh. Melent'ev 3rd's (commanded by Voisk. Starsh. Gorin 2nd); Lt. Col. Mel'nikov 3rd's – see Zhirov); Voisk. Starsh. Mel'nikov 4th's (until about 27 June Lt. Col. Slyusarev 2nd's); Col. Mel'nikov 5th's; Voisk. Starsh. Molchanov 2nd's (Caucasus).
Maj. Panteleev 2nd's; Lt. Col. Platov 4th's; Voisk. Starsh. Platov 5th's; (Yesaul Polyakov's – see Balabin 1st); *) Voisk. Starsh. Popov 3rd's; *) Voisk. Starsh. Popov 13th's; Voisk. Starsh. Popov 16th's (Georgia); Voisk. Starsh. Pozdeev 8th's (Georgia).
(Voisk. Starsh. Rebrikov 3rd's – see Golitsyn); Maj. Gen. Rodionov 2nd's (colonel until 12 Oct.); Lt. Col. Rogachev 1st's (Georgia); Voisk. Starsh. Rubashkin's (Caucasus); Maj. Ryabinin's (Caucasus).
Voisk. Starsh. Safonov's (Caucasus); *) Maj. Shamshev 2nd's; Lt. Col. Selivanov 2nd's (major until 12 Oct. ); Voisk. Starsh. Semenchikov's; Voisk. Starsh. Sysoev 2nd's (Derbent, in the Caucasus); Lt. Col. Sysoev 3rd's (had a St.-George flag that the regiment had been awarded in 1807 for a feat of arms at Schöngrabern in 1805); *) Voisk. Starsh. Slyusarev 1st's; (Lt. Col. Slyusarev 2nd's – see Mel'nikov 4th); *) Lt. Col. Sulin 9th's; *) Voisk. Starsh. Suchilin 2nd's.
*) Voisk. Troilin's (from about 22 Dec. Voisk. Starsh. Koshkin's); Maj. Turchaninov's.
Voisk. Starsh. Vlasov 2nd's; Lt. Col. Vlasov 3rd's.
*) Col. Yagodin 2nd's; Lt. Col. Yanov 2nd's (with the detachment in the Crimea); Lt. Col. Yezhov 1st's (Georgia); *) Maj. Yezhov 2nd's.
Voisk. Starsh. Zhirov's (until 27 June Col. Ilovaiskii 8th's, than until 8 Aug. Lt. Col. Mel'nikov 3rd's); Voisk. Starsh. Zhitchov 3rd's (Caucasus).
Of these 86 regiments, on the first day of November there were 10 on the Caucasian front (as indicated in parentheses, and including 1 in Derbent), 8 in Georgia, 2 belonged to the Crimean detachment and formed a cordon along the southern coast of European Russia, 1 was in Moldavia manning a cordon on the Pruth River along what at the time was the border with Turkey, 1 was in Finland, and the remaining 64 were in the field against Napoleon.
Each regiment carried five large flags, or one for each sotnia. These were of various colors painted with religious pictures or martial emblems and were for the most part carried in their cases. Sysoev 3rd's Regiment carried in addition a St.-George flag.
c) 2-1/2 mounted batteries. There were only two permanent batteries (raised in 1797), but in 1812 an additional half-battery was voluntarily raised with guns improvised from captured Turkish cannon barrels which were dismounted from a victory monument in Novocherkask. It reached the army in October but was disbanded before the end of the year. The two authorized batteries, in the field since the start of the war and officially designated No. 1 and No. 2, were usually referred to by the names of their commanders. These were Maj. Tatsin for No. 1 and Maj. Suvorov for No. 2. The commander of the Turkish half-battery remains unknown.
[Further notes by M.C. - In Vol. V of "M.I. Kutuzov; Sbornik Dokumentov" (Moscow, 1956), one finds that in January of 1813, Kutuzov reported to Alexander I that on 17 December 1812 the column of General-of-Cavalry Graf Platov included 14 officers, 49 NCOs, and 383 privates as belonging to his irregular artillery (meaning cossack artillery). Later, in April of 1813, Kutuzov reports that his army includes "Don Artillery" numbering 11 officers, 34 NCOs, and 331 privates. In "Zapiski Alekseya Petrovicha Yermolova, chast I 1801-1812" (Moscow, 1865), an order of battle for the 1st Western Army lists Suvorov's Don Horse-Artillery Company as quartered at Belostok (Bialystok) in late 1811 or early 1812. Along with the rest of the 1st Army's irregular troops, the company is not listed as assigned to a particular corps.]
d) Various detachments (as recorded in March of 1812) in Russia outside the Don territory:
1 detachment of 2 sotnias under Yesaul Tatsin in Kazan.
