(From Istoriya Leib-Gvardii Yegerskago polka za sto let 1796-1896, Chapter VIII. St. Petersburg, 1896.)


The Life-Guards Jäger Regiment.

Gadzhi-Gassan-Lar and the War of 1828 Against the Turks.


Reasons for the war. - The regiment marches out on campaign 5 April 1828. - March to Bulgaria. - Siege of Varna. - Affair at Gadzhi-Gassan-Lar 10 September 1828. - Formation of the 2nd Battalion from personnel of the 13th and 14th Jäger Companies. - Battle of 16 September. - Operations at Varna in the second half of September and the surrender of the fortress. - Departure for Russia 10 October. - Halt in the Balta area during the winter of 1828-1829. - Camp at Tulchin. - New flag for the 2nd Battalion. - Return to St. Petersburg February 1830.



The Porte’s continual violations of the 1812 Treaty of Bucharest and 1826 Akkerman Convention led to Russia and England declaring that further infractions would result in a joint fleet being sent out against the Turks. The Porte dismissed this threat and on 8 October of the same year the Turkish and Egyptian fleets were destroyed at Navarino. The allies’ success did not subdue Turkey’s attitude and the sultan issued a declaration calling the faithful to war against Russia. As he saw that all measures taken to preserve peace were fruitless, Emperor Nicholas I was forced to announce to his own people in a manifesto of 14 April 1828 a final severance of relations and a state of war with Turkey.1

At the end of 1827 the 2nd Army, deployed against the Turkish border, had already been ordered to be ready to march. It was reinforced from the 1st Army by the 3rd Infantry Corps, 4th Reserve Cavalry Corps, Bug Lancer Division, and 10th Infantry Division.2 Later this army was joined by the 2nd Infantry Division and Guards Corps. At the beginning of military operations the 2nd Army’s total strength was about 113,000 men.3

General Field-Marshal Graf Wittgenstein was named commander-in-chief of all forces operating in European Turkey. The emperor approved a plan for military operations in which upon arrival at the Danube one part of the field army was designated for besieging fortresses and a second part for securing the occupied territory and guarding communications.4

On 28 February 1828 a Highest Order was sent to Grand Duke Michael Pavlovich to prepare the Guards Corps for campaign.5 Active preparations in our regiment began immediately. The 1st and 2nd Battalions were designated for the campaign, and shortfalls in manpower were made up by personnel from the 3rd Battalion.6 Additionally, when on the march the regiment was to be joined by one hundred men selected from army jäger regiments. The Guards Corps was divided into two columns, and each column was organized into eight sections. The L.-Gds. Jäger Regiment made up the third section of the right column, commanded by General-Adjutant Bistrom.7 On 5 April, the day designated for departure, the jägers heard prayer services in their barracks, said farewell to the 3rd Battalion that was being left behind, and set off to link up with the L.-Gds. Semenovskii Regiment. At 10 o’clock in the morning the Emperor Nicholas Pavlovich arrived with the empresses Alexandra Theodorovna and Maria Theodorovna, accompanied by foreign princes and a numerous suite. After inspection by the tsar the jägers made a ceremonial march past Their Majesties along the middle boulevard of the Semenovskii district, and the regiment left the city through the Narva gates, accompanied by the tsar’s best wishes.8 On 5 April 1828 the regiment set off with the following strength: 1 general, 3 field-grade officers, 11 company-grade officers, 160 non-commissioned officers, 94 musicians, and 1560 privates.9 Behind the regiment came the train of officers’ goods and a government wagon train in the order and sequence prescribed for campaigning. The government wagon train consisted of 15 wagons with 41 horses (eight ammunition carriages drawn by 3 horses, 1 apothecary wagon drawn by 4 horses, 1 paymaster wagon with 2 horses, 4 medical carts with 2 horses, 1 tool wagon with 3 horses).10 In addition the regiment was followed by a detachment from the 1st Train Battalion consisting of 1 non-commissioned officer, 21 privates, 12 supply wagons, and 1 mobile field smithy, commanded by a company-grade officer.11

According to the given route of march, the L.-Gds. Jäger Regiment was to pass through Gdov, Narva, Pskov, and on to Tulchin where the entire Guards Corps was to be united. Overflowing rivers made the right column’s proposed route completely impassable up to Pskov, so it was ordered to go to the village of Borovichi along with the left column and from there to Pskov and beyond.12 On 6 April the jägers arrived in Gatchina where the dowager empress gave the officers a farewill dinner along with bread and salt in the old Russian custom.13

During the march rest days were frequent and distances moderate so that the men remained almost entirely fresh. The farther we went from St. Petersburg the drier the roads became, which made the marches much easier. In regard to provisions the regiment was well taken care of. At the route’s rest stops the war ministry had arranged for provisions and forage. The regiment sent out two detachments of bakers a day’s march ahead so that for the whole journey the guards jägers had fresh bread. The regiment mostly moved by companies, and only in some of the towns were the battalions united, or even the entire regiment. In those instances the ranks with the band playing passed through in front of one or another high commander. The march stages were monotonous in the extreme and only variances in quartering arrangements provided some interest. Typically, early each morning the general march was beaten, signaling the companies to form up and move out. Halfway through the march a halt was made, during which time the train would catch up to the companies and then hurry onward on its own to the night halt to prepare dinner. Several miles before the place the regimental headquarters was to be located quartering officers would appear and direct the companies to their lodgings. On the second half of each day’s march, after the halt, the men would pass through villages and settlements with singers in front, which lifted the soldier’s spirits and drove away fatigue. In Polotsk, where the Leib-Jägers arrived on 11 May, they were joined by 74 men selected from army jäger regiments as reinforcements.

From Vinnitsa the jägers were ordered to go not to Tulchin but directly to the Danube. Because of the great heat marches were made at night. The men were in good spirits up to the halt, but afterwards it was hard to go on as the usual hour for sleep came and it took great effort to fight off drowsiness. Up to Karagach the regiment continued to march by companies and be dispersed among villages, but from 28 July it began to make encampments as a body, using tents brought up by camp trains.14 From Karagach the jägers went to Satunov and came up to the Danube, which was crossed by a bridge of boats. On the Turkish side they deployed near the fortress of Isakchi. Here the two columns from the Guards Corps united and stayed ten days while preparing for further movments.15 The following arrangements were made for the Guards’ entry into Bulgaria: 1) regiments were to have rations for 4 days and forage for 5; 2) lower ranks were to be issued 3 meat and 2 spirits portions each week; 3) company-grade officers were authorized to each receive a pound of meat a day and a soldier’s rations, while field-grade officers were given double rations.16

From Isakchi the Guards Corps moved in four echelons: the first echelon, including the L.-Gds. Jäger Regiment, left for Kovarna on 2 August.17 The road to Kovarna was very unpleasant. Along its sides were scattered the carcasses of dead cows, making the air unbearable; the villages wee burnt out and looted; a few times bands of wandering Bulgars were encountered. The terrible heat made the marches very difficult. At the halts the sun made the ground so hot one could not sit down. To ease the soldier’s condition Grand Duke Michael Pavlovich ordered that neckcloths be taken off, collars be opened, and canteens be hung on sword hilts so that at any opportunity the soldiers could scoop up water. It was forbidden to drink the water untreated in these regions because it was unhealthy—vinegar or vodka had to be added to it.18 The jägers reached Kovarna on 13 August and stayed here until the 24th, the day designated for setting off for Varna by the jäger brigade, which together with the L.-Gds. Black-Sea Squadron and Light Company No. 2 made up the Guards Corps vanguard.19

The road to Varna passed through defiles and forests and was strewn with rocks that not only hindered the train but the infantry as well. Previous rains finally made it impassable and the men had to pull the greater part of the guns and wagons by hand. However, this did not slow the jägers’ march and on 26 August they reached Varna as scheduled by Grand Duke Michael Pavlovich.

Before continuing with the Leib-Jägers’ part in the 1828 campaign, we will say a few words about the circumstances preceding the Guards Corps’ arrival at the fortess of Varna. The Russian army designated for operations had crossed the Prut River on 25 April and the Danube on 27 June at Isakchi in the presence of the emperor.

Although military operations following the crossing had been favorable for us, they were greatly slowed by campaign difficulties in a waterless and sparsely populated country. Long wagon trains and a huge number of sick hampered the movements of troops so it was decided to use the sea to ease communications with Russia and therefor occupy the coastal fortress of Constanța. The army took it on 12 June and moved toward Shumla. However, it soon became clear that our forces were not enough to capture such an unapproachable fortress, and the commander-in-chief was forced to leave small detachments to keep Shumla under observation and while turning the main body of troops to the coastal fortress of Varna.

The fortress of Varna lies on the coast of the Black Sea at the mouth of the small Devno stream which widened westwards of Varna to form a lagoon or liman of the same name. To the south in front of the fortress the stream again narrowed considerably and in this form flowed into the Black Sea. Varna lies on the north bank of the Devno. South of this stream, about 8 miles away, flows the Kamchik, almost parallel to the Devno lagoon before reaching the sea. On its north side the fortress is surrounded by hills at some distance beyond a cannon shot. On the west these hills approached closer to the walls; gardens and vinyards were surrounded by stone walls and therefore were convenient for defense. From the south the fortress was protected by a marsh. Therefor Varna could be attacked only from the north.

Varna was an important strategic point because it covered one of the main roads across the Balkans to Constantinople. In 1828 its fortifications consisted of a main wall with 14 earthen bastions. Almost all of them were connected by curtain walls for small arms. On the seaward side the fortress was protected by a stone wall with loopholes. It contained an arsenal that was a large citadel suitable for defense with small arms.

Russian naval control of the Black Sea appeared to be a important prerequisite for a successful siege of this first-class strongpoint because it would serve to safeguard Russian operational lines and the transport of necessary supplies.

On 28 June a force of 4500 men was sent to Varna under the command of General-Adjutant Graf Sukhtelen 2, with orders to seal up the fortress and thus protect the army’s main line of communications in that direction, and also make contact with a Russian squadron expected to arrive at Varna. Graf Sukhtelen approached Varna from the north and dispersed a Turkish cavalry force of some 8000 men. On 1 July he took up a defensive possession at the distance of a second parallel from the fortress wall with his right flank on the Devno lagoon and his left on gardens and heights. His small force stood here until 6 July and with impressive steadiness fought off several sorties by the Varna garrions, which by 4 July had already increased to 12,000 men.

On the night of 6 July Sukhtelen was relieved in his position in front of Varna by General Lieutenant Ushakov, who had at his command no more than 1300 men. Sukhtelen saw that this small detachment was inadequate in the face of the fortress’s large garrison and decided to leave with Ushakov some 1200 men from his own command. He then left with his remaining troops for Pravody in accordance with his orders. On the following day, having confirmed the small size of the Russian force, the Turks resolved to destroy it. However, thanks to excellent placement of field fortifications in the position and the timely sending by Graf Sukhtelen of one battalion and two squadrons with two guns requested as reinforcements, General Ushakov on 8 July repulsed fierce attacks on his position for over 17 hours and forced the enemy to withdraw into the fortress works despite outnumbering the Russians several times over. Fearful that the Turks would use their numbers to come around his rearin spite of his success in the fighting, General Ushakov on that same night ordered an immediate withdrawal from his position to Dervent-Kioi, 8 miles from Varna on the road to Pravody. Here he deployed his detachment in battle formation on the heights and stood here until 19 July.

On 20 July Vice-Admiral Prince Menshikov arrived. He had been given command over all troops at Varna, now grown to 10,000 men. After a skirmish with an enemy force of 2000, on 22 July Prince Menshikov occupied a position at the village Franki and established communications with the Russian fleet. He relied on it to close Varna from the sea from the north side to the liman, and he strengthened his own position by building a chain of redoubts that secured it from the constant sorties of the garrison which numbered over 15,000 men. In regard to the south side of the fortress, a shortage of troops forced Prince Menshikov to limit himself to observing enemy activities. Siege works were begun on 1 August, with the northeast sector chosen for the attack as it offered the possibility of cooperation with the Black Sea squadron during siege operations.

