a) Stavropol Kalmucks, from the middle Volga, also called baptized Kalmucks (from the former Torghut Horde). In 1803 these received cossack privileges and henceforth were required to provide 1 mounted regiment of 10 sotnias. Since May of 1812 the prescribed strength was to be 1178 men, analogous to that of the Orenburg Ataman Regiment. The commander is unknown, but as all the regiment's officers must have been a Kalmuck. [The commander was Sublieutenant Baryshevskii 1st, a baptized Kalmuck, succeeded by Captain Diomidii from the Orenburg Garrison Regiment – M.C.] Presumably the regiment wore a blue cossack-style uniform. No flags are documented. The unit was in the field since the beginning of the war against Napoleon.
b) Kalmucks of the lower Volga (from the former Khoshut Horde). From these were raised one 5-sotnia regiment each from Astrakhan and Samara provinces. The commander of No. 1 is unknown [Tundutov – M.C.] but that of No. 2 was Captain Prince Tyumen. No uniform was worn in 1812. During the campaign Regiment No. 2 carried an old Kalmuck flag of straw-yellow background with colored painting, while the 1st Regiment may not have carried any flag. Both regiments were in the field since the outbreak of the war against Napoleon.
2. Crimean Tatars.
These had provided men since 1783, which in 1811 were organized into 4 regiments each of 5 sotnias. They were named after the main towns of their recruiting districts in the Crimea: Perekop Regiment – Maj. Khunkalov, Eupatoria Regiment – commander unknown, Simferopol Regiment – Lt. Col. Prince Balatuk, Feodosia Regiment – Captain Shirinskii. National dress was probably mixed with pieces of cossack uniforms. Each regiment had five flags, of which the 1st Sotnia's was plain white and the others of plain black. The first three regiments listed took part in the campaign against Napoleon. Of these the Eupatoria Regiment was joined to Col. Knorring's Tatar Lancer Regiment and remained so until the end of the war in 1814. The Feodosia Regiment was at first on cordon service on the Dniester, but about 1 November it went to Dubno to join Maj. Gen. Komnen's force in order to escort transports to the army, and thus to a small extent took part in the field campaign.
3. Teptyars (in the Ural Mountains, Orenberg Province).
They provided 2 mounted regiments each of 5 sotnias: No. 1 (raised 1790) – Maj. Temirov, and No. 2 (raised 1798) – Lt. Col. Strukov. In regard to their organization they had the distinction of having musicians, of whom two for each sotnia are recorded, and furthermore they could have 8 non-commissioned officers for each sotnia (in addition to 2 on the regimental staff), as well as 1 staff-trumpeter. The prescribed strength of a regiment would thus be 622 men. They were uniformed like the Orenburg cossacks. Both regiments were in the field since the beginning of the war against Napoleon.
4. Bashkirs (in the Ural Mountains, Orenberg Province).
In 1811 2 mounted regiments each of 5 sotnias were raised from them. No. 1 – commander unknown, and No. 2 – Maj. Lachinov. Both were in the field since the beginning of the war.
In 1812 a further 18 regiments were levied: No. 3 – commander unknown, No. 4 – Lt. Col. Tikhanovich, Nos. 5 and 6 – commanders unknown, No. 7 – Maj. Vilchik, No. 8 – Capt. Kleshivtsev, No. 9 – Staff-Capt. Popov, No. 10 – Capt. Matsepanov, No. 11 – Maj. Makovskii, No. 12 – Maj. Chokov, No. 13 – Staff-Capt. Shulgin, No. 14 – Maj. Selesnev, No. 15 – Capt. Kondrat'ev, No. 16 – Capt. Trunov, No. 17 – Maj. Ovdinitskii, No. 18 – Capt. Tikhanovskii, No. 19 – Maj. Serebrenikov, and No. 20 – Maj. Rudnev. Of these regiments Nos. 3 to 5 wre already with the field army by 1 November, or on the march there. No. 6 was in Nizhnii-Novgorod under Lt. Gen. Graf Tolstoi, from where it then was sent to Ustyushnu. Nos. 7 to 20 at the time were still just leaving the home territory for Nizhnii-Novgorod, which they reached in December.