2 detachments each of 1 officer and 40 men in the fortresses of Azov and Taganrog.
10 detachments for conveying recruits in Voronezh Province, totaling 12 officers and 242 men.
Within the Don region:
On post service, at quarantine stations, and as a guard cordon along the Don territory's borders were 9 officers, 33 non-commissioed officers, and 1616 men.
With the host high command (including the ataman's staff!), as police, and at military lazarets were 78 officers, 298 non-commissioned officers, and 943 men.
All together there were thus the following Don formations (with authorized strengths indicated):
a) 1 guard regiment 585 men
b) 1 ataman's regiment 879 men
85 mounted regiments 50,235 men
c) 2-1/2 mounted batteries 723 men 30 guns
d) Detachments: 2 sotnias under Yesaul Tatsin 234 men
Miscellaneous 3311 men
Total: 87 regiments, 2 sotnias, 2-1/2 batteries, misc. detachments: 55,967 men, 30 guns
In actuality, at the outbreak of the war the 62 existing regiments (without the guard regiment) averaged about 14 officers and 430 men. By October most of these regiments had received replacements numbering about one sotnia, but on the other hand heavy casualties had been incurred so that at the start of the French army's retreat (about 1 November 1812) they averaged 12 officers and 350 men (with the Ataman Regiment considerably stronger). And as a result of being tasked to provide numerous details for detached duties, the actual number of men present with the regiments was even less. The 24 regiments that reached the army in October each numbered about 15 officers and 500 men actually present.
It must also be mentioned that a number of Nogai Tatars (since 1784) and Dörbet Kalmucks (since 1800) had been incorporated into the Don Host, and they performed service in the regiments just like cossacks. Consequently, in the Don cossack ranks there were approximately 8% Kalmucks and ½% Tatars!
2. Ural Host.
(Formed on the Ural River in 1577, until 1775 called the Yaik Host after the river that at the time was known by that same name.)
a) One Guard Sotnia (raised 1798), commander unknown (a field-grade officer). The unit was part of the Don Guard Regiment and thus counted as part of the regular guard cavalry. The same distinctions that characterized the guard Don cossacks also applied to this guard sotnia, with only the designation of sotnia indicating a lower strength than a Don guard squadron. Nevertheless it had a somewhat larger complement than a normal sotnia, numbering some 5 officers, 120 men, and 6 noncombatants. The total strength was therefore 131 men. No flags, no documented record of a trumpeter! During the whole of 1812 and also in the following two war years the sotnia performed guard duties at the imperial palace in St. Petersburg.
b) Ten mounted regiments, each of 5 sotnias. At the beginning of 1812 Maj. Mikhailov's Regiment No. 3 and Maj. Nazarov's Regiment No. 4 were with the Danube army and then moved with it against Napoleon. Lt. Col. Burenov's Regiment No. 5 left its home territory on 1 November (or perhaps one or two days earlier) to go to Pokrov, east of Moscow. Nos.1, 2, and 6 through 10 remained in their home territory where they covered the Ural Line against the Kirghiz. Flags are not recorded!
3. Orenburg Host.
(Formed in 1755 by combining cossack communities in the Orenburg, Stavropol-on-the-Volga, Ufa, and Iset districts.)
a) One mounted Ataman Regiment (raised 1755 from the cossacks of the town of Orenburg), usually called the Orenburg Ataman Regiment to distinguish it from the Don unit of the same name, commanded by Col. Ugletskii. The regiment had ten sotnias, and the staff was probably larger than that of a normal five-sotnia regiment by the addition of an adjutant and one non-commissioned officer (clerk). It had a prescribed strength of 34 officers, 43 non-commissioned officers (only 20 before April), 100 prikazniks, 1000 privates, and 1 officer's servant, or 1178 men in all.