During a Turkish sortie on 9 August Prince Menshikov was seriously wounded in both legs and could no longer personally command the siege. His chief of staff, Major General Perovskii, continued operations according to the prince’s known intentions and followed his directions. In accordance with a Highest Order, on 18 August the governor-general of New Russia and Bessarabia, Graf Vorontsov, took over command of the besieging troops. He fully approved the plan of attack and the placements of siege works. Under his direction the siege was energetically continued and by 21 August a second parallel was laid, and despite the Turks’ brave resistance approaches were brought up to the glacis. Nevertheless we were unable to achieve any decisive successes because our lack of troops made it impossible to surround the fortress on all sides and thus cut off the reinforcements and supplies from over the Balkans and even from the fortified Turkish encampment at Shumla. For these reasons, when the Guards Corps arrived at Varna a special force under General-Adjutant Golovin was organized to invest the fortress from the south side. The Life-Guards Jäger and Finland regiments were part of this force along with other troops, and its total strength was about 6500 men.20

During the night of 29-30 August the Leib-Jägers received orders to prepare to advance. Briefings were hurriedly done. A quantity of supplies and equipment was piled up at the tents along with the sick, who were being left here, and the jägers took with them only a few changes of underclothes, a second pair of boots, and some other necessities.21

The column left camp on 30 August and on that same night reached the village of Gebedzhi where Major General Akinf’ev’s vanguard was located, it being designated to join General-Adjutant Golovin’s force. Here we spent the night under the open sky since the troops had not taken tents with them as they expected to encounter the enemy on Varna’s south side and because the hilly terrain made the route difficult. They only had ammunition boxes, medical carts, and the barest minimum of pack animals. After a long halt, at 8 o’clock on the following morning they proceeded further around Varna in battle formation.22 The entire march was along a narrow road through thick forest. The column spread out in a long file which seriously slowed down movement.23 At about 2 o’clock in the afternoon we came out into a small field opposite the village of Gadzhi-Gassan-Lar and there made a halt. Before evening, and not yet having reached the place where the roads to Burgas and Pravody cross, the vanguard took the wrong direction due to a guide’s mistake. They had to turn back in order to come out onto the road to the Varna heights. This movement was accompanied by great difficulties since the main force was spread out behind the vanguard along a road so narrow that the march formation was limited to three abreast. It was already rather late when by chance we found a kind of hollow in the woods which could just barely contain the force. The column’s tail was against the woods, and the head was only some yards from the forest on the other side.24 A reconnaissance could not be undertaken because of darkness, and after the column made some dinner it laid down for the night. A surrounding chain of infantry outposts, a line of mounted vedettes, and patrols sent out on the roads provided security from sudden attack. In case of an alarm the men were under orders to stand to arms and not move from place. The night proceeded quietly and at dawn on 31 August we moved on.25 Now the path immediately became almost impassable at more frequent intervals. Finally, the way ahead appeared to open up—villages became less frequent and the jägers came out onto hilly terrain with a sparse sprinkling of hamlets, with woods again alternating with open hills. At last, they descended from a large flat plateau into a valley, again made their way onto a similar large tableland, reached the edge of a hillside... and in front of troops stood Varna.26 Three cannon shots were fired to signal the arrival of the column.

After a short rest General-Adjutant Golovin personally undertook an inspection of the foot of the mountain and plain in front of Varna, for which he took the 6th Company of the Life-Guards Jäger Regiment and a squadron of the Bug Lancer Regiment. This small force proved to be adequate to not only keep the terrain under observation, but also to clear it of the enemy, during which a number of Turks were taken prisoner.27 After carrying out the reconnaissance, Golovin detached the 19th Jäger Regiment and two squadrons of the Bug Lancers with two light guns to occupy the base of the uplands. Command of the force was given to General Akinf’ev, who set up posts in a line from the sea to the liman.

The remaining troops were drawn up in battle formation on the slopes, and in the rear of the main force a strong picquet was established to observe the routes leading from the Balkans. The next day Golovin found it necessary to deploy an observation force facing toward the Kamchik. The Kamchik River was insignificant but fairly deep and swift in places, and was about 15 miles to the south of Varna in the Balkan mountains.28 Having designated a line to drawn up on and chosen four points that were immediately occupied by the Life-Guards Jäger Regiment divided into four half-battalions, Golovin ordered redoubts to be built at those places. On this day the Turks made a small sortie. Our artillery quickly forced them back. Afterwards Golovin issued orders that designated four more new points for redoubts. Having thus strengthened his position, he sent a battalion from the Duke of Wellington’s Infantry Regiment and two companies of the Life-Guards Finland Regiment to reinforce Akinf’ev.29

It was known that a separate corps of troops under Pasha Omer-Vrioni was coming to Varna from Shumla with the intent of breaking through to the fortress and forcing us to lift the siege. This news put the southern force in a very dangerous situation. It was completely cut off from Graf Vorontsov’s forces and had no way to retreat, since on one side lay the sea and on the other the liman, while in the rear was the fortress. It could not receive speedy reinforcement except by ships. Foreseeing this need, a wharf was built on the shore near the Galaty-Burun cape, and a company of the Guards Équipage was placed there, arriving on 31 August. In spite of the alarming rumours of Omer-Vrioni’s proximity, Emperor Nicholas I set off on 5 September for General Golovin’s column. The sovereign inspected the position in detail and conversed with men in each company. He approved Golovin’s arrangements and personally designated a location for building a flèche. He then returned to the wharf to sail to the fleet.30

When places were chosen for fortifications, the infantry was used to help the sappers build redoubts. Wagons were circled at some distance behind the redoubts, and within them were placed all government and officers’ supplies and the sutlers. Here also lay the sick until they could be sent to Varna's north side . Battalions were located behind the redoubts in attack column formation. To get relief from the heat, the soldiers made shaded shelters from branches, while officers had huts built from poles and branches, of which there was no shortage. In regard to provisions Golovin’s force was fully supplied thanks to the Galaty wharf and foraging, which was frequently resorted to due to lack of animal fodder. In the first days of September the Leib-Jägers were fully rested from the long march and even began to feel bored from lack of activity. Officers often walked the three miles from the position to Captain Kromin’s forward post. He had been sent there on 2 September with his 2nd Company of Leib-Jägers and a platoon of lancers, to the junction of the roads from Pravody and beyond the Kamchik.

While the Leib-Jägers continued to peacefully stand on the south side of Varna, Golovin took measures to strengthen his position. Until 8 September the Turks hardly showed themselves. Only on 3 September was a report received from Colonel Lazich about the appearance of a superior enemy forces, and then on the 8th Captain Kromin reported that a party of 25 jägers and 6 lancers under Ensign Vasil’ev had run into 30 Turks in an unnamed village on the road to Pravody. The Turks were chased into the woods and Ensign Vasil’ev returned with two prisoners. The enemy’s appearance placed Kromin’s detachment in danger so he was ordered to return to the encampment.31 Early in the morning of the next day, all the column’s foragers were gathered together in the vanguard. Since the previous day’s report gave reason to suppose an encounter with the enemy would be possible, the 3rd Company of the L.-Gds Jäger Regiment, two platoons of the L.-Gds. Finland Regiment, and a platoon of lancers, were all placed under the command of the 3rd Company’s commander, Captain Kruze. The column of Captain Kruze and the foragers arrived at the village of Akendzhi unopposed. The needed number of foragers was organized and provided with pack horses. They then moved back in the following order: 1 platoon of infantry in the lead, 2 in the middle, and a fourth in the at the rear of the column. The cavalry was divided up and placed between platoons. Mounted and foot patrols moved along both sides. While marching in this way along a narrow road, the foragers were attacked by Turkish cavalry between the head of the column and its center. This attack was unsuccessful because firing from our patrols greatly weakened the assault’s determination. Upon hearing the shots, the platoon covering the head of the column halted and thus gave some of the foragers an opportunity to pass by (most of them abandoned their forage). Other platoons hurried to join the front of the column. At this time the Turks again made an attack and were able to get between elements of the covering infantry, but the platoons in the vanguard and rear guard successfully used their bayonets to force their way through crowds of enemy soldiers and reach the head platoon. The Captain Kruze continued onward in closed ranks in spite of all the Turks’ efforts, and safely brought his force into camp at 7 in the evening, having inflicted significant harm on the enemy with his firing. In all the covering force suffered 7 killed or missing and 5 wounded. Although the foraging expedition did not have the desired results, the fight against a much stronger enemy ended in our favor. Captain Kruze, Sub-Lieutenant Tilicheev, and Sub-Lieuteant Demidov of the Life-Guards Finland Regiment, by their coolness in the midst of great danger were able to keep order in their units. Some of the young soldiers, having seen the enemy for the first time, brought into the camp weapons and clothing of the Turks they had run through during the fighting.32

This affair caused us to be more careful when sending out foragers. The lack of forage became more and more pressing, so a new foraging expedition was proposed for 10 September to the village of Akendzhi, but covered by a battalion of the L.-Gds. Jäger Regiment and two squadrons of horse jägers with two guns from the Don cossack artillery. Since the 1st Carabinier Company of the L.-Gds Jäger Regiment under Staff-Captain Engelhardt had been on that day sent at dawn to reconnoiter the strength of an enemy force whose cavalry had appeared on the heights near the village of Mimisaflar, its place was taken by the 1st Jäger Company of the L.-Gds. Finland Regiment under Captain Nasakin.33 Meanwhile main headquarters again received information on the movement of Omer-Vrioni’s corps. The emperor had been on board the Parizh since 27 August and consequently a Highest Order was sent by telegraph from the ship to immediately send a sufficiently strong force to reconnoiter the approaching enemy. Command was to be given to a colonel in the Polish forces, Aide-de-Camp Graf Załuski, who had several days before been assigned to General-Adjutant Golovin’s column.34 That choice proved to be fatal. He was unfamiliar with the soldiers entrusted to him as well as the broken and wooded terrain in which the enemy was advancing and which demanded extreme care in moving troops. Colonel Załuski ignored all advice and by his neglect, not to say other defects, caused the destruction of a significant part of the Life-Guards Jäger Regiment.35 The proposed foraging expedition was canceled and the already prepared regiment found out about its new mission from the following words to the Leib-Jägers by their commander, Major General Gartong:

The Sovereign Emperor, as a result of the reports about yesterday’s affair, ordered a reinforced reconnaissance and entrusted it to Flügel-Adjutant Graf Załuski, colonel in the Polish forces. General Golovin picked the Jäger Regiment for this reconnaissance. Although my regiment is setting forth under the command of an officer junior to me, I will not leave the regiment and am going with you.36
By such an arrangement General-Adjutant Golovin had placed our regiment’s commander in a very awkward situation, compelling him to follow with the regiment under the command of someone lower in rank. General Gartong was offered command of the observation corps’ vanguard during the time regiment would be away, the vanguard up to that time having been commanded by Graf Załuski. But Pavel Vasil’evich preferred to remain with his regiment, promising General Golovin to not consider seniority, exert authority, or interfere in Załuski’s arrangements.37 The described inconvenience could have easily been avoided by assigning battalions from different regiments to the force .38 Nevertheless, Graf Załuski took command of the force. When meeting his subordinates for the first time, he ordered the officers to remove their epaulettes and gorgets so the reflection from these would not attract the enemy’s attention. He himself set the example by setting forth without epaulettes.

The column marched out at 11:30 AM on the road normally used by foragers. Załuski sent part of his cossacks forward to patrol the road and kept the rest with himself as a covering force. The troops had hardly descended the heights into a defile when Staff-Captain Engelhardt emerged from the left, not having sighted the enemy anywhere. He was directed to return to the place he had come from and remain there until further orders. Soon a cossack galloped up and reported that there was a Turkish picquet in the clearing (previously occupied by Kromin), and that upon sighting the cossacks fired shots and galloped off. It was then explained to Załuski that when infantry was on the move it generally put out a vanguard, especially when in wooded terrain. As a vanguard the 1st Battalion’s 6th Platoon was called forward under Ensign Stepanov. The cossacks were withdrawn, and patrols were sent out from the vanguard.