The organization of the Bashkir regiments was the same as for cossacks, but it appears that the increase in non-commissioned officers from 10 to 22 that was ordered in the spring of 1812 was either not carried out by the Bashkirs or not ordered for them. The prescribed strength of a regiment was therefore only 579 men. Weapons consisted only of a lance, saber, and bow, and the regiments raised in 1812 set out without even the lance, being provided with them only when they had reached the army. Firearms were first obtained by using captured weapons taken during the campaign itself. All Bashkirs wore their national dress, characterized by a tall, pointed fur cap with broad fold-down edges (see the accompanying illustration). No flags.
5. Meshcheryaks (in the Ural Mountains, Orenberg Province).
From them 2 regiments of 5 sotnias each were raised: No. 1 – commander unknown, and No. 2 – Maj. Butler. By 1 November the first regiment was already at Nizhnii-Novgorod while the second was still on the march from the homeland. In regard to organization and other matters they were the same as the Bashkirs. The prescribed strength of each regiment was thus 579 men.
In 1764 a so-called Mozdok Mountaineer Command had been raised in the city of that name from Ossetians and Kabardans who had gone over to the Russians. Its strength was about 3 officers and 100 horsemen. National costume, weapons included a dagger. Stationed on the Caucasian Line near Mozdok.
7. Isker Tatars (in West Siberia).
These formed 3 mounted town commands each of 100-200 men in the towns of Tobolsk, Tyumen, and Tomsk (raised in the 17th century), 500 horsemen all together with about 15 officers. National costume. They remained in their home territory, where they reinforced the West-Siberian Line.
8. Buryats (in the Trans-Baikal).
Since 1764 4 regiments each of 600 men were levied from this people. Each regiment was presumably of 5 sotnias each of 120 men and 18 officers, and they were designated as Nos. 1 to 4. Weapons were sabers and bows and presumably also lances. National costume, no flags. They saw service on the East-Siberian Line.
9. Tungus (in the Trans-Baikal).
Since 1761 1 regiment of 5 sotnias with 500 men and about 15 officers was levied from these. In other regards they were as the Buryats.
(Kirghiz: although part of this nation was already official under Russian sovereignty, no troops were levied from them. It is nonetheless possible that some baptized Kirghiz took part in the campaign in units of the neighboring Ural or Orenburg cossacks. From other ethnic nationalities in Russia drafts were taken only for regular formation, and no special units were raised.)
Therefore in 1812 nine ethnic peoples raised troops, namely:
People Mounted Prescribed Strength
Kalmucks 3 — 2360
Crimean Tatars 4 — 2364
Teptyars 2 — 1244
Bashkirs 20 — 11580
Meshcheryaks 2 — 1158
Caucasians — 1 103
Siberian Tatars — 5 515
Buryats 4 — 2472
Tungus 1 — 515
Total formations: 36 6 22,311
That actual strengths were under the prescribed numbers also held true for ethnic native formations. For calculation purposes one may make a 50% reduction under authorizations for regiments in the field (they received no replacements), and 10-15% for regiments newly raised in 1812. Siberian units, however, can presumed to be at almost full strength. Thus by 1 November 1812 the total number of men on hand would be about 17,000. As for cossacks, the only higher formations were provisional brigades.
C) Mounted Mass-Levy Formations.
A general call-up of a mass-levy (opolchenie) was made in the months of August and September at the provincial level, which led to individual mass-levy regiments being named after the particular province. At the same time there arose a small number of units that were raised by either government officials or private persons at their own expense. Officers were mostly retired army officers or government officials, the latter with ranks equivalent to their civil-service grade. Non-commissioned officers were often called uryadniks as in the cossacks, and likewise privates were titled cossacks.
The regiments were variously organized and could be 5, 8, or 10 squadrons, also called sotnias. The fighting strength of a squadron wavered between 100 and 150 privates. Combatants in a regimental staff were 1 commander, 1 or 2 adjutants depending on the number of squadrons, 1 quartermaster, and if musicians were planned for—also a staff trumpeter (sergeant). In each regiment there were 2 more field-grade officers besides the commander, assigned as either battalion (half-regiment) or squadron commander, depending on the regimental organization. The number of noncombatants ran to about 5% of the fighting strength. The mounted mass levy also had a supply train, but for most regiments this consisted only of country wagons.