b) Three mounted regiments, each of 5 sotnias (raised 1777): The commanders of Nos. 1 and 2 are unknown, and that of Regiment No. 3 was Maj. Belyanov. At the beginning of the year Regiments No. 1 and No. 2 were with the Danube army, and as this turned to face Napoleon they (along with Astakhov 4th's Don Regiment) were left behind in Moldavia where in November as part of Maj. Gen. Hartung's force they formed a cordon along the Pruth River. In October the Ataman Regiment and Regiment No. 3 left the home territory for the army and by the end of November had reached Lt. Gen. Tolstoi's Reserve Army at Nizhnii-Novgorod.
c) Four Line Sector Detachments (raised 1798). These had an average strength of 1000 men, of whom about half served on foot and the other half on horseback. They served exclusively on the Orenburg Line, where they protected the frontier against the Kirghiz. Further organizational details are unknown, but they were adapted to the local geography. One figures 3 officers for every 100 men, so all four detachments would total 4120 men, of which half (20 sotnias) were on foot and half were mounted.
No unit is recorded as having flags!
4. Astrakhan Regiment.
(Formed in 1750 from Astrakhan cossacks and baptized Kalmucks; reinforced in 1786 and 1801 by the addition of existing remnants of Volga cossacks in individual settlements along the lower Volga River.) This community was politically designated a “regiment” but in the military sense was required to provide 3 mounted regiments each of 5 sotnias (since 1808), designated Nos. 1 through 3. In 1812 and later they saw service only in their home territory. No flags!
5. Bug Host.
(Formed in 1803 from former Bug cossacks.) It was required to provide 3 mounted regiments each of 5 sotnias, and in the fall of 1812 an additional fourth regiment was raised. The commander of No. 1 was Guards Captain Chechenskii, No. 3 – Maj. Selistrinov, and for Nos. 2 and 4 – unknown. Regiments Nos. 1-3 had one flag for each sotnia, which were white for the first sotnia and black for the others, decorated with emblems. These three regiments took part in the campaign against Napoleon from the very start of the war, while Regiment No. 4 either remained in its home region or was used to occupy neighboring Moldavia.
6. Danube-Mouth Host.
(Formed in 1807 from a part of the Zaporozhians who had accepted Turkish sovereignty and been settled by them at the mouth of the Danube.) These cossacks went over to the Russians at the beginning of the 1806 Turkish war and were settled in the region around Akkerman. They were about 500 strong and by 1812 still had no organized units. Apparently they were only used for occupation duties in newly acquired Moldovia.
Now follow the cossack communities that were on the so-called Caucasian Line, being from west to east:
7. Black-Sea Host (raised 1792 from former Zaporozhians).
a) 1 Guard Sotnia (raised 1811), commander Colonel Bursak. Organization, etc., the same as for the Guard Ural Sotnia. It took part in the campaign against Napoleon from the very beginning, being a sub-unit of the Don Guard Regiment.
b) 10 mounted regiments, each of 5 sotnias, designated by No. 1 through No. 10. At least regiments Nos. 1 though 6 each had a regimental flag whose top half was orange and the lower half blue. In 1812 all the regiments performed service and the lower Kuban River against the mountain tribesmen. (Only in the fall campaign of 1813 did Regiment No. 1 under Maj. Pouchi appear with the army facing Napoleon.
c) 10 foot regiments, each of 5 sotnias, also called druzhinas or plastun battalions, designated from No. 1 to No. 10. They had the same organization and strength as the mounted regiments. The foot regiments—or at least Nos. 1 through 6—each had a regimental flag whose upper half was blue and lower half orange. At the beginning of the year, Regiment No. 9, commander unknown, was with the Danube army and moved with that formation to face Napoleon, but then was detached to Dubno in order to cover transport moving to the army. Later it went to Vladimir and before the end of the year to Lutsk. The other regiments manned the Caucasian Line.
The remaining Caucasian cossack communities on the Caucasian Line, which went along the Kuban River and then the Terek, were lumped together under the designation of Caucasian Line Cossacks. Their combat units were not specially organized, but rather covered the line against the mountaineers in detachments of various sizes according to local geography and terrain. Only the total number of fighting men from each community was laid down, being 100 men and 3 officers. To the east and ending on the shore of the Black Sea were:
8. Caucasian Regiment (raised 1801 from former Ukrainian cossacks), 515 men.
9. Kuban Regiment (raised 1774 from Don cossacks), 1236 men.
10. Khoper Regiment (raised 1777 from parts of what was then the Volga Host), 618 men.
11. Volga Regiment (raised 1777 from parts of what was then the Volga Host), 824 men.
12. Mozdok Regiment (raised 1770 from part of what was then the Volga Host), 824 men.
13. Greben Cossack Host (formed about 1555), 412 men.
14. Terek-Family Cossack Host (formed in 1736 by splitting off from the rest of the Terek cossacks), 515 men.
15. Terek-Kizlyar Cossack Host (formed in 1577 as the Terek Host but since 1736 called the Terek-Kizlyar Host after the detachment of the Terek Family cossacks), 206 men.