Continuing forward, the 6th Platoon came across a naked corpse lying sideways across the road at the place where the foragers had been attacked the previous day. The body had been savagely cut up. Suddenly shots were heard ahead. Non-Commissioned Officer Ignatii Mikhailov came running from his patrol to tell Stepanov that Turks were hidden in the bushes along the road. Encouraging his men, Stepanov ordered them not to fire, but upon seeing the enemy to rush on them with the bayonet. They had not managed to go a hundred paces when from the woods on the left and right firing blazed forth and they were showered with bullets. As one, the jägers threw themselves forward with the bayonet. The Turks ran with the jägers following them, and on their heels they came out into an bright clearing (E) (plan No. 23). Upon coming out of the woods the platoon gathered together and formed up in the clearing to the right of the road in expectation of the regiment. The opening which they had come to was about 500 paces long but very narrow, especially at the exit from the forest. On the right it was bordered by low shrubs, and on the left by a vinyard. Straight ahead on a hill was a sparse woods of tall trees. In this woods were the Turks, who became agitated when they saw the Russian soldiers. It was obvious that they had been taken unaware and were trying to form up. Variously colored cloaks flashed between the trees. Horsemen galloped in different directions. At first it seemed that they were small in number, but then the entire half circle in front of the jägers became filled with a multitude of Turks.

Opposite them on the right at about 100 paces was a house or lodge (A) from which turbaned heads poked out. On the left, about 200 paces away, stood a green tent (B). Soon the battalions came up: The 1st went to the left and the 2nd to the right, in columns of attack. Two guns were placed between the battalions. The open clearing was so confined that the 1st Battalion’s left flank jutted into the vinyard while the 2nd’s right was in the bushes. The cavalry stood in front of the 1st Battalion’s left flank facing the vinyard. Graf Załuski appeared behind the infantry. As soon as he saw the masses of Turks, he ordered the cossacks who formed his escort to withdraw, saying that their colorful dress would serve as a target for the enemy. When the regiment was formed up it had not been ordered what to do next. It was apparent that the Turks totaled over 10,000 men. Colonels Sarger and Busse were convinced they could overthrow the Turks and strongly demanded permission to immediately hit them and then return by the same road. If the Turks came around them from behind, they would fight their way through to fords not far away. But Graf Załuski objected to this, saying that the purpose of the reconnaissance was not a battle but information about the enemy, so the mission was completed and now it was time to go back.

The execution of Graf Załuski’s decision began with the cavalry making their way by files back into the woods. The artillery fired some solid shot and explosive shell into the woods and canister on the entrenchments. During this time the Turks themselves extended to the right and left around our flanks. Marksmen from the 2nd Battalion were summoned into the bushes and from the 1st—into the vinyard. Behind the horse jägers moved the L.-Gds. Finland Regiment’s 1st Company, then the artillery and its covering escort—the 2nd Battalion’s 6th Platoon under Tilicheev, and lastly the 3rd Company with Captain Kruze. Załuski left with this group following the road leading back to camp, and charged General Gartong to hold on for a while and then withdraw. In this way 700 Leib-Jägers without artillery were left facing an enemy over ten times stronger and already encouraged by our retreat. Gartong asked Załuski to leave the artillery with him but he refused, saying the loss of a few men was not a bad thing but loss of guns would be a dishonor that he did not want to risk. From Załuski’s actions it is clear that he was only concerned about saving himself. He did not even think about the fact that in the woods, cut up by a multitude of roads, it would be easy to lose the way, and he did not care about maintaining contact with the regiment, as he did not put out vedettes as guides at crossroads. When Załuski was in the woods he saw some road to the left and ordered Ensign Stepanov to go there with his platoon, and when asked by the latter, “Where to?” he answered, “To where it leads!” Soon Stepanov’s platoon came out onto a big road, but while he was going along it Turkish voices were clearly heard from behind impenetrable vegetation in the woods. Załuski’s escort was perhaps half a mile from the regiment when already heavy firing broke out behind them. This so alarmed him that he ordered Captain Kruze to increase the pace to a run. But Kruze explained that such a pace was inappropriate for a Russian soldier during a withdrawal, and in spite of all Załuski’s insistence continued to march at a normal walk. When they came to the elevated clearing previously occupied by Kromin, the group halted. From here Mimisaflar was visible, around which a firefight was ongoing. No one could figure out how the Leib-Jägers managed to get over there. The most plausible explanation was that the jäger regiment had defeated the Turks and were driving them to the Kamchik. Soon this conclusion was greatly undermined by the appearance of a much wounded non-commissioned officer from the 2nd Battalion who told how the regiment had been cut up, that the regimental commander had been killed near him, and that in retreat the jägers lost the right road. After staying a short time in the clearing, Załuski moved toward our position.

After Graf Załuski moved out with his group, General-Adjutant Golovin remained without any information from him for several hours. Only at about 4 o’clock in the afternoon did a private from the Seversk Horse-Jäger Regiment gallop up with the news that the L.-Gds. Jäger Regiment was surrounded on all sides and in extreme danger. This appeared to be so unbelievable that it was not given any importance. Soon a note in French came from Załuski containing the following: “I encountered the enemy in large numbers. The situation and location were very bad. General Gartong with his entire regiment remained in the rearguard. Apparently the enemy halted, but Your Excellency might report by the telegraph that I met came in contact with the enemy in superior numbers.”

At the same time wounded soldiers of the L.-Gds. Jäger Regiment began to come in. Some of them maintained that the regiment was conducting a fighting withdrawal, others confirmed the initial information, adding that the regiment was completely destroyed. After Graf Załuski’s first report Ensign Kinovich of the L.-Gds. Finland Regiment came from him to General-Adjutant Golovin with an oral message “that the entire column is retiring in order, but the L.-Gds. Jäger Regiment, forming the rearguard, is a little behind due to skirmishing having broken out with the enemy.” This last information appeared to be more plausible. Meanwhile the number of wounded jägers grew. They arrived singly, without arms, and all confirmed the dreadful news of the regiment’s annihilation and the loss of their commander and all officers. In expectation of further information they were all gathered into a vanguard. Finally, Graf Załuski’s group appeared, and as it approached the position he galloped ahead to General Golovin who stood in alarmed expectation at the base of the Kurtepe mountain, and reported to him orally: that the entire column was retreating in order, that he brought all the cavalry with himself along with the artillery and five infantry platoons; that the remaining part of the L.-Gds. Jäger Regiment at the tail of the column was covering the withdrawal under the command of General Gartong, that this rearguard was not far off but could not arrive together with him only because it was engaged in skirmishing with the enemy; however, the withdrawal was being conducted in good order, and nothing unfortunate had happened.

After listening to this report, General-Adjutant Golovin pointed out to Załuski that as commander of the column he should remain with the rearguard, especially since it was actually engaged with the enemy. Graf Załuski countered that he considered his presence more needed with the cavalry and artillery, all the more so since the guards jägers had their regimental commander himself with them and there was no reason to risk any kind of confusion. He followed this with relating what preceded his retreat. Golovin was listening and unable to understand why wounded jägers continued to come in singly with all unanimously maintaining that the regiment was destroyed, that they themselves saw their leaders killed, and when themselves wounded they barely managed to reach the position. Załuski, though, kept on insisting that the regiment was retreating in an orderly manner. At this time their emerged from the woods a horse and rider lead by a cossack holding the bridle. It was the regimental paymaster, Lieutenant Gen 2, without his shako and covered in blood.

“Gen,” cried Golovin, “where did you leave the regiment?”

“The regiment is no more.”

“What are you saying? That cannot be!”

“At first we retired in order, but they killed the general, they killed Sarger, they shot everyone. There were too many of the Turks, they overwhelmed us... Maybe I am the only one left now.”

“How many Turks do you think there were?”

“I don’t know, but surely at least twenty thousand.”

“Eyes grow wide in fear,” pointed out Załuski.

“Yes,” countered Gen angrily, “we saw you, Colonel, when you came out onto the field where the Turkish host was!...”

Golovin cut Gen off, “You are feverish, go to the aid post immediately.” Gen had six wounds.

In spite of the eyewitness testimony from Gen which was confirmed by what the arriving soldiers were saying, Golovin apparently did not believe him, or rather, did not want to believe him. The platoon of jägers under Ensign Stepanov that had returned to the position as Graf Załuski’s escort was immediately sent to meet the regiment. This platoon covered about two or three miles without meeting anyone. Not knowing what else to do, Stepanov ordered the drummer to beat the rally in the hope that jägers wandering in the woods would come out. Only the 1st Carabinier Company answered the muster, having been last ordered by Graf Załuski to await his directions. Its commander, Staff-Captain Engelhardt, knew nothing of the regiment’s fate and only heard the firing around the village of Mimisaflar. A number of Turks were moving toward the sound of shooting but then stood the whole day facing his company, probably taking it for a vanguard of a larger force. It was already completely dark when Stepanov returned to the position. To General-Adjutant Golovin who was waiting for him he reported that except for the 1st Carabinier Company he had met no one. Thus there remained no doubt as to the disaster that had overtaken the Leib-Jägers: not one element of the regiment returned whole.

During the night wounded soldiers continued to find their way in, including the commander of the 2nd Battalion Colonel Uvarov, Captain Rostovtsov, Sub-Lieutenant Ignat’ev 2 (wounded), and Ensigns Gerard and Zagoskin. From the testimony of the returned officers and lower ranks details emerged about the destruction of the L.-Gds. Jäger Regiment. Hardly had the artillery left the clearing in which the Leib-Jägers stood, and Graf Załuski started his withdrawal, when heavy firing started up between the Turks and the marksmen deployed on the regiment’s right and left flanks. Enemy infantry then attacked the marksmen and cavalry charged the regiment’s front. The frontal attack was beaten off by the battalions’ volley fire, but the marksmen were all massacred with four officers perishing: Lieutenant Nesterov and Ensigns Divov, Vasil’ev, and Skul’skii. The pressure from the Turks on the right was so strong that they pushed in the right face and thus broke the square. The 2nd Carabinier Company moved forward to repulse the Turks and Colonel Gartong restored order. Seeing the complete impossibility of holding out against such a numerous enemy he decided to begin a withdrawalto use the few free minutes following the attack that had just been beaten off. Having turned the battalions to face the rear he commanded, “Half-turn, right!”... This was his last command. Hardly had he said it when a bullet struck him dead from his horse. General P. A. Stepanov in his notes calls this command unfortunate because it led the regiment to its annihilation. Gartong, being in the 2nd Battalions’s square, commanded “Half-turn, right!” because the road lay to the right of that unit. The regiment, however, took it to mean the direction for further movement. Marching thusly, the jägers reached the corner (C) where the roads forked. The lead personnel went along the road to the right (C.G.) and behind them followed the whole regiment. Behind the retreating regiment came the Turks. They came so close that the rear platoons had to turn around and step backwards while firing. During this skirmishing Lieutenant Aprelev was killed. Soon not even retreat could save the regiment: it was surrounded by Turks hidden in the thick vegetation who picked off the passing jägers at will. In the confusion no one thought in time to send out skirmishers, and then it became impossible to do so on a road completely occupied by a narrow and tightly packed column in which the leaders could not personally impose any kind of order between the head and tail. Shouts of command were swallowed by the firing and cries from the wounded. At each crossroads, in all the hollows, there appeared fresh masses of Turks who had to be fought through with the bayonet, with the enemy behind constantly growing stronger. Moving slowly and with difficulty, lossing many men killed and wounded, the jägers came out into a rather wide, treeless space that sloped upwards and in which was a village. Only here was the mistake in direction discovered. Those who had been on the foraging expedition recognized the village of Mimisaflar which was seven miles from General Golovin’s position. The crushing blow of this realization was increased by the sight of fresh Turkish forces across the the roadway. It was later revealed that on this day the L.-Gds. Jäger Regiment had run into the 30,000 strong Turkish corps commanded by Pasha Omer-Vrioni.

Black - Turkish forces; White - L.Gds. Jägers; FC - Road from the Russian main position to Gadzhi-Gasan-Lar; E - Clearing; A - Fortification; B - Tent: C - Where roads join that lead to Mimisaflar and to the main position; G - Turning of the regiment to the ravine; D - Ravine.