The weapons of a mass-levy horseman always included a lance or spear (not for non-commissioned officers), and every man was supposed to have a saber, but that was carried out to only a limited extent. Firearms were even more rarely available. Except for the officers and apart from a few units the mass levy wore their peasant dress with a yellow metal mass-levy cross affixed to the headdress as the sole piece of uniform insignia. In place of the often unavailable spurs many mass-levy cavalrymen had a riding whip although none—unlike for cossacks—was prescribed. Flags are recorded for only two formations, and otherwise none seem to have been carried.
All mounted mass-levy units took part in the campaign against Napoleon after they were raised, although some set forth only in December.
Provinces succeeded in raising the following formations:
1. Moscow Mass-Levy Cavalry Regiment, of 10 squadrons. Commanded by Maj. Gen. Prince Svechin. A division into two battalions was not planned. According to regulations the combatant strength of a squadron consisted of 1 captain (or in 2 squadrons a field-grade officer), 2 subaltern officers, 12 non-commissioned officers, 120 privates (no musicians!). The total authorized strength with staff (4 officers) was thus 1354 combatants.
The regiment was plainly still being formed and not yet complete when the main army's retreat through Moscow forced it to leave along with it. On 14 October the commander, Maj. Gen. Svechin, was appointed to the regular cavalry, a sign that only elements of his mass-levy regiment were on hand. Furthermore, at this time mass-levy horses with the main army were requisitioned for regular troops, and the present elements of the Moscow Mass-Levy Cavalry Regiment would henceforth have found employment on foot guarding supply transports or performing similar duties. In any case the regiment was not mentioned any further.
2. Tula, 2 mass-levy cavalry regiments and 1 mounted battery. Like the Moscow Mass-Levy Cavalry Regiment, both cavalry regiments were of 10 squadrons: No. 1 – Maj. Gen. Prince Shcherbatov, and No. 2 – Lt. Col. Beklemishev. They were in service in 1812.
The battery commanded by Maj. Kuchin should have been raised at a full strength 8 officers and 280 men (exclusive of noncombatants) with 12 guns. At the turn of the year, however, only a half-battery set forth, while the other half, perhaps never being completed, in any case even later never went into action. Trumpeters seem not to have been present!
As a kind of substitute for the lack of uniforms all units of the Tula mass levy appear even as they were raised to have been distinguished by variously colored shoulder straps that the men affixed to their civilian coats.
3. Kaluga Mass-Levy Cavalry Regiment, of 10 squadrons, Col. Shepelev. Organized like the Moscow Mass-Levy Cavalry Regiment. Set forth in September.
4. Ryazan Mass-Levy Cavalry Regiment, of 10 squadrons, Col. Maslov. Organized like the Moscow Mass-Levy Cavalry Regiment. Set forth in September.
5. Smolensk, 6 mass-levy squadrons, organized like the Moscow regiment, each of 135 combatants. Raising a complete regiment did not happen due to the swift enemy advance into this province. Insofar as circumstances permitted, the districts of Beloe, Sichevka, Yukhnov, Roslavl, and Smolensk, plus the districts of Dorogobuzh, Vyazma, and Gzhatsk, all had to each raise an approximately squadron-sized mounted detachment. Because the district mass levies of this province had to operate separately and large distances were involved, their mounted detachments were never combined into a regiment. The mass-levy cavalrymen of the town of Smolensk were the first mass-levy formation to join the army, doing so on 28 July!
6. Tver Mass-Levy Cavalry Regiment, of 5 squadrons, Col. Boltin. A prescribed strength like that of the Moscow Regiment but for only 5 squadrons and with one less adjutant on the staff, thus 678 combatants. Set forth in September.
7. Yaroslav Mass-Levy Cavalry Regiment, of 5 squadrons. Commander unknown. Organized like the Tver Regiment. Set forth in September.
8. Kostroma Mass-Levy Cavalry Regiment, of 5 squadrons, Col. Nebol'sin.
9. Nizhnii-Novgorod Mass-Levy Cavalry Regiment, of 5 squadrons, Guards Capt. Koslov.
10. Simbirsk Mass-Levy Cavalry Regiment, of 5 squadrons, Guards Staff-Captain Tret'yakov.
11. Penza Mass-Levy Cavalry Regiment, of 5 squadrons, Col. Bezobrazov. Exceptionally, this unit carried standards, one for each squadron, with a green background.