Out of the above strengths, the Caucasian Line Cossacks (but not the Black-Sea Cossacks) also jointly formed:
a) 1 mounted regiment of 5 sotnias, about 515 men (raised 1812), stationed in Georgia.
b) 2 mounted batteries of 12 guns each (raised 1808), distributed along the line.
Each contingent provided by a Caucasian Line community was designated a mounted regiment (they always served on horseback), so to begin with there were 8 regiments with a strength of 4841 men, from which were formed 1 more mounted regiment as well as 2 mounted batteries. Thus there were a total of 9 mounted regiments and 2 mounted batteries with a strength of 4841 men and 24 guns.
The Caucasian Line Cossacks had no flags. They also had no prescribed uniform, but rather wore their national dress, as did the Black-Sea Cossacks. This was distinguished by cartridge holders sewn onto the chest, and for the Black-Sea Cossacks also by a pair of false sleeves. Their armament was completed by a dagger.
In West Siberia there were the following formations:
16. (West) Siberian Line Cossack Host (raised 1808 from line or border cossacks on the Ishim, Biya, and Bukhtarma rivers).
a) 10 mounted regiments, each of 5 sotnias, designated as Nos. 1 through 10. The authorized strength was five more than normal (presumably one non-commissioned officer for each sotnia), to each regiment had 596 men. These regiments had a prescribed uniform and since 1812 even lance pennants, unique for a cossack formation! It is not recorded how much of these regulations were actually implemented. Each regiment had a flag whose upper half was green and lower half raspberry colored. Regiment No. 4 was the ataman's.
b) 2 mounted batteries, each of 12 guns.
17-26. Ten West Siberian town commands. Each of these independent commands provided a detachment of 50 to 200 men on foot, namely the detachments of Beresovo, Pelym, Turinsk, Tyumen, Tobolsk, Tara, and Surgut numbering 500 men all together, and the three detachments of Tomsk, Kuznetsk, and Narym also 500 men all together. In total there were 1000 men on foot and about 30 officers.
In East Siberia there were:
27-32. Six Abakan and Sayansk border settlement detachments in the villages of Arbati, Tashtyp, Abakan, Shadask, Sayansk, and Kobash. Each of these independent commands provided 50 to 100 horsemen, or about 500 in all.
33-35. Three town commands of Krasnoyarsk, Yeniseisk, and Turukhansk (the last with Mangas). Each provided 150 to 200 horsemen, or about 500 total.
36-39. Four Tunginsk border settlement detachments at the village of Tunginsk and presumably three other places, each of from 50 to 100 horsemen, or a total of about 300.
40. Irkutsk Town Regiment (with Kirensk), provided 500 horsemen.
41-52. Tweleve Trans-Baikal border settlement detachments in the villages of Kharazaisk, Troitskosavsk, Aksha, Tsurukhaitu, Bakalnova, and about seven others (the exact number cannot be determined). Each command provided a detachment of from 50 to 100 horsemen, giving 900 men all together. These were combined into five line sector commands along the Chinese border between Lake Baikal and the Amur River, each averaging 180 horsemen, so that these cossacks were also called East-Siberian line cossacks.
53. Verkhne-Udinsk Town Command (with Selenginsk), provided 150 horsemen. These should have worn the same uniform clothing.
54. Nerchinsk Town Command, provided 100 horsemen.
55. Yakutsk Town Regiment (also called Command), including the town cossacks of Yakutsk. Olkeminsk, Okhotsk, Udsk, and Gishiginsk. Provided 500 men on foot.
56. Kamchatka Town Command, provided 100 horsemen.
In total the border and line cossacks in East Siberia thus provided 1700 horsemen, and the town cossacks 1350 horsemen and 500 men on foot. Reckoning 3 officers for every 100 men gives a grand total of 3656 personnel.