The debouchment of the jägers from the woods was met by enemy artillery fire. Using the delay caused by our men having to reorganize by battalion (during the march through the woods the companies had become mixed up), the Turks moved infantry and cavalry up to attack. The cavalry struck the 2nd Battalion which was in the rear and succeeded in cutting off its tail end. The band of jägers which had fallen into such a hopeless situation fought desparately. The first to fall here was Colonel Busse. He defended himself for a long time with musket in hand until a bullet struck him down and a Turkish officer took off his head with his saber... Seeing that defeat was inevitable, some of our officers decided to destroy the 2nd Battalion flag they had with them so that it would not fall into the hands of the Turks. Captain Kromin, Lieutenant Sabanin, and Sub-Lieutenant Skvanchi tore the cloth from the staff, divided it into three parts and hid them under their clothes. The broke the staff into pieces and buried the eagle in the ground. They had just managed to do this when Kromin and Skvanchi were killed and Sabanin, wounded in the thigh and side, was taken prisoner. Here also were captured Captain Ignat’ev, Staff-Captain Aleksandr Rostovtsov, Lieutenant Sukin, Ensign Mokrinskii, and Junker Officer Candidates Rachinskii and Dokhturov, all wounded, and 70 lower ranks, of whom only four were not wounded.

The details of the fate of the 2nd Battalion’s flag, considered lost for 47 years, were only revealed in 1875 after the death of Nikolai Aleksandrovich Sabanin. Taken prisoner, he guarded this regimental relic made sacred by the blood of his predecessors and stained with his own. He told none of his companions in captivity of his secret, fearing that from resulting talk the Turks might somehow find out about it. When he returned from captivity in 1829 he still did not tell anyone about the flag’s fate. Only when he was dying did he enjoin his wife to send the flag to the emperor. Why Sabanin hid this is very much a mystery. In the regiment’s miserable condition, the saving of a flag through effort and dedication was something that would find full approval from anyone who held the regiment’s honor dear. Therefore modesty alone cannot explain Sabanin’s failure to present the flag pieces he had preserved, when that flag was being sought after even in Constantinople. Apparently he was guided by other reasons. We know that all the circumstances of the unfortunate affair at Gadzhi-Gassan-Lar greatly saddened the sovereign and for a long time afterwards any mention of this event was difficult for him. The sovereign, who throughout the siege of Varna did not interfere in the commanding generals’ arrangements and only followed the course of the overall siege plan, in this had case personally named Colonel Załuski to command the reconnaissance that had such a sad result for the glorious L.-Gds. Jäger Regiment. This was apparently known to Sabanin and upon his return from captivity again kept him from bringing up an affair that was already beginning to be forgotten. Having not promptly turned over the flag fragments he had saved, it is possible that Sabanin did not do so later from fear of being held responsible for not having done so earlier, and so kept his secret until death. Finally, his decision may have been influenced by the fact that the lost St.-George flag has already been replaced by a new one. After the fall of Varna the sovereign granted St.-George flags to the 13th and 14th Jäger Regiments with the inscription “For distinction at the siege and capture of Anapa and Varna 1828,” and the same kind of flag was given to the 2nd Battalion of the L.-Gds. Jäger Regiment whose ranks were refilled by personnel from the above mentioned regiments. The recovered flag thus had no place and Sabanin may have thought that this piece of material drenched in his own blood would be turned in to some old arsenal. In any case, on 5 August 1875 Lieutenant-General Petr Aleksandrovich Stepanov joyfully presented Emperor Alexander II the 2nd Battalion’s flag saved by Sabanin.39 On 17 August of that same year, on the regimental birthday, this remnant was ceremoniously carried in the emperor’s presence to the L.-Gds. Jäger Regiment’s chapel, where it had been ordered to be kept.

Let us return to the interrupted account of the regiment’s destruction. While the rearguard was being annihilated by greatly superior enemy numbers as described, the leading part of the regiment continued to move forward slowly, firing all the while. When it came to a deep ravine (G) overgrown to the edges with thick woods, the jägers did not think long before hurrying into it, hoping to find cover from the Turks. But here the greater part of them perished. A dense wall of Turks occupied the edges of the ravine and shot the remnants of the regiment to pieces, primarily directing their fire at the black frockcoats of the officers. Here were killed Staff-Captain Zhilin 1 and Lieutenant Gen 1. Colonel Sarger encouraged his soldiers by his personal example, clambering up the steep opposite side of the ravine and shouting to them, “Don’t falter, boys! Fire back!” But with these words he fell lifeless from his horse. The battalion adjutant who was with him, Ensign Gerard, halted, took a small icon from around his neck, raised it over his head and cried, “To me, boys! God will protect us!” A group of jägers gathered around him, all men who were completely worn out and for the most part wounded. No longer followed by the Turks, but hardly able to move their legs, they made their way through the forest to our position, only arriving at nightfall. Along the way they were joined by wounded and unwounded men. Many did not make it to the position but died along the road. Among them was Sub-Lieutenant Lebyadnikov, whose body was found in the bushes not far from camp.

The Leib-Jägers lost 14 officers killed that day: regimental commander Major General Gartong, Colonels Flügel-Adjutant Sarger and Busse, Captain Kromin, Staff-Captain Zhilin 1; Lieutenants Gen 1, Aprelev, and Sukin; Sub-Lieutenants Skvanchi, Nesterov, and Lebyadnikov; Ensigns Vasil’ev, Skul’skii, and Divov,40 and 358 lower ranks.41 Four officers captured: Staff-Captain Ignat’ev; Lieutenants Rostovtsov and Sabanin; Ensign Mokrinskii,42 and 82 lower ranks.43 Only 5 officers and 256 lower ranks returned from the reconnaissance, of whom 2 officers and over half the men were wounded.

From the details of the affair of Gadzhi-Gassan-Lar as just related above, we see that the destruction of the regiment was the result of two main reasons:

1) Signs were not placed at crossroads either during Graf Załuski’s advance or his march back.

2) No communication between the retreating vanguard and rearguard, which Graf Załuski did not see necessary to establish, being distracted by saving the cavalry, artillery, and perhaps something else even more precious to him.

A consequence of these reasons was a third—taking the wrong direction during the withdrawal. Instead of getting closer to hour position, the jägers gradually moved further away and were marching toward an enemy significantly superior in numbers.

Details of the regiment’s defeat only became known much later, and in the first days the only known facts were the destruction of the regiment and the loss of the flag and almost all officers, which was reported to the sovereign. It is easy to imagine Emperor Nicholas I’s anger at the regiment which had been unable to fulfill the hopes placed on it. Under the influence of the crushing news he wrote to Graf Diebitsch a letter containing the following:

Ship Parizh, 11 September

I have nothing good to relate to you this time, dear friend. Yesterday evening something unbelievable and shameful happened in Golovin’s command. Previously we had intelligence of the enemy coming near our foragers who nevertheless made their escape like fine fellows and even brought back with them horses taken from the Turks. Yesterday morning I ordered Golovin: “Send Colonel Załuski with a strong party to reconnoiter the enemy.” Golovin formed a column of two squadrons of my jägers, 2 Don guns, and the Guards Jäger Regiment. This large force, by no means a “party,” set off with Załuski and Gartong, who asked to go with the regiment. At 2 o’clock in the afternoon, eight miles from camp, they came onto the Turkish army camp. The Jäger Regiment’s first reaction was to attack them, but Załuski stopped the jägers and started firing with his cannons, which is to say he made things worse when it would have been better to do nothing. The Turks had been so taken by surprise the their horses were still not saddled, and they then started to exchange fire. Then Załuski, finding himself too weak to attack them, ordered the regiment to withdraw, and himself took away the horse jägers and both guns. Thus he was first to appear back in camp having abandoned his infantry. Then the jägers were apparently seized by panic! So one way or another 800 men in all with 11 officers and Colonel Uvarov returned. The rest were taken prisoner, killed, or scattered. All the other officers were killed or went missing. Another two more officers returned, one of which had four bullet wounds, and 103 wounded lower ranks. In regard to the rest we know nothing. They say that Gartong, Sarger, and Busse were killed. It’s terrible and unbelievable! I immediately sent Bistrom to take charge, conduct an inquiry, and put the regiment back in order. He just reported to me that he is taking responsibility for the regiment and will keep it at his position, and that the Turks appeared to be drawing toward the liman, perhaps with the intent of falling on the right wing and on that side forcing their way into the town. I am sending an order to the 19th Division—if they are already on the road—to go straight to Devno, and for Dellingshausen to move to Gebedzhi as soon as the division arrives. I also ordered that the Guards cavalry arrive by this evening so that we are sufficiently strong. But it will necessarily be required that when the 19th Division arrives in place, it moves from Devno to Kamchik in order that we have better contact between our forces. This movement can be supported from here along the sea coast. The siege is progressing forward. The forward bastions are already in our hands, and the descent into the trench and second breach are almost finished. Still the Turks resist stubbornly so I cannot say how this business will end. Dear friend, my heart is broken from this sad event that I do not understand. Yours always N. There is no rusk, but lots of oats. My respects to the field marshal

The following Highest Order was sent to Grand Duke Michael Pavlovich, commanding the Guards Corps:

After the shameful events of 10 September that overtook the greater part of the L.-Gds. Jäger Regiment, the Sovereign Emperor considered the remnants that returned from the affair to be unworthy of serving in the ranks of the Guards, and by Highest Authority deigns to order:

1) All field and company-grade officers and lower ranks of the L.-Gds. Jäger Regiment who were in the affair of 10 September are to be immediately expelled from the regiment, transferring officers and lower ranks, the former in their present ranks, to army line regiments;

2) His Imperial Highness’s Company, the 3rd jäger Company, and the 6th Platoon of the 2nd Battalion, which did not take part in this affair, including officers, as well as lower ranks who were not present due to sickness, being on detached duties, or other reasons, are all to be combined to form the 1st Battalion of the L.-Gds. Jäger Regiment;

3) Field and company-grade officers and all lower ranks of the 13th and 14th jäger Regiments now at the sieges of Anapa and Varna are designated to form the 2nd Battalion of the L.-Gds. Jäger Regiment,—after the successful end of the sieges of these fortresses.

At dawn on 11 September the tired jägers were gotten up due to the arrival at the position of the commander of the infantry of the Guards Corps, General-Adjutant Bistrom. He had been ordered to carry out an investigation into the affair of Gadzhi-Gassan-Lar. The men who had come back from the massacre were formed up separately from those who had not taken part. Officers were also brought together here. K. I. Bistrom sternly surveyed the remnants of the regiment, numbering 130 men, and without the customary salutations quietly said to them, “This is what has pleased the Sovereign Emperor to write to me: henceforth the name L.-Gds. Jäger Regiment ‘is abolished...’” Ensign Stepanov was a witness to this miserable scene and described it thusly: “I did not hear anything of what followed. My thoughts went numb and I did not understand the words that I heard. I recovered myself only when Karl Ivanovich began to shout. Turning to those who had been in the battle, he said, “You have shamed yourselves, jägers, shamed yourselves! My twenty years of glory are gone! Where did you put the flag which I earned for you with my wounds? Where is your general? Where are your leaders? Why did you return without them? Why didn’t you remain there with them? You don’t have enough blood to redeem that which they shed...” At this moment Ensign Gerard, still almost just a boy, stepped out of the ranks and said loudly, “Your Excellency, you have been given false reports! We fought as hard as we could. One can’t fight against twenty. We didn’t run. Out of the whole regiment the only ones left are those you see before you. All the rest fell.” Karl Ivanovich excused Gerard for his breach of protocol and said to him, “Gerard, you come to me afterward when I call for you.”45

That same day 1 field-grade officer, 3 company-grade officers, 13 non-commissioned officers,46 12 musicians, and 175 privates—in all 204 jägers who had returned from the battle—were sent to the north side of Varna and attached to the 13th and 14th jäger Regiments for operations in the trenches.47

The losses suffered by the L.-Gds. Jäger Regiment gave rise to a supposition that the Turks, encouraged by their success, would act more boldly against Golovin’s column, so on the night of 11 September the force was reinforced by the L.-Gds. Pavlovsk Regiment. This measure appeared to be all the more necessary because it had become known that the Turks intended to break through to the fortress. In such circumstances the division of the southern column into a blockade force and an upper defensive force made it absolutely necessary that there be experienced commanders for both groups. K. I. Bistrom was named commander of the southern column as a whole. He inspected the position occupied by Golovin and judged it entirely appropriate for defense. To strengthen the position even more, he had two new redoubts raised and protected the upper position with five more.48 Bistrom also made a few alterations in the troop deployments, so the remnants of the L.-Gd. Jäger Regiment which had been in the main position behind the redoubts and flèche in attack column formation were moved to a large hollow between our position and the Kurtepe heights, in order to serve as a reserve to the cavalry which was maintaining vedettes on that mountain. Graf Załuski commanded all the advance posts and made his quarters near our battalion. Naturally this close proximity was very unpleasant for the jägers. In Załuski they rightly saw the cause of all the misfortunes that had overtaken them: his thoughtless dispositions led the regiment to destruction,49 the lost of its flag, and above all—because of him the regiment incurred the scorn and anger of their Sovereign.

Hatred of Załuski grew even more after a rumor spread through the position that he had written a letter to the tsar in which he justified his actions by saying that the jägers lacked courage and had become frightened. In truth, he had managed to convince everyone that the Jäger Regiment had brought shame upon itself. That this opinion was widespread may be judged from the following words of the eyewitness Stepanov:

On that same day Kruze sent me to the position to bring back rations for the troops. When I was going past the Pavlovsk Regiment’s position not one soldier stood up, not one took off his cap; officers turned away. The Finland did even better. When I started to order the rations, they did not want to issue any and I had to report it to General Bistrom who took pity and ordered that vodka be issued to his former jägers, on whom everyone looked with scorn. It was hard to bear.

During the night of 12 to 13 September the jägers who had been sent to Varna’s north side and to occupy trenches with the 13th and 14th Jäger Regiments took a more than active role in an attack on the Turkish camp on our position’s right flank about 600 yards from the fortress.The jägers marched at the head of the column under Colonel Prince Prozorovskii and bravely rushed the fortifications covering the camp. They drove out the Turks at the point of the bayonet and cleared the area for volunteers from the Nizovsk, Mogilev, and Duke of Wellington’s regiments who were following behind them. Supported by the 1st Battalion of the L.-Gds. Semenovskii Regiment these took possession of the fortifications.51 The jägers’ coolness and undaunted courage in this action showed all that if they fought here with the old jäger spirit then they must have also done so on the 10th. The only difference was that on that day they were almost all laid low but this time they only lost two jägers.52 The jägers’ trophy on this day was a Turkish flag taken by Private Istomin of the 5th Jäger Company (now 7th).53 This affair greatly softened general opinions. It’s been said that Yakov Ivanovich Rostovtsov expended much effort to ensure Grand Duke Michael Pavlovich interceded with the sovereign on behalf of the jägers.

In the meantime all was quiet on Varna’s south side. A platoon under Ensign Stepanov was sent out to reconnoiter on 13 September and returned to report that Turkish forces were gathering around Mimisaflara in preparation of some sort of operation. As it turned out, after midday the Turks occupied all of the Kurtepe heights and set out a picquet line in front. Our vedettes were forced to move back and the Leib-Jägers withdrew to the main position to the depression which they had occupied up to now and set out a line of sentries. Our composite battalion was busy this whole day with building lodgements around the wagon circle. During the night the 1st Carabinier Company went out as the sentry line.54 The next day was spent in a harmless exchange of fire at no clear targets. The Turks tried to push back our line but were quickly beaten off by Staff-Captain Engelhardt who led his platoon forward with fixed bayonets. By evening the firing ceased.

Early on the morning of 15 September Colonel Baron Fredericks, aide-de-camp to the tsar, came to the jägers, having been named to command the battalion. The jägers were cheered by his arrival because Frederiks’ appearance in their ranks showed that the sovereign did not consider them disgraced because otherwise he would not have put his personal aide-de-camp in a jäger uniform. The colonel observed the battalion’s dispositions and then left, but soon returned with orders from General-Adjutant Bistrom to send out in front one platoon which if necessary was to attack with the bayonet any Turks coming close to our picquet line. During this time the main part of Omar-Vrioni’s forces were observing the Russian position. Ensign Stepanov was sent to carry out the orders as received, and he halted his platoon on the crest of a hill.55 Soon Baron Fredericks approached the platoon and ordered it to advance. The platoon moved forward just in time because the approaching Turks were pushing back the horse jägers. The jägers passed through the cavalry picquet line and continued onward in spite of the hellish fire directed at them. Seeing that their firing was not stopping them, the Turks scurried back. The entire area in front of the jägers was cleared of the enemy, but suddenly Ensign Stepanov noticed a Turk lying in the bushes, taking aim at the commander. He said to him, “Colonel! They are aiming at you!”

“Let them,” answered Fredericks.

“They are close. He’ll hit you.”

“He’ll miss.”

“Allow me to chase him away with a volley from the flank.”

“It’s not worth the powder.”

In spite of that answer, Stepanov ordered the first rank to fire and in that manner saved his new commander. Having cleared the area for skirmishers, the jägers returned. But hardly had they left when the Turks again started to press forward. Fredericks then ordered that ten of the best marksmen be chosen and sent to reinforce the line. The accurate firing of these select men forced the Turks to withdraw and seek cover. Having in this manner saved the skirmishers from short-range enemy fire, the marksmen continued lying down behind the crest of a small hill. Around evening time the battalion occupied Redoubt No. 4.

Tsar Nicholas Pavlovich carefully followed the progress of the siege of Varna. He supposed from the dispositions given to him in Shumla on 16 September that Prince Eugene of Württemberg would certainly join up with General-Adjutant Sukhozanet (commander of the special column observing the Turks’ movements) and on that same day attack Omer-Vrioni, and so he ordered General Bistrom with his column to support that attack. As a result of receiving those orders, on the 16th the troops of General Bistrom were in full readiness for battle, only awaiting the arranged signal.56 In the morning the jägers were led from Redoubt No. 4 and the 1st Carabinier Company occupied Redoubt No. 1, the 3rd Composite Company—Redoubt No. 2 (where Bistrom was located), the 2nd Composite Company—Redoubt No. 3, and the 4th Composite Company stood between Redoubt No. 4 and the L.-Gds. Grenadier Regiment, protecting the position’s left flank, closer to the sea (Plan No. 24).

G - L.-Gds. Grenadiers; P - L.-Gds. Pavlovsk; F - L.-Gds. Finland; E - Jäger battalion; AB - Turkish forces

Soon significant movement was noticed among the Turks. They opened artillery fire and then moved to the attack. Accurate fire from our guns in the redoubts did not stop the advance of the Turkish columns. They closed up the gaps created in their ranks on the march and continued their movement forward, in this way coming towards us to within canister range. Riddled by canister fire, they were stopped, but upon recovering themselves they again came on and reached a place overgrown with bushes where they quickly dispersed and opened up musket fire which we answered from breastworks and trenches. But suddenly the Turks rose up and with a wild cry threw themselves into the attack. They ran up so close that the jägers began to make out their faces. At that moment the familiar call was heard: “Jägers!”... Looking around, they saw Karl Ivanovich standing on the breastwork.—“Jägers, forward!” he shouted. With a joyous cry they answered their former commander and without firing rose out of the trench. Met with a volley, they rushed at the Turks at a run, and a mêlée ensued.

At the same time Staff-Captain Engelhardt came out of Redoubt No. 1 and struck the Turks with one platoon while the other one in his company was ordered to descend into the ravine that bordered our position’s right flank. A little before the attack on Redoubt No. 2 the Turks, primarily cavalry, had fallen on our position’s left flank in great numbers where the L.-Gds. Grenadier Regiment was defending. Seeing the press of the enemy, Baron Fredericks hurried with the 4th Company to the grenadiers’ aid. Opening fire, they contained the enemy, but nevertheless the Turks carried out several desperate attacks. Formed into a square, the grenadiers beat off all attacks and themselves went over to the offense. During this their regimental commander Major General Freitag was killed, as was battalion commander Colonel Zaitsev. Aide-de-Camp Prince Meshcherskii rallied the halted grenadiers and again led them into the attack. The battalion’s decisive advance and its arrival in support of the L.-Gds. Pavlovsk Regiment’s 1st Battalion put the Turks to flight. Some of them went to their camp, and some moved along the ravine to join the attackers on Redoubt No. 2.

When the Turks were going past Redoubt No. 4, Ensign Nol’yanov with his division jumped out of the redoubt, struck them in the flank, and forced their way into the ravine.

On our position’s right flank the Turks succeeded in breaking through and coming around our rear in spite of fire from Flèche No. 6 and resistance from the 1st Carabinier Company’s picquet line. Here they attacked the wagon circle. Within the wagon circle there was no one besides the wounded, orderlies, non-combatants, and a small naval detachment. When the Turks began to climb out of the ravine, Captain Ignat’ev’s driver, named Anan’ev, began to shout, “Grab whatever you can, to march and hit the Turks!” Made up of personnel variously armed with muskets, short swords, or lances, the group rushed on the enemy with such speed that later some 300 dead and wounded were counted around the wagons. Withering fire from the L.-Gds. Finland Regiment’s 2nd Battalion decisively put an end to any Turkish desire to attack our right flank. Meanwhile a sharp fight was going on in front of Redoubt No. 2. Reinforced by fresh troops, the Turks pressed forward more and more strongly. Several bravos managed to jump onto our breastwork but there they fell. Kruze’s platoon hurried up to support the exhausted 3rd Composite Company. Together the jägers hit the enemy and forced him to run. In this affair Captain Kruze57 and Privates Sipor and Belov seized a green Turkish flag.58

The battle of 16 September lasted from 11 o’clock in the morning to 2 o’clock in the afternoon, during which the proposed joint Russian movement did not take place and General Bistrom had to bear the assault of 25,000 Turks by himself. He suffered very little casualties and at the same time gloriously repulsed all the enemy’s desperate attempts to break into our fortifications.59

On this day the jägers lost 25 lower ranks killed and missing.60 After the end of the fighting K. I. Bistrom thanked the jägers and said that they preserved the position. Naturally such flattering gratitude raised the heavy spirits of the remains of the regiment. P. A. Stepanov, a participant in this fight, wrote in his Notes:

From the 16th of September we were completely reborn and boldly held our heads high. Now we freely and willingly socialized with others and they did not turn their shoulder. For the first time after the 10th of September we had a merry evening. Everyone gathered at the wagon circle which served as our club and sat around a bright fire. Thee was no end to the stories, amusement, and sorrowful reminiscences for comrades.61

On 17 September the Turks were busy fortifying their position. On our side a new redoubt was also built—No. 5, on the far left flank of the position. On this day new reinforcements arrived: the 2nd Battalion of the L.-Gds. Grenadier Regiment, six guns of L.-Gds. Light Company No. 1, and six rocket stands of a light half-battery.62 At night a picquet line was put out by the Leib-Jägers’ 3rd Company.That there was a numerous enemy close by made us be as alert as possible: the line was positioned in the bushes in the depression between the two positions. There strict silence was observed; orders and challenges were made in soft voices, signals were given by short whistles. Every quarter hour patrols were sent out. In front of the line a listening post was maintained the whole night, consisting of a non-commissioned officer and three privates. In the morning the infantry picquets were relieved by cavalry.63

Late at night K. I. Bistrom held a military council to consider the attack on the Turkish position scheduled for the following day. Emperor Nicholas had been misled by an erroneous report from General-Adjutant Sukhozanet that only 6000 men defended the Turkish position and he ordered Bistrom and Prince Eugene of Württemberg to simultaneously attack Omer-Vrioni’s fortified Turkish camp on the 18th from two sides. Bistrom and all members of the council were of the opinion that the attack should be postponed, but they were not listened to. In spite of all representations made as to the error of Sukhozanet’s assessment of the size of the enemy force, no delays were allowed. Leaving the tent, a vexed Bistrom drew Sukhozanet aside and said to him, “Tell the Sovereign that I am read to go into the assault with a musket in hand as a simple soldier, but I will not take responsibility as a commander. You have false information about the enemy and on your hands alone will be the blood of the men who tomorrow will die for nothing.”64

Bistrom had to attack the Turks from the front, and the Prince of Württemberg from the left flank (since 15 September His Royal Highness’s column had occupied a position at the village of Gadzhi-Gassan-Lar). A special force under General-Adjutant Golovin was formed for the attack on the Turkish camp. As part of this force the 1st Battalion of the L.-Gds. Grenadier Regiment and the composite battalion of the Leib-Jägers were ordered to seize a Turkish redoubt on the left flank, while the remaining troops were to support the attack.

