Volga Cossacks

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> Russian Army >> Volga Cossacks

Origin and History

From 1718 to 1720, the new Tsaritsyn defensive line was built between the Volga and Don rivers. It was initially planned to be garrisoned by Don Cossacks, but in 1734 the Imperial government decided to settle these cossacks from the Tsaritsyn defensive line to the bank of the Volga River between Tsaritsyn (present-day Volgograd) and Kamyshin. These cossacks were detached from the Don Cossack Host to establish the new Volga Cossack Host.

According to Maslovskiy, the 1740 census counted 1,057 men fit for military service. By 1755, this Cossack Host counted 1,061 men, including:

  • 1 ataman
  • 2 starshinas (administrative heads)
  • 1 yesaul (assistant commander)
  • 1,057 Cossacks

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

  • no information found

Service during the War

In 1756, these Cossacks were stationed in their region of origin. They did not participate in any campaign of the Seven Years' War.

Uniform

Detail of an illustration depicting a Volga Cossack circa 1774
Source: Viskovatov's work

At the outbreak of the Seven Years' War, these Cossacks did not wear uniforms. The following description is very conjectural and based on the clothing of other Cossack units.

Caftans and 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.

Musicians

no information found

Colours

These regiments had probably no official standard even though they may had some unofficial ones.

References

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

Maslovskiy, Dmitrij Fedorovich: Russkaia armija w siemieletnjuju wojnu

Viskovatov, A. V., Historical Description of the Clothing and Arms of the Russian Army, Petersburg: 1900

Wikipedia (Russian) - Волжское казачье войско

Acknowledgements

Roman Shlygin for the section "Origin and History" of this article