All four regiments under entries 8. through 11. were organized like the Tver Regiment. They set forth for the front in December.
12. Kazan mass-levy cavalry, as an exception only 3 squadrons were formed, commander unknown. In other details formed like the Tver Regiment. Set forth in December.
13. St. Petersburg, 2 mass-levy cavalry regiments, each of 5 squadrons: No. 1 – Col. Yakhontov, and No. 2 – Baron Bode. These regiments were also called the Petersburg Volunteer Cossacks since many men joined voluntarily. They were also referred to by their commanders' names. The men were all uniformed, with each regiment being prescribed a special uniform, and they were fully armed like regular troops. The lances had pennants in squadron colors. The supply train was also regularly organized, so this mass-levy regiment differed from a regular unit only in the number of subunits and smaller number of privates that were appropriate for irregulars. The prescribed combatant strength of a squadron consisted of 6 officers, 1 squadron sergeant, 9 non-commissioned officers, 2 trumpeters (non-commissioned officers), and 100 privates, the last also being called cossacks. In total the regiment's authorized strength was 594 combatants (including 3 officers and 1 staff-trumpeter in the regimental staff), and when noncombatants were included—634 persons with 575 lower ranks' riding horses, 32 draft horses, and 11 wagons (excluding the officers' supply train). In November both regiments were located in Riga.
14. Four Ukrainian cossack regiments, each of 8 squadrons in 2 battalions: No. 1 – Col. Graf Witte with Maj. Pichelstein as deputy and later successor, No. 2 – Col. Prince Shcherbatov, No. 3 – Col. Prince Obolenskii, and No. 4 – Col. Minitskii. The raising of these regiments was ordered by the czar a month earlier than the rest of the mass levy, with the first three regiments being from Kiev Province and No. 4 from Podolia Province. Despite an official designation as cossacks they were in all ways mass-levy formations whose officers and men were enrolled in the same way as the rest of the mass levy. They had nothing in common with real cossack except for the name (the last remnants of the Ukrainian Cossack Host had already been disbanded in 1784!). To distinguish them from true cossacks they were ofter referred to as regular cossacks. All regiments were uniformed alike, being distinguished by various regimental colors, and were armed with regulation weapons. The lances had pennants in regimental colors. The supply train was presumably organized as in the regular cavalry. Besides the commander each regimental staff had two other field-grade officers who served as battalion (half-regiment) commanders, but they were not given an adjutant or staff-trumpeter. The fighting strength of a squadron comprised 4 officers, 1 squadron sergeant, 10 non-commissioned officers, 2 trumpeters (non-commissioned officers), and 150 privates, the last being called cossacks. The combatants in the regimental staff consisted of 3 field-grade officers, 2 adjutants, 1 quartermaster, and 1 staff-trumpeter. The fighting strength of a regiment therefore came to 1342 men. In October all four regiments went to Brest-Litovsk to Lt. Gen. Sacken's corps.
15. Fifteen Little-Russian cossack regiments, each of 8 squadrons in 2 battalions. These were 10 regiments from Poltava Province and 5 regiments from Chernigov Province. The commanders were: Little-Russian Poltava Cossack Regiment No. 1 – Maj. Kuklyarskii, No. - Maj. Dagarn, No. 3 – Staff-Capt. Obernyi, No. 4 – unknown, No. 5 – Lt. Col. Sankovskii, No. 6 – Court Councilor Svetskii, No. 7 – Maj. Aleksandrovich, No. 8 – Col. Dekonnor, No. 9 – Maj. Tolbich, No. 10 – unknown; Little-Russian Chernigov Cossack Regiment No. 1 – unknown, No. 2 - Col. Potryasov, Nos. 3 and 4 – unknown, and No. 5 – Col. von Schönert. The lower ranks were drawn from descendants of the former Ukrainian cossacks of these provinces and who at the time for that reason were excepted from general conscription. In all other regards these cossack regiments were plain mass-levy formations that were commanded exclusively by Russian officers. The men marched out in their peasant dress, and arms were lacking. The prescribed strength for combatants was the same as laid down for the Ukrainian cossacks. All regiments took the field in October.