At about 3 o’clock heavy firing was heard from the direction of Kurtepe, evidence that the Prince of Württemberg was beginning his advance.65 Bistrom’s frontal attack then started immediately. Firstly, the Leib-Jägers and grenadiers marched in a single line. The Turks did not fire on the advancing battalions at all until they came out onto the plain, and only then began to shower them with shot, shell, and canister. The jägers advanced in spite of the withering fire, boldly marching forward. At this time they received an order to move to the right and go along the road which cut up a gully onto the hill on which stood the redoubt. The lead sections entered the gully, which was blocked with abatis that they quickly dismantled while ignoring the deadly fire from behind the branches. Then the redoubt appeared a hundred paces in front of them. The jägers bravely marched upon it, but the entire lead section was laid low, and with them Ensign Nol’yanov was seriously wounded. Staff-Captain Engelhardt with his carabinier company moved to the right, uphill, and crossed a ditch to come into the redoubt’s flank. But at the moment he reached the earthen wall a Turkish bullet hit him in the chest and he fell into the arms of his carabiniers, who carried him away, already dead. Here too battalion commander Aide-de-Camp Baron Fredericks was wounded in the knee while he was moving forward to encourage the jägers. The battalion of Leib-Grenadiers making their frontal attack was also repulsed, and its commander Aide-de-Camp Prince Meshcherskii seriously wounded. Despite failure and the loss of their senior leaders, both battalions quickly reformed and again rushed into the attack but were beaten back a second time.

Meanwhile General Bistrom received word of the loss of the battalion commanders and the death of Captain Vel’yaminov-Zernov of the General Staff, who had been leading troops attacking the fortifications, so he immediately sent his adjutant, Captain Mal’kovskii, to take command and lead the troops into the assault.

Having formed the men up, Mal’kovskii lead a third attack but was critically wounded at its start. The battalions were unshaken by the loss of their new commander and for a third time made a bayonet attack but for a third time again repulsed.66 In view of the heavy casualties and the impossibility of taking a redoubt protected by so much obstructive vegetation and a greatly superior number of enemy troops, General Golovin ordered a withdrawal. Several times Turkish cavalry tried to take the attacking battalions in the flank, but each time they were beaten off with the help of artillery and two battalions of the L.-Gds. Finland Regiment. In this affair the jägers lost Staff-Captain Engelhardt and 45 lower ranks killed,67 and Sub-Lieutenant Tizenhauzen, Ensigns Nol’yanov, Tilicheev, and Lermantov, and 231 lower ranks wounded.

The chief of His Imperial Majesty’s Main Staff, Graf Diebitsch, was with the force on that day and when the jägers returned to our position he summoned Captain Kruze. “How many of you are left?” he asked.

“Two hundred and forty men,” answered Kruze.

“Tell these heroes for me, that in my eyes they are worth a thousand men.”68

The next day the jägers were ordered to occupy Redoubt No. 5 at the end of our position’s left flank. In front of the redoubt was a lodgement which was always—day and night—occupied by our picquet line. Officers rotated daily duty in the lodgements. This redoubt was located far from the position and the jägers there were completely on their own—there was not even the enemy facing them. Bands of Turks that rarely appeared quickly slipped away thanks to our artillery. Rations here were very bad, and the only things not in short supply were vodka and rusk.

On 25 September the Leib-Jägers detached to Varna’s north side took part in the storming of a bastion. This assault was repulsed. In this affair they lost four lower ranks killed.69

On that same day the L.-Gds. Jäger Regiment saw their new commander for the first time: Major General Stepan Grigor’evich Poleshko, who unexpectedly arrived at the southern column during the night. P. A. Stepanov describes this meeting in his Notes as follows:

During the night of 25 September we were fast asleep when suddenly we heard an unfamiliar voice: “Who’s in charge here?” “Send for the jägers’ commander!”

We kept quiet. “What’s all this then? Isn’t anyone coming out to me?” continued the voice.

Finally we hear Kruze saying, “What can I do for you? I’m in charge here, Captain Kruze. Allow me to inquire, who are you?”

“I am General Poleshko, appointed commander of the Jäger Regiment. How do you run things here? Can you really be so careless in the face of the enemy? You are all asleep, every last one of you. Anyone could come and run you all through before you would even wake up. Unforgivable negligence!”

“Your Excellency, a picquet line is to our front and protects us.”

“Where is this line?”

“In front, in the lodgements.”

“Let us go there.”

“Let’s go then.” And they left. Well, we thought, what an irritable regimental commander. Everything was in order at the picquet line and General Poleshko returned to the position by way of the lodgements.

On 29 September news of Varna’s surrender arrived at the southern force’s camp and at the same came a Highest Order directing that if the enemy began to retreat, then immediately a special column under the command of General Poleshko was to be detached to join H.R.H. the Prince of Württemberg’s force designated for pursuing the enemy. During the evening of that same day a slackening of the firing from the enemy position was noticed. A adjutant sent by General Bistrom to investigate reported to him that Omer-Vrioni was withdrawing, as a result of which General Poleshko was directed on the following day to march out at 5 o’clock in the morning with his assigned troops.70

On the 30th the jägers were taken out of the redoubt and they got busy putting themselves in order. This was all the more necessary since for three weeks they had not taken off either their clothes or their boots.71<

In the early morning of 2 October the Emperor came to Varna’s south side. Riding up to the Leib-Jägers, he greeted them and honored them by expressing his gratitude: “Thank you, Jägers! You have avenged your comrades!” After riding around and thanking all the troops in the column, the sovereign personally led them with their tattered flags through the fortress to its north side, where they joined the Guards Corps.

After arriving at the north side the jägers were busy trying to put their clothing in order as much as possible. From the following regimental order it can be seen what a pitiful state they were in: “I have noticed that some lower ranks when on duty are not observing uniform regulations, namely: wearing silk kerchiefs around the neck instead of the cravatte, using rope to tie up the greatcoat, not fastening hooks, and so on.”72

The number of men present for duty in the regiment increased a little with the return of officers and lower ranks from various hospitals. Here too the regiment was joined by Captain Rostovtsov 2 and Ensigns Gerard and Zagoskin, on detached duty in the trenches north of Varna since 11 September.73 Returned to their unit were the L.-Gds. Finland Regiment’s Ensigns Mainov, Avaritskii, Fatsardi, and von der Flit, on detachment to the L.-Gds. Jäger Regiment due to the shortage of officers for commanding details.74

The Leib-Jägers did not stay here long. On 10 October at 7 o’clock in the morning, after a farewell mass, the regiment set off back to Russia. This departure was not happy. Of course, it was not the first time the jägers counted many missing comrades, but this time the losses were too many and to no purpose. From Varna the jägers marched in the direction of Bolgrad.75 As usual, this march was made in full campaign accouterments and white summer pants, but the further away from Varna the weather became much colder. So from 21 October lower ranks were ordered to be in dark-green cloth pants that were just then brought from Odessa by a non-commissioned officer sent for them from Varna. As on the march to Varna, on the march back a detachment of bakers consisting of a non-commissioned officer and four privates from each company, under an officer, was sent ahead. Upon arrival in camp the regiment put out a camp guard of 1 company-grade officer, 2 non-commissioned officers, and 28 privates, a field guard of 2 non-commissioned officers and 24 privates, and a rearguard of 1 non-commissioned officer and 13 privates.76 The jägers arrived in Bolgrad on 26 October and stayed there until the 29th, the day set for moving to winter quarters in Podolia Province around the town of Balta.77

March stages along this route were by company, so each company put out its own vanguard and rearguard. Only before entering Kishinev and Balta was the regiment gathered together in a single column. From the itinerary we can clearly see that the soldiers were not burdened with long marches, and these were made easier by rest days scheduled as often as possible.

The regiment arrived in Balta on 20 November when snow had already fallen, and in two days moved out to settle into spacious winter quarters. The regimental staff occupied the hamlet of Savran while the regiment was dispersed among twenty-two surrounding villages. Given their freedom after resting on the first day, the soldiers set to cleaning and repairing their weapons and accouterments. Company commanders were charged with looking after this, and they had to ride around to the villages where their soldiers were placed. Additionally, they were tasked with making lists of all damaged and lost items.

On 13 December there arrived at regimental headquarters the lower ranks assigned as replacements, namely: from the 13th Jäger Regiment—29 non-commissioned officers, 147 privates, and from the 14th Jäger Regiment—19 non-commissioned officers and 230 privates, or 425 men in all. Along with them came the Leib-Jägers of the 2nd Battalion attached to the above two regiments after the disaster of 10 September. In order to distribute men to companies, the composite battalion was gathered together on 12 December in close quarters. Personnel were assigned such that each company was half from the old soldiers and half from the new. On 21 December both battalions left close quarters at Balta and occupied 69 surrounding villages. In view of the significant distances of companies from regimental headquarters, post stations were established each 10 versts (6 miles) from another. Each one was manned by a literate corporal and three privates doing 10 straight days of duty. By this means there was no delay in the transmission of papers and all elements of the regiment were in constant communication.

Drill exercises began on 10 January. The least capable in formation movements were gathered together while the other personnel trained in their own villages, with each peasant izba hut organizing its own instruction. Training was conducted four days a week, two days were set aside for fitting accouterments, and on Sundays the men were completely free. Instructional groups were formed in the battalions, each of which could train 20 men from each company, primarily personnel in the first rank.

The regimental commander did not neglect to consider material matters. The soldiers were issued boot-making supplies and linen, and they became busy sewing footwear and underclothes. When cloth and accouterment material was received from Tulchin, the tailors from all the companies were gathered at regimental headquarters and the making of uniforms began at full speed.78 Since after the deaths of the regiment’s commander and treasurer on 10 September no one took up the regiment’s finances, a commission was formed to put the supply and commissariat books in order.

In the middle of the winter a reinforced company from the 3rd Battalion in St. Petersburg arrived under the command of Captain Engelhardt to refill the regiments with older jägers. They brought good news with them: the most important for the regiment was that a letter from the captured Aleksandr Rostovtsov, in which he described details of the affair of 10 September (Appendix I), had been presented by his brother Yakov Ivanovich for the tsar’s consideration. After reading this letter the tsar deigned to appear at guard mount by the 3rd Battalion in the uniform of the L.-Gds. Jäger Regiment, which he had not worn since the day of the Gadzhi-Gassan-Lar defeat. This final conciliation with the regiment caused the greatest joy in the jägers.

Here too came news of the feat of their comrade K. K. Wrangel who was one of a number of guards officers sent at the beginning of the campaign to Graf Paskevich’s army. At Akhaltsykh one of the regiments was ordered to take the most forward fortification. The regiment moved off but when showered with bullets and canister it stopped and began to exchange fire. Graf Paskevich saw this confusion of purpose and ordered Wrangel to lead the regiment. Upon arrival on the spot, Wrangel recognized the situation as bad. No leaders were in sight—they were all killed or wounded—and the men did not know what to do. Wrangel commanded, “Everyone lie down!” and forbade any more shooting. A little later, he ordered the troops to crawl forward, and when the regiment had crept to within a short distance of the enemy he shouted, “Forward, run, hurrah!” As one the soldiers rushed forward and in an instant had taken the fortification. For this affair Wrangel received the St.-George Cross.79

Meanwhile the regiment received by Highest Order 60 crosses of the Military Order. These medals were awarded to lower ranks by the regimental commander in the presence of all the officers, with a number left aside for lower ranks in hospitals.80 (Appendix II.)

An enjoyable winter was spent in Savrani as the officers made the acquaintance of neighboring landowners who received them gladly and did everything to entertain them.

In May of 1829 the jägers left their winter quarters and went into camp at Tulchin81 where the whole Guards Corps was gathered. Activities proceeded just as in Krasoe Selo: constant inspections, maneuvers, ceremonial guard mounts. Grand Duke Michael Palovich paid special attention to target shooting. While at the camp at Tulchin a new flag was brought to the 2nd Battalion to replace the one lost on 10 September, with the awarded inscription “For distinction at the siege and capture of Anapa and Varna in 1828”) The ceremony of nailing the flag to its staff was carried out in the tent of the regiment’s commander. The flag was then carried out to a lectern set up in front of the regiment, a prayer service was held, and then with a roll of drums and blare of trumpets it was received by the 2nd Battalion.

At this time captured officers returned to the regiment: Ignat’ev, Rostovtsov, Sabanin, and Mokrinskii. The details presented above regarding the affair at Gadzhi-Gassan-Lar were by no means known and so it is easy to imagine with what curiosity these officers were questioned about that massacre. From their accounts is was clear that it did not go easy for them in captivity. When they were being brought to Constantinople they were treated harshly. From there they were sent to island of Khalki and placed in an empty Greek monastery with absolutely no concern as to providing for them. Thanks only to the intervention of the Danish ambassador Gibsh was their situation somewhat improved, as he provided them with money and tranmitted their letters to Russia.82

On 20 June the tsar visited the Tulchin camp and was fully satisfied with the state of the Guards Corps.83

On 2 August the Leib-Jägers marched out of Tulchin to Bershad.84 They stayed there until th 10th, then went back to Tulchin to provide guard mounts for the corps headquarters. On 2 September the jägers’ guard duties ended and they returned to Bershad, and after a two-week stay went to Cherkasy85 in Kiev Province. In the beginning of September word came of the conclusion of peace, and after a ceremonial exchange of peace treaty ratifications in Adrianopol on 17 October a return march to Russia was announced to the Guards.

On 23 October the jägers left Cherkasy for St. Petersburg.86 The return march was made in the normal manner. Rest days somewhat varied the monotonous trek and often provided a chance for diversions. This was largely due to landowners through whose estates the Leib-Jägers passed, who in one way or another sought to honor the regiment as it returned from campaign. Many of them arranged balls and dinners in honor of the officers, and gave each lower rank a mug of vodka and a pound of meat.87 The most enjoyable time for the officers was in Smolensk. Many of them stayed in the city after the regiment left and caught up later on the march. Upon reaching Novgorod the it became much colder, but everyone was in good spirits as the march would soon come to an end.

The jägers did not enter St. Petersburg immediately but first dispersed among the surrounding villages in close quarters in order to put equipment in order and refine their drill. Here every day was spent in marching in formation. Finally, everyone’s long awaited day arrived on 9 February. The regiment deployed in extended formation at the Moscow gate. The men were in greatcoats, the officers in frock coats. The tsar passed down the front of the regiment and thanked them for the campaign. The regiment passed in front of the tsar in a ceremonial march and left for their barracks, where they were met by the 3rd Battalion after almost two years’ absence.

To commemorate the war of 1828 all participants were given special medals on a St.-George ribbon. All officers received an expression of Highest Gratitude, and lower ranks were each given 2 rubles, 2 pounds of beef, and 2 mugs of vodka. On 11 February the sovereign, wishing to again express his satisfaction with those who had fought in the war, invited all officers to His own dinner table.

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Appendix I

My dearest and beloved Uncle S. Yu.

Placing my trust in the All Highest, I am writing to you on the off chance. A few days ago I wrote a short note to Mama, and although they promised to deliver it I don’t believe any of it. If, however, God willing, you receive this letter, then transmit it to Mama. Dearest Uncle, forgive me if I write awkwardly. My emotions are those I would not wish upon my worst enemy. I have a feeling of shame and grief which I don’t have the power to write down, and more than one tear has fallen on this paper. The one thing I feared has indeed happened! In regard to myself I am at peace, and thanks to God I am bearing my captivity with fortitude. But when I think of you, Mama, my sisters, then my heart swells. For the sake of everything you hold dear, comfort and console dear Mama. Take care of her, many other people still need her! My life, my honor, all the blessings of this fleeting world, if it may be so called, will always belong to he who protects for us who remain this mother who does so much good! This angelic creation! Since September 10th I have been a prisoner. Exactly on the day of the angel I was taken into Constantinople, in the company of a numberless crowd of idlers. To spend the night they sent us to the so-called house of death, something like our home for the insane. Chains and manacles allowed no rest the whole night. And only a thin wall separated us from a criminal whose hands were more than once steeped in the blood of his neighbor, and they gave us nothing to wear. The next day they carried us to one of the Prince’s islands in the Sea of Marmara, 4 hours travel from Constantinople. Among the islands is a Greek monastery, already in ruins, and here it was fated for us to be sorry and wait for that happy moment in which, if it pleases God, we see again our native land. The Turks treat us as well as possible. The sultan granted each of us 150 (illegible), with which we clothed ourselves. I was close to death and now know that that moment is not to be feared. I relate to you, as much as I am able and my distracted feelings now allow, that most horrible moment in which I fell into imprisonment.

On September 9th our company by itself was sent to cover foragers of the Bug Lancer Regiment, about 8 miles from our bivouac. The lancers found big haystacks. They loaded their horses and were already peacefully getting ready to ride back to us when suddenly a force of Turks numbering about 200 made an attack upon them. The loads were thrown from the horses and our company opened fire on the enemy, meanwhile retiring to our position. Our losses were 2 killed and 5 wounded. The next, that is to say September 10th, our regiment, but not at full strength, consisting of only 700 men, a double-squadron of the Seversk Horse Jägers, and 2 guns from the Don Cossack artillery were sent at 8 o’clock in the morning to discover and run off the enemy, if he had occupied a position to his advantage. You have to see for yourself the roads, mountains, and ravines here. It is impossible to describe them. Crossing the Balkans is only equal to crossing the Alps by the Devil’s Bridge. At 8 o’clock we set off. When we had gone about 12 miles which was really like going 20, we ran into the enemy’s fortified camp. Apparently they weren’t expecting such guests as ourselves and we had to either retreat right quickly because the Turks were over 12 thousand strong, as I found out only after being brought into their camp as a prisoner, or take advantage of their disorder to rush on them, put them into confusion, and then turn and run. But neither one nor the other was done. The commander of this column was Graf Zalutskoi, appointed by the Sovereign, an aide-de-camp in the Polish army, but our regiment was commanded by our general. It was Golovin who made that mistake. He should have sent one battalion from our regiment and another from the Finland, then the battalion commanders would have been junior to Zalutskoi Only after we approached the enemy to closer than a musket shot did they halt us and Zalutskoi turn over his right to Gartong, being content to command just the cavalry, but Pavel Vasil’evich did not accept, countering that in wartime even a general was subordinate to the colonel, all the more so when it was by the will of the Emperor. Because of the bad road the artillery was not able to hurry after us and was somewhat behind, and we in the meantime stood completely idle. The Turk took advantage of this time and since he knew the area better than we did, he began to come around our right side in into our rear. Our artillery had arrived and each gun fired a shot, and with what? Explosive shell, which was what they were loaded with. We were ordered to form square. The guns again fired a shot each, this time canister, but apparently without any effect, for the Turkish host had left its camp and was rushing at us on the right side. Right in front of our nose on a small hill was their redoubt where one and a half thousand Turks were sitting. Seeing that the enemy greatly outnumbered us, we were ordered to retreat, but it was already too late. The cavalry galloped off with the artillery but we ourselves were completely surrounded. Bullets showered us like hail and pushed us into the woods where the slopes and ravines were the worst, so that maneuvers were completely impossible. We straightend ourselves out when we came to clearings, but soon they were all already occupied by the enemy. During all this time I never let brother Vasilii and Lebyadnikov out of my sight. About 1-1/2 hours went by during which we fired back as much as possible. They wounded Vanya in the right leg, and I, still being unhurt, ran up to him even though it was plain to see that we were all lost and I led him on, or better to say—dragged him. About half an hour after this I suffered a terrible contusion in my right arm so that I was knocked away from Vanya. Here I also lost sight of Vasilii and him, and I am even afraid that the bullet that went through my right arm also entered Lebyadnikov’s side. The fighting lasted from 11 o’clock in the morning to 5 in the evening. Leaving Lebyadnikov with a handful of soldiers, I and Sabanin (one of our officers) came out to a level place and held it for about half an hour against a horde of Turkish cavalry, but there were no more than 20 of us left. They lay like sheaves. At this time two bullets knocked off my shako and contused my right knee. Exhausted and with beaten bodies, we again retreated into the woods and resolved to break through no matter what, but up came their infantry at a run and smashed right into us. Three of them grabbed me by the collar and one of them raised his arm to cut off my head. I could do nothing against the three of them, as well as being exhausted. I was ready, by God without any fear, to join the many who are dear to my heart and no longer with us, but at that instant some kind of chieftain hurried up and ordered that I be taken to their camp. All my strength was gone, and two of them dragged me while the third drove me with regular hits of his saber. Along the way they tore off my icon, took off my frock coat, and appropriated my money and watch, and all the while offering me sweets, not very tasty, but there was nothing to be done about it. About a quarter mile from their camp I saw countless heads of our poor Russians. Seeing my own future in this, I silently prayed for all of them, silently bade farewell. The only thing not taken from me was a small ring which I swallowed as I did not want it to be profaned by pagan hands. Someone in a shirt with rolled up sleeves came up to me and by signs ordered me to my knees and to lower my head. I did so and impatiently hoped that the blow would come quickly, but now an argument arose between him and my conductors. They dragged me into the tent of their senior commander who when I was brought up gave each of the Turks some coins. From him they took me to a barn were I found 4 of our officers, 2 junkers, and soldiers. One corner of the barn was piled with heads missing ears and noses. We were left here until morning. At about two hours after noon we were taken by oxcart to the vizier, about 10 miles away from this place. We got there at about 7 in the evening. His reception was friendly, he now ordered us to be fed and given greatcoats for the night, since many of the soldiers, even the seriously wounded, had had their greatcoats taken from them. After spending the night, in the morning he gave us each 20 (illegible) and ordered that we be taken to Constantinople, where we arrived on September 27th. On the road our conductors treated us very well, may God grant them the best. We had nightly stops that were worse than any herd of cows in its own cowshed. A half month of travel without taking off our clothes, without washing. You can imagine the result. We endured many, many sorrows, but perhaps the Creator will be merciful and all these misfortunes will be forgotten when one’s loved ones are pressed close again. I am now in health, and I am writing this letter in secret and there are good people who will undertake to deliver it. Alas, dearest Prince! Dear Mama terrifies me, to think of what it must be for her to suddenly lose two sons! I pray to God to comfort her. Poor Anna Ivanovna! Her loss can never be made whole. My career is apparently also at an end. How will the Emperor take our defeat? But I swear in the name of an honest person that we on our side did everything that could be done. The general was killed, 2 colonels, and also 15 officers. All of us were wounded, even if not dangerously. We were 700 men—they were 12 thousand. We were sent without knowing if many of the enemy were ahead or not, without knowing the road, and without even having some kind of communication with the rest of our force, which perhaps could have hurried to our aid, and if not fight off the enemy, then at least not let him inflict so many casualties. I pray to the Creator that He preserve dear Mama, my sisters, and every one of you, and I, awaiting God’s kindness and the kindness of our Tsar, kiss you all a thousand times. Unto death I abide with devoted spirit and love for you.

A. Rostovtsov

I write quickly—the good person whose name I cannot trust to paper is leaving now. May God bless Mama and everyone!



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Appendix II

Lower ranks of the L.-Gds. Jäger Regiment awarded the medal of the Military Order for deeds performed in battle against the Turks in 1828

10 September 1828 at Gadzhi-Gassan-Lar, 14 September at Varna, 16 September at the Devno Liman, 18 September at Kurtepe, and 25 September at Varna.

No.      Rank, Name               Medal
        Sergeants     
1.  Prokofii Yeremen 53713              26.  Prokhor Bel’chikov         53217              51.  Nikolai Litvinov         59265
2.  Ignatii Nikitin 53712              27.  Nikifor Bolov         53693              52.  Andrei Mamaev         53710
3.  Vasilii Fedotov 53724              28.  Matvei Belokurov         53728              53.  52.Ivan Maksimov         56554
        Yunkers                   29.  Mikhail Vedrov         49158              54.  Petr Peter         53218
4.  Ivan Rimskii-Korsakov 47941              30.  Markel Vavilov         53215              55.  Yelistrat Petrov         53712
 Non-commissioned officers              31.  Kondratii Vasil’ev         56627              56.  Sergei Protsenko         56418
5.  Aleksei Aleinin 47533              32.  Taras Grigor’ev         53225              57.  Thedor Petrov (Note)         57020
6.  Anton Andreev 53718              33.  Ivan Grigor’ev         53729              58.  Filipp Romanov         49179
7.  Yegor Bobrovshchikov 53538              34.  Moisei Gutarov         56353              59.  Demid Smirnov         46020
8.  Vasilii Vagin 53727              35.  Savelii Grigor’ev         45517              60.  Artemii Saprygin         46127
9.  Yevtignei Yevdokimov 53725              36.  Petr Gus’evskii         48119              61.  Yevgenii Sadnikov         47632
10.  Minai Leonov 53221              37.  Yakim Gorozhankin         57364              62.  Maksim Simachev         48222
11.  Nikita Maslov 53228              38.  Grigorii Dubin         57949              63.  Trofim Timofeev         53696
12.  Yefim Nikiforov 53695              39.  Ivan Yeremeev         50625              64.  Vasilii Thedorov         53720
13.  Yakov Osipov 53694              40.  Maksim Zotov         48087              65.  Danilo Frolov         56556
14.  Anton Petrov 53701              41.  Boris Zotov         57940              66.  Nikolai Filonenko         56578
15.  Nikifor Skyrabin 53211              42.  Sysoi Zadorkin         57940              67.  Nester Kharlamanchug         49130
16.  Ivan Seliverstov 53212              43.  Rodion Ispytaev         48113              68.  Yakov Khvoroshchenyuk         53222
17.  Stepan Smirnov 53223              44.  Vasilii Ivanov         49178              69.  Stepan Kharchev         58127
18.  Marko Starov 53224              45.  Sergei Ivanov         52716              70.  Ivan Tsutsenko         47871
19.  Thedor Semenov 53700              46.  Ivan Ivenko         58086              71.  Vasilii Shastin         47534
20.  Ivan Tarasenko 53691              47.  Nikifor Kolesnikov         46613 Note:
        Privates                   48.  Ivan Karlushin         47053 For capturing a Turkish flag.
21.  Aleksei Averin 48203              49.  Kondratii Kochetov         48756
22.  Yegor Andreev 53711              50.  Ul’yan Kuz’min         53714
23.  Semen Antonov 56137
24.  Danilov Aflfintsov 56629
24.  Maksim Bursak 49907

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Notes

1 Lukyanovich. Opisanie 1828 i 1829 gg. ch. I, str. 1-9.

2 Lukyanovich, ch. I, st. 49.

3 Lukyanovich, ch. I, str. 66.

4 Lukyanovich, ch. 1, str. 70.

5 Lukyanovich, ch. II, str. 1.

6 Voen. Uchen. Arkh. Gl. Sht. No. 2583, str. 35.

7 M.O.A.G.Sh. Dela dezh. gen. Gl. Sht. Ego Imp. Vel. za 1828 g. Sv. 125, No. 131.

8 Diary of Gen.-Adjutant Golovin.

9 Arkh. sht. v. gvard. i Peterburgskago voen. okr. I otdel. 1828 goda.

10 Voen. Uchen. Arkh. Gl. Sht. No. 2583, str. 13.

11 Voen. Uchen. Arkh. Gl. Sht. No. 2583 str. 9.

12 The march route of the L.-Gds. Jäger Regiment to Vinnitsa was:

13 Luk’yanovich, ch. II, str. 7.

14 The march route of the jägers to Karagach was:

15 P. A. Stepanov, Zapiski, str 268 i 269.

16 Voen. Uchen. Arkh. Gl. Sht., 19 April 1828, No. 2581.

17 The march route was as follows:

    A planned march to Bazardzhik was changed to avoid shortages in provisions. Voen. Arkh. Gl. Sht. No. 2584, str. 35 i 36.

18 Luk’yanovich, ch. II, str. 12; Stepanov, str. 369.

19 Voen. Uchen. Arkh. Gl. Sht, No. 2735, str. 3.

20 Zhurnal voennykh deistvii otryada general-ad”yutanta Golovina pod Varnoyu.

21 P. A. Stepanov, “Zapiski,” Voennyi Sbornik, 1877 No. 2, str. 371.

22 Zhurnal voennykh deistvii otryada general-ad”yutanta Golovina pod Varnoyu.

23 Stepanov, “Zapiski,” str. 371.

24 Zhurnal voennykh deistvii otryada general-ad”yutanta Golovina pod Varnoyu, str. 9; Stepanov, “Zapiski,” str. 371.

25 Zhurnal voennykh deistvii otryada general-ad”yutanta Golovina pod Varnoyu, str. 10.

26 Stepanov, “Zapiski,” str. 371.

27 Dnevnik general-ad”yutanta Golovina, 31 August.

28 Zhurnal voennykh deistvii otryada general-ad”yutanta Golovina pod Varnoyu, str. 15.

29 Zhurnal voennykh deistvii otryada geneal-ad”yutanta Golovina, str 13-18.

30 Russkaya Starina 1879, A. I. Veregin. Osada Varny 1826 g., str. 313-315.

31 Zhurnal voennykh deistvii otryada general-ad”yutanta Golovina, str. 30 i 31.

32 Zhurnal voennykh deistvii otryada general-ad”yutanta Golovina, str. 32-37.

33 Zhurnal voennykh deistvii otryada general-ad”yutanta Golovina, str. 41.

34 Golovin expressed his orders as follows: “d’envoyer sans délai le colonel comte Zalouski avec un détachement pour connaitre l’ennemi.”

35 Russkaya Starina, A. I. Veregin, str. 515.

36 Zapiski P. A. Stepanov, str. 375.

37 Hansen, Zwei Kriegsjahre, Seite 117, 118.

38 In his pamphlet General Golovin states that he had no other troops at hand (Zhurnal voennykh deistvii otryada general-ad”yutanta Golovina).

39 Hansen, Zwei Kriegsjahre, Seite 366.

40 M. O. A. G. Sh. Mesyachnye raporty 1828 g.

41 Regimental order, 27 October 1828.

42 M. O. A. G. Sh. Mesyachnye raporty1828 g.

43 Regimental order, 12 December 1828.

44 Russkaya Starina, 1880, T. 7, str. 910.

45 P. A. Stepanov, Zapiski, str. 384.

46 Colonel Uvarov, Captain Rostovtsov, Ensigns Gerard and Zagoskin. (Order to the regiment, October 1828.)

47 Voen. Uchen. Arkh. Gl. Sht No. 2705, tetrad 3, str. 11.

48 Lukyanovich, Opisanie voiny 1828 i 1829 gg., T. II, str. 50 i 59.

49 When news of the Jäger Regiment’s defeat reached Warsaw, Grand Duke Constantin Pavlovich ordered that the officers of the Lithuania and Volhynia regiments gather together in his palace. In an agitated voice he read out the report he had received on the disaster that had overtaken the regiment of which he was honorary colonel, and added, “This regiment which had distinguished itself at Friedland, Borodino, Kulm, perished due to the incompetence of Colonel Załuski who commanded it in this affair.” The grand duke disliked Załuski and in spite of his being an aide-de-camp to Emperor Alexander, gave him no positions. Not receiving any assignments in the army, Załuski became rector of the University of Krakow, a position to which he was elected not because of his learning but because he was rich and owned an outstanding library. The Poles said about him, “Graf Załuski, a war chief at the university and a rector in wartime.” In 1828, as a aide-de-camp, he was called back to the army and soon after the affair at Gadzhi-Gassan-Lar sent back to Poland. (As related by General-Adjutant Th. Gogel). (P. A. Stepanov, Zapiski, str. 386).

50 Stepanov, Zapiski, str. 358.

51 Luk’yanovich, Opisanie voiny 1828 i 1829 gg., T. II, str. 104.

52 Regimental order 16 October 1828.

53 Voen. Uchen. Arkh. Gl. Sht. No. 2705, tetrad 3, str. 582.

54 P. A. Stepanov, Zapiski, str. 386 i 387.

55 In the words of P. A. Stepanov there occurred here “a small unpleasant episode.” Bullets were constantly flying over the platoon and the soldiers were unconsciously lowering their heads. Stepanov noticed this and reminded them that such timidity was an embarrassment. After finishing his speech, he had not yet turned to face the Turks when a bullet whistled past his ear—and he ducked. From the ranks he heard, “Eh, don’t like it, your lordship?”... (Stepanov, Zapiski, str. 388.)

56 Luk’yanovich, Opisanie voiny 1828 i 1829 gg., T. II, str. 67.

57 M. O. A. G. Sh. Highest Order of 19 September 1828, No. 330. Luk’yanovich, Biografiya general-ad”yutanta Bistroma, str. 103.

58 In the heat of the fighting Ensign Stepanov saw two Turks rushing with bayonets on Private Bel’chikov. He ran to them and put one down with a bullet while Bel’chikov dealt with the other. Later Bel’chikov came to Stepanov every year on September 16th and said to him, “Your Excellency saved my life, so now you have to maintain it.” (P. A. Stepanov, Zapiski, str 392.)

59 Luk’yanovich, Opisanie voiny 1828 i 1829 gg. T. II, str. 72.

60 Regimental order of 29 September 1828.

61 P. A. Stepanov, Zapiski, str. 392 i 393.

62 Luk’yanovich, Opisanie voiny 1828 i 1829 gg. T. II, str. 75.

63 P. A. Stepanov, Zapiski, str. 393.

64Osada Varny 1828 g.”, A. P. Veregin, Russkaya Starina, 1879, str. 517 i 518.

65 Luk’yanovich, Opisanie voiny 1828 i 1829 gg. T. II, str. 84.

66 Luk’yanovich, Opisanie voiny 1828 i 1829 gg. T. II, str. 85.

67 Regimental order of 29 September 1828.

68 P. A. Stepanov, Zapiski, str. 396.

69 Regimental order of 16 October 1828.

70 Luk’yanovich, Opisanie voiny 1828 i 1829 gg., T. II. str. 130.

71 P. A. Stepanov, Zapiski, str. 398.

72 Regimental order of 7 October 1828.

73 Regimental order of 6 October 1828.

74 Regimental order of 6 October 1828.

75 March route of the L.-Gds. Jäger Regiment to Bolgrad:

76 Regimental orders from 1828.

77 March route of the L.-Gds. Jäger Regiment to Balta:

78 Regimental order of 14 February 1829.

79 P. A. Stepanov, Zapiski, str. 406.

80 Regimental order of 22 January 1829. This is a good place to mention an incident showing the high sense of honor of one of the men in a soldiers’ mutual aid cooperative, a carabinier of the L.-Gds. jäger Regiment named Petrov. During the regiment’s presence in 1828 on the south side of Varna fortress he was a member of a mutual aid group and when wounded in action with the enemy on 10 September by a bullet through the left shoulder he was sent along with other wounded men on a ship to the Sevastopol hospital. At the end of six months Carabinier Petrov had recovered. When he arrived from the hospital back at his regiment he presented the 180 rubles in mutual aid money that his fellow mutual aid group members had completely written off, considering it lost, as had happened in other groups with members killed in action on that date. The commander of the Guards Corps, Grand Duke Michael Pavlovich brought Petrov’s actions to the attention of His Imperial Majesty and as a reward for such a praiseworthy act demonstrating the selflessness and good conduct of Carabinier Petrov, the tsar was pleased to grant him a one-time payment of 200 paper rubles. (Russkii Invalid, 1829, str. 823.)

81 March route of the L.-Gds. Jäger Regiment from Savran to Tulchin:

82 P. A. Stepanov, Zapiski, str. 408.

83 Russkii Invalid, 1829.

84 March route of the L.-Gds. Jäger Regiment to Bershad:

85 March route of the L.-Gds. Jäger Regiment from Bershad to Cherkasy:

86 March route of the L.-Gds. Jäger Regiment from Cherkasy:

87 In Kagarlyk – retired Lieutenant General Troshchinskii; in Obukhov – Major General Berdyaev; in Kiev Governor Katenin and Governor-General Prince Repnin; in Starodub – Major General Shiryai; merchants in Toropets (Russkii Invalid, 1830).

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Translated by Mark Conrad, 2016.