Chuguevski Cossacks

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Origin and History

From 1732 to 1741, while he was at the head of the Russian Army, Count Burkhard Christoph von Münnich attempted with limited success to create some regular Cossack regiments.

On July 25 1749, Münnich raised the Chuguevski Cossacks. The regiment consisted of 1,245 Cossacks and christened Kalmyks. It initially wore uniforms.

The regiment was considered as more reliable than irregular Cossack Hosts.

This regiment received the best horses of all the Cossack units of the Russian army. On the eve of the Seven Years' War, it consisted of 15 officers and 527 men (including 4 non-combatants).

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was commanded by:

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Service during the War

In 1756, the regiment ( 5 companies/sotnias) was initially stationed in Livonia and Courland.

For the campaign of 1757, the regiment fielded 3 sotnias (coys) of Cossacks and 2 sotnias of christened Kalmyks. On August 30, during the Russian campaign in East Prussia, these 5 sotnias took part in the Battle of Gross-Jägersdorf where they were deployed in the first line in Demiku's Brigade.

In January 1758, the regiment took part in the Russian invasion of East Prussia. On February 3, as part of Stoffeln's detachment, it marched to Marienburg (present-day Malbork) and other places on the Vistula under the command of Major Bulazell. On February 23, Stoffeln detached the regiment under Major Preradevilsch to Rastenburg. On August 10, during the invasion of Brandenburg, Major-general Stoffeln with the Chuguevski Cossacks and some hussars took possession of Soldin. On August 15 at 2:00 AM, 500 Cossacks of the regiment formed part of a force under Quartermaster-general Stoffeln who, according to Fermor's orders, marched to lay siege to Cüstrin. On August 25, the siege was lifted after the inconclusive battle of Zorndorf. About mid November, the unit took its winter quarters in Freystadt as part of Resanov's 2nd Division.

On July 23 1759, the regiment took part in the battle of Paltzig where it was attached to Krasnochekov's brigade deployed in the vanguard. The regiment was also present at the battle of Kunersdorf where, at the end of the encounter, it nearly captured King Frederick II.

On June 30 1761, during the first Prussian raid in Greater Poland, the Prussian vanguard under Colonel Lossow attacked Russian Brigadier Löpen near Scmiegle (present-day Śmigiel). Löpen was at the head of 2 sqns of Tverskiy Dragoons along with Chuguevski Cossacks and more than 1,000 more cossacks. The Russians were defeated, losing 1 lieutenant-colonel, 3 sub-officers, 30 dragoons, 5 cossacks and 3 others. The Prussians lost only 19 men in this action.


Illustrations of Cossacks
The Anne S. K. Brown Military Collection at Brown University make available a large number of illustrations depicting Cossacks. Even though they are mostly of the 1812-1815 period, they give a fairly good idea of the way Cossacks dressed during this era.

At the outbreak of the Seven Years' War, half the unit was dressed in blue caftans, half in red caftans. The rest of their “uniform” is very conjectural and based on the clothing of other Cossack units.

Waistcoats were often made of blue cloth. Their hair was cut in roundel. They wore a high bonnet of sheepskin. Coats of rank and file were girdled with an ordinary sabre strap or a belt of coarse fabric material. Leaders wore silken belt from Persia or Poland over the sabre belt. Sabre was worn over the waistcoat. Some cossacks, especially the rank and file had only a mustache, beard was less common. They wore woollen trousers, half boots of black Morocco leather or simple leather. The Cossacks trousers were similar to the Turkish ones, but much tighter.

Troopers were usually armed with a lance, a sabre and a pistol. They could also carry a knife and a musket.


Kettle-drummers are sometimes mentioned with Cossack units.


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Brock, Dr.: Russische Truppen in siebenjährigen Kriege in Mittheilungen zur Geschichte des militärischen Tracht No. 4 - August 1894

Grosser Generalstab Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II: Die Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen, Part 3 Der siebenjährige Krieg 1756-1763, Vol. 4 Groß-Jägersdorf und Breslau, Berlin, 1902, p. 21 and appendix 1

Konstam A. & B. Younghusband: Russian Army of the Seven Years War, Osprey, London, 1996

N.B.: the section Service during the War is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.