16. Livonia Cossack Regiment, of 8 sotnias (squadrons), presumably in 2 battalions. Commanded by Privy Councilor Sievers. This was another regiment that had nothing in common with cossacks besides the name! The men wore a cossack-style uniform and were supposed to be armed like them, except for having firearms. Little more is known about this regiment, which in 1812 served for only a short time in the Riga garrison. Presumably the sotnias counted a fighting strength of 3 officers, 10 non-commissioned officers, and 100 privates who were called cossacks. The total prescribed strength of the regiment would amount to 910 combatants.
From persons in state service there were formed:
17. Coachmen's Mass-Levy Regiment (stage and relay drivers), of 10 squadrons (sotnias), commanded by Col. Beshentsov. This regiment was raised on the czar's orders in the month of October separately from the normal mass levy by General-Adjutant Kutuzov in Tver Province from government stage and relay drivers. It therefore appears under the names Tver Train Personnel, Tver Postmen, Beshentsov's Regiment, and in 1813—simply (and not entirely accurately) Tver Mass-Levy Cavalry Regiment. Nothing is known about its organizational details. It may have been organized into 10 squadrons (sotnias) like the Moscow Mass-Levy Cavalry Regiment but with each squadron having under its 3 officers only 10 non-commissioned officers and 100 privates. The total prescribed strength including the staff (4 officers) would thus be 1134 men. The regiment took up duties at the beginning of October.
18. Two squadrons of mounted forestry personnel, one each from Volhynia and Minsk. The commander of a reserve corps, von Mosyr, caused these to be raised and as early as August they had joined that formation. Upon examination of the actual strength raised one can assume for the Volhynia squadron a prescribed strength of 165 men, and for the Minsk squadron 113.
The following were raised by private persons at their own cost:
19. Graf Saltykov's Hussar Regiment, raised in Moscow Province. It was to be organized in 10 squadrons, with regulation uniforms and equipment. However, Napoleon's swift advance on Moscow interrupted the unit's formation. The personnel on hand, about the strength of one squadron of 150 men (the regiment is therefore in many source called only Saltykov's Squadron), first joined the main army as it retreated through Moscow but then on an order from Kutuzov of 23 September moved to Kazan for further organization. Apparently the strength could not be appreciably increased there, since in January 1813 its incorporation into the Irkutsk Dragoon Regiment was ordered, that unit at the time being converted into an hussar regiment.
20. Maj. Gen. Graf Mamonov's Lancer Regiment, raised in Moscow Province. It was to be 5 squadrons, with regulation uniforms and equipment. But the formation of this Moscow cavalry regiment was also interrupted by the loss of the city. The men on hand, 150 at most, joined the main army. On 4 October Kutuzov ordered the transfer of Maj. Gen. Graf Mamonov to the regular cavalry. At this time the regiments few men were sent to the cavalry reserve where the unit could be filled out. At the end of 1813 the regiment with 600 horsemen again reached the army.
21. von Skarzinskii's Cossack Squadron, raised in Kherson Province. It was planned to be raised after the model of a cossack squadron in the neighboring Ukraine but with 6 officers, so that the authorized strength was 169 combatants. This mass-levy squadron was another unit whose only thing in common with cossacks was the name. It was uniformed and carried a standard with a white unicorn on a light-blue background. The squadron first saw active service in 1813.
It must yet be mentioned that individual provinces also raised mass-levy reserve troops, including Simbirsk, Kostroma, and Penza which each formed a mass-levy reserve cavalry regiment (of 5 squadrons for Simbirsk Province and 3 squadrons for both of the others). None of the mass-levy reserve ever went into service, no more so than the voluntarily raised mass-levy of some other provinces such as Kharkov with one cavalry regiment possibly formed and Kursk with seven, each of to have been of ten squadrons. Since none of these formations appear anytime during the entire campaign against France into 1814, and their actual raising (not just on paper) cannot be documented and is thus doubtful, we do not consider them here.
Therefore in 1812 the following mounted mass-levy formations were raised:
Formation Regts. Sqdns. Bttrs. Prescribed Combatant Strength
Raised by provinces:
Moscow, Kaluga, Ryazan – 1 regiment each 3 — — 4062
Tula 2 — 1 2996
Smolensk — 6 — 810
Tver, Yaroslav, Kostroma, Nizhnii-Novgorod, Simbirsk, Penza – 1 regiment each 6 — — 4068
Kazan 1 — — 408
St. Petersburg 2 — — 1188
Ukrainian cossacks (3 Kiev, 1 Podolia) 4 — — 5368
Little-Russian cossacks (10 Poltava, 5 Chernigov) 15 — — 20,130
Livonia cossacks 1 — — 910
Raised from government personnel:
Coachmen's (postmen from Tver Province) 1 — — 1134
Forestry personnel (1 squadron each from Volhynia and Minsk) 278
Raised by private citizens:
Graf Saltykov's Hussar Regiment — 1 — 150
Maj. Gen. Graf Mamonov's Lancer Regiment — 1 — 150
von Skarzinski's Cossack Regiment 169
Total: 35 11 1 41,821
In regard to actual strengths it must be noted that with the exception of Moscow regiments (of which Saltykov's and Mamonov's are entered in the table only with their achieved numbers) and the Tula battery, all formations nearly reached their prescribed strengths for privates. On the other hand, there was a great lack of officers and non-commissioned officers. In this regard only the St.-Petersburg and Ukrainian regiments as well as Skarzinskii's squadron were approximately complete. In general one may therefore assume that the shortfall from prescribed strength was about 15%. Since on 1 November 1812 almost all the mounted mass-levy units were already formed and until then there were no significant losses, their actual total numbers at that time amounted to about 35,000 combatants (besides 200 noncombatants).
No higher formations were envisaged for mass-levy cavalry. During the campaign years of 1813-14, however, mass-levy cavalry brigades as well as divisions were formed. These higher formations were still never more than provisional, and brigade and division commanders were always the highest ranking or most senior of the regimental commanders.
D) Volunteer corps raised against Napoleon.
1. Lt. Col. von Diebitsch 1st's corps, raised in September and October of 1812 in Beloe District from deserters of various nationalities who voluntarily declared themselves willing to serve against Napoleon. The corps would be almost entirely mounted and it reached a strength of over 300 men, or 3 sotnias (squadrons). At the beginning of November it was disbanded by General-Adjutant Volkonskii, but as a result of a petition by Lt. Col. Diebitsch to the czar the volunteers of German nationality were placed back under his command. Once again without taking part in any fighting as a unit, in 1813 the corps was incorporated into the Russo-German Legion being raised at that time.
2. Schmidt's Volunteer Horse-Jäger Corps, mostly called just Schmidt's Volunteer Regiment or Freikorps, was raised in the fall of 1812 from Livonians and reached a strength of 3 sotnias each of 10 non-commissioned officers and 100 privates, there being a total of about 15 officers. No trumpeters! The corps (regiment), which was presumably uniformed, thus had a strength of 345 men. At the end of November it joined the Riga garrison.
(Col. Figner's corps was initially raised during the 1813 truce at Fraustadt near Glogau in Silesia from Italian and Spanish deserters, achieving a strength of 150 mounted men. It was recorded as uniformed. The Russo-German Legion, likewise first raised in 1813, and which included two hussar regiments, was never classed with the cossacks!)
All together the small volunteer corps raised in 1812 provided 1 regiment and 4 squadrons (sotnias) with 750 combatants, who were in fact present in that number on 1 November 1812.
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The following summary shows the total numbers provided by “cossacks” in the broad sense of the word:
Mounted Foot Prescribed Strength (approx.)
Regiments Sotnias Batteries Regiments Sotnias
Cossacks 138 55 6½ 11 30 98,000
Ethnic Peoples 36 6 — — — 22,000
Mounted Mass Levy 35 11 1 — — 42,000
Volunteer Corps 1 4 — — — 800
Total: 210 76 7½ 11 30 162,800
Calculating 5 sotnias per regiment and leaving out artillery and foot troops, on obtains 225 mounted regiments with a prescribed strength of 151,000 with the actual number of combatants present on 1 November 1812 being 113,000. Of these, true cossacks and ethnic peoples alone provided 186 regiments with109,000 and 77,000 combatants, respectively.
In contrast, the regular cavalry (less the guard cossacks) consisted of 65 regiments (include 5 in the guards) that had an authorized strength of 69,000 combatants, including the depot squadrons which for the most part took the field. Even at the beginning of the war, however, actual strength was 25% less than authorized, and 50% less by 1 November 1812, so that only about 35,000 combatants were in the ranks.
Of cossack formations in the wider sense of the word, there were in the field against Napoleon in 1812 or sent out at the end of the year:
A) True cossacks: from the Don Host – the Guards Regiment, Ataman Regiment, and 63 other regiments as well as 2½ mounted batteries; 3 Ural, 2 Orenburg, and 3 Bug regiments; from the Black-Sea Cossacks – 1 Guard Sotnia (with the Don Guards Regiment) and 1 foot druzhina.
B) Ethnic peoples: 3 Kalmuck, 4 Tatar, 2 Teptyar, 20 Bashkir, and 2 Meshcheryak regiments.
C) Mass-levy cavalry: all 35 regiments and 11 sotnias, as well as ½ mounted battery.
D) Volunteer corps: all, namely 1 regiment and 4 squadrons.
Thus a total of 140 mounted regiments, 16 mounted sotnias (squadrons), 1 foot druzhina, 2 full and 2 half batteries.
Though cossacks were not the kind of troops that decided battles, in 1812 the special skills in hit-and-run warfare of the true cossacks along with a some of the ethnic peoples' formations were not negligible in contributing to the success of the campaign against Napoleon. Furthermore, at the same time they alone (apart from some garrison battalions) protected Russia's borders from the mouth of the Kuban to the Amur, and from the Black Sea to the Pacific Ocean.
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Illus. 1. “Cossack,” drawing by Schadow. This depicts a Don cossack as seen and sketched by Schadow in Berlin in February or March of 1813. He still wears the uniform of 1812.
Illus. 2. “Horseman,” engraving by Cotta. A Don cossack from the fall campaign of 1813. His regiment had been issued new uniforms during the truce.
Illus. 3. “Ural Cossack,” from the Elberfeld manuscript, datd 13 November 1813. This must be a private from the 4th Ural Cossack Regiment who received new clothing after 1812. In any case, that is what the beige-colored summer pants indicate. (For more about the three manuscripts referenced for the drawings see Knötel in Uniformekunde, vols. XI, XII, and XVII, and in Das Kasket, 1925, vols. 1 and 2.)
Illus. 4. “Peasant Cossack,” Elberfeld manuscript, dated 9 November 1813. From this date it can only be a trooper from the Yaroslav Mass-Levy Cavalry Regiment. This member of the mass-levy must have acquired his cap and patched pants from a Don cossack who perhaps in the meantime had found better ones. Most striking is the sling of the firearm, consisting only of a rope knotted in front. The coat and footwear show how the mass levy must have appeared in general.
Illus. 5-8. Noteworthy are the Bashkirs' head coverings and weapons. The head covering was an ample fur cap, worn with the fleece on the inside. It had a brim made up of four flaps. The front flap was always worn folded upward while both sides and the back flap hung down for protection against the cold in winter as well as against sword cuts in battle. Otherwise these three flaps were also tied up or rolled up. For weapons Bashkirs added to their swords a king of bow and arrow with quiver and bow case. Regiments Nos. 1 and 2, which were in existence since 1811 and thus before the beginning of the war, also had since 1812 lances and pistols. On the other hand, regiments Nos. 3 to 20 which were first raised in 1812 started with neither lance nor firearms but received these only when they had joined the army.
Illus. 5. Kuhbeil: a Bashkir—Unter den Linden, 11 March 1813, on the day the “imperial Russian army under General Graf Wittgenstein” entered the city. Wittgenstein marched into Berlin on 11 March 1813. According to Berlinischen Nachrichten No. 31 of 31 March 1813, a picket of cossacks and Bashkirs brought up the rear of the column. This must have been Bashkir Regiment No. 1 commanded by Major Lachinov, since this was the only regiment with Wittgenstein at the time. This Bashkir has his cap flaps turned down. Since he comes from Regiment No. 1, in 1813—really, since 1812—he has a very regulation-looking saber and a pistol on a cord. Of the pistol's cartridge pouch, only its belt is visible.
Illus. 6. Dresden manuscript. Bashkir with folded-down fur cap whose outer side, as often depicted elsewhere, is colored red or is covered with red felt.
Illus. 7. Contemporary copper etching. Bashkir with cap cap, as often described.
Illus. 8. Freiberg manuscript. Bashkir in summer dress. The cap flaps are rolled up. Noteworthy are the overlong sleeves which are also reported in written descriptions. This must be a drawing from 1814 during the march homewards.
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Translated by Mark Conrad, 2007.