All the East Siberian cossacks with the possible exception of the Verkhne-Udinsk Command, as well as the West Siberian town cossacks, wore national dress. Flags and standards appear not to have been on hand. Since the regular troops were withdrawn from Siberia for the struggle against Napoleon, border defense lay entirely with the cossacks. For this reason all Siberian cossack formations remained in their home territories, though town cossacks were sent out to reinforce the border cossacks.
In 1812 autonomous cossack communities this made up 10 hosts, 8 regiments, and about 38 Siberian commands. From these 56 communities the following formations were provided:
Cossack community Mounted Foot Prescribed Strength
Regiments Sotnias Batteries Regiments Sotnias
Don Cossacks 87 2 2½ — — 52,656
Ural Cossacks 10 1 — — — 6041
Orenburg Cossacks 4 20 — — 20 7071
Astrakhan Cossacks 3 — — — — 1773
Bug Cossacks 4 — — — — 2364
Danube-Mouth Cossacks — 5 — — — 500
Black-Sea Cossacks 10 1 — 10 — 11,951
Caucasian Line Cossacks 9 — 2 — — 4841
West Siberian Line Cossacks 10 — 2 — — 6538
West Siberian Town Cossacks — — — — 10 1030
East Siberian Border Cossacks — 17 — — — 1751
East Siberian Town Cossacks 1 9 — 1 — 1905
Total Formations: 138 55 6½ 11 30 98,421
In this summary the Caucasian Line Cossack communities are each considered equivalent to a regiment plus one joint regiment, and the Orenburg Line Cossacks, Danube-Mouth Cossacks, and the Siberian commands are reckoned in sotnias. Furthermore, the smaller detachments of less than 50 men as well as the various local small commands of which every large cossack group had some, are not considered. If included, the grand total would be over 100,000 men.
Actual strength was nevertheless considerably less. As already mentioned in regard to the Don cossacks, by 1 November regiments that had been in the field since the beginning of the war had been reduced by an average of 40%, and this held true for other cossacks as well. Units not deployed against Napoleon may be assumed to be 30% under prescribed strengths. Only the regiments sent to the army in the fall were to some extent complete, being nonetheless still 10-15% understrength. However, for Caucasian Line cossacks, West Siberian town cossacks, and all East Siberian cossacks no reduction need be made, since for these the absence of authorized strengths per se means that actual strengths are given. Taking everything into consideration in this way, by 1 November 1812 about 30% of the prescribed strength for all cossacks was absent, so that 70,000 cossacks were actually in service. With insignificant exceptions these were all combatants.
In regard to larger formations for cossacks there was only the Cossack Corps under the command of Don Ataman General-of-Cavalry Platov, organized before the war. This possessed a regular corps staff and besides Don units was composed of elements of other cossack communities as well as ethnic national regiments. During the course of the campaign the corps repeatedly had regular troops from every branch temporarily assigned to it. On 9 September the corps was for all practical purposes disbanded, but on 6 October reconstituted in the form it maintained until January of 1813. (It was then formed once more in September 1813, although on 12 March 1814 Platov had to turn over command to Major General Kaisarov of the Russian army.)
There was no official organization of the corps into divisions or brigades. For most of the time two or three regiments under the command of the senior regimental commander were brought together as the situation required, and the resulting grouping called a brigade. The compositions of these so-called brigades changed continuously, and there were no permanently designated brigade commanders nor any brigade staffs.
Besides the Cossack Corps there were likewise only unofficial brigades formed in a similar manner as circumstances demanded. These were under the command of the most senior officer at the time and had no brigade staffs. If more than three regiments were grouped together—when assigned to an army, for example—then these were likewise commanded by the most senior regimental commander available, or in rare cases by an especially assigned officer (Don general), although for such large groupings there was never any special designation in contemporary orders, reports, etc. In general one can only refer to them as a group specified by the name of their leader. During this time the designation of division is never encountered in regard to a cossack formation!
B) Troops from ethnic nations and peoples.
For these troops the organization of sotnias into regiments was the same as for true cossacks. In general the regiments were commanded by army officers, but there were exceptions. Other army officers were likewise incorporated along with ethnic officers. The former naturally carried army rank titles while the latter those for cossacks. Weapons were basically the same as for cossacks, but there were significant deviations. In place of spurs all ethnic personnel used the nogaika. There were no trumpeters except for the Teptyars. Only mounted troops were raised, namely by the following nationalities: