Compiled by Colonel P. I. Avdeev.

Advisor, Host Economic Administration.



Manuscript presented to the Host by the author’s heiress,

Vera Mikhailovna Polozova.

Published by the Orenburg Cossack Host, 1904. Orenburg.


[Istoricheskaya zapiska ob Orenburgskom Kazach’em Voiske. Translated by Mark Conrad, 1993 & 2005.]





The state of the Orenburg territory up to the organization of the Orenburg Cossack Host.
Cossacks Arrive in the Territory
Immediate reasons for building the town of Orenburg
The building of the town of Orenburg
Unification of the territory’s cossacks into one Orenburg host
1755 organization table for the host and administrative measures taken up to 1803.
Establishment Table of 1803 and further organization of the Host to 1840 
Polozhenie of 12 December 1840, and the organization of the Host to 1865
Later organization of the Host, with changes in its administration by the Polozhenie of May 1865
Territory of the Host
Host finances and their allocation
Material condition of the Host inhabitants 
Educational resources in the Host and their development 
Host population and numbers on active service 
Host participation in military operations




Colonel P. Avdeev’s historical notes are printed at the direction of the Orenburg Cossack Host’s Government Ataman, Lieutenant General Ya.F. Barabash. It was edited by the host’s chief of staff, Major General Baron F.F. Taube, with the active participation of Colonel V.N. Polozov. The notes are the property of the late Colonel Avdeev’s widow, V.M. Polozova, and she placed them at the disposition of the Orenburg Host.

These notes, prepared as long ago as 1873, were for various reasons not printed as an individual publication until the present time, and existed only in manuscript form. During that time it served as the basis for several works on the history of the Orenburg Cossack Host.

P. Avdeev’s historical notes were the first of the number of works on the history of the Orenburg Cossack Host and based mainly on information that the author was able to collect in the Host Archives, with which he became very familiar during the many years he served in the Host Economic Administration [Voiskovoe Khozyaistvennoe Pravlenie]. Some incompleteness in the work is explained by the fact that the host archives were almost the only source used. There is uneven analysis over the covered time period; in some places there are significant problems and no overall explanation of incidents in the Orenburg Host in connection with larger outside events of the era.

Nevertheless, the Host command decided to publish Colonel Avdeev’s notes because of its many undoubted qualities, of which first of all must be the documented description of the gradual development of the Orenburg Cossack Host, in particular beginning with the reign of Empress Catherine II.

There is no doubt that this, the first work on the history of the Orenburg Cossack Host to be written, will occupy an honored place among other works to follow that will naturally be more complete and consider more of the historical background of events.

In writing this historical account of the Orenburg Cossack Host the following material was used:

1) Complete Collection of Laws [Polnoe Sobranie Zakonov].
2) Documents in the Host archive.
3) Karamzin’s Istoriya Rossiiskago gosudarstva.
4) Rychkov’s Topografiya Orenburgskago kraya.
5) The journal Voennyi Sbornik from the years 1863 through 1873.
6) Historical articles in Vestnik Yevropy from the years 1870 and 1871 and in Russkii Vestnik from 1872.
7) Pushkin’s Istoriya Pugachevskago bunta.
8) Lists of settled places in the Russian empire, drawn up by the Ministry of Internal Affairs’ Central Committee, for Orenburg and Samara provinces.
9) Permskii Sbornik, book I, 1859 edition.
10) Traditional lore and stories from eyewitnesses.


The state of the Orenburg territory up to the organization of the Orenburg Cossack Host.

The organization of the Orenburg Cossack Host is closely connected with the history of the Orenburg territory, and it was the fate of the cossacks to play a large role in that region’s development. Therefore it is necessary to look at the situation of the territory before it began to be organized.

In the beginning of the sixteenth century Bashkirs occupied most of the Orenburg territory, part of the Omsk, Verkhneural’sk, and Chelyabinsk districts, all of the Troitsk District as well as the Shadrinsk, Yekaterinburg, and Krasnoufimsk districts of Perm Province, and most of Ufa Province and part of Samara Province. To the southeast of the Bashkirs roamed the Kirgiz [Kazakhs-M.C.] who at that time were much stronger and occupied what is now the Turkestan region. To the south, between the Ural and Volga rivers, were the nomadic remnants of the Great Tatar Horde. Raids by the Kirgiz on one side and the growing power of the Muscovite tsar on the other, along with continuous internal quarrels, weakened the Bashkirs and forced them to voluntarily recognize the suzerainty of Muscovy, so that as early as 1557 they brought yasak tribute to Kazan. But the long distance to Kazan was very inconvenient for the Bashkirs and they asked that a town be built among them, to which they would be able to bring their tribute and, if necessary, in which they could take refuge from Kirgiz attacks. In response, the town of Ufa was founded in 1574 and the town of Samara was built at almost the same time, with Birsk and Menzelinsk following close behind. Although the Bashkirs acknowledged the suzerainty of the Muscovite tsar, their constant revolts, as well as raids by Kirgiz and Kalmyks from the south that sometimes penetrated as far as the Kama, caused the Trans-Kama Line [Zakamskaya liniya] to be built as a barrier against these attacks. The Trans-Kama Line consisted of a ditch and rampart with guard posts. Its construction was begun under Tsar Michael Feodorovich and continued under Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich. This line ran from Ufa southwest to the present-day site of Stavropol and included Ufa, Birsk, Menzelinsk, and the forts of Nagaibatsk and Yel’dyatsk. But Bashkir revolts still did not stop. They took in various fugitive heterodox Muslims and idolaters and grew in strength so much that they began to think of completely throwing off allegiance to Russia and establish their own autonomy, and so the revolts continued for many years. Before the establishment of the Orenburg Commission, the most significant Bashkir uprisings were those of Seitov (1662-1683), which coincided with Stenka Razin’s revolt, and Aldarov (1704-1708). The rebels marched on Ufa, Birsk, and Menzelinsk, and reached Verkhotur, Tyumen, and Kungur. They penetrated Kazan district and in the last named revolt came within 20 miles of Kazan itself, pillaging and burning villages and killing and kidnapping the inhabitants.

Emperor Peter I foresaw the importance of strengthening Russian control in the Orenburg territory in order to develop trade with Central Asia but was unable to devote time to this, being preoccupied with affairs in the empire’s northwest. Thus it was decided to settle Aldarov’s revolt by concessions and in 1708 a full amnesty was announced for the rebels. In 1728 the authorities in Kazan and the Solikamsk and Ufa districts reported the intention of the Bashkirs to attack Russian towns in alliance with the Kalmyks and other steppe nomads. Therefore orders were sent to Kazan, Siberia, and the Solikamsk and Ufa districts to encircle towns and settlements with palisades as much as possible and refurbish old fortifications. It was also ordered to build alarm towers in Ufa district and Siberia. These were to be built on high ground and placed at intervals so that each could see its neighbor’s signal fire when lit. These precautions were not for nothing, since the Bashkirs did rise up in revolt and in 1732 even besieged Ufa. The attacks by the Bashkirs, Kirgiz, and Kalmyks who penetrated Kazan Province showed that the old Trans-Kama Line was not a reliable defense, and so in 1731 it was ordered to begin construction of a new Trans-Kama line. It was to run from the suburb of Alekseevsk, built under Peter I some 15 miles from the town of Samara, through Sergievsk to the border of Kazan Province and the Kichui Stream, and there join the old Trans-Kama Line. Work on the line began in the following year of 1732. It consisted of a ditch with rampart and fortified posts. The work was done by the inhabitants of the settlements beyond the Kama in what was at that time part of Kazan Province, for whose protection, in the words of the Highest Ukase, the line was being built. They were each paid 20 altyns [1 altyn = 3 kopecks] a month for their labor. The following forts were built: Kondurchinsk, Chereshansk, Krasnyi-Yar, Sheshminsk, and Kichuisk, in which were settled the Alekseevsk, Sergievsk, Shauminsk, and Bilyarsk Land Militia Regiments. These units were charged with protecting the line, and to man them there were established the following land-militia settlements: Krivolutsk, Kinel-Cherkassk, Savrushsk, Sarbaisk, and Amansk. Thus the old and new Trans-Kama lines contained Bashkiria from the northwest and west, but it was open from the south and east, enabling Kalmyk and Kirgiz raids on the Bashkirs as well as joint attacks by all three on Russian towns and settlements.

Soon after the construction of the new Trans-Kama Line one of Kalmyk Khan Ayuka’s grandsons, who had accepted baptism under the name of Prince Petr Taishin, felt ill-treated by his relatives in regard to his inheritance and appeared in St. Petersburg to agitate for the restoration of the ulus [native villages] that had been taken from him. He also asked to be given all Kalmyks who embraced Christianity and permission to build them a town in a suitable location. After Prince Petr Taishin died, his widow, Princess Anna Taishina, continued his petitions. In response a site on the upper reaches of the Ik River was chosen for settling Princess Taishina with her Kalmyks, then another one on the Tok River, and finally in 1738 a place between the new Trans-Kama Line and the Volga River, on a tributary of which (called the Kun’ya-Volozhkaya and which was a favorite refuge for bandit gangs) the town of Stavropol was founded. These Kalmyks settlers became the basis of the Stavropol Kalmyk Host that existed until 1842 when a Highest Order joined it to the Orenburg Cossack Host and resettled it on lands that had been given to the latter.

Cossacks Arrive in the Territory.

This was the situation of the Orenburg territory at time it was first organized in the 1730’s. When cossacks first settled in the Orenburg territory and from whence they came-there is no definite information. But it may be supposed that their appearance dates from the sixteenth century when cossacks were already living along the Volga and even had small towns there, and when the Don freebooters, who had lived by robbery and raiding on the Volga, were fleeing from the bloody reign of Ivan the Terrible and in general the unsatisfactory order of things in Muscovy. The cossacks increased in strength to such an extent that the government found it necessary to sent soldiers under stolnik Ivan Murashkin to force the wandering robber bands to scatter in all directions: some to Siberia, others to the Terek, and some to the Yaik (the Ural River). These cossacks were usually the first colonizers. They always occupied the edges of Russian suzerainty, moving onward when their territory had been tamed and order installed. Therefore there is no doubt that after the conquest of Kazan and the expansion of Muscovy to the east cossacks also appeared on the new frontiers, especially when towns like Ufa, Samara, Birsk, and Menzelinsk began to be built here. That cossacks were present when Samara was first founded is evident from a 1630 petition for land by sotniks Shilov and Slavinov who with their comrades wrote, “in past years the town of Samara was built and in it were settled military personnel, nobles, lesser boyar gentry, foreigners, Polish nobles, horse cossacks, and foot soldiers, and the town had land to be given to these persons.” In regard to this petition, we must explain that in former times cossacks were considered by law to be “military service personnel.” In 1697 stolniks Gotovtsev and Skryabin were sent to various towns and districts, including Samara to force streltsy and cossack settlements to return runaway peasants, Mordvins, and Tatars to their own towns and villages. And among the treaty articles concluded by the boyar Prince Boris Golitsyn with Kalmyk Khan Ayuka was language referring to “sending Government ukases to Ufa, to the Yaik, and to Don settlements ordering that the cossacks and Bashkirs have no strife or quarrels of any kind with them (the Kalmyks) and live in peace, and fulfill this command upon pain of death.” From these official documents it is clear that cossack settlements were already around Samara and Ufa at the end of the seventeenth century, and that not only were they known to the government, but also to the steppe nomads who inevitably clashed with them. At this time there was no overall name for the cossacks in this territory, and they were called after the locale in which they lived, either Samara or Ufa cossacks. The first was counted at 487 persons in 1734, but this number included only 332 actual cossacks, the rest being various nobles, foreigners, youths, and soldiers. In this same year the number of Samara cossacks was increased and they were given a regulation organization by which they were divided into four companies: one noble and the others of cossacks. The noble company was commanded by Rotmistr Maksimovskii, and the cossack companies, under the name of Samara and Alekseevsk, lived in the Alekseevsk suburb with Sotnik Ivan Chernov as their ataman. They were all authorized the same pay as men in the land militia, and for better administration they were placed under the management of militia regimental commanders. The cossack companies were given four flags from the main commissariat, and in the following year of 1735 the noble company was given two flags from those kept in Moscow, “like those issued to the cossacks.” There is no positive information on how many Ufa cossacks there were at this time, but judging from the fact that in 1732 when the town of Ufa was being fortified the War Collegium ordered that of the soldiers and cossacks in the garrison there a thousand of each were to be sent in alternate turns to perform labor duties, it may be concluded that by that time the number of Ufa cossacks was sufficient. Such a conclusion is further confirmed by the fact that in 1735 State Counselor Kirilov found he was able to take 350 cossacks with him when marching from Ufa to the Ural River to establish Orenburg, and this was when Ufa itself was threatened by rebel Bashkirs. The Ufa cossacks were also given a flag and two emblems [znachki], but when they were issued is unknown since documents about them were lost either during the Pugachev revolt or in one of the several fires that periodically burned through Ufa. In 1832 the flag and emblems were taken to the host chancellery for safekeeping, at which time old cossacks commented that the flag and emblems had been issued before 1792.

Besides the Samara and Ufa cossacks, in the Orenburg territory there were also the Iset cossacks, so called from their dwelling in the former Iset province. There is no information as to when cossacks settled in that province, but it must be supposed that when the Chelyabinsk fortress was built in 1658 cossacks must have been settled in it and its environs. This fortress, built to protect settlements along the Iset River, was formerly under the Siberia government, to which also belonged present-day Perm Province, and in the latter the military presence mainly consisted of streltsy and cossacks. At the end of the sixteenth century these cossacks had Pinaya Stepanov as their ataman, who was one of the cossack atamans who had served in Siberia after Yermakov’s conquest and had been summoned by the Stroganov’s, leading figures in the Perm region. Therefore there is no doubt that the Iset cossacks owe their origins to the same famous wave of Don cossacks that with Yermak conquered Siberia and formed the Siberian cossacks. Later, in 1736 when new forts were being built in the Orenburg territory, it was ordered to accept up to one thousand volunteers from cossacks and free gentry in nearby Siberian towns who were not subject to the soul tax to join the Iset cossacks.

Thus, there is sufficient basis to date the appearance of cossacks in the Orenburg territory to the end of the sixteenth century and consider them the heirs of the Don cossack wave driven from the Volga by stolnik Murashkin.

With the building of the town of Orenburg the cossacks were collectively referred to as the Orenburg cossacks but they officially received this title only in 1748 when their first host ataman was named—Vasilii Mogutov, to whom were assigned a host captain [voiskovoi yesaul] and host clerk [voiskovoi pisar’] to help in administration. These three persons comprised the host “hut” [izba] or chancellery that conducted host business. It follows that the Orenburg Host was formed from the Samara, Ufa, and Iset cossacks-all descendents of Don cossacks. To this cossack core were joined Yaik cossacks, nobles, Smolensk gentry [smolenskie shlyakhtichi], cossack descendents from Siberian towns, streltsy, retired soldiers and dragoons, Little-Russians [malorosskie cherkasy], run-away estate peasants, peasants from Siberian frontier settlements who were already used to resorting to arms to defend against Bashkir and Kirgiz raids, newly baptized Meshcheryaks and Nagaibaks who distinguished themselves by their loyalty and service during the Bashkir revolt of 1732-1740, Tatars in military service, baptized Kalmyks, exiles, and even foreigners. In the cossack muster rolls of past years one not only encounters Polish names, but also German ones such as Becker and Schreider. And even today some cossacks hold traditional memories of descent from streltsy.

The immediate reasons for building the town of Orenburg.

In 1731 the khan of the Lesser Kirgiz Horde, Abdul-Khair, whose people roamed the region between the Aral Sea and the Ural River to the north of the Emba River, and who was pressed by constant Bashkir raids from the north and attacks by the Zyungorsk Kalmyk chieftains from the south, decided to accept Russian suzerainty and try to persuade the khans of the Karakalpak and Great Kirgiz Hordes to do likewise. This event led to State Counselor and ober-sekretar Ivan Kirilov drafting measures to take to establish Russian control over the Kirgiz and in general develop the region this side of the Ural. Empress Anna Ioannovna confirmed the plans on 31 May 1734 and charged Kirilov himself with carrying them out. Colonel Murza Aleksei Tevkelev was assigned to help Kirilov, as he had played a significant part in negotiating with Khan Abdul-Khair to bring the Kirgiz under Russian suzerainty.

The building of the town of Orenburg; constructing the Samara, Orenburg, and Ui lines, and the part played by cossacks.

The plan chosen to create the Orenburg territory and establish Russian control was very successful. Forts were to be built along the southern and eastern borders of Bashkiria and thus obtain three important goals: turbulent Bashkirs would be confined by lines of forts on all sides; Bashkirs would be cut off from communication with the Kirgiz of the trans-Ural steppe; and lastly, it would be easier to keep watch on Kirgiz movements, of whom the Middle Horde had still not recognized Russian authority. In 1733 that horde had intended to attack the Bashkirs and to that end about twenty thousand men had been gathered, but the assault had been warded off only by timely intelligence from Khan Abdul-Khair. State Counselor Kirilov was ordered to establish a town at the mouth of the Or’ River and call it Orenburg. To perform the work he was to draft as many Teptyars and bobyli [lower class peasants] as needed. To initially occupy the town Kirilov was told to transfer half of a regiment from the Ufa garrison and one or two regiments from the Kazan garrison. Also to be taken from Ufa were half of the noble companies. Ufa and Menzelinsk cossacks and youths were also made available, and as many Yaik and Sakmak cossacks were to be levied as possible, which was to be coordinated with the Yaik host ataman. All the military personnel, regulars as well as irregulars, were allowed to be used in building the town, magazines, and other construction projects. They were to be paid for their labor, the amount depending on their work. It was forbidden, however, to draft Bashkirs for labor so that “their willingness to serve would not be soured.” On 7 June 1734 Highest Authority confirmed a charter of privileges for Orenburg. Among other things, it stated that “all and every Russian citizen, merchant, craftsman, and raznochinets [person not belonging to a specific social class], as well as foreign merchants and artisans of European nations, local Bashkir, Kirgiz, and Karakalpak tribesmen, and from Asian countries Greeks, Armenians, Indians, Bukharans, Khivans, Kalmyks, and others of any status and religious faith-all are allowed to come, live, and settle, and to trade and engage in any kind of industry; also, to freely and unhindered leave and return to their former dwelling places, without any delay or hazard.” Persons wishing to come and settle were promised free plots for courtyards, warehouses, storerooms, and shops, and to be given lumber and stone on credit, to be repaid in ten years at no interest. Additionally, it was ordered that no taxes were to be collected on goods for three years, i.e. until 1738.

At the end of 1734 Kirilov arrived at Ufa with troops and a sufficient work force. Before anything else he prepared provisions and undertook the construction of a wharf on the Ural River so that he would be able to float supplies and materials to build the town on the Or’ River. The site chosen for the wharf was where now stand the district town of Verkhneural’sk and the cossack settlement of Verkhneural’skaya, and it was the first Russian settlement on the Ural River. By the time spring arrived in 1735 Kirilov was ready to march, and in April he left Ufa with 15 infantry companies, 350 cossacks, and 600 Meshcheryaks, not having availed himself of the possibility of also taking Yaik and Samara cossacks. Just six miles from the town, however, he encamped and waited for five companies of the Vologda Dragoons from the Trans-Kama Line. Having waited in vain until 15 June, Kirilov moved on even though just before starting emissaries from the Bashkir Kil’myak-Abyz arrived to warn that the Bashkirs would resist the march with all their might. Kirilov paid no attention to this warning, being misled by the Bashkirs’ expressions of readiness to send regiments to serve under him. However, while on the march he learned that the approaching companies of the Vologda Dragoons had been attacked by Bashkirs. This news forced him to reinforce the Vologda Dragoons with a detachment consisting of 3 corporal-led infantry squads [3 kapralstva pekhoty] and 200 cossacks and Meshcheryaks, but this detachment was forced to turn back by rebellious Bashkirs. So Kirilov sent a second detachment that also consisted of 3 corporal-led units of infantry but now with 300 cossacks and Meshcheryaks. The detachment joined up with the Vologda Dragoons 180 miles from Ufa and on 10 July they all arrived together at Kirilov’s location. Kirilov had now received more unpleasant news: Bashkirs had attacked the supply train coming from the Siberian settlements to the Verkhneural’sk wharf, captured and looted about 40 wagons, and were besieging the remainder at Karagaisk Lake (the site of present-day Karagaiskaya). Kirilov sent a force to rescue the supply train, but it had already been saved by Lieutenant Colonel Arsen’ev who had been sent out from the Siberian settlements. Arsen’ev safely delivered the train to the wharf. Meanwhile, Kirilov’s column, still not having reached the mouth of the Or’, ran short of provisions. Hope was placed on a supply train that was supposed to reach the Or’ River before the column, but on 6 August the column arrived at the mouth of the Or’ alone, the train having been delayed by the Bashkirs. Until its arrival the column’s personnel had to make do with horsemeat and some extra provisions for the Meshcheryaks. Finally, on 15 August the town of Orenburg was laid out, and soon afterward Kirilov went off to Ufa after sending Colonel Tevkelev to the Siberian settlements to prepare provisions, leaving Colonel Chemodurov in the new town with a strong garrison. Winter began early that year, in the beginning of September, so Colonel Tevkelev and his command reached the Siberian settlements only after great difficulties, and Kirilov’s journey to Ufa was just as hard. There were few provisions in the new town and they would only last until the middle of December. Winter set in and the supply train that had been sent did not arrive-it had been plundered by Bashkirs. To avert starvation Colonel Chemodurov, following Kirilov’s orders, sent over 800 men to the Verkhneural’sk wharf where there was a store of grain. But in three days this column had only covered 18 miles and turned back in the face of heavy frosts. About 150 men suffered frostbite and 5 had frozen to death. Colonel Chemodurov again selected 773 men, gave them provisions to last until 13 December, and sent them to follow the Ural River to the settlement of Sakmarsk. This column was even more unfortunate than the first. Over 500 men died of hunger and the freezing cold and only 200 reached Sakmarsk, of whom 80 had frozen feet and hands. These are the circumstances which accompanied the founding of Orenburg, the second Russian settlement on the Ural River and the third on the edge of Europe within the borders of present-day Orenburg Province, where in 1725 there had only been the lone Sakmarsk settlement built by Ural cossacks with the government’s permission. Sakmarsk had been built with the goal of preventing Kirgiz and Karakalpaks from entering Russian territory and reaching Samara, Alekseevsk, Sergievsk, Sheshminsk, and Ufa, to which places the cossacks were to send intelligence when they learned of the appearance of large enemy bands.

After his bitter experiences in supplying Orenburg, State Counselor Kirilov spent much time and effort in ensuring the delivery of provisions, and all the more so since the Bashkir revolt continued despite the presence of considerable numbers of troops under the command of the Kazan governor, Lieutenant General Rumyantsev. It was also despite Kirilov’s own stern measures such as in the spring of 1736 when with his own column he burned about 140 Bashkir villages. In trying to find possible ways of supplying Orenburg in the future from the direction of the Siberian settlements, State Counselor Kirilov became aware that the upper reaches of the Samara River were not far from the Ural River and the Sakmarsk settlement, and that from the latter there was a cossack track to the town of Samara. Meanwhile, on 11 February 1736, Kirilov received Highest orders directing him, among other things, to: “add another company to the one already authorized at Tabynsk, and there install serving Meshcheryaks, hunters, cossacks, and exiles to the number of 300, and give them land and privileges as for settlers at Ufa and other places in the territory. For their loyal service, newly baptized persons at Ufa are to be registered into cossack service to be carried out at Menzelinsk and other newly built towns on the upper reaches of the Iset and between Ufa and Menzelinsk. The yasak fur tribute is to be collected from them. You are to act as you judge best regarding building new settlements to secure safe passage of caravans and supply trains to Orenburg and for the necessary better control over the Bashkir and Bukhara [Trans-Ural] steppes. Regarding retired dragoons, soldiers, and sailors with free passports who wish to be in service and settle in Orenburg and other new places there: such persons, as opportunity permits, you are allowed to enroll and send to those places to settle, assigning them 30 to 45 acres of land per family, and for the journey and settlement loan them money and grain from government offices, in amounts corresponding to the distance and time until they can subsist on their own harvest. Such persons are to issued firearms and accouterments from those withdrawn from regiments or found in settlement arsenals and magazines. Regarding the settlement of light troops in Orenburg and other towns: accept volunteers from the Yaik cossacks, not to exceed 500 men. Accept cossacks from the nearest Siberian towns and lesser gentry who have not been reduced to the soul-tax population, to the number of 1000. For serving Meshcheryaks in Ufa, upon resettlement give them the same monetary amount for building homes as Volga cossacks, and afterwards for their maintenance when they are settled and ready to farm give them land and other privileges in the same way as has been done for Ufa nobles and cossacks except that in all localities Meshcheryaks are to be settled between Russians. From the frontier Siberian settlements and from the Techinsk settlement enroll volunteer peasants as cossacks to the number of 1000 and use them for patrols along the Tobol and Ishim rivers and up to the Irtysh to guard against the Zyungorsk Kalmyks and Kaisaks; draw their individual payments from Orenburg, and to replace those chosen for paid patrolling take just as many underage cossack youths who are living without providing any service.” Additionally, in 1736 the privilege of untaxed trade that had been granted in 1734 was extended for six more years. And to increase the number of Russians in the new places it was ordered to send exiles to State Counselor Kirilov instead of to Siberia. Of these exiles, those who were suitable were to be enrolled in irregular service, the others to farming, and those “who were guilty of serious crimes or were of untrustworthy behavior were to be put into tents.” Anyone in excess of needs was to be sent as before to Siberia to the state mines and works. It was also ordered that when time permitted, “soldiers and dragoons were to participate in farming and cultivation or in temporary work, and for this monthly allotments were to be issued for them, their wives, and their children.”

Using this authority, State Counselor Kirilov directed his father-in-law, naval Lieutenant Bakhmetev, to go to Simbirsk and from there immediately travel to Samara where he was to prepare everything needed to build forts. Taking an adequate force with him, he was to travel upriver on the Samara constructing forts in suitable places at intervals of 20 to 25 miles. In this way there appeared during the course of 1736 the forts of Krasnosamarsk, Mochinsk, Borsk, Yelshansk, Buzulutsk, Totsk, Sorochinsk, and Tevkelev-Brod [“Tevkelev’s Ford”], also called Novosergievsk. Kirilov himself went to Sakmarsk and built the forts of Chernorechensk and Tatishchev, at first called Kamysh-Samarskaya, on the Ural River, and Pervolotsk on the upper Samara. At the same time Kirilov issued ukases permitting cossack elder Shatsk at Sakmarsk and cossack Ivan Maslov to each recruit 200 volunteers from the Ural cossacks, Meshcheryaks and other non-Christians, and lesser gentry and established settlements, the former along the Berda River and the latter at a group of lakes. Thus appeared the forts of Berdsk and Verkhneozernaya. Kirilov’s ukases also declared that settlements would be built “beyond any Bashkir or Russian habitations” and that persons of the above named statuses, registered cossacks, and Ufa non-Christians not subject to the soul tax could settle along the Moscow road from Orenburg to Alekseevsk, and along the Siberia road up to Verkhneural’sk and Techinsk, “where suitable and satisfactory places to live are known.” It was ordered to grant not only land and all privileges “connected with subsistence, but also at the initial settlement provide loans like those for the Volga cossacks, 12 roubles for each family, and thenceforth a yearly payment for service of 5 roubles, as well as giving 5 quarters each of rye grain and oats for each person of both sexes.” The settlers were to be allowed to trade in vodka, spirits, beer, and tobacco when the proper excise taxes were paid, and charge any military or government persons of any rank, merchants, and craftsmen who were passing through an appropriate fee for lodging and hay, and for carriage and convoy services payment by the mile. It was also stipulated that heads of settlements [sadchiki] were to always have a copy of the ukases with them and leave copies wherever might be required, and they were to submit lists of recruited persons for examination and assignment to cossack status. Additionally, Shatskii and Maslov themselves were promised promotion to settlement atamans [stanichnye atamany]. In 1736 the fort of Krasnoufimsk was established (now a chief district town in Perm Province), in which new arrivals were settled as cossacks. The new forts were surrounded by a rampart and ditches, traces of which may still be seen today in some places, and by palisades and double wattle fences with their chinks stuffed with clay, or fortified by other means according to local resources and the direction of the immediate authorities. The forts were provided with cannons and garrisons of dragoons and infantry. Thanks to the preparations described above and the promised benefits, the forts appeared quickly, one after the other, and were successfully settled with cossacks and various other persons who were then also enrolled as cossacks.

In the beginning of 1737 State Counselor Kirilov died of fever. With his death the construction of forts stopped because Privy Counselor Tatishchev, named to replace Kirilov, considered the top priority to be establish administrative control in the territory and quell the ongoing Bashkir revolt. Upon arriving at the town of Menzelinsk Privy Counselor Tatishchev summoned a council consisting of the commander of troops, Major General Soimonov, the Ufa governor [voevod] Shemyakin, Colonel Bardekevich, Colonel Tevkelev, and the rest of the field-grade officers. At the council it was decided to divide the territory into two provinces: Ufa—on this side of the Ural River, and Iset—on the other side. Ufa and the Chelyabinsk fort were designated as the locations for provincial chancelleries. The territory’s main administration, which at first had been called the izvestnaya ekspeditsiya [information office] and then the Orenburg ekspeditsiya, was renamed the Orenburg Commission [Orenburgskaya Kommisiya]. At this same time the site chosen for building Orenburg was recognized as unsuitable for the government’s purposes because of the location’s remoteness and barren terrain. Therefore another site at Krasnaya Gora was chosen and a plan drawn up for re-founding the town of Orenburg there, with the administration of Orenburg territory being left in Samara until the town was actually constructed. The years 1737 and 1738 were spent in quelling the Bashkir revolt but it was not possible to reestablish order even though the rebellion’s main instigators-Kil’myak, Akai, and Yusup-were captured and sent to St. Petersburg. In 1738 Privy Counselor Tatishchev went to the mouth of the Or’ to inspect the forts being erected at the direction of his representative, and to found the fort of Guberlinsk along the way. Tatishchev stayed in Orenburg until September and established an annual trade fair there to which Tashkent merchants, Khivans, and Kirgiz were invited. He sent out the first Russian caravan, carrying goods valued at 20,000 roubles, but this caravan did not reach Tashkent, being plundered by Kirgiz of the Great Horde on the second day of the journey. At the beginning of 1739 Tatishchev was summoned to St. Petersburg and did not return. Lieutenant General Prince Urusov took his place. When he took up the administration of the territory the construction of new forts resumed its previous pace. In 1739 there were built: Karagaisk on Lake Karagai, Uisk and Stepnaya on the Ui River; Petropavlovsk on the Kidysh River, Chebarkul’sk on Lake Chebarkul, Miyassk on the Miyass, and Yetkul’sk on Lake Yetkul. In the following year of 1740 preparations were made to build the town of Orenburg at Krasnaya Gora and in 1741 actual construction started. The old settlement on the mouth of the Or’ River was renamed Orsk. At the same time operations to suppress the Bashkir revolt continued, to which end in May of 1739 about 6000 regular and irregular troops arrived at Orenburg with Prince Urusov. They set up a camp on the upper Sakmara at Lake Talkas, from which probes into Bashkiria were made until the end of July. However, a full restoration of order and peace between the rebellious Bashkirs were only achieved in 1740 thanks to energetic measures taken in that year by Prince Urusov and General Soimonov.

Therefore the Bashkir revolt, preparations for which were begun as early as 1728 and which opened with an attack on Ufa, lasted almost nine years until the Samara, Orenburg, and Ui lines were completed with their forts and military garrisons of cossack settlers. The core of these were the Samara, Ufa, and Iset cossacks, reinforced by volunteers from the Yaik and Siberian cossacks, lesser gentry, descendents of cossacks, newly baptized natives from Ufa, non-Christians, and peasants from Siberian frontier villages and the Techensk settlement, as well as retired dragoons, soldiers, and sailors. In this way cossack settlements in the new lines undoubtedly played an important role in suppressing the Bashkir revolt of 1732-1740, especially considering that after this revolt there was only one more Bashkir uprising, instigated by the Meshcheryak mulla Batyrsha Aleev in 1755 and which was put down that same year with no special effort and with the participation of the Orenburg Cossack Host. Previously Bashkir revolts had always lasted for several years and their suppression required much effort and sacrifice on the part of the government. According to Rychkov, the well-known expert on the Orenburg territory who lived there around that time, this was because the Bashkirs were so strong that they thought they could even throw off Russian suzerainty completely. That the Bashkirs really were powerful can best be seen from their many and repeated revolts and how long they lasted. And just how much the Bashkirs were unreliable subjects can be seen from how hostages [amanty] had to be taken from them, and how in 1728 people dwelling on the border of Bashkiria were ordered to “have any kind of firearm they could get, and during spring and summer when going to work in the fields, set out in large groups carrying weapons and set out guards for defense so that they do not fall into enemy hands by surprise, since these evil-doers habitually fall upon small parties of workers and take them captive.” Additionally, it was not only forbidden for Bashkirs, Teptyars, and lower class peasants [bobyli] to carry firearms, ride with them, or keep them in their homes, it was prescribed: “not to have smiths, either male or female, in Ufa District or Bashkir localities, and not to allow smiths or workers of cold metal [nasekal’shchiki] outside towns, having them only inside towns, and only of the number necessary without any surplus; anyone needing plows, scythes, or horse bits may buy and trade them in the towns.” It was also ordered that “firearms, gunpowder, lead, armor, swords, bows, spears, and arrows may not be brought in from other districts, nor sold or traded, which governors [voevody] are to especially alert in preventing and punish violators in accordance with the laws.”

In July of 1741 Prince Urusov died from plague and General Soimonov, commander of troops in the territory, took over as head of the administration. Soimonov spent all of his time in recriminations with vice-governor Aksakov and in settling complaints by the Bashkirs, until in 1742 Privy Counselor Neplyuev was appointed head of the Orenburg territory. This was a man to whose administration the territory would owe much.

Earlier, in 1739, Empress Anna Ioannovna at Privy Counselor Tatishchev’s suggestion ordered that land-militia regiments be resettled from the Trans-Kama Line. Prince Urusov proposed settling them along the Sakmara River starting at its upper reaches. To this end he designated ten places for settlements where the land-militia regiments, protected by forts along the Ural, could engage in farming and agriculture. However, Privy Counselor Neplyuev considered these settlements unnecessary and in June of 1742, upon arriving in Orenburg, he sent Lieutenant Colonel Budkevich of the Shatsminsk Land-Militia Dragoon Regiment [Shatskminskii landmilitskii dragunskii polk] from the Pervolotsk fort to the Sakmara River to obtain timber for only two sites. It was at these that in September of that year the Prechistensk and Vozdvizhensk forts were established. In these two forts were settled the entire Shatsminsk Land-Militia Dragoon Regiment and two companies of the Alekseevsk Land-Militia Regiment. The rest of the dragoon and infantry land-militia regiments were distributed among the forts of the Samara and Orenburg lines. The Shatsminsk Regiment was settled in only two places, one not far from the other and only 30 miles from Orenburg. This was so that if necessary the regiment could muster quickly and be used as a reserve. At the same time the Razsypnaya fort was established, in which about one hundred Little-Russian families were to be settled in accordance with ukases of 1739 and 1740. To recruit them, Captain Kachalov of the Alekseevsk Land-Militia Regiment was sent to Little Russia where he accepted 209 families as cossacks. However, they turned out to be unsuited for cossack service, as in 1743 Kirgiz took 82 men and women captive from the Razsypnaya fort as they were harvesting grain. After this devastating blow, the Little Russians who had been resettled in Razsypnaya as well as at the Tatishchev and Chernorechensk forts did not want to live in those places and were let go, some to the Kinel’ River inside the line and others back to Little Russia.

Unification of the territory’s cossacks into one Orenburg host and its role in defending the line.

After arriving in Orenburg, Privy Counselor Neplyuev recognized that the site at Krasnaya Gora was not suitable for the development of a large town. In counsel with the field-grade officers most knowledgeable about the territory he chose a new site at the Berdsk fort. His proposal was confirmed by Highest Authority on 15 October, and in 1743 General Shtokman founded for the last time the town of Orenburg, at its present-day site. The Berdsk fort was relocated to the Sakmara River where the hamlet of Berdsk is now. The Krasnogorsk fort was built at Krasnaya Gora where a town had been laid down in 1741, but work had proceeded so slowly that in 1742 only a ditch had been dug, and that only for a length of 900 yards. In the same year of 1743 550 cossacks transferred from Ufa and Samara were settled in a special suburb of Orenburg. Along with the Berdsk cossacks they made up the Orenburg irregular corps [Orenburgskii neregulyarnyi korpus]. The other cossacks were called “Orenburg Province irregulars” [neregulyarnye lyudi Orenburgskoi gubernii]. To replace the cossacks transferred from Samara to Orenburg, the former received 100 persons from the cossack population of the Mochinsk settlement. Additional forts were built: Tanalytsk, Urtazymsk, Kizil’sk, and Magnitnaya on the Ural River; Ust’uisk, Krutoyarsk, Karakul’sk, and Troitsk (now a district center) on the Ui River. With the construction of these forts the line’s extension was complete, and Russian control was so firmly established in the territory that it was recognized as useful to form a province [guberniya] there. This was done by a ukase signed by Empress Elizabeth Petrovna, and Privy Counselor Neplyuev was appointed as the first governor. Placed under the new Orenburg Province’s administration were all the forts built under the Orenburg Commission and all regular and irregular troops in them, Iset and Ufa provincial districts, and all Bashkir affairs, the Kirgiz people, and frontier affairs.

Privy Counselor Neplyuev constantly worked to put the cossack population on a firm footing since he recognized cossacks as the best suited for frontier defense and pursuing and punishing the Kirgiz. Thus in 1743, in response to a Highest Ukase of 3 February of that year on the return of runaway peasants with all their goods and grain to their former places of residence, using carts belonging to the landowners who were keeping them, he reported that although a ukase of 28 August 1736 stipulated that “suitable persons found wandering are to be enrolled in regular military service, with their landowners being credited with having supplied recruits, but those who are not fit for regular service are to be sent to Orenburg,” But State Counselor Kirillov had enrolled even fully fit men as cossacks. In this Kirillov had been swayed by the fact that in the new forts, “to achieve their most rapid establishment, such persons are needed no less than they are in regiments,” and that if persons enrolled as cossacks were given back to their landowners, then in the forts there would remain “only a very few persons, and the money and provisions expended in setting up these forts will have been spent for nothing, and here such irregulars are not only indispensable for all the patrols and guard duties required in frontier areas made so dangerous by robbers making sudden raids, but also as inhabitants whose farming and other pursuits can supply the needs of human subsistence.” Kirillov therefore asked that runaways already settled and registered as cossacks in the newly built forts, “who are carrying out active service, not be sent away, but rather left as they now are—cossacks.” On 27 July 1744 this was agreed to by Highest Authority. There turned out to be 2415 such men registered as cossacks, with productive households and carrying out cossack duties, and in the end they remained cossacks. But even after this Privy Counselor Neplyuev did not stop making efforts to increase the cossack population, and at every opportunity he told the government that the newly constructed forts and towns “covered the greater part of Bashkiria so that this people are now kept in apprehension and complete restraint. The Kirgiz-Kaisak hordes, in small or large bands, make frequent raids to pillage, commit outrages and every kind of villainy. These people are like the wind and cannot be caught by dragoons. Light troops [legkie lyudi] are needed. For the stated reasons, we require good cossacks here, and they cannot be poor since each one is required to have two strong horses and a good-quality firearm, sword, and lance.” He stated that well-administered irregulars were proven to be able to find and pursue any nomad band, especially in Orenburg where in the summer there were many gatherings of steppe peoples for trade and exchanges, and also in Ufa Province where the population was all non-Christian, and in Iset Province, inhabited by various natives and which included all of trans-Ural Bashkiria and the region right next to the Kirgiz Steppe. In the face of this, garrisons of dragoon and infantry regiments, “due to the character of these peoples (Bashkirs and Kirgiz) are only suitable to maintain and protect the forts. While dragoons may be used for patrols, in case of raids by marauders and exceptional outrages, they are not suitable for being sent out quickly with little preparation, since they are burdened with muskets and accouterments and entirely unable to overtake the raiders, as proven by many examples and which the Kirgiz themselves are well aware.” Additionally, an increase in the cossack population was recognized as necessary to protect the territory in case regular troops were withdrawn. At the same time, forts on the Orenburg Line were mostly at some distance from each other, and for better communications and defending the territory from various raiding parties, it was imperative to build new settlements along the line where redoubts had been constructed between the forts, and gradually populate these with cossacks.

Cossacks were used for various services in developing the line: hauling timber and building forts, transporting various official travelers, carrying mail, and providing convoys. Along with the garrison soldiers, dragoons, and land militia, they provided guard mounts in forts and above all in advance posts and pickets. They manned outposts and were on patrol day and night. Since they were acknowledged as the most capable, groups of cossacks were the ones most often sent out to pursue Kirgiz bands that had penetrated the line and not only driven off livestock, but also carried off people, sometimes in large numbers as seen in the instance related above when 82 persons were taken captive from the Razsypnaya fort in 1743. Overall, because of their small numbers cossack service in Orenburg was burdensome and difficult. They had to serve at their own expense, keep two horses and find their own clothing and weapons including lance, saber, and turok [a kind of short-barreled, smoothbore, wide-mouthed hunting firearm, akin to a shotgun - M.C.]. If necessary, in place of the turok they were to have a set of bow and arrows [saidak], which however was only authorized for cossacks of Tatar origin who could not shoot muskets accurately. Regarding release from service, it was laid down that “at all times those released must be the weakest and most disabled.” Just living was not easy, as cossacks had to always be alert and on guard, and when riding out to work in the fields they had to be armed and in large groups, and return to the fort at night. For carelessness the price was death or captivity. Even for those who were authorized some recompense, that money was not always given out in accordance with regulations. Thus, in November of 1740 Prince Urusov reported that cossacks at the town of Tabynsk had not been given their pay from the Kazan provincial chancellery since the second half of 1737. The cossacks had “constantly asked for their pay, declaring that they were continuously on patrol and other missions and performing government labor, and from lack of pay they were suffering greatly and had fallen into permanent poverty. Since the town of Tabynsk was built inside Bashkir territory itself it was an important post, but the number of cossacks there had not only not increased, but of those recruited by State Counselor Kirilov many had gone away because of lack of provisions, and there only remained the ataman, his lieutenant [yesaul], a clerk, ensign [khorunzhii], and 69 privates [ryadovye]. If those remaining are left without pay, they will also go away.” If conditions in Tabynsk, located inside the line, were so difficult for the cossacks, it may be imagined how it was for cossacks on the Orenburg Line itself where they were not allowed to leave their dwelling places except during the winter, and then only with the governor’s permission. However, in spite of the hardships of service, nowhere except at Tabynsk did cossacks desert. In 1748 their numbers were as follows: in the Orenburg Corps [Orenburgskii korpus] in Orenburg and the Berdsk fort—650; under the Orenburg administration [Orenburgskoe vedomstvo], in the forts of Orsk, Guberlinsk, Verkhneozernaya, Krasnogorsk, Chernorechensk, Tatishchev, Razsypnaya, Pervolotsk, Novosergievsk, Sorochinsk, Totsk, Buzulutsk, Yelshansk, Borsk, Krasnosamarsk, and Mochinsk—770; under the Stavropol administration, in the towns of Stavropol and Samara and the Alekseevsk suburb—250; in Ufa Province, in the town of Ufa and the Tabynsk, Krasnoufimsk, Yeldyatsk, and Nagaibatsk forts—1150; and in Iset Province, in the forts of Chelyabinsk, Miyassk, Ust’uisk, Krutoyarsk, Karakul’sk, Yetkul’sk, Koel’sk, Chebarkul’sk, Uisk, Stepnaya, Petropavlovsk, and Karagaisk—1230, for a total of 4050 men. Of these, some 1702 atamans, officers, and cossacks received pay amounting to 11,570 roubles, and the rest served without pay.

It was shown above that the creation of the Samara and Orenburg lines separating the Bashkirs from the Kirgiz and Kalmyks was an important part of the suppression of the Bashkir revolt that was especially active in 1735, and was significant for the establishment of peace and order in Bashkiria. And from the extracts we have given from Privy Counselor Neplyuev’s reports it can be seen that the settlement of a cossack population along the Orenburg Line was important for the defense and security of the inhabitants beyond the line, and in consequence for the development of agriculture and industry in the territory. Before this time there was no organized industry of any kind, but in the short time from 1745 to 1762, 15 copper and 13 iron works were built and had acquired settled populations, some having up to two hundred persons, and one had 370 peasant households. Proof of the great importance that the Orenburg Line had for the development of the territory can be seen in State Counselor Kirillov’s 1734 report to Highest Authority, in which among other things he says that the Kirgiz “until now were unfriendly and continuously sending small raiding parties to rob Kazan, Yaik, Volga, Ufa, and Siberian frontier inhabitants, and every year they drove off captives like cattle and sold them into servitude in Bukhara and Khiva; they plundered merchants’ caravans and committed every kind of outrage, of which there is no open acknowledgment, but the extent may be judged from the fact that Russian prisoners were dragged to Khiva and Bukhara where one discovers many thousands at work, not to speak of other lands where they also can be taken.” If installing a cossack population on the line had not stopped the kidnappings, it had at least reduced it to very significant degree and limited it almost exclusively to inhabitants on the lines themselves. Nevertheless, until the 1830s there was not year in which some line inhabitants were taken captive by Kirgiz, and in the host archive there are many documents on “the kidnapping of line inhabitants and on persons returned from Kirgiz captivity.” Thus, among other cases, in 1823 Yesaul Padurov (later a major general and government ataman) was wounded and taken prisoner by Kirgiz as he was traveling on official business from the Pervolotsk settlement to Tatishchevsk. He was the captive of the chieftain [batyr’] Dzhulaman and forced to herd sheep, endure hunger and various insults, and was ransomed after about ten months by the Armenian Shakhmirov who had traveled into the steppe for such negotiations. Therefore, one must agree that although cossack service in the territory of the Orenburg Host was unenviable and not accompanied by momentous deeds, nevertheless it was service that was hard and honorable. By its own dangers it purchased the safety of others.

Cossacks in the Orenburg territory were named after where they lived: Samara, Ufa, Iset, and Orenburg. At first they were subordinated as follows: Samara cossacks—to the former Simbirsk provincial chancellery and later to the land-militia regimental commanders; Ufa and Iset cossacks—to their provincial chancelleries; and Orenburg cossacks-to the Orenburg Commission. For local administration they had settlement atamans [stanichnye atamany], lieutenants [sotniki], ensigns [khorunzhie], and clerks [pisari]. In Iset Province there was additionally a special ataman of the Iset Host with his own khorunzhii and clerk, all three making up the Host office [izba- literally “hut”] and receiving salary from the cossacks’ own resources with their voluntary assent. With the establishment of Orenburg Province all the territory’s cossacks were subordinated to the governor and provincial chancellery in regard to both military and civil matters. There was no dedicated host administrative office until 1748. The unsuitability of the previous manner of controlling the cossacks’ military aspects, along with their growing numbers and the settlement of the Samara and Orenburg lines, showed the necessity of placing them under a single authority and in 1748 a ukase from the Military Collegium ordered: “appoint an ataman for the entire irregular corps and also subordinate to him the Samara and Ufa cossacks and nobility with their atamans, officials, retired men, and underage youths, and register them all in one command.” The first host ataman to be appointed was Sotnik, later Colonel, Vasilii Mogutov, who occupied this position for thirty years, until 1778. Working under him were a yesaul and host clerk, and all the host’s administration was concentrated in these three individuals, the host from this time on being called the Orenburg Host. Along with this, the Military Collegium instructed the territorial chief to give the Orenburg Cossack Host a table of organization and various administrative directions, which Privy Counselor Neplyuev also submitted to the collegium. A special commission was formed at the Military Collegium to examine these submittals, and Ataman Mogutov was summoned to take part in its activities (he had been confirmed in his office by a Highest Ukase of 25 February 1754, and placed over all irregulars in Orenburg Province). At the same time an ataman, khorunzhii, and clerk from the Orenburg cossacks were appointed for the cossacks of Iset Province, with salary as follows: ataman—60 roubles; khorunzhii—30 roubles; clerk—20 roubles. These appointments were made because the cossacks of Iset Province turned out to be “in such a poor state that not only the privates, but also the atamans were all illiterate.”

1755 organization table for the host and administrative measures taken up to 1803.

The submitted organization table [shtat] for the Orenburg Cossack Host received Highest Confirmation on 15 May 1755 with several amendments, including the addition of 1 colonel and 300 cossacks to the Orenburg Irregular Corps and that the host ataman’s salary would be 120 roubles instead of 100. By this organization table the number of serving cossacks in the host was set: in the Orenburg Irregular Corps, in Orenburg itself and the Berdsk fort—1094, with salaries of 120 roubles for the ataman, 120 roubles for the colonel, 50 roubles for the yesaul, 30 roubles each for sotniks, 24 roubles each for khorunzhiis, 21 roubles each for uryadniks [non-commissioned officers], 18 roubles each for corporals [kapraly] and company clerks, and 15 roubles for each cossack. Under the Orenburg administration [Orenburgskoe vedomstvo]: in Berdsk—103, with salaries of 12 roubles for the ataman, 8 roubles for a khorunzhii, 6 roubles for a clerk, and 3 roubles for each cossack. In nine forts along the Ural and Samara rivers—450, with the ataman of each fort receiving 9 roubles, the khorunzhiis 7 roubles, and the cossacks 3 roubles each. In the remaining six forts along the Samara River no one received any pay. Under the Stavropol administration—250 men, without pay. In Ufa Province—1250 men, of which those living in the town of Ufa received salaries: 12 roubles for the ataman, 8 roubles for the sotnik, 6 roubles for the clerk, and 4 roubles each for cossacks. In Ufa Province’s remaining four forts no one was authorized pay. In Iset Province—1380 men, all without pay. Thus the total composition of the host was 5877 serving ranks of whom 4080 did not receive pay, while the remaining 1797 were allotted salaries totaling 19,554 roubles per year, from the monies of the State Treasury and the revenues of Orenburg Province. Cossacks were grouped according to the amount of pay they received: paid, little paid, and unpaid [zhalovannye, malozhalovannye, i bezzhalovannye]. The first group consisted only of the ranks in the Orenburg Irregular Corps, of whom half were constantly on duty. The “little-paid” group had to have a third of its ranks on duty and only received money for military equipment [na voinskuyu spravu]. The unpaid group had to maintain themselves from their own resources and from them it was ordered not to take more than one quarter onto active duty. It was prescribed to use cossack children to keep the cossacks up to the strengths laid down by the organization table. These had be fit but because of their age not previously registered for service. If these were not sufficient, then cossack sons were to be taken from Samara, Stavropol, and Alekseevsk so that “in these places they do not lounge about and those living on the Volga cannot fall into robbery and other dissolute activies.” Also used to keep the Orenburg Host up to strength were 59 huts [kibitki] of baptized Kalmyks who had left the Volga in 1745 due to civil war and hunger. In those forts where cossacks served without pay, it was authorized to enroll as cossacks all cossack children once they reach age 17 even though the number of cossacks might be greater than that defined by the organization table, because “if the strength can be made still greater than prescribed by regulation, that would be all the more convenient and useful since they all serve without pay for the sole purpose of being exempt from the soul tax and to have good amounts of land and privileges; therefore, the greater their number, the better.” It was also ordered to assign services to cossacks enrolled in excess of regulation strengths. It was laid down that assigning cossacks to guarding forts was to be avoided, and instead they were to be used for other defensive guard postings, patrols, pursuit parties, convoys, and other appropriate duties. Cossacks were to have “the required equipment, i.e. good and well-fed horses, fully serviceable weapons, namely: swords, turok guns, and even bows and arrows if nothing else, and a lance. When on horseback they were to be able to perform any maneuver with confidence, and not be poorly clothed.” It was ordered not to conduct inspections during field labor time, and to assign the inspections to reliable persons. It was directed to especially see to it that atamans and officials were conscientious persons, reliable in military operations, and when in front of the cossack privates having their horse and weapons in the best condition. It was also required that deserving and reliable persons be promoted to ataman and officer positions by seniority, while undeserving persons were not to be promoted, nor anyone outside the line of seniority.

At this time there was no prescribed uniform clothing for cossacks, and they were only required to have good clothes in the cossack style, not old or worn. Nevertheless, we know that the usual style of cossack dress at that time was long dark-blue caftans reaching below the knees, with pleats in the skirt; wide sharovary pants also of dark-blue cloth, a belt-like sash around the waist, and a tall dark-blue cap. Along with this, Privy Counselor Neplyuev, promoted to Actual Privy Counselor for his activities in the territory, made a representation in regard to the lack of flags for the Orenburg Cossack Host. The Military Collegium, noting that recently new flags had been made for the Don and Volga hosts “in the characteristic manner,” directed that information be provided regarding the number of flags required and “the style and design customary for that place.” The territory’s chief asked for a host standard, called a bunchuk, a regimental flag, and ten standards for that number of companies in the Orenburg Irregular Corps. The flags had a depiction of the town of Orenburg below a radiant cross, and along the sides an irregular decorative frame. The flags and standards were prepared and presented to the host by Highest Authority, being received on 24 January 1757.

Once the Orenburg Host’s military organization was defined, the host leadership, concerned about the condition of the cossacks’ weapons, asked for muskets to be sent from the Tula factory. There the arsenal turned out to have ready 500 turok guns from the Slobodsk Sumy Regiment and 1500 muskets [ruchnitsy] from Little Russian regiments, which were sent in 1757. These guns were distributed to cossacks who were charged 2 roubles 37 1/2 kopecks for each turok and 2 roubles 21 1/2 kopecks for a ruchnitsa musket.

Meanwhile the host leadership tried to find ways to make cossack duties less burdensome. To that end they asked that a fixed payment be given for carrying the mail, which up to then was being carried by the cossacks with no recompense. The authorities also tried to make it easier for cossacks to carry out duties performed at their own expense. The Ruling Senate, in view of the fact that cossacks were “military persons, some paid a little and others not at all, and very necessary for the frontier conditions there,” decided to pay cossacks for carrying the mail at a rate of a kopeck for two carts during the summer, and according to distance traveled in wintertime, the funds to be taken from the fees collected by the postal administration for various weights of mail. In regard to the second problem, the host ataman, Lieutenant Colonel Mogutov, reported that “almost every summer a large part of the irregular commands on the lines and in the provinces are sent off, in addition to their normal service, to maintain outposts in other places and other lines, and even those who happen not to be sent off have to perform so much duty on the line or in the increased number of outposts established during summertime’s heightened level of alertness, so none of them can remain at home, and those called out, since they are separated from their homes for the whole summer at their own expense without pay, not only find their houses falling into ruin, but they themselves while on duty suffer greatly from hunger, and this is what happened last year with the unpaid cossacks who were in such extreme want that they could not buy salt, that most necessary item. And if they serve this year (1758) without pay, they will fall into such a condition that it will be impossible to help them recover. For those who remain after the annual duties mentioned, after the service at their own forts there will be no time left for their own farms and fields or for other undertakings, since they are sent to perform government labor such as transporting timber for building forts or repairing fortifications. They also carry the ordinary mail and provide carts for official travelers. And as for those who are paid and stay on the line the entire summer, due to the current conditions they almost all have to be on guard duties and the daily patrols along the line, and from that along with the frequent droughts that occur there, after the crops fail they fall into such want that for two years it has been necessary to give them provisions from government stores in lieu of their pay. But since that pay is so little, up to now not all of what is needed can be taken. Now the cossacks, because of crop failure and not being allowed time during the summer for their own livelihoods, suffer starvation, and ask if they cannot be given government provisions even if it has to be deducted from their pay. As for the orders to sell them livestock, and horses to those who have none, if under the current conditions they are allowed to sell their livestock then they will become very unreliable for service and it will be impossible to restore them.” Therefore Ataman Mogutov asked that Orenburg Host cossacks be given the same status as those of the Ural and Don, and of baptized Kalmyks. The unpaid Orenburg cossacks, if they were ordered to duty far away from their own fort, should be given a rouble a month and provisions, and if they had to stay away during the winter, then rations for that time, too. In the same circumstances, cossacks who now received “little pay” should be given full pay and also issued provisions, and when a half or more of a fort’s cossacks were on service, “as happened last summer upon the approach of large numbers of Kirgiz committing depredations in response to Bashkir thievery, an event that could reoccur any year,” then they should be given provisions for the summer period from 1 April to 1 November, without additional pay. The host ataman’s petitions received their deserved consideration from the chief of the territory, Actual Privy Counselor Neplyuev, and the Military Collegium, upon whose recommendations the Ruling Senate decreed the equalization of Orenburg cossacks with those of the Don and Ural in regard to pay, provisions, and fodder, but only for the times they were ordered to serve further than 70 miles [100 verst] from home, and for little-paid cossacks-when half or more of their fort’s or outpost’s complement were on service then they were to be given provisions on the same scale as for soldiers.

The cossacks’ difficult situation as described in the above extract from host ataman Mogutov’s report was not exaggerated. Just previously the Bashkir revolt had been put down, in the suppression of which the cossacks of the Orenburg Host had taken part along with the regular troops in the territory and two cossack regiments called out from the Don and Ural cossack hosts. Afterwards Kirgiz raids began, there being over 10,000 Bashkirs of both sexes who had fled to that people during the time of the revolt. On top of this there was hunger in the territory due to crop failures and because the cossacks, constantly on duty or on government labor, could not sow a sufficient amount of grain, Meanwhile the number of troops on the line had increased significantly resulting in a proportionate demand for provisions, and it had not been safe to deliver these foodstuffs from other places on account of the Bashkir revolt. For government labor on fortifications not only cossacks were used, but dragoons and garrison soldiers as well. However, in the forts the senior commanders were mostly regular officers who sought to ease the duties of their own soldiers and dragoons, and the bulk of the work fell upon just the cossacks. On their part, this finally led to complaints to host ataman Mogutov who in turn presented them to the chief of the territory and insisted that the cossacks should not be overworked. But at the time there was much work as new forts were being established and the line continued to be developed with the construction of redoubts and outposts. Thus, in 1748 cossack Kichigin of the Yetkul’sk fort, with comrades who brought about fifty families, founded the Kichiginsk fort on the Uvel’ka Stream, and in 1750 fifty families from the Borsk, Buzuluksk, and Berdsk forts established the Nizhneozernaya fort near the Ozernyi redoubt. On the Orenburg Line in 1764 there were already 22 forts, including Zverinogolovsk which had been transferred from the Siberian administration to Orenburg in 1753, 25 redoubts, and 78 outposts. Some of the last and all the redoubts were gradually settled by cossacks and exist up to the present day with their original names.

For administrative convenience the Orenburg Line was divided into 6 sectors [distantsii] and 6 reserve corps [rezervnye korpusa], but the boundaries of one did not coincide with those of the other, with the exception of the first corps and sector. Sector commanders were appointed by the chief of the territory, but the assignment of commanders of reserve corps was sometimes left to sector commanders. As evidenced from an extant list from 1764, even in peaceful times the Orenburg Line was protected by the assignment of 1226 cossacks, 928 dragoons, 303 baptized Kalmyks, and 2004 Bashkirs, Meshcheryaks, and enlisted Tatars, or a total of 4461 men with 23 guns. Men chosen for line service were almost exclusively assigned to redoubts and outposts. The forts were left with their own garrisons to which were attached some Bashkirs to do government labor duties on the fortifications and carry messages to higher commanders. In the line forts, the whole population that was not on assignment was considered in reserve and used for patrols as well as fort guard duty, Cossacks were additionally used to guard horse herds and for parties sent in pursuit of Kirgiz bands that had penetrated the line to drive off livestock and seize careless inhabitants and travelers. Therefore the actual number of cossacks carrying out duties on the line was not that of the assignment list, but much greater. Nevertheless the host’s population was also increasing from before, so that according to information collected in 1768 at the order of the Military Collegium it amounted to 13,874 males. From 1758 until 1798 there were no changes in the host’s organization in spite of the fact that the Orenburg Line suffered to no small extent during Pugachev’s revolt when several settlements were razed. Still, the host continuously increased in size by sometimes incorporating single families and at other times whole settlements. In this way there were registered as cossacks enlisted Tatars of the village of Zubochistka and the Kondurovsk settlement, and merchant Tatars of the Seitovsk (or Karagalinsk) settlement. The latter settlement was established near Orenburg soon after its founding by trading Tatars from Kazan Province so as to develop commerce in the territory, but by 1787 they no longer answered to their previous purpose due to their poverty. These Kargalinsk Tatars turned out to be poor cossacks whose only contribution to the host was an increase in raw numbers, so in 1819 they were excluded from cossack status and returned to a tax-paying category. In 1796 141 families were resettled from the Don Host, being 578 souls of both sexes, after they had taken part in a revolt by five settlements of that host which used armed force to resist resettlement to the Caucasian Line. Among the persons transferred there were 30 demoted atamans, yesauls, sotniks, and khorunzhiis. The resettled persons were distributed among 15 forts from Verkhneozernaya to Zverinogolovsk.


In 1798 the Orenburg Military Governor, General-of-Infantry Graf Igelstrom, submitted to Highest review a description of the Orenburg Line in which he explained that the guard on the line was generally satisfactory, was maintained appropriately, and as evidenced by experience, was such that with the construction of the line the frontier was completely safe from its neighbors. If at times Kirgiz broke through or would do so in the future, then the reason for that would not be the line’s organization or a lack of guards on it, but rather the inadequacy of individual leaders or the weakness of poor troops deployed along the foreposts. It would be because of abuse by Bashkir elders and local police chiefs [zemskie ispravniki] who allowed the rich and better off to buy exemptions; for the most part it was the poor and propertyless who were sent out on service, inadequately equipped with weapons and horses and often not at all fit for duty. And part of the cossack population lived far from the line so that from lack of fodder cossacks arrived for duty by 16 May with wornout horses unfit for service, sometimes even losing them before reaching the line. Because of mismanagement in the assignment of periods of service for cossacks, it would happen that when the poor and propertyless were called to duty, they would fall into even greater poverty when their farms were left untended in their absence. To correct all this Graf Igelstrom proposed that yurt elders and headmen be made responsible for carefully ensuring that each man would be assigned to duty in his own turn regardless of any excuses. While on the road, cossacks living far from the line would be provided with provisions apportioned from all members of the community, even those on active service being obliged to contribute. Aid would be provided for the farms of cossacks absent on service, and authorities were to assiduously keep an eye on the shiftless and lazy.

In response to this representation, on 10 April of the same year Graf Igelstrom was given a Highest Ukase which ordered a detailed count of cossacks from 20 to 50 years of age and able to carry out service. They were to be divided into cantons [kantony], taking care that when duty assignments were made, cantons carried out their service in the line sectors nearest them. The line was to be divided into five sectors [distantsii]. The canton leader [kantonyi nachalnik] was to be given the authority to make duty assignments at a general meeting of stanitsa leaders [stanichnye nachalniki]. Field leaders [pokhodnye nachalniki] were to be installed in each sector and receive those coming on duty from the cantons, being responsible for their good order. Those assigned to duty were to be supplied with travel provisions by the community on an apportionment basis. Canton leaders were made responsible for seeing that the farms of those on service did not deteriorate through neglect, to which end aid was to be given based on individual circumstances, especially during harvest and hay-cutting time. They were to take equal care to keep an eye on the shiftless and lazy, compelling them to be better farmers. Canton leaders were to be charged with watching over cossacks in regard to the military sector, settling petty offenses by administrative action. For all other offenses and crimes serving personnel were subject to a military court, while those in the reserve or under age came under a criminal court. A master metalworker with two apprentices was to be installed in each canton to repair firearms. The master and his students were to be maintained by the cantons with the first issue of tools being provided by the treasury.

According to count there were in the host 227 serving cossack gentry [starshiny], 517 noncommissioned officers [uryadniki], 7506 cossacks, 3001 reservists, and 9976 underage youths, or 21,227 men in all. They were divided among five cantons to which were named the following canton leaders: for the first canton, made up of six stanitsy — Ataman Lieutenant Khanzhin; for the second, of five stanitsy — Ataman Ensign Osintsov; for the third, of four stanitsy — Ataman Sublieutenant Vetoshnikov; for the fourth, of fourteen stanitsy — Ataman Colonel Ugletskii; and for the fifth, of ten stanitsy — Ataman Ensign Ugletskii. The leader of the fourth canton was at the same time the Host Ataman [voiskovoi ataman]. Besides the above-mentioned number of cossacks there were another 2100 men in the city of Orenburg and in Berdskaya Stanitsa which did not come under the cantons. These cossacks formed the Orenburg Thousand Cossack Regiment [Orenburgskii tysyachnyi kazachii polk] and also provided replacments for the regiment’s losses.

The line was divided into sectors: the first from Zverinogolovskaya to Verkhneuralsk; the second from Verkhneuralsk to Orenburg Fortress; the third from Orsk to Orenburg; and the fourth from Orenburg to Uralsk to the town of Gurev. Of these the first three and part of the fourth to Razsypnaya Fortress were situated within the borders of the Orenburg Host, and it was laid down that each year 2624 Orenburg Host cossacks and 5516 Bashkirs and Meshcheryaks were to be sent to these. In this way at the end of the eighteenth century the line was protected exclusively by the local military population of the territory without any participation by regular troops. And although twice as many Bashkirs and Meshcheryaks were assigned to the line as cossacks, the main responsibilities for guarding the line and pursuing Kirgiz bands lay with the cossacks, as attested to by Military Governor Graf Essen who in a proposal he drafted for the organizational administration of the host stated, “…and although Bashkirs and Meshcheryaks were detailed to help it (the Orenburg Host), it was still the cossacks of the Orenburg Host who were always considered more reliable than the other irregular troops used for guarding the Orenburg Line, as is clear from the canton resolutions of General Graf Igelstrom which Highest Authority was pleased to confirm twice.”


 The Establishment Table of 1803 and the Further Organization of the Host to 1840.

The organization of the host according to the ukase of 10 April, 1798, was found by those in charge of it to be unsatisfactory, and so Host Ataman Colonel Ugletskii, in the name of the host, sent the Sovereign Emperor a most humble petition in which, among other things, he sought equivalency in rank of host cossack nobility with army officers, as for other cossack hosts who were granted this through Highest favor, since the gentry of the Orenburg Host had no kind of equality with army officers except for only a few who by special Highest ukases had been granted substantive army ranks because of distinguished service. At the same time there were in the host several aristocratic families from noble and non-Russian lineages in the towns of Samara and Ufa which had been transferred to the city of Orenburg at its founding. The petition was delivered to the Minister of Military Land Forces, and the Military College, after examining the situation of the host, submitted its opinion to Highest review, receiving confirmation on 8 June, 1803. In agreement with this opinion, it was ordered that: the Orenburg Host be left under the direction of a host chancellery which was to be established along the lines of those for the Black Sea and Ural hosts, i.e. for military matters the host was to be subject to the Inspector of the Orenburg Inspectorate and for civil affairs under the control of provincial authorities, in particular the head of the province.

The cost of maintaining the Chancellery was to be borne by the host, except for the Host Ataman’s salary which was provided by the treasury. According to the official establishment table [shtat] the Host Chancellery consisted of: a Host Ataman with a salary of 600 roubles; two permanent members [nepremennye chleny] with salaries of 300 roubles each; two assessors [assesory] with 250 roubles each; two secretaries with 200 roubles each; and a public prosecutor [prokuror] with 250 roubles. For hiring Chancellery employees and other Chancellery expenses 800 roubles were authorized.

Those holding army officer ranks could be released into the reserve [otstavka] by Highest orders obtained either by petitions accompanied by the testimony of the Host Ataman and Chancellery regarding service and disability, or through applications by the Inspector of the Orenburg Inspectorate. However, only those lower ranks were released who through old age and decrepitude or because of illness and injuries were completely unfit for further service, this being done through the unbiased review of the Host Ataman and chancellery and confirmation by the Inspector, being subject to judicial investigation for any abuse.

Lower ranks serving in the host who showed or would in the future show their noble origins were given the choice of remaining in the host or leaving it, and as long as they were on service they were to be treated in accordance with the general laws concerning nobility.

Host officials, except those who had been granted army rank, who were serving in officer positions even though they did not have substantive army rank, “were in due respect to their service to be recognized and treated in the manner appropriate to officer rank; in accordance with this, punishments passed upon them for infractions were to be handled as prescribed for company-grade officers, in so far as they exist for these ranks.”

The Orenburg Thousand Cossack Regiment, settled in Orenburg and receiving an inadequate upkeep, being always either on service or in constant readiness to march out across the frontier, was to be maintained according to a new establishment table which set the regiment’s composition at: 1 colonel, 10 captains [yesauly], 10 lieutenants [sotniki], 10 cornets [khorunzhie], 1 quartermaster, 2 clerks, 40 noncommissioned officers, and 1000 cossacks, being 1074 men in all. Pay was set at: 300 roubles for the colonel, 100 roubles each for captains, 80 roubles each for lieutenants and the quartermaster, 60 roubles for cornets, 18 roubles for clerks, 20 roubles for noncommissioned officers, and 12 roubles for cossacks.

Since the pay for lower ranks was less than previously authorized, it was ordered that when they were living in their own homes or close by them, provisions were to be issued not for a third part of the men as before, but for all. If on the other hand personnel were detached 100 versts (66 miles) away or further or when they were sent beyond the Ural, for subduing “neighboring predatory peoples”, then lower ranks were to be issued forage for the winter months, enough for two horses each, while officers were to receive money for soldier-servants [denshchiki] and rations according to the tables for army hussar officers.

For normal losses the regiment was to be maintained, as on the previous basis, from the 2100 men settled in the city of Orenburg, but in case of being seriously understrength due to casualties in action with the enemy, then persons with families were to be selected in the cantons and resettled in Orenburg, being dropped from the canton rolls.

Rank in the regiment was to be equivalent as follows: the colonel [polkovnik] with the rank of an army major [maior]; an yesaul with an army cavalry captain [rotmistr]; a sotnik with an army lieutenant [poruchik]; a khorunzhii with an army cornet [kornet]; and the quartermaster with a quartermaster in the regular forces. Officers were to be enrolled in the regiment by Highest orders and only to fill vacancies, on approval by the Host Ataman in agreement with the host chancellery, merit being based on seniority, zealous dedication to service, and abilities.

Armament in the regiment consisted of a saber, pair of pistols, carbine, and lance with a pennant colored raspberry and white. The uniform was the standard one for cossacks: caftan [kaftan] and sharovary pants with raspberry collar and piping, raspberry caps with a black band, white girdles [kushaki], and blue shabraques with raspberry trim. All this was maintained at one’s own cost, as in other cossack hosts.

In 1808 uniform dress for the Thousand Regiment as well as for the entire host was prescribed to be as for the Don Host, i.e. dark-blue chekmen or caftan with red piping on the collar and cuffs, to be worn from 1 September to 1 May while for the rest of the time there was the half-caftan [polukaftan] or jacket [kurtka], worn tucked into the sharovary; blue sharovary pants with red trim or stripes, these pants being permitted to be worn tucked into the boots; headdresses [shapki] of black fleece, 9 inches high with a red top; on these headdresses officers wore silver cords of gold and black silk and white plumes with black and orange feathers below, while lower ranks had white cotton cords on their headdresses. In addition officers were authorized a sash similar to the army pattern and spurs, while cossacks had girdles of unspecified color. All were to have leather pouches for cartridges on a crossbelt which officers were allowed to decorate with silver plates and galloon lace, as they were also allowed to do to the swordbelts for sabers. These sabers were to be of whatever kind one possessed. In case regiments were ordered out, the host ataman was to distinguish them by changing the color of the piping on the collar and cuffs and of the stripes on the pants, but girdles in each regiment were intended to be the same.

This pattern of uniform was changed in 1833 in that the dark-blue cloth was replaced by dark green and the cloth lining became light blue. And on the shakos [kivery] plumes were replaced by pompons: silver for the officers but light blue for cossacks. In 1838 the saber [sablya] was replaced by the cossack shashka sword.

During the confirmation of the 1803 establishment table it was noted that the division of the host into cantons, the carrying out of service, the system of making duty assignments, and the subsistence paid while on service or not on service all remained on the existing basis, while in the meantime since the 1755 establishment table the numbers in the host had increased, the system of carrying out service had changed somewhat, and subsistence payments were not being made on an equitable basis. So the Orenburg Military Governor, along with the Host Chancellery, was encharged with drafting local administrative regulations for the host along with the advantages they offered and including the responsibilities to be entrusted to the host in regard to serving on the line and in other places. They were also to deliver to the Military College for submission in a respectful report their opinion of “what kind of subsistence allowance from the treasury would it be necessary to have, and under what conditions would it be offered, and how would it be equitable for all personnel; included will be an explanation of the reasons and needs underlying this opinion.”

When the host received the establishment tables and Military College’s opinion as confirmed by Highest Authority, the Host Ataman asked the Minister of War to intercede for permission to send a deputation to convey on behalf of the host its gratitude for the favor shown it, but he received the reply that the Sovereign Emperor did not wish the dispatch of a deputation, but instilled with fatherly goodwill toward the host’s thankfullness, was pleased to accept the intention of sending a deputation as the action itself. Along with this the Minister of War, General Vyazmitinov, who before had been the commander-in-chief of the Orenburg Territory and was now replying to the thanks expressed to him for his part in host affairs, wrote that he began his participation as a responsibility required by his position “and later with great readiness, since he had the pleasure of being an personal witness of the zeal and effort with which the Orenburg Host carried out its service.”

Soon after this, the Sovereign Emperor, referring to the recently greatly increased predation by the Kirgiz who repeatedly plundered caravans, and to the reasons for such a state of affairs and measures for correcting it, issued an instruction to the Orenburg Military Governor encharging him at the first opportunity to travel around the territory and undertake the most detailed investigation into the state of the cantons, whether their organization was appropriate to the purposes for which they had been created, whether service was being carried out in the prescribed manner and that there was no abuse in making duty assignments, and whether, as far as it might be reckoned useful, it would be possible to reinforce the population on the line so as to create a larger militia and thus “significantly increase the security of the frontier without having to use an excessive number of regular troops who only with difficulty could be on this service without considerable expenses for provisions and other necessities.” It was ordered that when the report on these topics was delivered a conclusion be added to it detailing the sources and methods for carrying out such a reinforcement of the line.

It is not known whether, in accordance with this instruction, the Orenburg Military Governor made a tour of the territory or what he may have found, but already in August of the following year of 1804 Highest Authority established regulations concerning the organization of the Orenburg Line by which it was ordered to form four garrison battalions, these being renamed line battalions that same year. These battalions were specially intended for protecting the line by increasing the population on it, to which end they had to remain immobile in their locations, being settled in the Verkhneozernaya, Orsk, Verkhneuralsk, and Troitsk Sectors according to the judgement of local authorities. To form them it was ordered to use personnel in the first reserve who were unfit for field service, but so that at first they were at most three-fourths of the total strength. And in the recruit call-up of 1805 the following were to be used to fill the ranks: all recruits coming from Orenburg and adjacent provinces, who were to be accepted up to 7/8 of an inch below regulation height and up to 37 years old, but they all had to be married; also to be used were those who were the children of settled agricultural soldiers, accepting those who were unfit for field service due to illness and other causes.

It was ordered that personnel in the battalions were not only not to be diverted from, but instead encouraged to build homes, raise grain and livestock, and engage in other agriculture, allowing one-time aid grants that would be enough to enable the men to become farmers and agriculturalists. With this as a goal, the battalions’ personnel, except for routine small guard detachments, twice a year in spring and fall had to take part in training for 3 to 4 weeks. And recently called up recruits, once they had become used to discipline and acquired the necessary soldierly skills, would also engage in training two or three times a year.

In 1810 these battalions were withdrawn from the usual regulations for providing them with men so that their manning would be carried out under the direct care of the commander-in-chief of the Orenburg Territory in accordance with the time and circumstances and so that the persons joining the battalions would always be married, of good conduct, and industrious farmers. The entire service of the men in the battalions was to consist of guard duty where they lived, and if Kirgiz stole into the sector, then together with the cossacks they were to pursue them on their horses. Subsequently, in 1835, the personnel in these battalions were converted into cossacks.

In order to draw up the plan demanded by the Highest order of 8 June, 1803, regarding the local deployment of the host, the advantages offered by those dispositions, and the responsibilities entrusted to the host, along with suggestions as to what kind of subsistence allowance there should be, under what circumstances should it be offered, and how it was to be fair for each person when compared with others, Host Ataman Ugletskii summoned one representative from each stanitsa. But the draft scheme for the new administrative organization of the host, once it had been reviewed by the those in charge of the territory, was only presented to the Minister of War by Graf Essen in January of 1818. But here too confirmation of the projected scheme was delayed; it was presented several times and only confirmed on 12 December, 1840. In the meantime, various individual measures were taken in regard to the host with a view to increasing the cossack population on the line, for its greater security, and for the general well-being of the host.

These measures which concerned increasing the cossack population included the following. A settlement was set up on the Chesnokovka River where it entered the Ural River, 9 miles from Nizhneozernaya Stanitsa; the first settlers here were 70 cossack families from the Tatars of Seitovskaya Sloboda, also called Kargalinskaya. The population of the Nikolsk and Giryalsk redoubts was reinforced by the resettlement there of several families from the same sloboda. And in 1805, at their expressed wish, 1181 persons from Uiskaya, Kichiginskaya, Chebarkulskaya, Koelskaya, Chelyabinskaya, Miyasskaya, Yetkulskaya, and Yemanzhelinskaya stanitsy were resettled in eighteen line settlements. To each of these last resettlers the community had to give two horses with harness and saddlery for riding, a plow, harrow, and telega cart, and each laborer in a family was to receive an ax and sickle. For sowing each was to be given 360 pounds of wheat, for subsistence 144 pounds of rye grain or rye flour for those younger than 10 and 360 pounds for each older person, and 180 pounds of groats for every 10 persons. In calculating this aid the individual property of the resettlers was not to be taken into account, and they had the right to use it as they thought fit. In addition the resettlers were promised exemption from service and duties for five years, and the hay for their first winter was to be prepared for them by personnel on line service, these also having to get wood ready for houses and build dugouts as a first expedient.

In this way the costs of resettlement fell upon the community, which had to provide the resettlers with over 1300 horses and 720,000 pounds of grain, in addition to other items. The burden of this expense provoked agitation among the cossacks, but this was stopped by administrative measures and had no consequences of any kind except the punishment of those responsible.

In the next year of 1806, 455 active and reserve persons were resettled at the 12th settlement on the line from the towns of Ufa and Krasnoufimsk and Tabynskaya, Yeldyatskaya, and Nagaibatskaya stanitsy, but this time without community aid or any kind of discontent on the part of the cossacks.

In August of 1810 confirmation was given to a proposal by Active State Councillor Strukov, manager of the Iletsk Saltworks, about transporting salt to the town of Samara not through Orenburg, but by a new route going along the right bank of the Ilek River to the small town of Iletsk and from there to Razsypnaya Stanitsa. This route presented the advantage that it was straighter and passed through more level terrain, keeping the Obshchii Syrt Mountains to the right. But since it had to go to Iletsk over the steppe where Kirgiz still roamed, for the safety and convenience of the teamsters it was proposed to build settlements on the Ilek River and move the frontier line there from the Ural River, below Orenburg. Strukov himself voluteered to build the proposed settlement using cossacks from the Orenburg and Ural hosts, using no force but only those who wished to go. But he found no volunteers so the task of summoning them was given to the host atamans of the Orenburg and Ural hosts. The call-up was ordered to be done from stanitsy with little land and which were far from the line so that for them, due to distance, service on the line was burdensome. Resettlers were promised exemption from service for three years and that after this they would always serve near their homes, guarding the line. For farming, haymaking, and raising livestock a strip of land 6 miles wide was offered along the right bank of the Ilek from the Iletskaya Zashchita grant to the land belonging to Iletsk town. Fishing rights in the Ilek were offered along both banks, and likewise the use of forests. However, no volunteers were found in the Orenburg Host and so in 1822 Krasnoufimskaya Stanitsa was disbanded with its cossacks having to settle in the foreposts of Izobilnyi, Burannyi, Novoiletskii, and Linevskii. But the cossacks used every means to try to avoid resettlement. Through intermediaries they set petitions to the Sovereign Emperor, they refused to take their places, and so on so that finally 76 of them were court-martialed. In his confirmation of the results of this business the Sovereign Emperor ordered, “Leave unpunished those who were given over to the court, but only if they submitted to resettlement without the slightest opposition; in the opposite case, if there is the least stubborness on their part, punish them with running through the gauntlet and then put the able-bodied into army regiments and send the unfit to settle in Siberia.” But even after this the cossacks did not want to resettle, being spurred on by ill-intentioned persons who fabricated a copy of non-existent correspondence by the Chief of the General Staff, General-Adjutant Dibich, about releasing the cossacks of Krasnoufimskaya Stanitsa from resettlement. Only after the distributors of the false papers, some four persons, were punished and set to army regiments did the cossacks express their willingness to resettle. This finally took place in 1826 when the resettlers were granted 49,355 roubles in aid from the treasury.

With the organization of settlements along the Ilek River and the shifting there of the line, peasant villages began to be built along the left bank of the Ural River. These were assigned to the management of the Iletsk Saltworks and in addition to farming the peasants were obligated to engage in transporting salt to Samara. Eight such villages were built along the left bank of the Ural from Orenburg to the border of the Ural Host, and they were settled partly by Little Russian Cherkasses and partly by peasants from the Great Russian provinces of the interior, mainly Kursk and Penza. All these villages were enrolled in the host by the polozhenie of 12 December, 1840.

During the same period the Orenburg Line was reinforced by the enrollment of cossacks. Such enrollments in particular included the addition all at once in 1819 of 243 Little Russians from the village of Ostrovnaya and 176 Tatar souls from the villages of Novogumerovaya and Uskalytskaya, who were then resettled in Nikolskaya and Giryalskaya stanitsy. In 1826, in response to a proposal by Military Governor Graf Essen, Highest Authority ordered retired soldiers, soldiers’ children, and gunners’ children [pushkarskie deti] living in Orenburg Province, numbering 1927 persons, be enrolled. Of these, 142 persons were left in Orenburg and assigned to the Orenburg Cossack Thousand Regiment while the rest were settled in stanitsy along the line. In 1832 there were enrolled about 150 Poles who had taken part in the Polish rebellion and been taken prisoner in 1830 and 1831. In 1835 the lower ranks of the four battalions settled on the line were converted to cossack status along with their families, except for sons on active service outside the Separate Orenburg Corps and also field and company-grade officers, lower ranks of noble origins, and natives of Poland, whoever of which did not express a wish to enter the host. However, the incorporation of the members of these battalions under host control only took place in 1837. These battalions, as can be seen from the manner in which they were formed, were intended from the very first to be, if not cossacks, then at least military settlers, and so the conversion of the settled battalions into cossacks flowed logically from the existing order of things.

The increase in cossack population was also necessary because in 1835 there was an intent to put down a new line, something that had already been thought about since 1822. The old frontier line went from Orsk northward along the left bank of the Ural, past Verkhneuralsk to Karagaiskaya Stanitsa, covering a distance of about 230 miles. Here it made a right angle eastward along the Ui River to go past Troitsk to Berezovskaya Stanitsa, this also being a distance of about 230 miles. Thus the establishment of settlements along the straight line from Orsk to Berezovskaya Stanitsa shortened the line significantly and made it easier to protect. The construction of the line was carried out energetically, so that in 1835 itself there were founded the Imperatorsk, Naslednitsk, and Mikhailovsk settlements, and in the the next two years Novoorsk, Yelizavetinsk, Atamansk, Yekaterinsk, Konstantinovsk, Knyazhesk, Nikolaevsk, Yeleninsk, Nadezhdinsk, Verinsk, Varvarinsk, Kumaksk, Petrovsk, Pavlovsk, Andreevsk, Anninsk, Georgievsk, Olginsk, Vladimirsk, Aleksandrovsk, Sofiisk, Natalinsk, Alekseevsk, and Kirilovsk. All these settlements were built along the new line itself or a short distance behind it. The settlements that were built had ditches and ramparts dug around them and only one set of fortified gates, but in Naslednitskaya and Nikolaevskaya stanitsy where churches were built, the walls around these were made of stone with small turrets and loopholes, so that in case of an attack by the Kirgiz they would be a sure refuge for the inhabitants. In response to a request to build other gates, it was allowed only when there was a compelling need and with the permission of the commander-in-chief of the territory. Cossacks from the old line and interior cantons and personnel of the settled line battalions were installed in the new settlement. Also at that time the excavation of a ditch with rampart was undertaken along the entire new line, but the work was carried on only until 1843 when it was stopped, and the ditch with its rampart only ran from the Ora River opposite the small settlement of Novoorsk to the former Sevastopolsk settlement, for a distance of about 25 miles.

In 1837 there was a Highest directive that the Orenburg Cossack Host was to be on the Orenburg Line proper, to where the cossacks living in the interior of the province had to resettle. Whoever of them that did not want to resettle were to be transferred to the settled cavalry regiments. In accordance with this Highest directive all cossacks with the exception of 1256 families were resettled from the interior cantons. Some of them settled themselves along the old and new lines, but 915 families (3091 male souls) wished to settle between the old and new lines in the so-called New-Line Region cut off from the Kirgiz Steppe in 1835 and made a start in building settlements in this area.

But along with additions to the host there were also subtractions from it, sometimes individual families of noble descent such as those of Colonel Avdeev, Major Vetoshnikov, Sotnik Sokolov, Khorunzhii Arapov, the uryadniki of aristocratic origins Yenkov and Zubov, and that of the noble Polish Uryadnik Malkovskii, and at other times some tens of families at once. These last subtractions were after 1818 when there was a directive issued on the granting to the host of lands along the inside of the old line and not less than 15 versts (10 miles) from it. Because of this the Bashkirs and Meshcheryaks who had settled in that strip at various times had to either be enrolled into the cossacks or resettled on other lands which they would find and move to inside Bashkiria. However, the loss of the Bashkirs and Meshcheryaks to the host did not weaken it, but rather was beneficial since it relieved the host of people who did not have an attachment to cossack status or a calling to cossack service, in addition to being mostly people who were poor and unskilled at farming.

As regards the military organization, particular measures included the establishment in 1819 of Orenburg Cossack Horse-Artillery Companies Nos. 9 and 10, each of 12 guns, the number of lower ranks in both companies being fixed at 540 men, and they had to serve 15 years straight through, receiving their uniforms, weapons, and horses from the treasury. To form the companies and provide replacements later on, it was ordered to select persons from families that had three brothers so that their absence from the farm for a long period would not ruin them. Also to be used were poor persons not owning a farm, but men from small farm-owning families were not to be selected at all. The impetus for establishing cossack artillery was the proposed transfer of No. 57 Light Company from Orenburg to the ranks of No. 26 Brigade. The formation of the companies was carried out in the area around Orenburg: No. 9 in Seitovskaya Sloboda and the town of Sakmarsk, and No. 10 in Chernorechenskaya and Tatishchevaya stanitsas. Later these companies were renamed batteries and received the numbers 8 and 9 (subsequently 14 and 15). In order to be supplied with noncommissioned officers, in 1834 a brigade school was established in the batteries along the same lines as the existing battalion schools for field horse-artillery batteries in cavalry corps.

The cossack batteries continued in this form until 1840 when Highest Authority issued the polozhenie for the host, which at the same time completely altered the previously existing organization of the host as well as of the batteries.

In 1821 the Orenburg Thousand Regiment, sometimes called the Ataman’s, received the title of the Orenburg Cossack Permanent Regiment [Orenburgskii kazachii nepremennyi polk], and its ranks were issued with a thousand horse-jäger muskets which by Highest Authority had been delivered to the host that same year. These muskets were issued to the regiment so that it would be uniformly armed, while the cossacks’ old muskets were collected and issued to the poorest cossacks, primarily those living in line stanitsy.

In 1822 it was ordered that all cossack youths over the age of 18 were to be enrolled as cossacks, especially those whose fathers were still serving, so that children might take their turn on duty in place of their fathers and the farm might not be left without supervision or someone to work it. This directive of the military governor, Graf Essen, was occassioned by there being in the host “over-aged youths who were not of any use in any service and so in the past were discharged from active duty.”

Starting in this same year detachments from the Orenburg Host began to be sent to Nizhnii-Novgorod at the time of the fair, and to Kazan and Perm provinces and the city of Moscow. These detachments were distributed among the districts where they were used to establish posts for pursuing bandits and runaways, while in the cities they carried out police duties. In Perm Province, they were also used by the étappes for escorting criminals being transported to Siberia.

In 1823 it was directed that lower ranks of the Orenburg Host serving outside the boundaries of the corps districts be provided with a subsistence allotment of 75 paper roubles instead of with pack horses with fodder, the same as in the Don Host.

In 1827 it was prohibited to allow aristocrats and their families who were of cossack origin to leave the host. This was firstly because such exclusion was contrary to what was usual in other cossack hosts, and secondly because permitting the exclusion of cossack gentry who had been released from active service, given the existing ban on accepting non-Russian native elements into cossack hosts, could lead to a shortage of nobles by depriving these hosts of their own.

Due to the accumulation in the Host Chancellery of military judicial cases involving the host’s active-duty personnel, who were subject to a military court for all types of infractions, a permanent commission of the military court [postoyannaya komissiya voennago suda] was established in the Host Chancellery, for which were authorized a president [prezus], four assessors [assesory], and an auditor [auditor]. In 1834 reserve personnel were placed on an equal basis with those on active service as regards jurisdiction.

To alleviate the arms situation in the host, in 1836 743 muskets, 2800 pistols, and 346 sabers were issued to the host from the Moscow Arsenal at prices below cost, and in 1837 muskets given over to the host from the four disbanded line battalions were distributed at no cost.

In 1835 Highest Authority ordered the state treasury to disburse 150,000 paper roubles to the host for internal improvements, in return for precious metals and minerals discovered or possibly to be discovered in the subsurface of host lands. This disbursement provided a basis for a general host capital fund and helped the officials maintain their host administration, which began to receive its funds not from collections from the inhabitants but from monies issued from the treasury. And since 1836 the host ataman also began to receive his salary and other upkeep from host funds. With the growth of the host’s financial resources, in 1837 the salaries of officials in the host administration were increased to be as for the Don and Ural hosts. Along with this a chancellery was created for the host ataman, the organization of which, as well as of the Host Chancellery and the Military Court, was specially defined.

In order to develop trade in the host, in 1825 host personnel were granted the right within the limits of host lands to engage in the trade of any kind of goods and to build tanneries and other enterprises without having to obtain commercial licenses. And in 1836 a Cossack Commercial Association [obshchestvo torgovykh kazakov] was established in the host, the size of it being limited to 500 persons. In order to be free from service obligations, cossacks joining this merchants’ association had to deliver 200 paper roubles a year to the host funds. These cosacks were also exempted from actually carrying out stanitsa duties, but at first the number of cossacks in the Commerical Association was such that it was far from being full. Along with this, it was desired to develop craftwork in the host and make it easier for inhabitants to obtain military and domestic items, so from 1837 cossack youths began to be sent to the Tula and Izhev Arms Factories, to Moscow and St. Petersburg to the mechanics Butenop and Ishervud, to Kazan to the bourgeois Bulychev to learn how to construct the machines he had invented for producing bricks and tiles. By 1840 some 48 such young men had been sent out by the host.

In order to prompt host inhabitants towards farming, in 1822 the military governor, Graf Essen, established rules which charged local authorities to see that every family would sow at least two desyatinas (5 1/2 acres) of grain and oats and a chetverik (3/4 bushel) of potatoes. At the end of sowing, it was ordered that lists be presented to the Host Chancellery explaining who sowed how much of what kind of grain, and if someone had sown less than what was laid down by the rules, then for each case a detailed explanation was required of the reasons for this and of what measures were being taken to better impel the listless person to farming. And in 1835, to encourage agriculture among the common cossacks, it was decided to take out a sum from the grain capital each year as a prize for farming. The prizes were awarded to those who sowed more grain than others and also to those who increased their amount sown, as opposed to those who although they sowed more than others had decreased the acreage from previously and whose prize would be smaller. Eighteen such prizes for sowing were awarded in 1836 in amounts of 50, 75, 100, and 150 roubles, with cossack Aleksei Volkov of Vetlyanskaya Stanitsa receiving 30 roubles for sowing more than anyone else (1449 pounds). In all, 2050 paper roubles were distributed as prizes that year.

Up to that time the host had no communal grain reserve, so to ensure that the inhabitants would have supplies in case of failed harvests, a monetary collection of 25 kopecks per person was carried out to build up a special food supply capital which in 1835 amounted to 83,403 paper roubles. However, this fund did a poor job of providing the inhabitants with food because in the case of a failed grain harvest in the territory, the procurement of more grain would be difficult due to the territory’s distance from the interior provinces and to the miserable condition of the routes of communication. Therefore, the military governor at that time, General-Adjutant Perovskii, petitioned for reserve grain magazines to be built in the host and for the introduction of communal tillage. The proposal of the head of the territory was approved by Highest Authority on 16 February, 1835, and in view of his own experience, the carrying out of it to completion was assigned to General-Adjutant Perovskii, with the supply capital collected by the host going to the execution of this project. The main bases of the project included the following. Every noncommissioned officer, cossack, and youth from 17 to 60 years of age would each year have to each sow 1 pud (36 pounds) of either winter or summer grain and harvest it. Of the harvest itself, “a third and a half” [tretii c polovinoi] would have to go into the communal magazines as long as they did not contain a reserve of 560 pounds for each person. The excess harvest over the third and a half was to be sold and of the money received one-fourth was to be placed in the grain capital while the remaining three-fourths was to be divided among the overseers of the tillage, who did not receive any special salary for their management work. When a full reserve was stored in the communal magazines, then the entire harvest was to be sold and divided as related above.

When communal tillage was introduced in the spring of that same year, the stanitsy of the 4th and 5th Cantons, located on the roads to Samara and Orenburg, refused to carry out the tillage, which fact the canton authorities reported to the head of the territory. On the basis of these reports, which somewhat presented the refusal to till as a kind of mutiny, General-Adjutant Perovskii thought it necessary to act with strength and he himself immediately traveled out to the disobedient stanitsy, having ordered two infantry companies to move there with two cossack horse-artillery guns, two Bashkir regiments to be sent, and the Teptyar Regiment, (located near the town of Buguluma) to march without rest to the Samara road. But after he arrived at the first stanitsa, Chernorechenskaya, General-Adjutant Perovskii was convinced that the disobedience did not at all have the gravity which might be supposed judging by the reports of the canton authorities. Therefore he sent the force back to Orenburg after the second day’s march and halted the movement of the Bashkirs and the Teptyar Regiment, himself traveling onward without any escort. Those most responsible for the disobedience, some 46 persons, were made to run the gauntlet and then transferred to the New Line.

It must be noted that the disobedience was more a result of misunderstanding and neglect on the part of the canton leaders who did not explain to the cossacks the meaning of this business, depending on the stanitsa atamans who were either not sufficiently trained or prone to abuse. Many cossacks of that time were still alive at the time of this writing, and according to their stories some atamans, out of selfishness or for revenge, had innocent persons implicated in the disobedience and punished, since the evidence of stanitsa atamans was needed to support the canton leaders in covering up the baselessness of their first reports as far as possible. Serving as proof of this is the fact that in other parts of the host, where the project was explained to the cossacks, there was no sign of disobedience and the tillage was carried out completely peacefully. Even in those stanitsy which were considered recalcitrant, the unit set to tilling without objection, as for example at Nizhneozernaya where the Tatar community was persuaded by Urazaev, a brevet cossack cornet, who for this received a silver medal on a St.-Anne ribbon to wear around the neck.

Concurrently with the introduction of communal tilling, a model farm [obraztsovaya ferma] was established to further institutionalize and advance agriculture in the territory. The farm used the funds of the Orenburg Host’s grain capital and its students were added to the students of the Forestry School [lesnoe uchilishche] founded in 1836 and which was now called the School of Agriculture and Forestry [uchilishche zemledeliya i lesovodstva]. The school was to provide the host with persons ready in theory and practice to engage in agriculture and the exploitation of forests, so its graduates were intended to be designated as tillage overseers and foresters. However, they failed to show any effect either in improving farming or developing forests, so after existing for about sixteen years, the school was closed down.

Attention was also paid to improving the horse stock. The impetus to this was in 1831 when to improve the horse stock the military governor, Graf Sukhtelin, gave the host two argamak horses from a number received by the Sovereign Emperor from the Emir of Bukhara. In consultation with host officials regarding how to keep these horses and the means to achieve the goal for which they had been given, the Host Ataman at that time, Major General Engelgardt, recognized the usefulness of establishing a host horse farm. It was planned to withdraw part of the money in the fund collected from cossacks for the relief of widows and orphans, and in addition the cossacks were invited to contribute money and horses. By the end of the year 2307 roubles 50 kopecks and 150 mares had been donated. Then a place for the farm was set aside in the Obshchii Syrt along the Gusikha, Zapadnaya, Sennaya, and Kadulinka rivers, and stallions and mares were bought in the Ural Host and Samara Province. By March of 1832 the farm was finished being built, and in this same year the Sovereign Emperor presented the farm with fourteen stallions from the Pochinkov Farm in Nizhegorod Province. In subsequent years stallions and mares for the farm were bought in the Don region and the Caucasus. The offspring were kept at the farm or given free to host inhabitants for use on service or for their own herds, and were also sold at auction.

Besides all this, in order to help cossacks maintain their herds, in 1837 it was permitted to private horse breeders as well as the stanitsy to obtain herdsmen from serving cossacks, paying only 7 roubles 15 kopecks in silver to the host capital each year for each cossack on internal service, for whom this was counted as regular duty.

Thus, from what has been said it can be seen that the individual measures taken, even if they concerned basic issues, were not many for a period that was almost forty years. In the meantime the condition of the host was not enviable, as attested to by the military governor, Graf Essen, in the proposal that he presented for organizing the host. He wrote, among other things, that the cossacks of the Orenburg Host had previously had sufficient lands as granted by Highest ukases in 1736, 1743, 1744, and subsequent years “for various services during the Bashkir uprisings, for the burning their homes, for the looting of their possessions, and for the killing of their wives and children.” He wrote that later, however, in accordance with instructions from government boards, some of the lands went into the control of other social classes, so that many stanitsy were left with only 6-acre portions for each person, and others had even less. And because of the lack of land which was “the fundamental advantage and most important possession, and the one thing for which the host performed its service”, it had come to a poor state, with meanwhile each cossack being required to provide two horses for service, weapons in good repair, and good uniforms. Because of this, hour by hour the host was reaching the poorest of conditions so that it might be unfit for rendering service and “one could not expect that strength and power with which up to now it guarded the boundaries of the Orenburg Line and protected against thieves from the Kirgiz-Kaisaks; and leading to complete breakdown of the host was the situation that when they were at home, the cossacks, except for their leaders, were subordinate to the local police chiefs and all economic interests of the cossacks were under that control, thereby placing them in a status identical with that of state peasants—a status not befitting a serving soldier or his responsibilities.” To eliminate these faults, it was projected that the organizaton of the host conform to the following priciples. To return to the stanitsy those lands which they used to own and for which there were still deeds; stanitsy without deeds or having lost them were to allot not less than 30 desyatinas [83 acres] to each soul [dusha] and section off 200 desyatinas [550 acres] for each member of the cossack aristocracy [chinovniki]. All stanitsa lands were to be surveyed without regard to other social classes, at the host’s expense.

The host was to be divided into cantons in each of which would be installed a canton government consisting of a canton head [kantonnyi nachalnik], two assessors [zasedateli], clerks [pismo-voditeli], and chancellery employees [kantselyarskie sluzhiteli]. The canton heads and assessors would not receive pay but a salary for a clerk and a budget for the chancellery would be fixed every three years at a meeting of host deputies, to be confirmed by the military governor. The head of the canton was to be chosen by the host ataman and confirmed by the military governor, while assessors were to be chosen by the deputies for three years and confirmed by the host ataman. The canton administrations would conduct their affairs with the same powers as investigative authorities in the Don Host, and therefore the local zemskii police would have no jurisdiction in cossack stanitsy. Local authority in cossack stanitsy was represented by stanitsa atamans. The Host Chancellery would be kept on its former basis; as a district court [uezdnyi sud] it would decide legal and civil cases and would be under the direction of the governor’s office.

The host would be required to form nine regiments of five sotnias and one Ataman’s Thousand Regiment [atamanskii tysyachnyi polk]. This latter would be on permanent duty and its ranks would consist of cossacks living near Orenburg and from other stanitsy as designated by the host ataman. The other regiments would be formed in the cantons, which according to their population would have one or two, taking care, though, that the regiments would not be formed from persons from different cantons. Three regiments and half of the Ataman’s Regiment would be assigned to guard the line. In wartime, however, all cossacks without exception would have to go on active service. Regiments on normal line service would be rotated and relieved every year, but after four years if serving outside the host borders. The standard term of service would be fixed at 25 years. During service on the line officers would receive half of the pay of a hussar and full pay when out of the line. The commander of the Ataman’s Regiment, though, would always receive full pay and rations as for hussar regiments, in consideration of his continuous duties in Orenburg itself. Full pay would always be given to lower ranks, plus provisions and fodder for one horse when serving on the line, although they would prepare hay themselves, receiving for it 5 kopecks per pud [35 pounds] from the treasury. Outside the line they would be issued oats and hay for one horse and receive cash for another.

The War Ministry Council found that removing cossacks from the control of civil authorities “is appropriate, no doubt, for an irregular population of this kind, but only when the greater part of the cossack stanitsy are not broken up among other owners” and therefore, not having a detailed map of host lands, it did not make a specific decision about this for the Orenburg Host. Together with this, the Council pointed out some unclear points and the lack of completeness of particular paragraphs in the proposal, and that the Host Chancellery should follow the pattern of the Don Host, i.e. be removed from the control of the governor’s authority.

This proposal, with the points noted by the War Ministry Council, was returned to Graf Essen at the end of 1820 and supplemented and changed several times over the course of time in accordance with changes in circumstances and governmental viewpoints, until it was confirmed by Highest Authority on 12 December, 1840.


The Polozhenie of 12 December 1840, and the Organization of the Host to 1865.


By the Polozhenie [administrative regulation] of 12 December, 1840, the Orenburg Cossack Host was assigned lands for settlement along the line of the Orenburg frontier from the borders of Siberia to the limits of the Ural Cossack Host. The depth from the line was not to be less than 15 versts [26 miles], so to set up resettlers from interior cantons whose lands were taken over by the treasury the host was given lands in the New Line and Iletsk regions. And to have everything within the prescribed zone, those lands were left outside the host which previously belonged to cossacks and at various times had been settled by state and appanage peasants who had then been converted into cossacks. In this way the host obtained an integral territory in which there were less than ten villages of private landowners as well as the towns of Verkhneuralsk, Troitsk, and Chelyaba.

With the presentation to the host of such a territorial arrangement, in accordance with the veiws of the War Ministry Council the host was removed from the control of civil authorities and received separate administrations: military, administrative, and judicial. For military administration the host was divided into two military regions [voennye okrugi] and these in turn into ten regimental regions [polkovye okrugi], with five in each of the former, and responsibilities were established for regional heads [okruzhnye nachalniki] and regimental commanders. Regional duty offices [okruzhnyya dezhurstva] were formed for the regional heads, and special chancelleries for regimental commanders. General administration, though, was concentrated in the person of the Government Ataman [nakaznyi ataman] with the establishment of a host duty office [voiskovoe dezhurstvo] under his direct control, and within that a military court commission [komissiya voennago suda]. For civil administration a host office [voiskovoe pravlenie] was established which concentrated in itself the duties of a provincial office, and there were branch offices for the treasury, state domains, and civil criminal court. Local adminstration included a regimental office [polkovoe pravlenie] for each regimental region and a stanitsa office [stanichnoe pravlenie] for each station. In the regimental offices of a regimental commander’s chancellery there was a first section [pervyi stol], while two others managed economic, judicial, and police business, and various fiscal committees and investigations. In this way, similar to the host office, the regimental offices united in themselves the responsibilities of district courts, regional offices for state domains, police departments, and district treasuries. Stanitsa offices were themselves the local executive power with jurisdiction within the area of each stanitsa and were subordinate to the regimental offices.

The host office, under the chairmanship of the Government Ataman, consisted of the chief of the host staff [nachalnik voiskovago shtaba], a senior member [starshii chlen], and three assessors [assesory], who managed executive, economic, and civil sections. The last section, however, which conducted civil and criminal affairs, was chaired by the senior member in such a way that this section was something akin to an independent administration. In addition, in the host office there were comptroler’s and treasury sections which were run by a host comptroler and treasurer who were required to be at the host office only when affairs relating to their responsibilities demanded it. At the host office there were a host public prosecuter [voiskovoi prokuror] and a host medical office [voiskovaya vrachebnaya uprava] of one senior and three junior doctors.

The regimental offices, under the chairmanships of the regimental commanders, consisted of four members [zasedateli], a treasurer, and a secretary. The stanitsa offices, under the chairmanship of the stanitsa chief, consisted of two stanitsa judges. Tables defined the number of clerks to do the paperwork in all these administrations. Of the persons holding responsibilities in the host administration, the chief of staff, host comptroler, his aide, and the host public prosecuter all had to be designated from persons not belonging to the host.

The procedures which the military and civil administrations were to follow were to be according to the regulations established for the corresponding administrations of the Don Host. Along with this, in the last paragraph of the host polozhenie it was laid down that everything prescribed by the Don Host regulations governing civil administration, or in appendices to them, was to be also carried out by the Orenburg Cossack Host in as far as these regulations could be fulfilled in light of the differences in place and circumstance.

To maintain the host administrations sums were to be disbursed from host funds: for the Government Ataman, his adjutants, the chief of staff, and the Ataman’s chacellery—6777 roubles 15 kopecks; for the host duty office and military court commission—3409 roubles 95 1/4 kopecks; for two regional duty offices—4572 roubles 68 kopecks; for the host office, with the medical office and prosecutor’s investigative office—8717 roubles 25 kopecks; for ten regimental offices—22,058 roubles 51 1/2 kopecks, being 45,535 roubles 54 3/4 kopecks in all. In addition, the host funds issued 14,988 roubles 88 kopecks to 68 stanitsa offices and the same number of schools, 771 roubles 43 kopecks to ten regional forest wardens [smotriteli lesov], and 572 roubles for travel by the Government Ataman. The entire expense for maintaining the host administrations reached 61,867 roubles 85 3/4 kopecks.

The overall composition of the host was set as: ten cossack horse regiments, with the permanent regiment being disbanded; one horse-artillery brigade of three active batteries; and a host craftsmen’s sotnia. In addition, the host had to establish a commercial association of 500 cossacks and drovers who while not forming a distinct military unit, did belong to the field strength of the host. The horse regiments were assigned the numbers from 1 to 10 inclusive and the batteries the numbers 16, 17, and 18. But as the population of the host was going to increase with the entry of new persons, the commander of the Separate Orenburg Corps was authorized to submit proposals for raising the number of regiments. The regiments were to consist of six sotnias, with the number of all ranks in a regiment being 892 men. The horse-artillery batteries contained 8 guns with 254 combatant and non-combatant ranks, and in all the batteries along with the brigade staff there were 774 men. Thus, the entire combatant strength of the host was to be 9694 men.

The host was to maintain at full strength all regiments, batteries, and other units that made up its military, in suitable order and in continuous readiness for service, having their own uniforms, weapons, riding and pack horses, and horse furniture. It was responsible for guarding the Orenburg Line and the region occupied by it from the raids of predatory tribes, reinforcing the line guard posts when necessary, detaching commands for expeditions into the steppe, sending forces to accompany the administrative sultans of the Kirgiz, and dispatching its regiments and commands to other other places as demanded. In extraordinary circumstances the host was required, as a first obligation, to put on active service all its regiments and batteries and then, in accordance with special orders, to form reserves in the regimental regions from remaining serving and non-serving personnel. Here that rule laid down by regulations drew attention to itself: that for service each regiment was to be formed from the personnel of a single regimental region. Deviating from this rule was to be allowed only for the initial period of time when the regimental regions were not equal in population, but this rule was not observed and not only regiments but even separate commands were being formed from personnel from different regimental regions.

The host was also required to perform the local tasks associated with settlements, carrying them out in the host lands independently of the other social classes in the province and not participating with them in the assessment of local taxes, either for the maintenance of the various organs of provincial administration or for other purposes. In addition, it was required where necessary to allot garden plots to the permanently quartered line troops and invalid commands and provide picket lines for haymaking parties when such pickets were not provided by the host population.

The main privileges and rights left to the host consisted of the following: military personnel were made equivalent in rank to army personnel, all brevet cossack captains and lieutenants [zaurayd-esauly i zauryad-sotniki] were promoted to cossack cornets [khorunzhie] upon the approval of the corps commander, while brevet cornets were promoted to cornets after serving not less than 12 years from the day they were promoted to cossack noncommissioned officer rank; a right to a pension was established for generals and field and company-grade officers wounded in wartime, as well as for the widows and orphans of those killed in battle or who died of wounds; the overall period of field service was set at 25 years, at the end of which lower ranks were required to serve 5 more years on duty within the host; serving and reserve cossack gentry were to receive lifetime allotments of land according to their merit and the resources of the host, in accordance with a special regulation, and stanitsy were allotted land based on the guidelines laid down for the Don Host; the right was granted to fish from the lakes of the Kirgiz Steppe opposite the line; the host was granted the right to all surface and subsurface products of their assigned lands with the exception of precious minerals and metals, which were the property of the treasury, with compensation to the host of 42,837 roubles 14 1/4 kopecks in silver; all income from communal privileges and lands that might be left over after allotments to the gentry and the stanitsy was assigned to the host’s general income for the use of the host and communal institutions; the host was freed from quartering soldiers except for the overnight stays and rest days of passing troops, recruit parties, and transport convoys, as well as in extraordinary instances when the line was reinforced with troops; exemption from the poll tax and conscription was reconfirmed, as well as the right to engage in trade and industry within the borders of the host and the rights to build factories and manufacturing establishments on host lands and sell their products anywhere along the line except in the towns, where trade rights were granted only upon the procurement of trade licenses.

By the polozhenie of 12 December 1840, host capital funds were divided into three classes: the general host capital, military capital, and pension capital. The first was to include sums issued by the state treasury in return for precious metals and minerals; the second—those sums from the treasury meant for the maintenance of the Orenburg Cossack Permanent Regiment, the pay and rations of the line battalions incorporated into the host, the maintenance of cossacks, Bashkirs, and Meshcheryaks detailed for summer guard service, the maintenance of the detachments located with the administrative sultans of the middle and eastern parts of the Kirgiz Horde, and the salaries disbursed to officials and cossacks in the town of Ufa and the nine forts on the Orenburg and Samara lines.

The third class of capital included funds disbursed from the treasury for pensions and sums allocated each year from host revenues. Thus the steady income of the host should have been as much as 129,917 roubles 20 kopecks in silver, but of this total the amount for maintaining the Bashkirs and Meshcheryaks who guarded the line in summer was not immediately available to the host, but rather corresponded to the extent of the decrease of the Bashkirs and Meshcheryaks of the detachment and their replacement by cossacks. And the amount for provisioning the former line battalions was only available to the extent of the attrition in these battalions of lower ranks who received their rations from the treasury. In addition, the general host capital had non-tax revenue that changed over time. This was the income from communal holdings and host lands that might be left over after meeting all host obligations. Similarly, the military capital received the tax revenues from the cossacks of the commercial association and the fees for the herdsmen watching over private and stanitsa horse herds.

The general host capital was for the internal organization of the host and therefore its outflow was designated for the regulation maintenance of the host administrations, the construction of buildings for these offices, the establishment of new stanitsy and the improvement of existing ones, the construction of churches and the maintenance of schools, the establishment of communal horse farms, the building of étape houses for prisoner convoys, aid for cossacks newly settled on the line, and relief for those devastated by fire, flood, raids, cattle plague, and so on.

Military capital was especially designated for military requirements and therefore had to meet the expenses of: maintaining the guard cordon on the line, if the local chief authorities decided it was necessary to provide one and if this guard did not exceed five regiments; providing detachments for administrative sultans of the Kirgiz; establishing signal towers and forward posts; the initial costs of host weapons that were according to approved patterns; the onetime issue of uniforms for cossacks lacking them; and aid for noncommissioned officers and cossacks who lacked equipment for service.

The pension capital was designated exclusively for pensions for wounded men and the widows and orphans of these men as well as of those killed or who died of wounds up to the time of the 1826 war.

Host personnel were prescribed pay from the treasury: for those members of the cordon guard who in special circumstances were assigned to cordon service in excess of three regiments—the same pay as the rest of the line guard; pay, remount costs, provisions, and forage when going out on field service further than 100 versts [66 miles] from assembly points, and at all times for serving members of horse-artillery batteries. In addition, the host was required for one time only to issue musket and pistol ammunition, enough for the full strength of each regiment. Also, each year 1800 pounds of powder and lead were to be issued to replenish the ammunition used while guarding the line and while on steppe expeditions, and for musketry training one pound of powder and two ounces of lead for each cossack present in the regiments. From the host’s funds, though, it was required to provide pay, provisions, and oats for the cordon guard on the line, while hay would be from the reserves prepared by the guard on the line itself. And regiments and commands that were specially assigned at times when no feed was available underfoot were to be provided with provisions and forage, but this issue was to be made up by an equal collection from all stanitsy. Detachments accompanying administrative sultans, when located more than 100 versts [66 miles] from the line, were to be provided with oats for riding mounts and pack horses. Within 30 versts [20 miles] of the line, hay was to be issued from cordon reserves, and beyond 30 versts money was to be issued for it according to set prices.

Although there was a decree that regulations written for the Don Host were to be also observed in the Orenburg Host in so far as they were applicable, it turned out that the suitability of these rules was not evaluated when the polozhenie for the Orenburg Cossack Host was drafted, and so the adoption of this or that rule depended on the personal views of the local chief authorities, the changing on whom was often accompanied by a change in opinions on what was suitable. Consequently, the host was in an uncertain state without firmly established principles for directing local administration, which could only be harmful to the course of affairs in the host. However, this uncertainty was almost exclusively related to obligations and the economic sector.

In many respects the given regulations improved the host’s situation, expecially on the financial side, and with the forming of regimental offices in 1841 and their opening for business at the end of that year, a deputation was sent from the host to the Emperor. Consisting of Colonel Padurov, Voiskovye Starshiny [Cossack Majors] Nagashev and Korin, and six persons representing serving and reserve lower ranks and cossacks of the commercial association, it conveyed to the Sovereign the most respectful gratitude for showing favor to the host. The whole deputation was granted decorations, which for the reserve cossacks and those of the commercial association were gold medals to be worn around the neck. In the same year the host was granted ten standards for the same number of regiments, “but not like those of regular troops, but in the style of fanons [v rode khorugvyi].”

The organization established by the polozhenie of 12 December, 1840 remained without change until 1865, and all measures taken during this period of time for the host’s general welfare had their basis in principles established by the polozhenie. These measures concerned various aspects of host organizations and so it is possible to divide them into groups. Those relating to the host’s military organization included the following. In 1841 a regulation was confirmed concerning the host’s horse-artillery brigade, by which details of battery organization were established along with their equipment, service duties, and maintenance costs. According to this regulation each of the host’s three batteries was to have a double complement of personnel, with each man being freed from duty for two years after having completed one year of active service, so that continuously only two batteries were in service. But along with this the men in the batteries were required to have their own uniforms, weapons, and riding horses. Later, this way of carrying out service was changed so that the personnel of each complement were to serve for two years and be freed from duty for four. Although it kept the cossacks away from home for a longer time, this arrangement offered the advantage that the cossacks were free from service longer, and along with this there were fewer musters into service, it being known that the expenses involved with these musters were never insignificant. The uniforms and arms issued to lower ranks from the treasury under the previous arrangement of 15 years of continuous service were stipulated to be given to those cossacks in the batteries who most needed assistance. The batteries could be used for service on the territory’s frontier line as well as on other borders within the empire. In extraordinary circumstances the host was required to put all the batteries into service, but such a situation never occurred during this period. Pay for the batteries’ personnel was fixed as in the Don Host, on the treasury’s account, while maintenance costs for weapons, transport, harness, and other items were out of the host funds of the Orenburg Host, and remount money for draft and transport horses was out of the revenues of the Ural Host. However, in this same year of 1841 this last expense was withdrawn from the Ural Host and charged to the Orenburg Host. Batteries were supposed to be maintained at full strength, but in 1848 there was a Highest Order according to which they were brought to a peacetime establishment, including the maintenance schedule. And in 1849 the inspection of cossack batteries was assigned to the Chief of Artillery of the Separate Orenburg Corps.

In 1858 the brigade school established in 1834 was reorganized, since with the increase in the number of batteries and changes in the service requirements, it too required changes and an increase in the number of students, this being fixed at 31 persons. Along with this, it was laid down that in peacetime promotion to noncommissioned officer rank would only be for those cossacks who had served in the batteries with distinction and without reproach for eight years, and through their experience as well as their irreproachable conduct served as an example for their comrades. In addition, starting in 1853 one company-grade officer, two noncommissioned officers, and twenty cossacks were sent each year to the Model Battalion [obraztsovyi divizion] for practical training in artillery service and further familiarization with it.

As stated above, with the increase in host population the polozhenie of 12 December, 1840 required the commander-in-chief of the territory to submit a proposal for increasing the number of regiments. In the 12 December, 1840 polozhenie the host’s male population was counted at 62,620 souls, while in 1854 it had already grown to 91,780. Therefore, in response to a proposal by General-Adjutant Graf Perovskii, in that year the military strength of the host was increased by the establishment of six foot battalions. But of these, it was ordered to only form three battalions initially, with the remaining three battalions to be formed when the first three were brought to a suitable level of organization. And in 1855 the host’s overall military strength was also increased with the addition of two horse regiments and a distribution of the host stanitsy among twelve regimental regions instead of the previous ten. Formation of the battalions was undertaken in 1855, when all six battalions were granted plain standards of the pattern for regular troops. However, the allocation of the host into twelve regimental regions, with the opening of two new regimental administrative offices, only took place on 1 January, 1858. For the two additional horse regiments the host was granted the same standards as received by the previous ten back in 1856.

The cossack foot battalions were primarily intended for maintaining the garrisons of steppe fortifications but could be assigned to duties in other places at the discretion of the head of the territory. The strength of each battalion was fixed at 1104 men, of whom 1082 were lower ranks. The personnel of each battalion were to spend two years on service and four years on leave at home. They were to have their own uniforms, but muskets were ordered to be issued from the artillery department upon the battalions’ formation, at no cost based on the lower ranks’ authorized strength and with the musket being considered host property. With this, each battalion was supposed to receive 26 rifled muskets, or “shtutsera”, while the rest were to be new percussion infantry muskets with bayonets. When on service, personnel were to be paid out of the treasury, but it was prescribed that the battalions on leave were to muster each year for one month, and during these musters they were to be paid out of the host’s military capital. This was also the source for meeting expenses in procuring and maintaining supply transport for the battalions. However, for six years after their formation the month-long musters of the battalions on leave were dispensed with, as it was recognized as feasible to do without them just as there were no such musters for troops in the batteries. With the doing away of the month-long musters, in 1862 the positions for battalion and company commanders, as well as for junior field-grade officers in the battalions on leave, were abolished, since during the four years on leave the regular army officers occupying these positions would be paid by the host without providing any service to it. During the battalions’ initial formation, it was laid down that battalion and company commanders be assigned from the regular army infantry with the provision that later these positions might be filled by host officers when they acquired a basic knowledge of infantry drill and service. This last rule was carried out as already in a few years not only company commanders, but battalion commanders as well, were assigned from field and company-grade officers of the host.

When the cossack foot battalions were formed, three company-grade officers and several noncommissioned officers and cossacks were sent from them to the Model Regiment. And to develop standards of drill in the mounted units of the host, in 1843 an instructional sotnia [uchebnaya sotnia] was established, formed from young cossacks. At the end of their service in the sotnia, they were to instruct the cossacks in the stanitsy, but the sotnia mustered for the summer only, from May to October, so the young cossacks who were in the sotnia were not able to acquire a sure enough grasp of service standards to be able to be instructors in the stanitsy. Consequently the sotnia was not achieving the goal for which it had been established, so it was subsequently reorganized. Meanwhile in 1857, before the reorganization of the instructional sotnia, in response to a proposal by the head of the territory it was decided to detach four field-grade and ten company-grade officers from the regular cavalry to the Orenburg Host with the goal of developing formation drill in the host. Along with this it was directed that only volunteers be seconded and that their immediate commanders be responsible for the aptitude and service knowledge of the detached officers. Those who proved to be at variance with their certification were to be returned to their regiments at the expense of the regimental commanders. The most worthy of those seconded were then able to be presented to cossack regimental commanders. Based on this release, regular cavalry officers seconded to the Orenburg Host were assigned one to each regiment to assist regimental commanders in developing drill exercises for the cossacks. However, for various reasons these measures did not bring about the hoped-for results, and the entire tactical training of the stanitsa cossacks depended most of all, as before, on the knowledge and experience of the stanitsa commanders. In those places where they were not knowledgeable about military things, it was the innate quickwittedness of the cossacks that came to the rescue during the annual inspections of the stanitsy by the government ataman or the chief of staff. Gathered together a few days before the inspection, the cossacks acquired enough tactical drill so that the inspection went satisfactorily, especially with such undemanding requirements as there used to be. Understandably, what is easily acquired is also easy to forget if not reinforced in the student’s memory.

During this period the style of the uniform for the host’s mounted units was laid down, being kept up to the time of this writing with few changes. These included the 1855 replacement of the shako by the sheepskin papakhas and the sash [sharf] by a girdle [kushak] without tassels, a cloak [plashch] for officers in 1856, and campaign-pattern shoulder straps for chekmens and tunics in 1857. In that same year lower ranks had their pistols taken away, and to make up for this carbines were issued to noncommissioned officers, who previously did not have them.

Until the polozhenie of 12 December, 1840 all cossacks had to serve as long as they were fit and then were transferred directly to the reserve, but with the regulation that after serving 25 years, lower ranks would be assigned to 5 years of service within the host, in 1843 the personnel in this category were given special new uniforms and armament that were simpler and appropriate to their kinds of duties. With the changes in host uniforms and with the increased requirement that they be kept up and according to regulations, especially in regard to weapons, the host authorities turned their attention to this subject and in 1842, in order to help the cossacks achieve uniform dress and armament, 30,000 silver roubles were set aside in the host capital to form a special fund designated exclusively to procuring cloth and various weapons: muskets, pistols, and shashka swords. And when there was an opportunity to do so, weapons were distributed at no cost, as when the Ufa Cossack Regiment was issued with arms that had been given to the host by Highest Authority in 1845. Also, each year a sum was earmarked in the military capital for aiding poor lower ranks entering service; such aid amounted to as much as 600 roubles annually.

But in 1858, to lessen the expense of aiding the poor and to provide them with the means of maintaining their families, permission was obtained to hire substitutes for service and rotate periods of duty. This measure made it possible for prosperous lower ranks who did not have grown sons in the family to hire a replacement to serve in their place and in this way prevent the neglect of the farm which would have been left without management. At the same time it also helped the poor since the person hired, especially for distant or prolonged service, received a payment which he would have been unable to get if hired as a laborer and which was often equal to a worker’s salary for two years and sometimes more. But in order that being hired as a substitute would not become an industry or lead to thriftlessness, it was ordered that a hired substitute’s properties be carefully watched, and if it was noted that they did not apply the money received to the maintenance and improvement of their farms and these did not improve, then it was mandatory that such lower ranks be forbidden to hire out. Thus, all was done that could be done with host resources to help lower ranks have the means to equip themselves for service.

Together with this, measures were taken to make it easier for host personnel to carry out service obligations in general. Thus, in 1846 supplies were improved for the detachments accompanying administrative sultans. In 1848 lower ranks detached to steppe fortifications were prescribed a half portion of the subsistence and maintenance allotment, i.e. 10 roubles 72 1/2 kopecks each year. In 1852 it was ordered that full maintenance allotments be provided to the detachments in Kazan and Perm provinces. In 1856 lower ranks of the cordon guard were prescribed one rouble each year for preparing hay for the cordon reserves, and in 1860 the regulation, dating from 1768, by which cossacks carried out line service within 60 miles of their homes without any kind of compensation, was abolished, since this was especially burdensome as most assignments were within 60 miles of home.

In regard to providing for officers, the only thing done before 1860 was in 1845 when increased pay was authorized for those assigned to the detachments accompanying administrative sultans. Later, when steppe fortifications were being built, this same pay was received by those assigned there. In all other assignments officers received the previous pay, and only in 1850 was detached service outside the host boundaries compensated with grants–a year’s pay for two-year assignments and a half year’s pay for a year’s assignment. In 1860 payments of increased salaries and the issue of grants were abolished, and in place of this it was decided to pay host field and company-grade officers salaries according to the 1841 tables for army light cavalry, and officers of horse-artillery batteries according to the 1841 table for field horse artillery. Along with this it was laid down that additions to salary, instead of being provided by the treasury as previously, were to be drawn from host funds.

Until 1841 the host’s officer corps was mainly provided from the children of host gentry and simple cossacks and who had been educated in stanitsa schools or similar establishments and deserved officer rank. Only a small number of officers had finished a course at district schools, secondary institutions, or the Neplyuev School established in Orenburg in 1824 and later renamed the Neplyuev Cadet Corps. In order to provide host gentry with more opportunities to educate their children and to make it possible to fill, if only in part, the officer corps with those who had graduated from military educational institutions, in 1841 the host leadership obtained authorization for ten places for the host in the cadet corps of the capital cities of St. Petersburg and Moscow. Vacancies were later reserved for the host in the Poltava, Orel, and Polotsk cadet corps, and also in the Michael Artillery School. With host officials being provided the means to educate their children, in 1858 examinations were established for promoting cossack noncommissioned officers [uryadniki] to officer rank. Although the requirements of these programs were not great, many were not able to pass the necessary examinations because of the lack of educational institutions in the host, the distance of many of the stanitsy from cities, and the insufficient means of the majority of host nobility. Therefore, in 1860 a school for officers’ children, with places for 30 students, was established at the Host Headquarters, the curriculum of which corresponded to the requirements of the programs mentioned above. The school for officers’ children continued in existence up to the time of this writing and contributed its part to improving the host, providing as a source of officers young people who were sufficiently prepared that, if they wished, they could continue their development without any particular difficulties.

Although the pay of officials in the host administrations increased as a result of higher prices for all basic necessities, these raises in salary were limited in size and were put into effect after significant delays when compared with corresponding provincial administrations. Subsequent to the official tables of 12 December, 1840, there were only two such raises: one in 1846, when it was decided to issue quarters allowances to personnel occupying official positions in the host administrations, except for representatives [zasedateli] and secretaries of the regimental administrations; and another in 1862 when pay was increased throughout the host administrations for all official personnel except regional forestry inspectors. Along with this the personnel tables of 1840 were augmented with additional officials as the host population had significantly increased since that time with a consequent increase in administrative work, which the host administrations with their previous number of government servants were unable to handle. And because of administrative delays, especially in the economic sections, the host’s affairs suffered as well as those of cossacks whose requests to start various enterprises were not granted for a year or longer. This deficiency in business was eliminated as a result of the augmentation of authorized personnel strength in the administrations.

The regulation strength of 12 December, 1840 did not authorize either a surveyor or an architect, but in the meantime there came under host management large areas of land which were to be divided into newly established settlements which needed rental documents to be drawn up. Also under the direct management of host authorities were all host and communal structures and they were required to see that all construction in the stanitsy was in order. The incovenience of such a situation was alleviated since the host had topographers and draftsmen who even before the polozhenie of 12 December, 1840 had been taught by the headquarters staff of the Separate Orenburg Corps. Clearly, however, the incovenience was only partially alleviated since the host did not possess specialists in these areas who would have been able to manage the work of the topographers and draftsmen and ensure their performance by being responsible for omissions and defects in the course of work. At the instigation of the host authorities, therefore, in 1854 the position of host surveyor [voiskovoi zemlemer] was established in the Host Administration and in 1855 that of host architect [voiskovoi arkhitektor], under both of whom charts and plans were prepared. The establishment of the position of host architect made it possible to manage the proper construction of communal and host buildings and also to build host settlements according to the 1851 guidelines for constructing stanitsy, posts, and farmsteads in cossack hosts. From this time on the construction of buildings in the host progressed more correctly and successfully so that the number of churches alone, of which there were 37 in 1841, increased to 89 in 1865, including 41 built of stone. And the host holdings acquired a capital gain in the form of the buildings for the host administration in Orenburg, construction being completed in 1862.

But of greater importance was the establishment of the position of host surveyor with the drafting work carried on under his control. With this establishment there was undertaken a temporary division of the lands of the recently constructed settlements in the New-Line region that had been added to the host, these settlements not having defined land grants. Work was also undertaken on delimiting 30-desyatina [80-acre] portions on the lands of those settlements which although they possessed surveyed land grants, did not have the lands apportioned in accordance with what was laid down by regulation, since there were stanitsy which had 50 or even 100 desyatinas [140 or 275 acres] per soul, and yet there were also stanitsy which did not have the regulation apportionment. By the end of 1862 30-desyatina apportionments were set up for all settlements in the New-Line and Iletsk regions, as well as in regimental regions 12, 11, 9, 8, and part of 6, by which 1,777,619 acres were formed into rent-producing holdings [obrochnyya stati].

Additionally, at this time an instrumented survey of host lands was carried out and some 165,000 acres of host pine forest were charted. The completion of this work evened out the sizes of land allotments for a large number of host stanitsy and as much as possible made them equal in economic worth. It also made it possible for the host authorities to distribute host rental lands in a more orderly fashion, having greatly increased their acreage. As pine forests were mapped and separated from the stanitsa grants, it became possible for the host authorities to take them under direct management with the establishment of a forest guard from officials in the internal service. It is true that a guard service for host forests had been established as long ago as 1850, but with the forest borders being undefined, it was impossible to satisfactorily protect and conserve them. Thus, delimiting the forests gave them better protection on the one hand and on the other made it possible to help the inhabitants by providing them with forest timber as well as by their receiving income from it. And the organization of new land assignments for income purposes had been insufficient in comparison with expenses, which had especially increased in 1862 with the establishment of the host administrations’ new organization and the creation of the commission to demarcate host lands. The kind of significant influence the equalizing of stanitsy in regard to their land resources had on improving the stanitsa economies can be seen from the stanitsy communal funds which totaled 20,067 roubles 39 1/4 kopecks in 1841 and even in 1855 were such that only 2729 roubles 62 kopecks could be used to maintain stanitsa administrations in that year. But by 1865 the funds rose to 180,624 roubles and with few exceptions all stanitsa administrations were maintained out of these sums.

In addition to these measures taken for the well-being of host inhabitants, there were others, among which the following deserve special attention. In 1842 the host authorities, in order to give the host inhabitants a new branch of industry, procured for them the right to prospect for and excavate gold deposits within the borders of the Orenburg Host. The host authorities continued to send cossack youths to arms factories as well as to St. Petersburg and Kazan for training. Those who were sent there studied those trades which were most beneficial for host inhabitants as well as for the government servants, facilitating the proper outfitting for service, namely tailoring, saddlery and harness making, and metal working. The Cossack Commercial Association had been established with the goal of making it easier for host inhabitants to obtain necessities and market agricultural products. But although the membership of the Association was increased to 600 in 1858, it did not serve so much to develop commerce in the host as to increase the income to the host’s military capital, since a great many prosperous cossacks joined the Association not for business, but only to be exempt from being ordered to service, and so commerce within the host was concentrated in the hands of only a few persons.

Obviously, the absence of competition from outside the host could not serve to lower the prices of merchants in the stanitsy, so in 1860, at the instigation of host authorities, regulations were passed for fairs and markets in the host, and right afterward in 1861 nonresidents were permitted to conduct trade in any kind of merchandise within the borders of the host, with the payment to the host of a small excise. Yet even earlier, in 1855, the host authorities had established another measure in this same spirit. Similar to their being barred from trade within the host, nonresidents had been prohibited from building and maintaining various industrial enterprises, including flour mills. This prohibition presented the same disadvantages to inhabitants as did the barring of nonresidents from trade, so it was removed.

The polozhenie of 12 December, 1840 obligated the host to carry out the local government duties connected with permanent settlements separately from the other social classes in the province. A large part of the post roads in the former Orenburg Province passed through host lands but at the same time the host population was several times smaller than the rest of the province’s population. Thus the maintenance of post stations and roads laid a heavy burden on the members of the host. To provide relief to the host in this regard, in 1845 and 1846 the provision of postal couriers in the districts of Chelyabinsk, Troitsk, and Orenburg, as well as the construction in host lands along postal routes of station houses, bridges, log roads, dams, and crossings were all made the joint responsibility of host and province inhabitants. However, the maintenance of postal stations from the settlement of Nezhinsk to Alabuzhsk, a distance of 650 miles, remained the sole responsiblity of host inhabitants, as well as responsiblity for providing labor for roadwork.

Like other communities throughout the country, the host stanitsy suffered every year from fires, for the extinguishing of which the stanitsy had no fire-fighting equipment at all until 1850. And although from that time on host authorities directed that such equipment be prescribed for stanitsy and charged to their communal funds, in many stanitsy communal resources were insufficient so that the majority of host settlements had no fire-fighting engines and suffered from fires as before. Although the sum of 1000 roubles, later increased to 1500, was designated from the host capital to aid victims of fire, this sum was small in comparison with the losses suffered by inhabitants due to conflagrations. Therefore the host authorities put together rules for mandatory mutual insurance of buildings in the host, which were confirmed in 1857 on a 6-year trial basis. By these regulations, all host inhabitants, except for nobility and cossack gentry, were strictly obligated to insure their buildings in the host for sums from 10 to 300 roubles, paying a premium into a fire fund of 1 kopeck per rouble annually, along with which structures were not to be insured for more than two-thirds of their worth. At the end of six years these rules were changed so that premiums were set at 1 1/2 kopecks per rouble, with this rate being permitted to be changed with the approval of the head of the territory. This change was made because the received premiums proved to be insufficient for reimbursements for burned-down buildings, such that in 1863 there was expended a significant part of the original fire fund created by transferring 37,500 roubles from the communal host capital when the insurance was introduced. At the time that insurance was introduced, many inhabitants strove to insure their buildings for less worth, so as to pay smaller premiums. But soon they became convinced of the benefits of insurance and therefore structures were insured for more and more value. In the first three years after insurance was introduced, 31,485 houses and individual buildings were insured for a sum of 1,155,077 roubles, i.e. for an average worth of about 36 roubles 70 kopecks. However, in the succeeding three years 43,276 homes and buildings were insured for a total of 2,316,313 roubles, i.e. an average of 53 roubles 50 kopecks for each house and individual building. From the beginning of mandatory insurance in the host to the year 1872 compensations paid from the fire capital to fire victims totalled 303,468 roubles, compared to the over 282,468 roubles which would have been given to them as aid under the previous system. These figures speak for themselves. At the same time, with the growth of communal funds in the stanitsy, the host leadership found they were able to invite stanitsa communities to subscribe for more fire-fighting engines. In response to the offer, the stanitsy expressed a wish to subscribe for 65 fire engines, which were ordered from the Nevyanskii Factory through the merchants Podvintsev and Bulmasov and delivered to the stanitsy in 1864 and 1865.

It was mentioned above how in 1832 a host horse farm was established and that stallions and mares were obtained for it in Saratov Province, the Ural Host, the Don region, and the Caucasus, but breeding animals were mostly from Great Russian stud farms. In 1848 the military governor at that time, General of Infantry Obruchev, found that the unsatisfactory condition of the horses made it necessary to reorganize the host horse farm in accordance with the climate and local requirements, and that it was more useful to adopt a system of covering stables [sluchainyya konyushni] as needed. Therefore a proposal was put together for a host horse-breeding area [voiskovoi konnyi razsadnik] and covering stables, which was approved in June of 1850 as a 5-year experiment with the intent that during this period of time experience would show whether it was appropriate to maintain the horse farm on the adopted basis or to change it or even abolish it completely. This proposal was put into effect from 1851, and of 828 horses 6 stallions and 40 mares were left on the farm and 40 stallions placed in covering stables, while part of the rest were sold to cossacks at modest prices and part were distributed at no cost. Since a main road went by the horse-breeding area and the horses of the host herds were excited by the horse being driven by, in 1852 the breeding area and stables were relocated to the Verkhneuralskaya Stanitsa’s land grant. With the reorganization of the horse farm, covering points were opened each year at various places in the host. But since it was apparent that this reorganization also did not give the wanted result, in 1859 the host authorities not only judged the continued existence of the horse-breeding area and covering stables to be useless, but also found the very idea of creating a horse farm to be unsuccessful when it was next to the Kirgiz people who were rich in sturdy, strong horses used to the harsh climate and all kinds of deprivations, and which in addition were available at cheaper prices. Because of all this, in January of 1861 the horse-breeding area and covering stables were abolished at the instigation of the commander-in-chief of the territory, General-Adjutant Katenin.

No less unsuccessful was another measure taken to improve and increase horse breeding by the host’s inhabitants: the creation, starting in 1840, of horse-breeding herds in the stanitsy along the guidelines established for the Don Host. At first stallions from the host horse farm were provided for these herds, but these stallions were from the small number which each year were offered for sale because of defficiences or defects, and so they would sooner degrade the horse stock that improve it. In 1851 the host leadership issued instructions that the inhabitants of each stanitsa be divided into three classes [razryady] according to general acknowledgements: first - the rich; second - those of middle standing; and third - the poor. In each class fellowships [tovarishchestva] of twelve persons were to be formed. Each fellowship of the first class would have its own mares and one stallion; those of the second class were to have their own mares and receive aid in obtaining stallions; the fellowships of the third class were to receive aid to obtain both mares and stallions. It was proposed that the aid be in the form of a monetary loan, at moderate interest rates, from communal and host funds with repayment by installments over several years, with each fellowship mutually guaranteeing repayment of the loan with the money that would be received through the sale of offspring. The division of the population into classes was done then, and in many stanitsy money was allocated from communal funds for second-class inhabitants to buy stallions, but the purchases did not occur since the sum allotted for acquiring each stallion was too small in relation to those qualities which the sought-after stallions were supposed to have. With this the proposd reorganization of the herds at the stanitsy was also ended; although they continued in being, and no further measures of any kind were taken to improve horse stock. Later a directive was issued for each station to obtain stud bulls to improve the cattle stock, but this order also remained unfulfilled and soon no attention was paid to it, either on the part of those who issued it or the side of those who were supposed to carry it out.

As related above, in 1835 communal sowing was introduced in order to ensure food supplies for the population, but in 1859 it was discontinued since community grain reserves had reached such proportions that further replenishment of these reserves was judged as obtainable by the collection of grain for bread according to the regulations set up for the Don Host. The yearly grain contribution was set at 46 pounds where reserves had not yet been filled, and at 25 pounds from each person obligated to sow where the reserve had reached 560 pounds per person. Communal tillage was beneficial in that in addition to allowing supplies to be accumulated sooner, the grain capital, which when the sowing was introduced consisted of 83,404 paper roubles or 23,829 roubles 71 1/2 kopecks in silver, was already 199,299 roubles 64 1/2 kopecks in silver when such sowing was ended.

But until latterly there was a subject which drew the least attention of all although it deserved it most—public health in the host. From the reorganization of the host until 1837 there were not only no doctors, but also no medical orderlies, and their appearance in that year was really due to chance circumstances. As already stated, in 1835 the four settled line battalions were disbanded and their lower ranks entered into cossack status. In 1837 they were placed under the direction of host authorities along with the three infirmaries [lazarety] of those battalions, located in the Kizilskaya, Nikolaevskaya, and Naslednitskaya stanitsy. The doctors and medics of the disbanded battalions were to be transferred to other places, but the transfer of the infirmaries to host management led to a request that physicians and medics be assigned to the host, so that on 3 July, 1837 four doctors and six medical orderlies of the disbanded battalions were left in the host. The doctors were placed in the city of Orenburg and the Kizilskaya, Naslednitskaya, and Nikolaevskaya stanitsy. The first two were each assigned a single medic and the last two were each assigned two. But by the polozhenie of 12 December, 1840 covering the Orenburg Host, it was laid down tht the host medical establishment would only have four doctors, and there were not extra doctors assigned to the three infirmaries that had been transferred to the host. Therefore the infirmary at the Kizilskaya Stanitsa was disbanded, but in 1843 permission was obtained to have two doctors assigned to the infirmaries of the Nikolaevskaya and Naslednitskaya stanitsy. However, these infirmaries were subsequently also closed down. Thus, until 1852 most of the regimental regions had no doctor, and when sick themselves, host inhabitants could only either resort to the medics who had trained at the medical orderlies’ school [feldsherskaya shkola] which had been established in 1841 in the city of Orenburg and which each year took in cossack youths, or travel to town hospitals and infirmaries for treatment. However, the orderlies received medicines for treating only a few of the more mild illnesses, and for the majority of stanitsy the towns were too far away. Therefore, it can be said that the host population, especially women and children, were left completely helpless during illnesses. Although in 1850 a position was established for a local doctor [mestnyi vrach] for the 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, and 12th regimental regions, because of the large size of the region placed under his care, this doctor could not provide any substantial benefit to the stanitsy sick, especially with the constant traveling at the behest of police authorities to perform autopsies on dead bodies. The medical component of the host remained in this uneviable, to say the least, situation until the end of 1864, when positions were created for ten host district doctors [voiskovye uchastkovye vrachi]. The establishment of positions for district doctors eliminated the most significant deficiency of the host administration, and in regard to medical care, host members were placed in a better situation than the other classes in the province.

Although since the Orenburg Host was presented with the polozhenie of 12 December, 1840 the host population continued to grow (in addition to natural increase) by the inclusion of people of various social classes, these additions were by single families, and only twice were more significant groups added. In 1843 the Stavropol Kalmyk Host was incorporated, and in 1855 four villages of state and appanage peasants, settled on land grants of the Perevolotskaya Stanitsa, and 500 soldiers’ children who had been designated for the host by the polozhenie of 12 December, 1840. The Kalmyks of the Stavropol Host were settled exclusively in the New-Line region, for the reinforcement of whose population it was decided in 186 to resettle about 2400 men from the Iletsk region, from the stanitsy along the left bank of the Ural. They received exemptions from service and were issued timber for constructing homes, but there were still more who wished to resettle, so later resettlers were not given exemptions from service. In turn there were also movements out of the host, such as in 1848 when there were transfers to the steppe fortifications of Orenburgsk and Uralsk and Forts Karabutagsk and Novoaleksandrovsk, and also to Fort No. 1 when it was erected on the Syr-Darya River. But the most important movement out was in 1864 when 414 families were resettled in the Caucasus. 


Later Organization of the Host, with the Changes in its Administration by the Polozhenie of May 1865


In 1865, as in 1840, a radical change was again undertaken, but in the opposite direction. The host became part of the province, as before 1840, and in judicial and police matters was subordinate to general collegial government boards. This change was planned by the territorial commander-in-chief, General Adjutant Bezak, after he recognized that in order to eliminate the various deficiencies in the territory’s administration, it would be necessary to divide Orenburg Province in two: an Orenburg Province and an Ufa Province. On 5 May, 1865, the proposed polozhenie for dividing Orenburg Province in two receive Highest confirmation, and in August provincial government bureaus were opened in the city of Orenburg, while certain host administrative offices designated for elimination were closed. By this polozhenie the Orskaya Stanitsa was reclassed as a district town [uezdnyi gorod], and abolished were:the chancellery of the government ataman, the civil and executive bureaus of the host ataman, the medical administration, the prosecutor’s section, the officer for the construction section, the officials of the survey section and the draftsmen assigned to the host administration, and all regimental administrative offices. From the remaining two bureaus of the host administration and the comptroller’s and treasury sections was formed a host economic administrative office [voiskovoe khozyaistvennoe pravlenie] to manage all economic concerns of the host without exception and to control and audit host capital funds. Together with this it was decided that the sum of 60,000 roubles remaining uncommitted following the abolition of various host offices and positions would be used for the maintenance of the government boards in Orenburg and Ufa provinces. All fines and in general all sums which by law went into funds for welfare were to be used to form a special capital fund in Orenburg Province, along with which the management of communal charity affairs and funds was entrusted to the provincial administration until such an office could be organized on new foundations. Until the establishment of local institutions, affairs relating to local responsibilities were managed by the senior member of the host economic administration as part of the provincial administration, since the host had to carry out courier duties and provide road services on the same basis as other social classes. District doctors [uchastkovye vrachi] were placed at the disposal of the provincial authorities and administered their districts with the statutory powers of doctors for civilian districts [uezdnye vrachi]. All host inhabitants were subject to military courts only for crimes and transgressions connected with service and also for violations of service discipline and military responsibilities, even if these happened in domestic circumstances. For the settling of small lawsuits, legal actions, and offenses, stanitsa courts were instituted based on the regulations established for peasants’ district [volostnyi] courts by the polozhenie of 19 February, 1861.

In addition, it was permitted to settle persons of any social class on vacant host lands, provided that they paid rent to the host for using the lands. However, this proposal was not fulfilled since the appropriately sized holdings had not been distributed among the host stanitsy and it was not known how much land was available and where. An exception in this regard was only made for 509 master craftsmen of the former Iletsk salt works, who were given an additional section from the Iletsk region’s host lands, but this exception was done because such an appointment was specified in a statutory charter confirmed in 1864 by the Orenburg Province’s Board for Peasant Affairs. In return for this grant the host was to receive part of the payment specified by the statutory charter.

With the abolishment of regimental administrations the sphere of influence of the heads of the military regions [voennye okrugi] and the host economic administration was significantly expanded, since they were placed in direct contact with the stanitsa chiefs and administrations. Therefore it was recognized as necessary to first divide the host into three military regions, renamed sectors [otdely] in 1868, with an increase in the number of functionaries and their salaries. The plans outlined for this subject received Highest approval on 10 September, 1866 and 9 September, 1867. Along with this, approval was granted to the host leadership’s proposals to divide the host into 42 stanitsy instead of 68 (one of the 69 previously existing stanitsa administrations had been abolished in 1866), to increase the salaries of the functionaries in the stanitsa administrations, and to transfer the expense of the stanitsa administration employees’ pay to communal funds, with these placed under the independent management and control of the stanitsa communities. Placing these communal funds under the direct management of the communities resulted in these sums, which amounted to 190,047 roubles 96 kopecks in 1868, growing in four years to 250,000 roubles in 1872. Thus, during this last period the average annual increase was 15,000 roubles when previously this had been only 7000 roubles, even though until 1855 13,500 roubles used to be disbursed from the host capital and although since that time the amounts of money given out for the maintenance of the stanitsa administrations had gradually decreased, they still continued up to 1868.

Among other actions, it is appropriate to note the following since they are the most important:

a) Concerning the host’s military organization. In 1865 the horse-artillery batteries received the numbers 1, 2, and 3 and were converted to light establishments, while in 1869 they were given 4-pounder rifled guns. In order to lessen the burden of a cossack’s service and to provide him with the means to improve his domestic circumstances, in 1866 the mandatory term of service was set at 15 years of field duty and 7 years of internal duty. In 1869 the sending of host detachments to Perm and Kazan provinces was discontinued, while in 1871 the cordon guard along the Orenburg Line was concentrated at the three points of Orenburg, Orsk, and Troitsk, and limited to a total of 2 1/2 sotnias. In 1866 the sale of rifles to cossacks was fixed so that they were sold at two-thirds of their cost, charging the remaining third to host funds. But in 1872 a Highest Order was issued by which 21,967 quick-firing rifles were to begin to be delivered to the host in 1873. These weapons were considered host property with host funds and the state treasury each assuming half the expense. To enable lower ranks to maintain themselves on service, in 1866 it was decided to disburse subsistence money to lower ranks who were part of emergency detachments to the steppe fortifications and Turkestan Region. In 1868 rules were established for providing forage on a group [artelnyi] basis for cossack horses in the Turkestan Military Region, and in 1870 these supply rules were adopted for the cossacks’ own horses in horse-artillery batteries in that region. In 1869 it was decided to issue money for procuring forage for pack horses. To provide for officers on service it was decided in 1867 to disburse without charge semiannual payments from the host capital for those on detached duty to the steppe. In 1869 per diem amounts were fixed for musters and travel outside the host’s borders, and also in 1871 for carrying out guard duties outside the host. In 1870 it was decided to pay combatant officers on active service according to the salary tables for army cavalry as laid down on 17 April, 1859, and in 1871 this was extended to officers serving in the host’s internal administration. In 1867 a polozhenie was drafted covering the military organization of the host, service periods for combat units, and the means of manning them. According to this polozhenie the host’s total military strength was fixed at 27,000 lower ranks, including officials on internal service. The host had to maintain in readiness a horse-artillery brigade of three batteries with two full cadres of lower ranks, nine foot battalions, and fifteen horse regiments. However, the officer cadre was not set according to the full strength for these units, but less. Of the host’s units as listed, two batteries, three battalions, and five horse regiments were always to be on duty. Units were to be relieved every 2 1/2 years, but cossacks were permitted to serve through five years at once. Losses in military strength were filled with young men who had reached the age of 19, chosen by lot. Those who were not picked to serve were enrolled as host civilians and obliged to annually contribute four roubles to the host and 56 3/4 kopecks to community funds. Additionally they were to carry out local responsibilities both provincial and for the government. As a means of providing a technical and military education for yunkera [cavalry sub-ensigns], volunteers, and noncommissioned officers of noble origin or whose fathers had been field-grade officers, in 1867 a cadet school [yunkerskoe uchilishche] was opened in the city of Orenburg, in which in 1869 there were 61 vacancies reserved for the Orenburg Host. With the establishment of the cadet school, only noncommissioned officers who finished the course in this school or passed an examination there could be promoted to officer rank. Also, in order to raise the level of military training among officers, those noncommissioned officers serving in the civil administration were, upon serving the regulation amount of time, promoted to civil ranks [klassnye chini], and only those who had served at least three years in the line units of the host could be promoted to field-grade officer rank. In order to develop military training in the host itself, in 1871 an instructional sotnia [uchebnaya sotnia] was established, with its personnel undergoing a training period that was changed, based on new principles derived from experience, to three years in 1867 [sic - M.C.]. Along with this, a regulation was issued concerning the training of newly placed and service-exempt cossacks at the stanitsy. For these personnel instructor positions were set up, filled by lower ranks at the stanitsa and by those responsible for officers’ training. Monthly musters were held for newly placed men and those who were to set off on field service, and there were competitions in target shooting and riding for those who wished to participate, with prizes being distributed to the best of them.

b) Other organizations in the host. By the polozhenie of 12 December, 1840 a survey commission [mezhevaya kommisiya] was to be set up to determine the host boundaries and partition useful lands for stanitsy and the cossack aristocracy. A draft regulation on this subject was confirmed only on 21 October, 1862, and in 1863 the survey commission established by this regulation began operating. But in 1867, at the instigation of host authorities who wished for more efficient courses of action and a decrease in expenses, this commission was dissolved and in its place was established a special survey section [mezhevoe otdelenie] in the Host Economic Administration [Voiskovoe Khozaistvennoe Pravlenie]. With this the organization of survey work was changed as well as the directions for dividing up stanitsa lands. It was also decided to carry out the continuation of the trigonometric sectioning within the host, which was then finished in the year this book was written. Changing the organization of work and continuing trigonometric sectioning resulted in surveys being conducted more efficiently, and at the same time it became possible to produce border charts and special plans on a more accurate basis. In 1869 the Survey Section was strengthened by the additional authorization of a senior surveyor and two survey assisants specially intended for carrying out the work of the economic department, since with the closing in 1865 of the special drafting shop in the Host Economic Administration, there was no one to perform the Administration’s survey work. In this same year, too, the comptroler’s section in the Host Economic Administration was abolished and the auditing and accounting of financial records was transferred to the Orenburg Comptroller’s Office [Orenburgskaya Kontrolnaya Palata], which gained increased resources by the disbursement to the Office of the funds which had been given to the Comptroler’s Section. In 1868 the ban was lifted on ethnic non-Russians acquiring houses and other structures within the host borders. With this, natives who would own homes or other buildings in the host were to give an annual payment for the places they occupied, the amount of which was confirmed in 1870 as not being the same for different areas, but rather varying in accordance with the settlements’ developed level of commerce and industry. In 1869 Highest confirmation was given to a proposal of the State Council [Gosudarstvennyi Sovet] by which host officers and nobles were freed from the obligatory term of service and allowed to leave the host and enter service outside their own hosts without being dropped from host rolls. It was also permitted for host inhabitants to leave the host under some circumstances. In this same year a regulation was confirmed in regard to the organization of stanitsa lands, and in 1870 rules were laid down concerning community administration in cossack hosts and the Cossack Commercial Association was abolished. It was also decided: that trade in the host would be conducted based on commercial and business licensing statutes; that cossacks, except those on active service, could enroll in guilds with or without leaving the host; and that serving or retired personnel could, for a period of ten years from the time this regulation was issued, engage in petty trade within the host borders without obtaining permission or paying for a license. Besides all this, in 1868 the host authorities obtained a decision allowing them to exchange land between the host and the town of Verkhneuralsk. This effort was made because when pasture land was surveyed for Verkhneuralsk town, it was given the garden plots of Verkhneuralskaya Stanitsa as well as its pasturage. Therefore the cossacks of Verkhneuralskaya Stanitsa, living on town land, were obliged to make the statutory contributions to the treasury to this town’s benefit. But when combined with the responsibility of other service obligations this was a heavy burden and placed them in an unique situation compared with other stanitsy in the host.

In the following year of 1869 Sakmarskaya Stanitsa, near Orenburg, was transferred from the Ural Host to the Orenburg Host.


Territory of the Host 

It has already been mentioned above that at first cossacks lived in Samara, Ufa, Chelyaba, and later in Alekseevsk, where sufficient lands were given to them. In exactly the same way cossacks were given land for their settlements on the Samara, Orenburg, and Ufa lines, and later on the Iletsk and New lines. When settlements were established along the lines in the eighteenth century they were occupied by garrisons along with the cossacks. The garrisons consisted of infantry soldiers and dragoons who were also responsible for growing grain, and thus the cossacks utilized the land along with the garrisons, but the actual owners were considered to be the cossacks.

Land was distributed in different areas according to orders from the commander-in-chief of the region based on general directions from Highest Authority regarding settlement of the lines. With this the distribution of land depended on the location and was not only unequal in regard to the area allotted but also each tract was not necessarily defined according to the same standards. Thus, along the Orenburg and Ufa lines, land grants on the Ural and Ui rivers where they ran along the border with the Kirgiz Steppe were traced back inside the line from 5 to 15 miles, and on the course of the line itself from 11 to 23 miles and more. That is to say, the tracts were measured only on three sides and the assignment of the fourth border behind the line was an exception, as for example at Krasnogorskaya Stanitsa which had land beyond the Ural River, this being apparent from the act drawn up on the orders of Orenburg Governor Reinsdorp which concerned the division of lands between cossacks and retired soldiers. But on the Samara Line and in the other interior stanitsy allotments were measured on all sides, each side being from 7 to 13 miles long, and Nagaiskaya Stanitsa had a tract 22 miles in circumference. Thus the land grants of some stanitsy encompassed more than 550,000 acres, as for example Chelyabinskaya Stanitsa.

However, with the consolidation of Russian government power in the territory, state peasants began to be settled on lands assigned to cossacks, sometimes together with cossacks and sometimes as separate settlements, and in this way the districts [volosti] of state peasants were formed: Kundravinskaya, Verkhneuralskaya, and Nizhneuralskaya. At first, with the excess lands held by the cossacks, no special attention was given to these settlements. Later, though, the government offices began to not only divide up land for peasants without considering if it belonged to cossacks, but also to draw up quitrent statutes which would leave them with only 15 desyatinas [40 acres] per soul. This put the cossacks in such straits that the military governor, Prince Volkonskii, intervened with the higher authorities to divide cossacks lands along the Orenburg and Uisk lines within a strip at least 15 miles wide, while in other places 30 desyatinas [80 acres] was to be allotted for each soul. The Governing Senate recognized that Prince Volkonskii’s proposal deserved attention and in 1818 it issued a directive to allot land to cossacks in accordance with the mentioned proposal. A commission was established in Orenburg to carry out this directive and in 1828 it drew up instructions for distributing land to cossacks of the Orenburg Host. However, these plans remained unfulfilled due to the Highest Order of 1835 which required that cossacks of the Orenburg Host live along the line, while the polozhenie issued to the Orenburg Host on 12 December, 1840 gave it an unbroken territory and so altered the situation that the deliberations of the commission lost any meaning. At the time this book was written, the Orenburg Host possessed the lands between latitude 50 degrees 54 minutes and 55 degrees 50 minutes north and longitude 25 degrees 4 minutes and 34 degrees 55 minutes east (Pulkov meridian). The northernmost part of the host’s territory was near the southern border of Perm Province on the left bank of the Miyas River west of the town of Alabuzhskii; the easternmost part was on the western border of Tobolsk Province east of the small Alabuzhskii [sic - M.C.] settlement; the southernmost part was along the Ilek River near Burannaya Stanitsa; and the westernmost part was along the Ural River on the border of the Ural Host, a little to the west of Razsypnaya Stanitsa. The area of the host’s land may be divided into two parts: the northeast and the southwest. Of these the first lay on the southeastern side of the crest of the Urals, and the second bent around this crest on its southern end, stretching to the west to the limits of the Ural Host. The northeastern part included about six-sevenths of the host’s total lands, with the southwestern part containing the rest. Of these parts the first had the appearance of an irregular triangle into which from the north and east towards Troitsk there intruded a corner of the lands belonging to the Bashkirs and state peasants of Chelyabinsk District, so that the host land from Troitsk to the Siberian frontier was a long, gradually narrowing strip. The second, southwestern part from Orsk to Orenburg was a narrow strip that widened somewhat in its second half, but beyond Orenburg it was rectangular, being from 44 to 88 miles in length and breadth. The host was bordered by the lands belonging to the Ural Host, state and appanage peasants, Bashkirs, the Miyassk Works, and Kirgiz. The lands of these last were intermixed with those of the host along its entire southeastern border from the Ural Host to the Siberian Host. The area belonging to the host occupied 33,384 square miles according to previous calculations but 37,800 by the latest. This last figure must not be taken as absolutely correct, however, since the northern part of the host territory should have been diminished by about 360 square miles which belonged to other departments and persons. The host territory’s greatest distance from west to east was 578 miles, while the greatest stretch perpendicular to this was some 170 miles and the smallest only 5 miles.

The terrain of the Orenburg Host’s lands was an elevated plain without forest except in the north and east, irrigated by a large number of small rivers and in some places cut by rather deep ravines. In this raised and rolling plain five ridge lines stood out: the first ran through the Ileksk region from east to west with a branch to the northwest and was the watershed for the streams which watered this region; the second, a little to the northwest of Orenburg, went from north to west and formed a watershed for tributaries of the Ural and Samara; the third ridge line, a little to the west of Orsk, began with the Guberlinsk Mountains and stretched toward Orenburg, forming a watershed for tributaries of the Ural and Samara Rivers; the fourth, in the host’s northern region, ran from west to east and was a watershed of the Miyas and Ui; and the fifth ridge line passed through the middle of the New-Line region and was a watershed for tributaries of the Ural, Tobol, and Ui (which also flowed into the Tobol).

In general the host’s lands were fertile, but in the Iletsk region along the Ilek River the soil was sandy and in places saline, and was more suited for grazing livestock. In the New-Line region between the Kvarkenskaya and Novoorskaya stanitsy, the ground was stony and suitable only for grazing livestock, while in the northeast part of the region the soil was clayey with a thin layer of black earth and therefore in many places unsuitable for farming. And north of Troitsk to the east the soil in many places was clayey and alkaline, fit only for grazing herds. The entire southwest part of the host’s lands and the southern half of the New-Line region were almost treeless. North from Kvarkenskaya Stanitsa sparse woods began and around Velikopetrovskaya Stanitsa there was the Dzhabyk Karagai Forest, the largest within the host’s borders. Then to the north and east the woods occurred in patches again, in places forming pine forests, of which the most significant were the Sanarsk, Karagaisk, Verkhneuvelsk, Koelsk, and Chebarkulsk. Only the northern part of the host, around the town of Chelyaba, was there a low-lying woody region with a significant number of lakes, the largest in size being noted as the Smolinsk, Sugoyak, Duvankul, Chebarkul, Sarykul, and Kurlady.

Of the rivers which watered the host the most important was the Ural, which flowed for 763 miles within host boundaries. Of its tributaries the largest were: on the right bank - the Bolshoi Kizil, Malyi Kizil, and Tanalyk streams and the Sakmara River; on the left bank, the streams were the Urlyada, Gumbeika, Suvunduk, and Kumak, then the Or River and the streams known as the Donguz and Chernaya, and finally the Ilek River. Next most important was the Tobol River which flowed within host boundaries only starting from Ustuiskaya Stanitsa. Its left-bank tributary streams were the Bersu-Ayat, Karagaily-Ayat, and Toguzak, as well as the Ui River. The Miyas River also flowed through host territory for only a small distance, passing through the tracts of the Chelyabinskaya and Miyasskaya stanitsy.

The geology of the host territory had not been investigated in detail so its riches were undetermined, but it was known that there was gold, iron, choromate ore, and china clay in the northern region. In the New-Line region there was gold, chromate ore, and an iron ore that was among the richest and most easibly obtainable. Around Orenburg there was copper ore, alabaster, and quarry stone which had been used for various buildings in Orenburg since its very founding. There was also coal near the Kichiginskaya and Naslednitskaya stanitsy, but investigating these areas had not produced positive results.


Host Finances and their Allocation

 When the Samara, Ufa, and Ilek cossacks joined together to form the Orenburg Host in 1748, it had no host funds of any kind, and according to the establishment table of 1755 the salary of the ataman, as well as of his host major [yesaul] and clerk who made up the Host Chancellery [Voiskovaya izba, or kantsellyariya] which administered host affairs, came from the treasury and the income of Orenburg Province.

This situation continued until the 1803 reorganization which established a host chacellery reckoned to require 3150 paper roubles for its upkeep. Of this, 600 roubles for the host ataman’s pay were disbursed from the treasury, while 2550 roubles were budgeted for the host’s account. However, since there were no host funds this expense was met by establishing a monetary collection from the cossack gentry and commoners and their children. The collection of money was apportioned based on the number of resident persons and its size varied in different years, but it generally was not less than 8 kopecks per soul nor higher than 14. Since the collection was made in accordance with the projected expenditure, there was no reserve capital; all the money collected during the year was spent, and if by chance there was something left over, then this was applied to the next apportionment. Thus there was no host capital until 1835 when by Highest Authority 150,000 paper roubles were disbursed to the host in return for existing and yet to be discovered precious stones and metals under host territory. Only from the time of that disbursement did a general host fund begin to be formed, and its growth was all the more rapid since expenditures on host administration, as indicated above, were very small. It was only in 1837, when the administrative establishment was made similar to that of the Ural Host, that expenses increased to 32,000 paper roubles annually. In addition, in 1835 other sources of income were established, namely from mills, commercial fishermen, and the setting aside of a tenth part of community funds, with the per capita apportionment meanwhile being collected until 1838. By 1840 the total of the various incomes to the general host capital was 174,144 roubles 11 kopecks in paper assignats or 146,898 roubles 31 kopecks in silver.

With the issuance of the 12 December, 1840 polozhenie for the Orenburg Host the situation of the general host capital changed for the worse since the income for this capital fund remained almost the same as before, i.e. it consisted of interest from the capital, the sum disbursed in exchange for precious metals and minerals, and income from community land holdings and host lands which might be left over after distribution to the stanitsy and satisfying other host demands. However, since the host lands remained unsurveyed this last source was so little that together with the other sources (for example, mills) it produced only about 2000 roubles for 1843. And in the meantime, the setting aside of a tenth part of the income of communal stanitsa funds was stopped since 1841. However, even if this appropriation was abolished, there was then established a setting aside of part of that portion of the stanitsa funds’ income which was received for letting Kirgiz livestock pass through to the interior for winter grazing (the so-called tebenevka). Meanwhile the host expenses for maintaining the host administration increased almost sevenfold, amounting to 62,000 silver roubles in addition to various other expenditures. Combined with these, the total outlay for 1844 was calculated to be 84,624 roubles 44 1/2 kopecks at the same time as income, except for interest on capital, was 52,857 roubles 14 1/4 kopecks. Thus a deficit was foreseen of 31,767 roubles 30 1/4 kopecks. To avoid such a critical financial situation for the host, at the proposal of the military governor certain expenditures were abolished until the host’s resources improved, and some expenses were shifted to local levy [zemskii sbor] and the military capital. The reduction in expense to the general host capital was 19,270 roubles 77 kopecks, but there then was a shortfall of 12,496 roubles 53 kopecks. To meet this it was ordered to apply the interest from the untouched capital, savings, and new sources placed at the host’s disposal. These new sources included various fines and penalties, deductions for promotion in rank, duties for attestations of mandatory obligations in the regimental administrations, an excise on arriving merchants, and the sum of 1344 roubles 36 kopecks disbursed to the former Stavropol Kalmyk Host for pay, seed grain, pensions, welfare aid, and in exchange for the liquor lease; but all these combined, even over the course of twelve years to 1855, brought an income barely over three thousand roubles (3092 roubles 6 kopecks).

In 1845, therefore, Highest Authority ordered that 24,000 roubles be issued from the capital that had previously been disbursed for the maintenance of the Ufa Cossack Regiment so that the host’s resources might be improved. Such a significant addition to host income, along with an increase in income from rental sources, the sale of timber, and the passage of Kirgiz livestock to the interior for the tebenevka, as well as the single payment from the sale of a forest tract to the Miyassk Works, so improved the host’s financial condition that every year there was a surplus and by 1856 the general host capital had grown to 480,000 roubles, with 106,811 roubles being taken in and 97,063 roubles expended. But since 1858 this favorable condition of host finances began to get worse again as host expenses grew consequent to instructions that 13,000 roubles be disbursed from host sums to maintain the administration for Irregular Forces and the governor-general’s chancellery (and to provide funds for the latter’s disposal), as well as because expenses were increasing to meet other host obligations, adding up to a proposed expenditure in 1859 of 118,000 roubles, not to mention unforeseen outlays which were up to 10,000 roubles each year. Therefore, in view of expected new and significant expenses, in 1860 the commander-in-chief of the territory petitioned for an annual grant of 51,000 roubles, obtainable from the tax collections from Tyapters and landless peasants which went to the Bashkir capital fund. This aid again improved the host budget, which in 1862 was calculated to be 171,575 roubles 20 kopecks in income; 120,294 roubles 89 1/4 kopecks in outlays, and 51,280 roubles left over. But with the 1862 changes in the host administrative establishment and with the creation of a survey commission, host income for 1865 was 177,839 roubles 8 3/4 kopecks while expenses were 189,577 roubles 49 3/4 kopecks, which meant the reappearance in the host budget of a deficit of 11,738 roubles 41 kopecks. This was in spite of new income sources from shops, fees for using government weights in the more economically advanced stanitsy, and the surveying of leased tracts comprising many surplus stanitsa lands, these sources providing double their 1855 income.

Here it would not be inappropriate to note that the host authorities were concerned about increasing the host capital even to the detriment of the interests of the host population. Thus, for example, in 1852 the then governor-general of Orenburg and Samara, General-Adjutant Graf Perovskii, directed that in dividing the stanitsy into 30-desyatina [80-acre] portions, officers would be given temporary sections on a lifetime basis, but this directive was not carried out until 1863, presumably with a view to not decreasing the amount of acreage in rental tracts and preventing these officers’ sections from presenting a more attractive rival to rental land. In this regard this short period of time during which the host budget was in a favorable situation did not fail to have an effect on the host capital, which by 1863 consisted of 625,540 roubls 54 3/4 kopecks, and to this in that same year was merged the supply fund which with accrued interest amounted to 203,411 roubles 64 1/2 kopecks.

The reorganization of the host administration in 1865, as related above, occasioned the formation of a third district duty office and an increase in personnel for the Host Economic Administration, the Host Duty Office, and the two existing district duty offices, along with an increase in salaries for those serving in all these. All this resulted in a constant host budget deficit from 1867 through the time of this writing, in spite of continuous increases in host income and the host leaders having purchased, with the permission of Higher Authority, 502,950 roubles in redeemable bonds for 404,957 roubles 27 kopecks, which gave an annual return in capital interest of almost 5000 roubles. The continuous deficits made it necessary to resort to the capital itself to meet expenses, so that it decreased from previously and at the time of this writing was 648,104 roubles 55 3/4 kopecks. As one of the causes of the unsatisfactory state of the general host capital it must be pointed out that although the host received a treasury grant of 75,000 roubles, this was significantly less than the money allotted to other hosts for the liquor trade rights alone. And this was in spite of the fact that since 1841 the host was deprived of the opportunity of obtaining profit from more than eight thousand square miles of host land on which the Kirgiz wandered without any payment, and in addition the host received no income for lands under prospect for gold because minsunderstandings arising in 1858 about which lands had to be paid for by gold miners were still not settled.

The host capital was only established in 1841 with the granting to the host of the 1840 polozhenie, but its basis was laid down somewhat earlier in 1837 when the lower ranks of the four disbanded line battalions were transferred to the host and along with them the host took over the sums allotted for pay and provisions for these personnel. For the first item 18,525 roubles 48 kopecks in silver were allotted and for the second - 25,583 roubles 94 kopecks. By 1840 some was still left over: from the money for salaries there were 156,610 roubles 86 kopecks in assignats and 13,135 roubles 60 kopecks in silver. Besides this, in 1840 there was an economic capital for the line in the amount of 953 roubles 84 1/2 kopecks in silver, and from the Cossack Commercial Association and herdsmen there was an income of 10,328 roubles 57 kopecks. Thus the total sum going into the host capital in accordance with the polozhenie of 12 December, 1840, in that year was 69,163 roubles 87 1/2 kopecks, making it twice as large as the military capital at that time. However, from the very first the military capital was in the better situation since by the polozhenie of 12 December, 1840 this capital was assigned 10,571 roubles 42 kopecks disbursed for the maintenance of the Orenburg Permanent Regiment, 20,597 roubles 33 kopecks for the upkeep of Bashkirs and Meshcheryaks assigned to summer duty, and some other funds. So already by 1842 the military capital consisted of 95,016 roubles 57 kopecks, and in 1843 when the budget for the general host capital was in the most unfavorable situation, the budget for the military capital showed a surplus of 12,440 roubles from an income of 98,132 roubles 87 kopecks with expenses of 85,692 roubles 56 kopecks. Although in twelve years, by 1856, expenditures grew to 142,057 roubles 68 kopecks, at the same time income increased since the military capital’s yearly surpluses were growing so much that in spite of the uncompensated disbursement in 1855 of 3000 roubles to the treasury for the construction of the Syr-Darya Line, from accretion through interest it received over 36,000 roubles. And the payments by cossack merchants more than doubled, so that the total sum of incomes received reached 150,538 roubles 99 kopecks and the consequent surplus was about 8500 silver roubles. In general the budget of the military capital always showed a surplus amounting to 30,000 roubles a year. If at times there was a deficit, it was only under exceptional circumstances when the host was required to either significantly increase the cordon guard on the line or reinforce service detachments in other places. But since such occasions were infrequent, and the growth in the military capital through surpluses as well as 36,973 roubles 54 kopecks from the purchase of redemption certificates went so swiftly, it consisted at the time of this writing of 1,338,68 roubles 5 1/2 kopecks in silver. Still, the military capital’s growth would have been even greater if it had not been made responsible since 1851 for maintaining postal stations from the Nezhinsk settlement to the Alabuzhsk settlement. If this expense had not been charged to the military capital, an amount which over all this time came to more than 508,000 roubles, then this capital would not have been placed in the unfavorable situation in which it was the year this was written, a result of increases in the expenses for maintaining the Instructional Sotnia, monthly musters, and in general improving the military part of the host.

The pension capital acquired its foundation earlier than the general host or military capitals since its base was laid down in 1832 through the disbursement from the treasury of 3000 assignat roubles annually. By 1840 this capital, after yearly outlays, consisted of 2208 roubles 14 3/4 kopecks. By the polozhenie of 12 December, 1840, 2857 roubles 14 1/4 kopecks were directed to be transferred from the general host capital to increase the funds of this capital, but in 1843 this disbursement was assigned to the military capital. Disbursements from the pension capital were made with such painstaking care that in some years the entire annual income was untouched and in other years for the most part the disbursements amounted to only 40 to 200 roubles. Thus the growth of this capital went much more swiftly than the others, so that at the time of this writing it consisted of 167,956 roubles, i.e. it increased 76 times since its beginnings in 1840.

Thus, at the time of this writing the Orenburg Host’s capital funds consisted of: a) the general host capital of 649,711 roubles 34 3/4 kopecks; b) the military capital of 1,338,658 roubles 5 1/2 kopecks; and c) the pension capital of 167,956 roubles. Additionally there belonged to the host funds: a capital of 14,392 roubles 13 1/2 kopecks; a fire capital of 7028 roubles 51 3/4 kopecks, this last being owed 17,541 roubles 45 1/2 kopecks in arrears but in turn having a debt of 20,000 roubles borrowed in 1872 from the military capital to settle claims by fire victims. The income of the general and military capitals for 1873 was calculated to be 358,437 roubles 12 1/4 kopecks with an expenditure of 437,684 roubles 95 kopecks, there being a deficit of 79,247 roubles 82 3/4 kopecks.


The Material Condition of the Host Inhabitants.

When the Orenburg Host was formed, the cossack population and those persons enrolled as cossacks through the measures taken by Governor Prince Urusov and Host Ataman Mogutov were in an economic sense not in an enviable situation. This is also shown by the order of the military governor, Graf Essen, by which it was directed that each family had to sow wheat on at least two desyatinas [5 1/2 acres], i.e. about 720 pounds. For any earlier time than 1841 there were no items in the host archives containing statistical information about the cossacks’ economic state, and therefore nothing can be said about its situation or development. But from information after 1841 it is seen that by that time the cultivation of cereals, the main item of cossack productivity, significantly increased so that by that year the quantity of grain sown by each family had grown to 1980 pounds, and of various kinds of livestock the family averages were 4 horses, 4 1/2 cattle, and 10 head of sheep. Although since then demands had significantly increased in regard to uniforms, weapons, and service equipment in general, nevertheless the cossacks were better off materially, and by the time of this writing each family had 2160 pounds of grain sown, 5 horses, 4 cattle, and 12 head of sheep. And this was in spite of the economic status of the cossacks having suffered after the complete harvest failure of grain and hay in 1864 and the loss to the cossacks of 17,138 head of large livestock and 92,760 smaller animals just during the first half of the winter of 1864-65.

On the other hand, developments in trade and industry in the host showed marked success not only as compared to 1841, when there were only two brickworks in the host, but also to 1864 when there were already 83 manufacturing establishments, the production value of which reached 90,875 roubles. This is because now almost the same number of works (85) produced 129,011 roubles, i.e. 38,136 roubles more, and business transactions, which totalled 2,164,839 roubles in 1864, increased to 4,991,173 roubles—more than double. Along with expansion in trade, industry, and farming, even lesser rural production improved, so that at the 1862 international exhibition in London, the Orenburg Cossack Host was awarded two medals inscribed “Honoris causa” by the decision of the international commission of judges, one “for its collection of flax, hemp, madder, and other agricultural products,” and the other “for the interesting and instructive collection of excellently baked breads”. In addition, the down quilt sent to this exhibition and the work of Orenburg Cossack women earned them another medal and certificate. At the 1872 polytechnic exhibition in Moscow, the Orenburg Host won a first-place award for its collection of cereals.


Educational Resources in the Host and their Development

When the Orenburg Cossack Host was formed it had no schools and literacy was so uncommon that in 1754, of 1340 serving cossacks, cossack gentry, and atamans in the Isetsk Province there was not one who could read and write. Consequently they were assigned an ataman, cossack cornet [khorunzhii], and clerk from the Orenburg cossacks, among whom literacy was more common since near Orenburg there were settled cossacks from the towns of Samara and Ufa, and among the transferred settlers were persons from aristocratic families and foreigners. In general, reading and writing were learned on a haphazard basis, and there were no schools in the host until 1819 when, according to a Highest Directive transmitted by the duty general of His Imperial Majesty’s Headquarters to the commander of the Separate Orenburg Corps, schools were established in the following stanitsy: Miyasskaya, Yetkulskaya, Yemanzhelinskaya, Chebarkulskaya, Koelskaya, Uiskaya, Bakalinskaya, Yeldyatskaya, Tabynskaya, Tatishchevaya, Samarskaya, Alekseevskaya, Krasnosamarskaya, Borskaya, Totskaya, Sorochinskaya, and Olyshanskaya, and at the Orenburg Cossack Regiment in the suburbs which later became Orenburgskaya Stanitsa. In 1831, 6 more schools were added to these 18, opening in Nikolskaya, Tanalytskaya, Verkhneuralskaya, Sanarskaya, Kochergukskaya, and Burannaya stanitsy. And by 1838 the number of schools had grown to 30 with 913 pupils.

In that year Major General Shchutskii, commanding the host at that time, drafted administrative rules for the schools. The rules stipulated that teachers were to be from the cossack estate and only if this was not possible would hiring be used, and then only after an examination by host authorities as to knowledge and moral character. Hired teachers were to receive salary according to contract, the money being collected from the well-off inhabitants of the entire stanitsa with the poor being exempt, but teachers from the cossack social class were required to teach for free since for them this was counted as active service. However, people were allowed to voluntarily pay this teacher, but the amount could not exceed 3 paper roubles a year from each family, and then only the well-off ones. Subjects taught included reading, writing, arithmetic, and God’s law. In this regard teachers were to “instruct the students so they acquire facility and firm knowledge in all they are taught, with a solid explanation of each subject, with patience and mildness, condescending especially to the very young, since inappropriate severity can drive out the pupil’s aptitude for study while kindness and tenderness together with a rational and firm spirit will put enthusiasm into students.”

Teachers were also required to teach students gymnastics, drill, and fencing with sabers and lances so as to prepare them to be members of the military, since the schools were to be the nurseries for the most worthy in these subjects, providing the future body of officers and noncommissioned officers. In time these schools did much good for the host and their students included field-grade officers who later served honorably in high posts in the host.

In 1841 the number of stanitsa schools was 31 with 1073 students. In 1848 schools were provided by every stanitsa administration so that their number rose to 69. At this time teachers were to receive salaries out of the host capital: 57 roubles 14 1/4 kopecks a year for a teacher in Orenburgskaya Stanitsa and 28 roubles 58 kopecks in other stanitsy. But from 1855 on the responsibility for schools was transferred to stanitsa funds. In 1862 salaries were increased for teachers in the Orenburgskaya Stanitsa school to 85 roubles 72 1/2 kopecks and for other schools to 42 roubles 8 51/2 kopecks. By 1865 there were 103 stantisa and troop schools with 2960 students and in addition 36 girls’ schools in which 615 girls and 86 young boys received instruction. In 1867 the fixed pay rate for teachers was done away with, and from 1868 an end was put to the aid grants from the host capital for the upkeep of administrations and schools in those stanitsy which had inadequate communal funds. But in spite of this and the increased salaries for all members of the stantisa administrations, which greatly increased stanitsa expenses, the number of schools continued to grow, so that by the end of 1871 there were 129 for boys with 3760 students and 50 for girls with 2241 students.

But especially striking was the increase in schools after the host authorities invited the inhabitants to open them where none had been previously. In less than a year the number of schools mushroomed to 300 for boys with 8769 students and 119 for girls with 2241 students. The increase in schools is attributable to the people’s awareness of the advantages of literacy and also in part to the host authorities’ demand that now every new cossack be literate, so that new cossacks who had not attended school were now learning. The recent increase in schools was all the more interesting since the salaries of men and women teachers were everywhere much greater than before and, in addition, school buildings were being built where before there had been none and existing ones rebuilt, so that they would provide the necessary environnent for learning and separate lodgings for teachers. All this required a significant payment on the part of the community, both as a one-time cost and as permanent expenses.

Among the schools established through the will of the inhabitants was a central school in that region of the 2nd Military Section which was almost exclusively settled by Nagaibak cossacks whose ancestors had been Moslems and who still followed the customs of their forefathers, preserving the Tatar language. This school was opened in 1871 with places for 60 pupils, with an extensive curriculum compared to other primary schools and a salary of 400 roubles for the instructor, who was invited from Kazan Province from the native people there and had been educated in a religious school. This school was founded so that the young generation passing through it could acquire the knowledge and way of life appropriate for a Christian and discard the ancestral ways which often were in opposition to a Christian society’s norms.

Besides general education, the schools generally had to be one of the chief means of preparing the male population for cossack service from their youngest age, developing in them the cleverness and nimbleness peculiar to cossacks. To achieve the first goal care was taken that host schools have teachers who were as capable as possible, and to this end in 1871 congresses of 75 men and women teachers met in Orenburg and Samarskaya Stanitsa. And since this experience gave satisfactory results, the next year a request was made to assign 3000 roubles each year from host funds for similar congresses in all three of the host’s military sections, and that summer 416 men and women teachers met together at six locations.

To achieve the second goal, during the free time after classroom studies the schools’ male students practiced cossack drill and the handling of sword and lance and their use in battle, and the older boys were familiarized with how to assemble and take apart the cossack rifle. In general everyone practiced physical training and accustomed themselves to discipline. The adoption of measures to improve the schools and the use of new instructional methods already introduced elsewhere gave the hope that with time these schools would be on a firm basis and bring real improvement to the host. But this was in the future since for meaningful benefits such an important matter required much time, effort, and resources.

Except for those schools mentioned above, until 1824 there were no instructional institutions of any kind to educate the children of the host aristocracy, and the host had no places reserved in institutions anywhere else. The children of cossack gentry were educated in the Neplyuev Military School [Neplyuevskoe voennoe uchilishche] after its founding in 1824 in the city of Orenburg, but the number of places was insufficient. There were only two in 1841 with seven more added in 1842. Therefore in 1841 ten places were petitioned for in cadet corps in the capitals, and subsequently the number of places in the Neplyuev School was increased, this school being at first renamed a cadet corps and then a military high school [gimnazia]. Additionally, in 18 ten places were reserved in the Kazan High School and for girls ten places were also obtained in 1849 in the Orenburg Girls School, later renamed the Orenburg Nicholas Institute. For the education of the children of the host aristocracy, in 1865 the host had the following places reserved: in the Construction School [stroitelnoe uchilishche] - 2; in the Orel Bakhtin and Polotsk Cadet Corps - 10; in the Neplyuev Cadet Corps - 30; and in the Kazan High School - 10. There were 52 places in all for boys for which 7730 roubles were designated. For girls there were 10 places in the Nicholas Institute supported by 1300 roubles. At the time this was written the host had: 72 reserved places for boys (of which 10 were for plain cossack children) and 18 for girls, for which 18,550 roubles were budgeted annually. These numbers did not include the specially designated places for those electing non-resident attendence at the Orenburg Civil High School and the Orenburg 1st Level Girls School. In addition, the host had 61 places in the Orenburg Junkers School for officer’s children, for which funds were disbursed from the host military capital, plus places at no cost in the Orenbug Military Junior High School [progimnazia].



The Host Population and Numbers on Active Service

At the time this was written the host population consisted of 252,936 persons of both sexes, being 124,532 males and 123,403 females. In the troop units themselves were 265 field and company-grade officers, 1857 noncommissioned officers, and 24,247 cossacks. Additionally, serving in the internal administration of the host and in other places were 45 field and company-grade officers, 217 noncommissioned officers, and 290 cossacks, all on the rolls of the mounted regiments. As armaments for the host’s troop units, they had: for mounted regiments - 15,600 .60 and .70 caliber rifles of which 2949 were of the infantry pattern, 285 pistols, 13,968 shashka swords, and 11,970 lances; for foot battalions - 2983 .60 caliber rifles, 78 .70 caliber Gartung “shtutser” rifles, 750 .70 caliber rifled muskets, and 291 smoothbore percussion muskets, totaling 6730 long firearms and 162 pistols; for the batteries - 1588 pistols and 1835 shashka swords. Shashkas, pistols, and lances belonged to the men, with some 4000 host personnel having only the first. Quick-firing rifles were supposed to be issued beginning in 1873, replacing the existing weapons.



Host Participation in Military Operations

With the end of Pugachev’s Rebellion the cossacks were engaged as before in guarding the line and pursuing Kirgiz bands whose daring at that time was so great that they not only penetrated across the Ural, but even across the Sakmara where they fell upon the peasants and took them captive. Thus it was, for example, in August of 1798 when a band of Kirgiz seized six prisoners from a village behind the Sakmara belonging to a landowner named Timashev. But on their return journey, the band met with a party of cossacks, of whom a Corporal Bezh-kruchinnov was the first among the Kirgiz and killed three of them. The rest resorted to flight, abandoning their captives. Similar episodes were not uncommon. Those who could not be recaptured as the Kirgiz returned through the line were sold in the Central Asian markets, mainly in Khiva. Captives, starving and without clothing, were exhausted by work, ending their lives under the blows of their masters, whom the Muslim religion freed from any obligation of humanity in regard to unbelievers (kafirs) and secular law from any responsihility for the life or death of a slave. Captives could almost never be ransomed since in Khiva death awaited anyone who agreed to sell a slave that he or she might return to their native land. Few would want to try to escape since for the first attempt the nose and ears were cut off and for the second—impalement on a stake.

Orenhurg cossacks took part in a foreign war for the first time in 1790 when during the war with Sweden an Orenburg cossack command numbering 150 men was with the active anmy. The personnel of this command, among other awards, received medals inscribed “For service, courage, and peace with Sweden, 1790”. At the end of the war this command was occupied in 1791 and 1792 with cordon duty on the border of Poland and Courland, and in January of 1793 it returned to the host with an attestation by its commander, Second-Major Mertvyi, that it had participated with distinction in various encounters with the enemy. In 1794 and 1795 detachments of Orenburg cossacks were sent into the steppe in pursuit of bands of hostile Kirgiz, and in 1804 and 1805 others were sent to Uralsk to help end the disorders which arose there in connection with the Meder plan to reorganize the Ural Host administration.

In 1807 the Orenburg Host formed Regiments 1 and 2 which under the command of cossack officers Major Lysov and Lieutenant Melnikov moved to Prussia for the war with France. In the first days of January of 1807 these regiments left the host and regardless of the winter weather already passed through the town of Serpukhov on 2 March and continued the march further to the Prussian border. At this time Colonel Ugletskii was named by Highest order to command the two regiments, and in the beginning of May he departed from Orenburg and at the end of June arrived at the regiments, crossing the border with them as part of the 18th Infantry Division. But shortly afterward in the middle of July peace was concluded with France and Ugletskii received a Highest order in the name of the Tsar directing him to the Army of Moldavia. In 1808 these regiments occupied cordons along the Dniester River and came under the control of the commander of the Poltava secruity forces [militsiya], Major-General Belukhi-Kokhanskii, and in 1809 they joined the active army and took part in the capture of Silistria, the battles in front of Shumla and Rushchutsk, the defeat of the Turks at the town of Batina, the occupation of Nikopol, the siege of Brailov, the occupation of Machin, Girsov, and Kyustendzhi, the capture of the Rezovat Fortress, the defeat of Seraskir, and other actions beyond the Danube against the Turks. For their part in these engagements many personnel received decorations and the Monarch’s gratitude.

With the conclusion of peace with Turkey the regiments remained on the Turkish border occupying cordons until 1819. Thus the men of these regiments who returned to the host in 1819 had spent almost twelve years on unrelieved service, those killed in battle or returned to the host with wounds or for other reasons being continuously replaced by the dispatch of new detachments from the host.

In 1812 Prince Kutuzov was named commander-in-chief of the active army against the French who had invaded the Empire and were approaching Moscow, and as he left the Army of Moldavia for his new assignment he took with him a convoy of Orenburg cossacks who acconpanied him for a good distance, changing their horses at every station since Prince Kutuzov, traveling by post coach, ordered the convoy to take only their saddles. Of the regiments, No. 1 accompanied the Danube army as it left Moldavia in August of 1812 and with it entered Volhynia Province and took part in the skirmish with Austrian and Saxon troops on 17 September at the village of Lyubomia and on the 18th in the occupation of that place. On 29 September they were at Brest-Litovsk, on 10, 11, and 12 November at Borisov in the battle with French forces, on the 15th at the village of Stakhovaya, on 22 and 23 November at Molodechno and its occupation, and then the regiment returned again to the Dniester to occupy cordons.

In 1812 two regiments were formed from the Orenburg Host under the leadership of the Host Ataman, Colonel Ugletskii: the Ataman Thousand with Major Avdeev as regimental commander and the No. 3 Five Hundred [No. 3 pyatisotennyi] with Major Belyakov commanding. When these regiments left the host the Ataman was sent to Prince Wittgenstein’s army while Major Belyakov’s went to Prince Kutozov’s. The regiments were united in the forces operating against the French in 1813, with the Ataman Regiment becoming part of the force assigned to besiege the fortress of Danzig, during which the officers received several decorations and promotions while the regiment’s lower ranks received fourteen Military Order decorations for distinction. With the surrender of Danzig in 1814 the Ataman Regiment returned to the motherland.

Major Belyakov’s No. 3 Regiment, which had joined the main army, took part in the great battle at Leipzig, the blockade of Glogau Fortress, the battles at Weimar and Hanau, and the pursuit of the French to Frankfurt and over the Rhine. Later they were in the battles of Chateaubriand and in front of Paris. Cossacks from this regiment were also in the flying columns of Generals Kaisarov, Seslavin, and Chernyshev, with whom they were in the advance on Berlin, and in addition to other decorations the men of this regiment received medals for the taking of Paris. Upon the end of the war Major Belyakov’s regiment returned to the territory of the Empire, having lost in battle half its complement. Having returned to the Empire the regiment spent three years occupying cordons first along the Neman River and next along the Vistula, afterwards being permitted to return to their native land.

Thus, when Russia was undergoing difficult times the Orenburg Cossack Host, in spite of the small size of its forces at that time, provided three thousand men for foreign wars alone and in addition had to assign two thousand men to guard the frontier on the Kirgiz Steppe. Here the rebel sultan Karatai Nuraliev with his followers from the Baiulin and Tabyn clans robbed peaceful Kirgiz and even threatened attacks on the line. Thus, for a stretch of several years after 1812 there were continuously on line duty or foreign service some five thousand men frome the host, i.e. almost one half of its strength. But in spite of this heavy burden the host readily performed its services and provided aid to those who could not afford their own equipment. So it was, for example, with Ataman Serebryakov of Nagaibatskaya Stanitsa who at his own expense uniformed and armed 53 men from the poorer cossacks when the regiments were being formed in 1812.

Upon the end of the 1812-1813-1814 war with the French, until 1828 one regiment from the host was continuously on the Turkish frontier maintaining the cordons on the Dniester River. During this same period, Orenburg cossacks were used for various missions in the territory besides that of protecting the line. Thus in 1820 a sotnia of Orenburg cossacks with two guns from the cossack artillery escorted the mission sent to Bukhara, returning in 1824. In 1821 a 52-man cossack detachment under the command of Major Toksanov, accompanied by a civilian government engineer, was sent into the steppe. During this expedition the command was attacked near Lake Azhabai by Kirgiz numbering about 700 men, who nonetheless were beaten off. In the meantime the expedition was joined by a similar command under Yesaul Pastukhov. However, the Kirgiz, gathering about 2000 men, then attacked again and were once more repulsed, losing 11 dead. In 1823 a detachment of cossacks was included in Colonel Miloradovich’s column sent into the Kirgiz steppe to escort mining engineers. In 1824 a cossack command was a part of the 500-man column ordered to protect a trade-goods caravan sent to Bukhara. A Khivan force of 8000 men fell upon this caravan near the Kyzyl-Kum sands, looted part of the goods, and kept the column under siege for thirteen days, after which it was forced to return to the line along with the caravan. In 1825-26, 400 Orenburg cossacks with four guns of the cossack artillery, under the command of Colonel Berg (later a baron and viceroy of the Kingdom of Poland), were part of an expedition to chart the region between the Caspian and Aral seas. The appearance of this column at Ust-Urt so alarmed the Khivan khan that the envoy Vais-Niaz appeared at the Saraichikovsk fort, accompanying an elephant sent as a gift for the Sovereign, but he was not allowed through to Petersburg. And in 1827 a column of 400 Orenburg cossacks was sent to the eastern shores of the Caspian Sea to punish pirates.

In the following year of 1828 Regiment No. 9 under Yesaul Padurov was dispatched to the Turkish frontier. In August of that year this regiment arrived at its designated location and for the whole course of the war with the Turks was part of the army acting under the command first of General-Field Marshal Graf Wittgenstein and then of General-Field Marshal Graf Dibich. The regiment took part in the following actions: 5 May at Eski-Arnaut Lar, 17 and 18 May at Kozludzhi, 20 May at Yanytepe, 25 May at Rovno, 28 May in a skirmish near Kozludzhi, and 29 and 30 May at the defeat of the Turkish army at Kulevichi. In all these battles the men of the regiment distinguished themselves by their courage, attracting the attention of the high command which after every battled demanded from the regimental commander, Yesaul Padurov, recommendations for awards for those who most distinguished themselves. And Major General Zhirov 1st, under whose higher command the regiment was at that time, wrote to Yesaul Padurov, attesting to the steady discipline in the regiment and the excellent bravery of its members and declaring his complete gratititude to the men of the regiment. He asked that they be informed that it would be very agreeable to him if he always had such subordinates.

Afterwards the regiment was at Shumla Fortress and took part in various actions and skirmishes with the Turks. Here on 18 July, 100 men of Khorunzhii Bobylev’s sotnia, along with 400 jägers, all under the senior quartermaster of the 3rd Corps, were sent into the Delionman Forest on a bad and narrow road. They entered the forest and destroyed sixteen villages where brigands were hiding and slaughtered some and scattered the others, along with seizing 201 head of large, horned cattle. On 27 July the two sotnias of Khorunzhii Gureev and Bobylev, sent to the hamlet of Chumlai with Major Genral Gorchakov’s column, defeated a party of Turks which they met and in pursuing them took several prisoners.

On 8 August a command of Orenburg cossacks, sent to occupy the roads on Shumla’s left flank, quickly took them over, stopping and taking prisoner mounted foragers operating with military escorts, about 100 men being captured. Turning them over to another command, they then fell upon more foragers moving in front of them, overtaking them near the enemy batteries and in spite of being fired on they took the greater part of the foragers captive. On 14 August a sotnia of Orenburg cossacks, having occupied the roads on Shumla’s right flank, intercepted foragers moving toward the fortress along with their covering force and took 90 prisoners. They then pursued the rest up to the batteries and returned with still more prisoners and without any loss to themselves.

On 29 August an Orenburg cossack command in Lieutenant General Madatov’s column fell on a unit of Turkish cavalry guarding some 200 wagon drivers with supplies moving toward Shumla. They drove off the drivers with the supplies and took several men of the escort prisoner. On 4 September this same command, in Major General Muravev’s column and on his orders, very efficiently found and eliminated brigands hiding in the forests. For their part in various actions against the Turks, the regiment’s officers received promotions to the next grade and for each an annual addition to their pay, this in addition to being awarded medals, while the lower ranks got five roubles each, Turkish War Medals, and several awards of the Military Order. In addition, for the regiment’s excellence and courage it was graciously granted a standard with the inscription “For Distinction in the Turkish War of 1829” [“Za otlichie v Turetskuyu voinu 1829 goda”].

With the conclusion of peace with Turkey the regiment spent 1830 and 1831 occupying cordons on the Turkish border, and in August of 1832 it was sent back to the motherland where it arrived in December of that same year. How much this regiment suffered during the war with Turkey may be judged by the fact that after leaving the host with a full 5-sotnia complement, by 1 January 1830 it consisted only of 364 men of all ranks.

In 1830, with the Polish revolt, Regiment No. 11 was dispatched to Poland under the command of Voiskovoi Starshina Nagashev. This regiment took part in various actions against the Polish insurgents, with the consequent losses in personnel made up by a transfer from Regiment No. 9 of 2 officers, 2 noncommissioned officers, and 79 cossacks. The members of this regiment, in addition to other medals, received several awards of the Military Order and all were granted the Polish badge for distinction.

With the end of the Polish revolt, the military activity of the Orenburg Host’s cossacks was again limited to the Kirgiz steppe, where disturbances were beginning due to the intrigues of Sultan Kenisara Kasimov and his father Kasim Albaev, and also because of incitement by Khivan emissaries who even penetrated as far as the Khobda River near the border of the Iletsk territory. When these emissaries and Khivan tribute collectors appeared on the Khobda River in 1836, a 2-sotnia column was sent from Iletskaya Zashchita under the commander of the Orenburg Permanent Regiment [Orenburgskii nepremennyi polk], Lieutenant Colonel Padurov. However, just the news of this column’s having set out in the steppe caused the Khivans to withdraw.

In the following years of 1837 and 1838 disturbances continued in the steppe, where besides Sultans Kasim and Kenisara there appeared Isetei Taimanov, a runaway from the Bukeev Horde inside the line, and longtime fugitives Kaip Galiev and Dzhulaman. Consequently, in 1838 three columns were sent into the steppe: one under the leadership of Lieutenant Colonel Padurov, another under the command of Colonel Geke, and a third commanded by Colonel Mansurov. The second and third columns contained Orenburg cossacks, among others. The second column fell on Isetei’s band where he was killed and his band destroyed. The third column on the upper Irgiz River was able to surround the village of the insurgent Dyurt-Kar clan and seized the most prominently named instigators, killing 80 Kirgiz and capturing much livestock. The actions of these columns forced Kaip-Galiev to retreat to Khiva and Kasim and Kenisara to Tashkent. Dzhulaman withdrew beyond the Emba River, setting fires [paly] behind himself so as to avoid being followed by Colonel Geke.

In early spring of 1839 (in March), a column of 1900 Orenburg cossacks and Bashkirs with two light guns was sent out into the steppe consequent to the receipt of intelligence that the Ablaev sultans, from the the Department of Siberia and relations of Kenisara, were wintering along the Turga River and that Kasim and Kenisara planned to go there also so as to maraud and carry out a raid on the line. The column found Ablaev with all his villages still in winter camp and took Ablaev himself prisoner along with thirteen other Kirgiz. Eighty Kirgiz were killed and much livestock driven off, but further pursuit proved to be impossible after the coming of spring and the rising of the rivers. On the return march to the line, heavy rains were followed by the return of frosts and snowstorms from which the columns suffered greatly, especially the horses.

In August of the same year another column of 300 Orenburg cossacks under Lieutenant Colonel Padurov was sent to punish Kirgiz of the Baiulin clan. This column, in spite of a constantly increasing speed of march, was not able to overtake the Baiulin, who had fled after discovering the expedition’s approach. Because the column’s main purpose—to frighten the horde—had been achieved, it returned to the line in September, having lost 73 horses from the forced marches and lack of fodder.

Before this, on 23 May, a smaller column was detached from Blagoslovenskii’s column, made up of two sotnias of Orenburg cossacks and 400 Bashkirs along with two 3-pounder unicorns, all under the command of Senior-Quartermaster Colonel Zhemchuzhnikov, with the missions of protecting peaceful Kirgiz from the marauding of Kenisara’s and Dzhulaman’s bands, covering transports sent out from Orenburg to supply dumps in the steppe, and preparing hay at Bish-Tamak for a possible expeditionary column to Khiva. Carrying out this assignment, Colonel Zhechuzhnikov was able to prepare as much as 12,000 pounds of hay. Then, at the end of July, he received the order to move to the Emba River to select a site for a fortified post. On 5 August, leaving 315 Bashkirs at Bish-Tamak and receiving in exchange 65 Orenburg and 50 Ural cossacks, he set off for the Emba River where at the mouth of the Ata-Yakshi River he built a fort and prepared 25,000 pounds of hay along the Emba. Upon Colonel Geke’s arrival on the Emba, Zhemchuzhnikov turned over the fortified position and hay that had been prepared and returned to the line on 20 September.

With the onset of autumn, Orenburg cossacks took part in General-Adjutant Perovskii’s winter campaign against Khiva which ended unhappily because of heavy frosts, deep snow, and constant blizzards which hindered the march of columns that included many camels for carrying the expedition’s heavy loads. Some 720 Orenburg cossacks with 8 officers took part in the Khivan expedition. Of these only 432 men returned from the expedition the following year.

In the years following the Khivan expedition troubles in the steppe did not stop since Kenisara continued to gather followers to himself who marauded in the Department of Siberia. In the meantime, Kenisara himself, taking advantage of the discord between the commanders-in-chief of Western Siberia and the Orenburg Territory, Prince Gorchakov and General-Adjutant Perovskii, managed to deceive the latter with false repentence for his previous activities, justifying them as his response to columns from the Department of Siberia which destroyed the villages of Kenisara’s kinfolk and followers. For this reason Perovskii requested amnesty not only for Kenisara but also for other members of his clan. In 1842 there again began blatant maraudings by Kenisara in the steppe not only in Siberia but also in the Orenburg Territory, convincing the authorities of the latter of Kenisara’s untrustworthiness.

Therefore, in June of 1843 a column of 304 Orenburg cossacks with a 3-pounder unicorn was dispatched under the command of Voiskovoi Starshina Lebedev. Lebedev was directed to coordinate with the movements of Siberian forces and in this regard he was given instructions from the military governor which constrained his actions. Several marches out from Orsk Fortress, the column met with some 1500 well-armed Kirgiz under the guidance of Kenisara who by his movement to the line wished to demonstrate his desire for peace and his readiness to submit to the orders of the Orenburg authorities. Lebedev retired with his column to Orsk Fortress, and Kenisara sent to the chairman of the border commission two new letters, full of declarations of his desire for peace and of complaints about his enemy’s slander and the wrongs inflicted upon him by certain clans of the horde. The Orenburg administration again believed Kenisara and wrote to Lebedev to desist from hostile actions against Kenisara, but immediately after this reports began to come to the Orenburg authorities of Kenisara’s breach of faith and finally that he had carried out a devastating raid on Kirgiz of the middle division of the horde.

In response to all this, in August several columns were sent into the steppe, including one under Voiskovoi Starshina Lebedev which after he fell sick passed to the command of Colonel Dunikovskii, an inexperienced man who was incapable and extremely self-assured. The columns pursued Kenisara until autumn without any effect, exhausting horses and being recalled to the line in October.

The next year another column was equipped, made up of 1600 cossacks who set off into the steppe in early spring under the command of Lebedev, meanwhile promoted to lieutenant colonel. Lebedev worked to have reliable information on Kenisara’s movements and activity and therefore recruited to himself agents among the Kirgiz who had been harmed by Kenisara and his followers and felt they had to revenge themselves upon him. These agents supplied Lebedev with more accurate information than that which falsely loyal Kirgiz provided for praise and money, so that Lebedev became familiar with the steppe and carefully studied Kenisara’s movements. Thus Lebedev acted very effectively against Kenisara and, guessing his intentions, often not only changed his direction of march against Kenisara’s villages, but also turned back to the encampment from which he had set off from that morning, whereupon more often than not he met with insurgents. Kenisara recognized Lieutenant Colonel Lebedev as a dangerous pursuer and therefore used all his efforts to try to elude him after giving up hope of destroying the column with a desperate attack and being, as a result of recent failures, in danger of losing that fear which he had inspired, since many Kirgiz were beginning to fall away under the influence of Lebedev’s skill and fairness.

In order to eliminate Lebedev, on 10 June thirty Kirgiz loyal to an elder named Baikadam attacked, at Kenisara’s instigation, two Kirgiz sent to the Nikolaevskaya fortification with the mail and seized the letters and one Kirgiz while the other fled to Lebedev. Immediately afterwards on 12 June, Baikadam himself drove off 250 horses from the Kirgiz of the Argyn clan, while on 13 June Kenisara struck the villages of stanitsa commander Tychkaibaev, killing a certain Altybashev and others, taking three men prisoner and capturing much livestock. In order to punish Baikadam, who had played the role of a Kirgiz loyal to the government, Lietenant Colonel Lebedev overtook and routed him, and seized all of Baikadam’s possessions as well as many prisoners and livestock. The goods and livestock were distributed to the Kirgiz who had suffered from the depredations of the insurgent bands, while the horses left over after this division were given to those cossacks who had lost the horses they had on hand.

After several days Lieutenant Colonel Lebedev determined to search out and punish Kenisara but was suddenly relieved of command of the column and recalled to Orenburg, where he was court-martialed for plundering the villages of the elder Baikadam, so helpful and devoted to the government. Command of the column was turned over to Colonel Dunikovskii who had been assigned to the host and who relieved all the agents who had been under Lieutenant Colonel Lebedev, then gathered the separate columns under his personal command, and from the sultans and high-ranking members of the horde who had been with Lebedev formed an advance guard which was to march a mile ahead of the column. While Colonel Dunikovskii was organizing the new arrangements, Kenisara’s depredations increased. Finally the column advanced, but slowly. On 20 July the column reached the Tobol heights where Colonel Dunkovski, after setting out the horde advance guard which he had formed, settled down for the night without sending out mounted patrols or setting up pickets. That night Kenisara attacked the advance guard, massacred them all except for twenty wounded survivors, and withdrew into the steppe. While Colonel Dunikovskii was preparing to pursue Kenisara, the latter was already far away and therefore after nine hours on the march following Kenisara’s trail the column completely lost any sign of him. Wanting to mitigate his failure by finally destroying the rebel, but not knowing where to find him, Colonel Dunikovskii veered in one direction and then another without result, getting further away from the line. Meanwhile Kenisara moved toward the line and on 14 August attacked the Yekaterinsk and Yelizavetinsk columns, burned them out, and took over 40 prisoners according to the official report but some 120 according to Kenisara’s own account. The entire new line was in jeopardy so Lieutenant Colonel Kovalevskii energeticly gathered his regiment and went out into the steppe to search for raiders, but Kenisara was already too far away so the regiment returned to the line without success. Not being able to either cut off Kenisara’s route back from the line or follow him, on 23 September Colonel Dunikovskii returned with the column to Orsk Fortress, having concluded his search with less success and less profit for the Russians than had any of the searches ended before.

The outbreak of war in 1844 with Bukhara against Kokand and Khiva prompted Kenisara to seek a peaceful settlement with the Russian government and he sent a letter to the border commission’s chairman in which he justified his pillaging and raids on the line by the policies of the Orenburg and especially the Siberian authorities, a consequence of which were the destruction of the villages of Kenisara’s brother as well as of his own at the time when, at the beginning of 1843, he was moving toward the Orenburg Line. Talks with Kenisara began again, for the conduct of which a kind of embassy was fitted out in 1845. But Kenisara clearly was laughing at the Orenburg administration and the embassy ran in circles without achieving anything.

Meanwhile Kenisara, joining with the elder Baikadam (on account of whose loyalty to the government Lieutenant Colonel Lebedev was put on trial), again began depredations. These actions of Baikadam convinced the Orenburg authorities of the guiltlessness of Lieutenant Colonel Lebedev. The charges against him were dropped and columns were sent out from which Kenisara retreated into the depths of the steppe towards the borders of Turkestan. The columns, in which were Orenburg cossacks with three unicorns of Battery No. 18, built the fortified posts of Orenburgsk and Uralsk on the Turgai and Irgiz rivers, which later became the cities of Turgai and Irgiz in the Turgai District.

In 1846 Kenisara left the Russian territories completely and went to the Dikokamennyi [“Wild Rock”] Kirgiz, whose patience he tried with his violence and where he was killed, ending the revolt of Kenisara which had caused so much trouble for the administrations of the Siberian and Orenburg departments.

During the time that Kenisara was disrupting the Kirgiz Steppe and even threatening behind the line, disturbances flared up in the territory itself. Their cause was that according to the polozhenie of 12 December, 1840 certain tracts of the Chelyabinsk and Troitsk districts were turned into cossack lands, the peasants of these tracts being given the choice either to remain where they were living and become cossacks, or to resettle on new lands in the Buzuluk District of Samara Province. Sources say that it had not been explained to the peasants that they had permission to resettle on new lands, that the civil governor, Talyzin, reported to the Orenburg military governor that the peasants were unanimous in their wish to acquire cossack status, and that General-Adjutant Perovskii reported this to the Sovereign Emperor. Meanwhile many of the peasants did not wish to take up cossack status so they turned to the military governor with petitions to be allowed to resettle outside the host. Naturally, after the report had been made it was inconvenient to go against it so the petitions were denied. This led to grumbling which grew into revolt, which was stopped without any particular trouble by mobilized detachments of cossacks and Bashkirs.

Much more serious than this were the disorders which arose in 1843 over the introduction of communal tillage in the Kamensk, Kurtamyshsk, Talovsk, Voskresensk, Chumlyaksk, Kislyansk, and Kocherdytsk state peasants’ tracts of the Chelyabinsk District. The peasants gathered in large masses of up to four thousand persons and committed various acts of violence against officials, priests, and peasants who would not take their side. In order to put down the disturbances in the shortest time regardless of other work, over four thousand cosscks who were liable for service were called up from the 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th Regimental Regions along with obligated members of Battery No. 18, with the guns drawn by horses taken from the stanitsy. The mobilized cossacks, under the leadership of State Ataman Major General Graf Tsukato, were joined by two guns from the garrison artillery and three companies of line infantry. These forces, under the ultimate command of the corps commander, General-of-Infantry Obruchev, halted the disturbances, for which all officers received the Monarch’s gratitude while the lower ranks were each awarded fifty kopecks.

The erection of fortifications in the Kirgiz Steppe, especially the Raimsk fortified position at the mouth of the Syr-Darya River, provoked unfriendly actions on the part of Khiva. In the spring of 1848 the Khivans appeared in the Kirgiz Steppe to the number of over two thousand men with the intention of attacking the supply trains which would be going to the steppe forts. Leaving their heavy items in the Mugodzarsk Hills, on 23 May the Khivans moved to Karakuga. In front of the supply trains went a surveying party of 176 men under the command of Ensign Yakovlev of the Corps of Topographers. Some six miles behind them was a transport train with supplies for the Uralsk fortified post, commanded by Voiskovoi Starshina Ivanov of the Orenburg Host and escorted by 250 men with 2 guns. About 35 miles from the Uralsk fort, near the Yaman-Kum sands, at 10 o’clock in the morning of 26 May groups of Khivans numbering about 600 men surrounded the surveying party which was on the march. The party hurriedly formed into a square, placing the camels and cossacks’ horses inside. They were thus able to survive seven attacks which were all beaten off, at the same time putting out grass fires which the Khivans had started in front of the wind. After the unsuccessful attacks, at 4 o’clock in the afternoon some commotion could be seen in the groups of Khivans and they turned and fled. To follow the fleeing Khivans Brevet Khorunzhii Zharikov was sent with 50 cossacks who overtook the tail end of the fugitives and killed ten, seizing nine argamak horses and two muskets.

At 11 o’clock in the morning of that same day, as the transport following Ensign Yakovlev arrived at a halt, a party of cossacks which had been setting out pickets detected a band of Khivans numbering 1500 who poured out of the ravines onto the cossacks, killing one noncommissioned officer and one cossack and taking six cossacks prisoner. Upon a signal arranged beforehand a light force was immediately formed of 3 company-grade officers, 5 noncommissioned officers, and 110 cossacks with a 6-pounder cannon. The Khivans, who saw the column being prepared, started to withdraw under cover, but the formed-up force, with Voiskovoi Starshina Ivanov himself, hurried after them. Crossing the Irgiz River about four miles from where the supply train was, at 1 o’clock in the afternoon the Khivans halted with the intention of attacking the column. However, cannister fire and an attack by the cossacks put the Khivans to flight. The pursuit continued until 8 o’clock in the evening for a distance of some 25 miles, and during the attack and pursuit over 150 men were killed, 4 were taken prisoner, and 58 argamak horses and 27 camels were seized without any loss on our side except for those incurred when the Khivans first attacked. This defeat was the cause for the hurried withdrawal of the Khivans attacking the surveying party.

In 1853 two sotnias of Orenburg cossacks took part in the siege and taking of the Kokandian fortress of Ak-Mechet, for which the officers received promotions and medals. Some medals were also given to the lower ranks. Afterwards, Orenburg cossacks were at the occupation and destruction of the Dzhulek fortress under the command of their Ataman, Major General Padurov.

In that same year of 1853 disturbances in the Kirgiz Steppe began again, stirred up by Bey Iset-Kutebarov who would not accept subservience to the administrative sultan [sultan pravitel]. As a result, a sotnia of Orenburg cossacks was detached to reinforce the forces of the administrative sultan of the western part of the horde, Araslan Dzhantyurin. It may be noted that each summer the administrative sultans wandered the steppe in the company of two-sotnia detachments of Cossacks but would stop overnight or even several days encamped not with the detachment, but at some distance from it so that their main quarters were not within the picket line. It was in the first days of May that Iset-Kutebarov with his adherents took advantage of such a situation and fell upon the camp of Sultan Dzhantyurin and killed him.

As soon as this news reached Orenburg, three columns were formed: one from the Ural Host of three sotnias under the command of Voiskovoi Starshina Serov; another in Orenburg under the leadership of Colonel Kuzminskii (aide to the Governor General, General-Adjutant Graf Perovskii), of three sotnias of Orenburg cossacks commanded by Voiskovoi Starshina Sokolov, some fifty infantrymen, the Bashkir Instructional Regiment [Uchebnyi Bashkirskii polk] under Voiskovoi Starshina Eversman, and two guns of No. 17 Battery of the Orenburg Horse Artillery; and a third column from the fort at Orsk composed of three sotnias of Orenburg cossacks commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Deryshev.

In the beginning of July these columns entered the steppe and moved toward the Emba River where Iset-Kutebarov was with his followers. Troika-like Bashkir carts were provided for the infantry of Colonel Kuzminskii’s column so that the foot soldiers would not slow its quick movement. If during his searches beyond Kenisara Colonel Dunikovskii was careless and self-confident, it was only to the same extent, if not more, that Colonel Kuzminskii suffered from the opposite qualities, the two commanders being equal only in their lack of ability. Colonel Kuzminskii’s force, in spite of its size, quickly approached the Emba River, breaking camp not later than five o’clock in the morning and stopping for the night not earlier than eight in the evening. A halt was made at noon for about three hours to give the column time to have dinner and feed the horses and camels. Upon arriving at an overnight site the column formed a square, along three faces of which were placed the men’s wagons while the food supplies were laid up along the fourth. Horses and camels were released to graze until it was dark, when the camels were put to bed outside the square’s fourth side and the horses were picketed inside the other three. But since the column had neither scythes nor sickles except for a few brought by experienced cossacks, it was not possible to prepare a sufficient amount of grass for the horses for the night, and for the most part they stood hungry. Meanwhile a line of sentries in pairs was posted around the force about 50 yards out, while the men of the other two reliefs were placed around the guns. As an extra precaution concealed posts were also set up, mounted and about 300 yards out. The duty officer of the column was to check these watchposts by making a special round on horseback during the night. All of this took up to two sotnias of cossacks and Bashkirs each day, but that seemed insufficient to Colonel Kuzminskii so each night during the almost two weeks of the approach to the Emba a mounted sotnia was set out 150 yards from the camp. This sotnia was provided in turns by the Bashkirs and cossacks; half of the sotnia had to sit mounted on their horses while the other half was able to rest, holding their mounts by the reins. The men in the chain of pickets were to call out “Slushai!” [“Listen!”] in turns, beginning with the first pair of sentries at the guns and continuing to the last. Apparently Colonel Kuzminskii himself hardly slept nights, as can be inferred from the fact that hardly had the cry “Slushai!” skipped a pair of sentries when the duty officer for the guard was called and his mistake pointed out. Under these conditions, of course, the ceaseless calls of the sentries notified the Kirgiz of the presence of the Russian column, the hidden watch posts were seen from afar, the men were exhausted by the long marches and frequent guard duty, and the horses suffered from hunger. However, when the column had entered the steppe it had had good, well-fed horses which were thus able to endure their hardships for quite some time.

When the force was close to the Emba River near the mouth of the Temir River, information was received that a band of 300 Kirgiz with Iset-Kutebarov himself was not far off. Colonel Kuzminskii ordered Sotnik Avdeev to be ready to march at midnight with two days’ provisions, but that night the orders were canceled and at daybreak the whole column moved up the right bank of the Emba. Around 8 o’clock in the morning the Kirgiz with the column reported that Kutebarov’s band was not far off and that one of their own number, riding out to reconnoiter, had been wounded. Colonel Kuzminskii lost his head and instead of pursuing the enemy more quickly, began to arrange the column. One sotnia of Orenburg cossacks and two of Bashkirs were detached to guard the train while Kuzminskii set up four sotnias in two lines, with the cossacks on the right flank and Bashkirs on the left. In the center he placed the two guns with 25 soldiers on each side of them. Two more sotnias of Bashkirs stood in reserve in close formation. Having deployed the force in this manner, Kuzminskii moved out to follow Kutebarov’s band. However, he lead the column marching in step, ordering the drummer with the infantry to beat the advance. The column had to move over areas of sand and Kirgiz mud which hindered proper alignment, and Colonel Kuzminskii stopped the force several times to straighten the lines. In this manner the column advanced for three hours towards Kutebarov’s band which was still not visible. Finally Kuzminskii ordered Voiskovoi Starshina Eversman to advance at a trot and on coming upon the enemy, to attack him. But the detachment had hardly gotten about a mile from the column and was nearing the Emba, beyond which was Kutebarov’s force, when an adjutant was sent with orders to Eversman to stop and not cross the river. The adjutant, Khorunzhii Golikov, galloped up to Eversman just as the sotnia was beginning to cross a shallow part of the Emba. The sotnia turned around back to the right bank while on the left bank Kutebarov’s band stood at a distance of some tens of yards. While the column marched in step towards the forward line, the enemy moved off to the hills somewhat over a mile away. The whole column crossed the Emba and went at a trot at the same time that the enemy was retreating. After trotting some two miles and seeing that Kutebarov was not to be overtaken in this manner, Kuzminskii halted and directed that one gun fire a single shot at the enemy band which was barely visible one or two miles away. Of course the shot hit nothing, and the first line of the column was sent after the enemy at a gallop. But this was at about 2 o’clock in the afternoon after eight hours on the march. Naturally, this late pursuit had no results except that the hostile band with Iset-Kutebarov himself was able to disappear into the mountains. Two or three tents were found where the enemy had camped and two Kirgiz nomads on bad horses were captured. Towards 5 o’clock the column gathered together and stopped for the night next to a nearby lake.

From the captured Kirgiz it was determined that the village camps [auly] of Kutebarov and his followers were on a small river called the Ata-Yakshi, above the site of the Embensk fortification some 20 or 30 miles from the column’s camp. In spite of the long marches and lack of forage, the horses, which started out in excellent condition, were quickly recovering themselves and would be ready for long and rapid movements. Therefore the members of the column expected that after resting a bit, the force would make a night march on the camp of Kutebarov to which he and his band were heading. But to the surprise of all, in the morning the column started up the left bank of the Emba into the Mugodzharsk Hills, progressing in short marches with rests. Thus it was that twice in a single twenty-four hour period the most favorable opportunities to capture Iset-Kutebarov and his villages were let slip, opportunities the like of which never again presented themselves.

Three days later Colonel Kuzminskii’s column met with the column of Lieutenant Colonel Deryshev coming from the Mugodzharsk Hills down the Emba with a considerable quantity of various livestock seized from rebellious villages. Once in the Mugodzharsk, the column stayed in almost one place for about two weeks, sending out parties in various directions. These returned with nothing since if there were rebel villages in these hills, then the passage of Deryshev’s column caused them to retreat deep into the steppe.

The only incident worthy of note during this halt was when Kuzminskii decided to send papers to the Uralsk fortification over one hundred miles away using not the Kirgiz messengers who were with the column, but three cossacks who were provided the Kirgiz as guides. In spite of the danger from hostile Kirgiz, after six days these cossacks safely returned to the column with answering papers, having covered more than three hundred miles because of the large detours that had to be made to avoid villages. Falling into the hands of hostile Kirgiz at that time would have been extremely unfortunate, and the column had seen the burned remains of Kirgiz chabars (column messengers) who had been captured by the rebels.

Afterwards Kuzminskii’s column moved down along the Emba River to the former Embensk fortification, where a cache of reserve provisions was established and part of the column sent out into the Barsuki Peski [“Badger Sands”]. This detachment returned with a considerable amount of captured livestock but lost Lieutenant Zakhokhov, a Cherkess with the Bashkir Instructional Regiment who disappeared without a trace.

The animals captured both in the Barsuki and previously by the columns of Deryshev and Serov were sent from the Embensk fortification back to the Orenburg Cossack Line. But a few days later the commander of the Orenburg cossack detachment under the protection of which the livestock was being driven sent word that on the march they had seized an additional two thousand horses, and that now they were having dificulty making progress and needed provisions. Colonel Kuzminskii dispatched several camels with provisions escorted by fifteen cossacks and a junior officer from Sotnik Avdeev’s sotnia, with Sultan Galiei Tungachin and seven Kirgiz. On 29 August, two days after leaving the column, this command was surrounded on the Temir River by a band of Kirgiz numbering about 500 men. The command closed up, settled the camels down, and began to open fire. But the cossacks had old flintlock guns and only Sultan Tungachin had a rifle, borrowed from one Batyrshin, a translator with the column. The Kirgiz withdrew about 300 yards away and opened fire with long matchlock rifles. the exchange of fire continued for about four hours, during which time all of our cossacks and Kirgiz were either wounded or killed, the latter including Sultan Tungachin. When the cossacks ran out of ammunition and their firing ceased, the hostile Kirgiz charged the surviving men who defended themselves with their shashka swords and died where they stood. The only survivor was Cossack Mikhailov from Nizhneozernaya Stanitsa and on his first campaign. After receiving eleven lance wounds and a bullet in the leg he lost consciousness and lay, still alive, among the corpses. The Kirgiz noticed signs of life in Mikhailov and took him prisoner. After a two-day ride they stopped beyond the Emba about 75 miles below the Embensk fortification. Here during the night, Mikhailov took advantage of the deep sleep of the Kirgiz and freed himself from his fetters and escaped on a horse stolen from his captors. After four days he reached the Embensk fortification, totally exhausted from hunger and the pain from his wounds, of which the injury from the bullet was the most alarming since it was still inside and only taken out at Embensk by Feldsher [Medic] Sedov. (In spite of the considerable size of the column no doctor accompanied it.) Uryadnik [Noncommissioned Officer] Mikhailov recovered from his wounds and was graciously awarded the medal of the Military Order in the enlisted men’s grade and fifty silver rubles.

Until November the column moved about in various directions wherever information from the column’s own Kirgiz agents indicated there were hostile villages. But the village encampments themselves were never located and the only livestock that were found were those that the Kirgiz had not been able to drive off. These were mostly sheep while the the numbers of captured horses, camels, and cattles were comparatively less. The bad beginning to Colonel Kuzminskii’s undertakings has been recounted above, a beginning that did not give promise of better things to come. And indeed, the column moved by forced marches for the whole time that it was far from the places where rebellious Kirgiz villages were, but the closer to the enemy the shorter the marches became and there were even rest days so that rebel villages were encountered less often than their flocks of sheep and their shepherds, although these last were able to hide themselves. The disjointed movements and the extremely impractical organization of march introduced by Kuzminskii led to a situation in which half the column would have been left without horses if it had not been for the mounts captured from the Kirgiz. Just how exhausting the march regime was can be seen clearly enough from the fact that at the end of the campaign during the move back from Chushka-Kul to the Embensk fortification, when a march was being made each day, the horses were so worn out that not only did several riding horses collapse on each march, but so did some of the captured Kirgiz horses being driven along by the column. However, the men of this expedition came through well so that during the entire time there was only one death on this extremely hard march, one in which it was not infrequently necessary to be satisfied with bad water or even to go without any for whole days.

At the beginning of November the columns of Lieutenant Colonel Deryshev and Colonel Kuzminskii met on the Emba River at the Embensk fortification. From the six sotnias of Orenburg cossacks here three were selected to go and winter over at the Uralsk fortification: two from the column of Voiskovoi Starshina Sokolov and one from Lieutenant Colonel Deryshev’s, with the former as commander. The rest of the men along with the captured livestock returned to the cossack line.

This ended the activities of the columns for the year 1855, a year which had no favorable results thanks to the bad choice of the overall commander, Colonel Kuzminskii, who lost his sense of reason in even the most trivial situations. Evidence of this, besides the pursuit of Kutebarov’s band described above, would be the following incident. When the cache of reserve provisions was being established at Embensk, the column was located for a few days on the Emba about two miles downriver, and at a similar distance still further down was Serov’s column. It happened once that the second-in-command of the reserve provisions was summoned to the column of Colonel Kuzminskii and was delayed there after nightfall. He was sent back to the Embensk fortification escorted by three cossacks. These cossacks were returning to the column when they were attacked by some Kirgiz but they fired several shots and reached the column safely. As soon as the shots were heard at the column’s camp, the entire force was ordered to be ready to march, which was immediately done as the horses were picketed inside the square. When the troops were formed up, Kuzminskii sent one sotnia to the Embensk fortification and himself began to take measures in case of attack. Among other things, he ordered that in case of an unfavorable turn of events the five or six Kirgiz prisoners under armed guard were to be killed, as if the column were in danger of being annihilated.

With the coming of spring in 1856 Voiskovoi Starshina Sokolov’s column left the Embensk fortification and, following the edge of the Peski Barsuki, moved toward the mouth of the Ata-Yakshi River where they halted and awaited the arrival of a three-sotnia column of Orenburg cossacks under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Plotnikov, who assumed overall command. This time the columns’ movements were not unexpected by the rebellious Kirgiz and in good time they withdrew to Ust-Urt near the southern shore of the Aral Sea. Upon the arrival of Lieutenant Colonel Plotnikov’s column after several days, a special column of three sotnias was formed. Under Lieutenant Colonel Plotnikov’s command and with supplies for ten days, it left at night as quietly as possible and moved to Ust-Urt, toward the place where Kutebarov was with his encamped villages. However, Kutebarov had taken every measure to not be taken by surprise. He had guard posts established in various places so that even 200 miles away from his encampments and only a few miles from the column’s base on the Emba, there was a picket in the hills which kept the column under observation. This picket watched as Plotnikov’s column decamped and then trailed a half-sotnia of cossacks coming out with provisions for Plotnikov a few days after his departure. Still, Kutebarov was informed in time of the flying column’s movement, which was covering about 60 miles a day, and was able to hide from it. Because of this, after several days of marching which were all the more difficult since Kutebarov poisoned the wells along the way, the column returned to the Emba without having captured Kutebarov or caused him any harm. Soon after this Voiskovoi Starshina Sokolov’s column was released back to the line while Plotnikov remained on the steppe until autumn arrived at which time he returned to Orenburg.

In 1857 a three-sotnia column under Lieutenant Colonel Plotnikov was again sent out but this time, too, it returned to the line without having met with any success. However, the sending out of columns was useful in that it prevented the rebellion from spreading, confining it almost solely to Kutebarov’s clan relatives—the Chiklins, and forced the rebels into less hospitable regions where their herds perished from lack of forage and water. Also, the columns protected peaceful Kirgiz from attacks by rebels who when they dared to steal past, did so in insignificant groups which were not dangerous even to pacified Kirgiz.

Iset-Kutebarov’s constrained circumstance forced him to ask for the pardon which was given to him in 1858 when he appeared before General-Governor Katenin, who that year was keeping the steppe under observation. With Iset-Kutebarov’s declaration of submission peace settled down on the steppe for several years.

In the autumn of 1854 while there were disturbances on the steppe, two regiments were detached from the Orenburg cossacks for the army facing the Anglo-French. But these regiments did not manage to take part in the war, just as happened with these same two units during the Hungarian War when in June of 1849 they were detached to the active army. In May of 1863 five regiments were detached to the western borders because of the Polish revolt, but these regiments did not manage to take part in military operations, either.

But if because of its remoteness the Orenburg Host was not always able to take part in military campaigns on the western borders of the Empire, from 1864 on Orenburg cossacks took part in almost every action in the east during the conquest of Turkestan. Then, in that same year of 1864 in the column of Captain Meier (totaling 405 men), Orenburg cossacks helped repulse 12,000 Kokandians who fell upon the column on 14 and 15 July, and in the subsequent movement of the columns towards Chimkent and its seige and capture, in the advance towards Tashkent, the reconnaisance of this city, and in the march back to Chimkent.

In 1865 they took part in the taking of Niazbek, in various skirmishes near Tashkent, and were at the capture of this city as well as at various affairs during the occupation of the Trans-Chirchik region.

In 1866 from 12 January to 14 February, cossacks were at the crossing of the Syr-Darya River, the march on the Dzhizak Fortress and the return again to camp on the Syr-Darya, and on 5 April in a reconnaisance in force to Murza-Rabat. From 8 to 25 April Sotnik Volzhentsev with his sotnia had several skirmishes with Bukharans, during which two guns were taken from them. On 8 May during the battle at Irdzhar the cossacks in Lieutenant Colonel Pistolkors’ detachment galloped between the enemy’s earthworks and defeated the Bukharan cavalry. They pursued the fleeing enemy for three miles, during which the pursuit was so hot that the Bukharans could not stop in their camp, in which our troops found kettles with the stew still boiling, tea ready to serve, and even lit kalians. On 14 May at the taking of the fort at Nau and from 20 to 24 May at the siege and storming of Khodzhent, as well as during the occupation of the city, the Kokhandians fiercely defended themselves, building barricades and putting riflemen in the native houses which faced onto the streets. In order to clear the city more rapidly, Lieutenant Colonel Pistolkors ordered Sotnik Yesipov to gallop his sotnia through the city, a task which was superbly carried out with the sotnia safely returning to reserve.

From 20 September to 2 October the cossacks were with the force moving on the fortress at Ura-Tyube, as well as at its siege and capture. At the capture of the fortress they cut off the fleeing Ura-Tyube garrison and inflicted so many casualties that the area around Ura-Tyube was covered with hundreds of corpses. On 6 October they were at the occupation of the Zaamin forts, then in the march to the fortress at Dzhizak, its investment from 12 to 18 October, and its storming on 18 October. During this a strong demonstration was made against the northwest corner of the fortress by cossacks under the leadership of Colonel Pistolkors. This drew the attention of the enemy and helped the storming columns that were at other points. With the capture of the fortress, cossacks of Colonel Pistolkors’ column pursued the Bukharans who were leaving the fortress, during which very few saved themselves. They then took part in a skirmish with Bukharan cavalry hurrying to help relieve Dzhizak, forcing them to retreat.

In May of 1867, near Yany-Dari, there appeared bands of raiders under the leadership of Sadyk, the son of the famous Batyr sultan Kenisara who disrupted the steppe in the 1830s and 1840s. The commandant of the city of Kazalinsk, Major Yunii, sent Yesaul Onchokov to Yany-Dari with a party of Orenburg cossacks consisting of 5 noncommissioned officers and 71 cossacks with 2 rocket stands and 6 artillerymen. Setting out on 4 May, the column covered 100 miles in three days without meeting the bandits anywhere. A Kirgiz, sent by Sadyk, managed to convince Yesaul Onchokov that no band existed and led him to a spring close to where Sadyk’s band was hiding. When the command was halted and a party of twenty cossacks were leading the horses to water them, the raiders threw themselves on them and killed seventeen men. The remaining personnel prepared a defense and at 10 o’clock on the 7th were surrounded by Sadyk’s band in which there were over 2000 men. After surrounding the command, Sadyk’s band carried out attacks which were beaten off every time with significant loss to the attackers. In between attacks the cossacks were able to entrench themselves and, tortured by thirst, they began to dig for water but the efforts were unsuccessful. The next day the band made no attacks but confined itself to exchanging fire. But on the 9th one more attack was made which was repulsed with heavy loss to the bandits. During these three days the command did not have even a drop of water. Thirst, exhaustion, and the fetid air from the decomposing bodies of dead men and horses made it impossible to stay any longer. Therefore on 10 May Yesaul Onchokov decided to retreat to Kazalinsk. The stubborn defense had cost Sadyk so dearly that he decided not to follow the cossacks, who on 12 May arrived at Kazalinsk having lost 18 men dead and 5 wounded.

Around this time the Bukharans resumed hostile actions with an attack on Voiskovoi Starshina Novokreshchenov’s sotnia of Orenburg cossacks which was moving from Yany-Kurgan when some 8000 Bukharans, concealed behind the hills, fell on the sotnia from all directions. The sotnia hurriedly began to retreat, firing and discharging rockets on the attackers. Meanwhile word of the attack reached the camp at Yany-Kurgan, from where the 2nd and 4th Companies of the Turkestan Rifle Battalion set out to meet the column, but they only reached the sotnia when it had repulsed the Bukharans and forced them to cease their attack.

On 7 June two sotnias of Orenburg cossacks and a platoon from No. 2 Cossack Battery, which were included in a column of four infantry companies and a section of a heavy battery along with four rocket stands, took part in the defeat and pursuit of a Bukharan force encamped on the Ak-Bulak River which numbered 40,000 men with 10 guns. The Bukharan camp was captured with its entire artillery park, a large quantity of muskets, and two large standards.

After this defeat the Bukharans were quiet for a while, but at this time the raids of independent bands of the Kirgiz reached serious proportions. For this reason the leader of the Irdzhar Sector’s settlement, Sotnik Bukharin of the Orenburg Host, with a column consisting of a company of infantry, a half-sotnia of cossacks, 45 militiamen, and a platoon from a rocket command moved on Mazaraka Ata, the den of Telgomei, chief instigator of the raids. Bukharin attacked and destroyed the band of Telgomei, who though seriously wounded managed to hide in the mountains with only a few of his accomplices.

Soon after this, on 5 July, the Bukharans advanced toward Yany-Kurgan and, halting at a distance of three miles, surrounded it with a large semicircle, sent out horsemen, and began an exchange of fire. At 9:30 they brought up guns against the fort and opened a fire which soon ceased due to an attack by Voiskovoi Starshina Novokreshchenov with the 1st Orenburg Sotnia which forced the Bukharans to withdraw the guns. Then Lieutenant Colonel Abramov’s force, after taking up position, began to advance on the Bukharans, during which time groups of the enemy appeared on the left flank and opened an enfilade fire from falconets, but Voiskovoi Starshina Novokreshchenov’s sotnia, acting in concert with the rocket command, rebuffed the enemy and then took part in pursuing him when he was put to rout.

In 1868 the 6th, 7th, 10th, and 11th Sotnias of the Orenburg cossacks took part in repelling an attack by the Bukharans on the camp at Klyuchi on 15 April. Afterwards these sotnias, along with an Ural sotnia, set off early in the morning in pursuit of the Bukharans, returning to the camp only at 5 o’clock in the afternoon.

In the action at the Samarkand Heights on 1 May, three sotnias of Orenburg cossacks with the second section of the host’s No. 2 Battery and a rocket section drove off and dispersed the masses of the enemy who faced our right flank. Then, along with other troops, they took part in the assault and capture of the Samarkand Heights, from which the Bukharans were unable to take away their guns, 21 of them being taken by our forces. On the next day the city of Samarkand was occupied. After this, Orenburg cossacks were at the actions of 12 May at Urgut, 23, 27, and 29 May at Katty-Kurgan, 27 May at Kara-Tyube, 28 May at the capture of the Samarkand gardens, 2 June on the Zarabulak Heights, from 2 to 8 June in the glorious defense of the Samarkand citadel, and 8 June at the second capture of Samarkand. Orenburg cossacks ended their military activities in this year by taking part in the capture of the city of Karsha.

In 1870 Orenburg cossacks were at the affair of 25 June with Shakhrizyabs at the Kulikadan Heights and the surrounding and capture of the city of Kitab on 13 and 14 August.

Orenburg cossacks honorably took part in all the military actions in the Turkestan Territory since 1864, where there were always from 18 to 23 sotnias. Proof of this can be seen by the fact that at the time this writing there were present, excluding those who had died during the nine years since 1864, the following numbers of lower ranks who had received the Military Order Medal for Distinction: for action in 1864 - 75; in 1865 - 26; in 1866 - 75; in 1867 - 7; in 1868 - 58; in 1870 - 19; and for years unknown due to records not being preserved - 23, for a total of 224, of which some men had the order in two grades and some in all four. Besides this, the 2nd Division of No. 2 Horse-Cossack Battery was awarded insignia for the sheepskin papakha headdresses with the inscription “For Distinction in the Year 1868” [“za otlichie v 1868 godu”]. For these same actions field and company-grade officers received awards as follows: promotions - 21; Order of St. Stanislav 3rd Class - 27; 2nd Class - 9, and with an Imperial crown - 5; Order of St. Anna 4th Class with an inscription for bravery - 18, 3rd Class - 19; 2nd Class - 1, and with an Imperial crown - 1; Order of St. Vladimir 4th Class - 3; gold shashka swords with the inscription “For Courage” [“Za Khrabost”] - 2; Order of St. George 4th Class - 1; 87 in all, not including monetary awards. Here it would not be too much to note that in the Turkestan Territory cossacks were not deployed as regiments but as separate sotnias and were therefore deprived of the opportunity to gain any regimental recognition as did Regiment No. 9 in the war with Turkey. This manner of operating as detachments explains the small number of orders awarded in 2nd class, since those assigned as sotnia commanders were almost exclusively company-grade officers.

In 1869 Orenburg cossacks were once again called to put down disturbances in the Kirgiz Steppe. But this time the cause was not the revolt of some Kirgiz noble batyr with his followers, but a serious uprising of a significant part of the Kirgiz in the Orenburg Department. Rebellion seized the whole of the Kirgiz Steppe south of the Orsk-Kazalinsk road. At the first news of the revolt a two-sotnia column of Orenburg cossacks was formed in Orenburg. On 11 March, the force departed the line for the post of Emba, burdened with a transport column of 265 camels, for the most part harnessed to sledges, and 79 draft horses. The column had to move through rather deep snow on a road that in places was not even suitable for a man on horseback. For this reason the column stretched out for a distance of two miles. Even as the column first set out from the line it was known that the Kirgiz bands, gathering along the march route, intended to make an assault on it. Therefore, and under such difficult conditions, it was necessary to take all precautionary measures. The column moved in the following order: a half-sotnia in front, in a single line from the right, with 7 men detached as an advance guard; 30 cossack carts driven by cossacks of the column; the transport in single file with a cossack platoon in the middle; in the rear of the transport a half-sotnia with 7 men detached as a rear guard; the remaining 3 platoons were spread throughout the transport, predominantly towards the tail, while signal lights [mayaki] were set out on the flanks. The situation of the column was all the more difficult since it had to pass by Kirgiz winter encampments from which the Kirgiz could make an attack at any time, while the column could only react to a clear attack on itself. During the march on 18 March there were almost no Kirgiz in the winter camps along the route, and if a Kirgiz woman was encountered and questioned, she would say that all the men had ridden out ahead without explaining what they were doing. Not having reached the next overnight campsite at Milestone 6, the column met with two Kirgiz from the prominent Kirgiz Sattyk Taev who gave assurances that the campsite was nearby and that ahead all was quiet and everything that the column needed would be provided. Heeding the invitation’s insistence to arrive at the campsite more quickly, the column’s commander, Lieutenant Colonel Novokreshchenov, increased the pace, and the transport began to stretch out. With the column not having gone as far as the campsite at Milestone 3, there suddenly appeared behind the column, as if at one signal, a party of Kirgiz numbering about 700 men armed with lances, shashka swords, and firearms. The Kirgiz immediately threw themselves on the half-sotnia bringing up the rear, to whose aid sped a platoon from the middle of the transport, and together with the half-sotnia they fended off the Kirgiz. At the first alarm Lieutenant Colonel Novokreshchenov, located in the front, halted the column and ordered Yesaul Ivanov to draw together the transport into a square, while he himself galloped to the tail of the transport, gathering to himself the personnel of the three platoons which were spread through the transport. Meanwhile, the Kirgiz took advantage of the situation that part of the cossacks in the tail of the transport were helping beat off the attack on the rear cossacks and threw themselves on the transport’s tail and began to lead the camels away and hack at their loads, but here also they were beaten off by the cossacks galloping up with Lieutenant Colonel Novokreshchenov, and the camels were recaptured. Then, with Lieutenant Colonel Novokreshchenov united with Sotnik Sviridov’s half-sotnia and Yesaul Piskunov’s platoon, the swarm of Kirgiz was dispersed and pursued for about four miles, during which three Kirgiz were taken prisoner, twelve horses were seized out from under slain Kirgiz, over twenty Kirgiz were killed and many wounded, the latter including Aidzharyk Taev, leader of the band, who died that same day. In the column two cossacks were wounded, one of whom received ten lance wounds, and one horse and four camels were also wounded. It was clear that Sattyk Taev, brother to Aidzharyk Taev, hoped to lure the column commander into a trap with assurances that all was quiet and planned that he would hurry to the overnight campsite and further stretch out the transport so that the column could successfully be attacked in front at the same time as Aidzharyk attacked it in the rear. However, he was foiled by the slow pace of the column and its subsequent halt, delaying his attack, and when wounded men began to be brought to him, including the mortally injured Aidzharyk, he then decided not to attack, even though he had a band of over 600 men. After the attack of 18 March there were no other attacks on the column, and on 29 March it safely arrived at the Emba post.

While at the Emba post, on May 24 Lieutenat Colonel Novokreshchenov detected an armed band of Kirgiz about five miles beyond the column’s horseherd, so he immediately rode to the horseherd, taking with him about a half-sotnia of cossacks, and set out to determine the reason for the Kirgiz gathering. But as the command got close, the Kirgiz began to draw away from it. After sending word to the column to saddle horses and follow his small command, Lieutenant Colonel Novokreshchenov pursued the Kirgiz and having discovered from stragglers that they were peaceful Kirgiz pursuing barantachi raiders who had driven off their horses, he continued his pursuit for about six more miles, during which three of the barantachi were killed, one was taken prisoner, and the horses taken by the barantachi were abandoned so they could get away.

On 10 June, in accordance with orders received, the column, with a 3-pounder unicorn and a rocket stand, marched out of the Emba post down along the Emba toward Isen-Berdy. From 28 June the column began to see Kirgiz observing them who quickly disappeared when pursued. At about 7 o’clock in the evening of 1 July, three Kirgiz who had been seen and had had two noncommissioned officers with fifteen cossacks sent out to them, signaled with a light (capable of several volts at once) upon which there immediately appeared a band of Kirgiz numbering about 300 who set off at a gallop toward the cossacks who had been sent out. Lieutenant Colonel Novokreshchenov immediately sent Lieutenant Zavadskii of the General Staff with a half-sotnia and a rocket stand to meet the Kirgiz, and behind them Sotnik Sviridov with another half-sotnia. Losses on the part of the Kirgiz during this skirmish are not known because the killed and wounded were immediately picked up and carried away, but the column lost one noncommissioned officer killed. In the following days only Kirgiz pickets kept the column under observation, but on the evening of the 4th a band of Kirgiz appeared and several dzhigit braves galloped up to the column and opened fire with, however, no harm done. On the th, as the column was getting up from its bivouac, at about o’clock in the morning, a band of Kirgiz again appeared, numbering about a thousand. They moved along with the column, firing at it from long distance. As the column set off again after a halt, moving in a kind of mobile square formation, the masses of Kirgiz began to increase and at about 4 o’clock, made such a strong rush on the column that several of the Kirgiz penetrated the square, crushing Uryadnik Aganov with their horses and wounding Uryadniks Serebryakov and Kargin. The latter, heedless of the serious lance wound in his chest, seized the lance, broke it, and pulled it out of his chest, at the same time managing to deliver a fatal head blow to his assailant with his shashka. That night the Kirgiz galloped up the column and fired some ineffective shots. On the 7th the Kirgiz band again moved in the same direction as the column, being seen on both sides, but kept at a distance from the column. But when the column arranged itself to camp overnight, they tried to break into the camp but were repulsed with heavy casualties, losing, among others, three men wearing distinctive insignia. At night, Kirgiz on foot used the cover of darkness to make entrenchments near the camp, but they were driven from them. Then on the morning after, as the column was leaving the overnight site, the Kirgiz fired some unsuccessful shots and disappeared.

After arriving at Isen-Berdy on 8 July, the column made a reconaissance from 11 to 15 July to locate a force under the commander of the Gurev District, but not finding him, it moved back toward the Emba post on 15 July. On the march back on 16 and 17 July attacks were made on the column as on the previous march but, however, without any loss to the force. On 23 July, near the Ashche-Saya Stream, fresh tracks from livestock indicated that there had to be native villages nearby, so Lieutenant Colonel Novokreshchenov sent Yesaul Ivanov out with one hundred cossacks. This command discovered 377 head of various livestock about three miles from the column, which were seized, during which two Kirgiz were killed and three taken prisoner while the rest fled. The villages themselves had already decamped from this place earlier. On 26 July a band of two hundred men appeared which began to move on the column, but it was dispersed by a sotnia of dismounted cossacks that was sent out along with a rocket stand. Because of the wornout state of the horses, though, it was not possible to pursue the band.

After the column’s return to the Emba post, from 22 to 29 August it then moved toward the mouth of the Ata-Yakshi River with Colonel Graf Komarovskii’s force. During this march, on 24 August the column seized some livestock from rebellious Kirgiz.

From 6 to 15 September part of Lieutenant Colonel Novokreshchenov’s force was assigned to a flying column under the command of Major Priorov to run down rebellious Kirgiz who had driven off horses belonging to Ural cossacks at the Emba post. During this pursuit on 8 September, the column attacked rebel villages and drove off their livestock.

In 1869 Orenburg cossacks took part in various other actions against rebellious Kirgiz, being included in the columns of Aide-de-Camp Colonel Graf Borkh, Colonel Graf Komarovskii, Lieutenant Colonel Verevkin, Captain Vogak, and Voiskovoi Starshina Onchokov. The actions of all these columns, though, varied so little from each other that describing the actions of one would give a sufficient understanding of all the others. Having described in detail the actions of Lieutenant Colonel Novokreshchenov’s column, therefore, it is superfluous to speak of the events in the other columns.

For the columns which took precautions, the Kirgiz were not a danger, but the columns mainly suffered from the heat, forced marches, and lack of fodder. They especially suffered from this last situation because during the general suppression of the Kirgiz, the continuous wanderings and movements of large bands exhausted fodder, and in some places the steppe was even set on fire. Additionally, the constant presence of Kirgiz pickets and bands made it necessary for columns to be especially careful not to have their horses driven off, so at night the horses had to be kept tethered. Meanwhile, during what was almost a general revolt, it was extremely difficult to find any transport in the steppe, so the columns did not always have enough of the oats which were absolutely necessary for movements under such circumstances. Thus, for example, when Lieutenant Colonel Novokreshchenov’s force was setting out for Isen-Berdy with two months of provisions, it could only take with it enough oats for 9 1/2 days. Because of this, during the return march it was forced to use dismounted cossacks in an action against the Kirgiz in order to not wear out the horses any further.

For suppressing the rebellion, in addition to 3 1/4 sotnias which were permanently at steppe fortifications, in 1869 there were assigned 10 sotnias and in 1870 3 sotnias, as well as several sotnias which while being rotated to the Turkestan Territory were kept over summer in the steppe. With the suppression of the revolt, each year in 1871 and 1872 there were 8 sotnias assigned to maintain peace in the steppe against the bands which rose up in it, these also being in addition to those in the steppe fortifications.

For actions in the Kirgiz steppe some of the officers received promotions and medals, and for the lower ranks there were several awards of medals of the Military Order.


 Colonel Petr Avdeev, 1873.  Orenburg.


Appendix 1

Delegations from the Orenburg Cossack Host

The Orenburg Cossack Host had few opportunities to dispatch delegations, but nevertheless none of the more important events for the host passed without the host responding either with delegations or by special addresses to the person of His Majesty. Unswervingly true to the throne and fatherland, the Orenburg Host not a few times laid at the foot of the throne its feelings of devotion and gratitude for favors granted. In 1803 the host asked Minister of War Vyazimtinov to request permission to send a delegation to St. Petersburg to deliver humble gratitude for the confirmation in that year of the polozhenie for the host, but the answer came back that the Sovereign Emperor, receiving with paternal goodwill the gratitude of the host for the favors shown them, was pleased to accept just the intention of sending a delegation as the act itself. In 1828 the host submitted congratulations to the Hereditary Tsesarevich (at the time of this writing the happily reigning Sovereign Emperor Alexander III) on his designation as Ataman of All the Cossack Hosts and was honored to have the host ataman, Colonel Timashev, receive a gracious reply from the Most August Ataman. In 1842, through a special delegation, the host expressed its humble gratitude for the favors granted in the polozhenie of 12 December, 1840. This delegation included Colonel Padurov (son of the Sotnik Padurov who was a deputy in an eighteenth century delegation), Voiskovoi Starshinas Nagashev and Korin, and six men representing active and retired lower ranks and cossacks of the commerical association. All deputies were honored with decorations, the retired and commerical association cossacks being awarded gold medals to be worn around the neck. Under the happily reigning Sovereign Emperor of the time this was written, the host in 1856 sent Colonels Nemirov and Khariton as delegates to the sacred coronation of Their Imperial Majesties. In 1863 Lieutenant Colonel Chernov and two lower ranks were sent as deputies to submit to His Imperial Majesty a loyal and submissive address expressing the host’s patriotic feelings and readiness to raise a levy in mass in response to the insurrection which flared up in the Vistula provinces. In 1865 Colonel Bukharin, Yesaul Izbyshev, and two lower ranks were sent as delegates to the funeral of the Hereditary Tsesarevich Nicholas Alexandrovich, now resting in God. The expressions of gratitude and loyal devotion laid at the foot of the throne were received by His Imperial Majesty with fatherly benevolence, and the members of the deputation were awarded Highest decorations. Also, in an 1862 address presented to the Hereditary Tsesarevich the host expressed its most submissive feelings of gratitude to the Sovereign Emperor for the confirmation of the temporary establishment tables for the host’s military and civilian administrations and the regulations on surveying host lands. And in 1870 Colonels Silnov and Shishelev were sent as delegates to convey brotherly congratulations to the Don Host at its tricentennial jubilee as the oldest of the family of cossack hosts.


Appendix 2

List of Host Atamans and Commanders of the Orenburg Cossack Host 

1798-1808 Major General Andrei Ugletskii
1809 Colonel Nikiforov (temporary)
1809-1811 Colonel Vasilii Ugletskii
1812-1814 Major Mikhail Ugletskii
1815-1821 Major General Vasilii Ugletskii
1822 Lieutenant Colonel Vasilii Avdeev (temporary)
1822-1830 Colonel Yegor Timashev
1831-1833 Major General von Engelgardt
1834-1838 Major General Shchutskii
1839-1840 Major General Molostov
1841-1847 Major General Graf Tsukato
1848-1852 Major General Grigorii Zhukovskii, later Lieutenant General and Senator
1853-1859 Major General Padurov
1860-1863 Major General Graf Ilya Tolstoi, later Lieutenant General and Inspector of the Border Guards in St. Petersburg
1863-1864 Major General Zvorykin
May 1864 to July 1865 Major General fon Zengbush (temporary)

From 20 May 1865 the host ataman was Major General Boborykin, who was also the Orenburg Governor. Of the host atamans, Colonel Vasilii Mogutov (1748-1779), the Ugletskiis, and Padurov were native host cossacks. Thus during 125 years of the host’s existence since 1748 it was commanded by members of the host for 76 years.


Appendix 3

Establishment Table of the Orenburg Cossack Host’s Host Chancellery in 1803

    Annual Salary
  Number Per Individual Total
Host Ataman, a lieutenant colonel . .  1 600
Permanent members, field or company-grade officers . . . . 2 300 600
Assessors, appointed every three years . 2 250 500
Prosecutors under the provincial prosecutor 1 250
Secretaries . . . . . 2 200 400
For chancellery employees and chancellery expenses 800


The Host Ataman’s salary is to be provided by the treasury.    

Note: With the approval of this establishment table, a division of the host into 5 cantons was also confirmed. Of these, the 1st Canton had 6 stanitsy with 4381 male souls, the 2nd - 5 stanitsy with 4657 souls, the 3rd - 4 stanitsy with 3103 souls, the 4th - 14 stanitsy with 6737 souls, and the 5th - 10 stanitsy with 2241 souls. 

Appendix 4

Establishment table of the Orenburg Cossack Regiment, 1803

Prescribed Annual

Number of

Per person


Colonel [Polkovnik]



Captain [Yesaul]



Lieutenant [Sotnik]



Cornet [Khorunzhii]



Quatermaster [Kvartermistr]



Clerks [Pisarya]



Noncommissioned Officers [Uryadniki]



Cossacks [Kazaki]





In place of a diminished salary, noncommissioned officers, clerks, and cossacks are to be given rations on the basis for soldiers, for the whole year; while on detached duty 100 or more versts [66 miles] away, or even closer as long as they are beyond the Ural River, they are to be issued with forage during the winter months. Servants [denshchiki] for officers are not authorized.

Appendix 5

Establishment Table for salaries and chancellery expenses for the Orenburg Cossack Host administration, 1837

    Salary per year.
    Per person Total  
  Number of Officials


Kopecks Roubles Kopecks      

General host administration.

      Commander of the host 1 Salary in accordance with special orders.

And his:

     Adjutant . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Salary according to rank.


Secretary for correspondance [Pismovoditel] . . . . . . . . .   1  900   —   900   —      
Department heads [Stolonachalniki] 2 450 900      
Archivist [Archivarius] . . . 1 450 450      
Clerks [Pisarya]:                
       senior: . . . . . . . . . 2 250 500      
       junior: higher salaried . . 2 200 400      
       lower salaried . . . . 2 150 300      
For chancellery expenses . . . 1000      
TOTAL 12 4450      

Host chancellery.

Officials [Prisutstvuyushchie] 2 1200 2400      
Assessors [Assesory] . . . . . 2 900 1800      
Secretaries [Sekretari] . . 2 600 -- 1200 --      
Host surveyor [Voiskovoi zemlemer] 1 750 750      
Host treasurer [kaznachei], being an executor [ekzekutor]   1   750   —   750      
His assistant [pomoshchnik], being a cashier [prikhodoraskhodchik] for funds designated to maintain the chancellery














Archivist [Arkhivarius] 1 600 600      
Journalist [Zhurnalist] . 1 450 450      
Recorder [Protokolist] 1 400 400      


OFFICIALS [Povytchiki]:

In the offices [ekspeditsyi]:          
Military [Voennoi] . . . . . . . 3 360 1080
Civil [Grazhdanskoi] . . . . 2 360 720
Clerks [Pisarya]:

     senior: . . . . . . . . . 5 200 1000
     junior: higher salaried . . . 6 150 900
     lower salaried . . . . 10 100 1000
For chancellery expenses, wood, and candles . . . .   — 3000
                       Total 38 16530

Host military court.

President [Prezus] . . . . . . . 1 900 900
Assessors [Assesory] 4 450 1800
Clerks [Pisarya]:
      higher salaried . .




      lower salaried . . . . . 2 100 200
                      Total 10 3350
Note: The Military Court [Voennyi Sud] obtains its chancellery supplies from the host chacellery.        
Grand total 60 24330


Notes by Mark Conrad

The Kirgiz, nowadays called Kazakhs, are a nomadic, Moslem, Turkic-speaking people. They lived in three groups of which the westernmost was called the Western, Younger, or Lesser Horde. The Kirgiz are not to be confused with the present-day Kirghiz (note spelling) who live further east near China. In Tsarist Russia, the name Kazakh was avoided because of the confusion with Kazak, the Russian word for “cossack.”

The Bashkirs are also Moslem Turkic speakers but lived further to the northwest and closer to Russian domination. Indeed, the Bashkirs were under Russian influence since the 16th century but this did not prevent resistance and major revolts as late as 1919.

The Cherkess, or Circassians, are from the north side of the Caucasus, formerly Christian but having adopted Islam in the 17th century.

“Highest”, when referring to government orders, decrees, etc., is a literal translation of the Russian Vysochaishii and means that the whatever is being talked about comes direct from the Tsar himself. In English the equivalent term in such situations is “Royal.”

Chinovniki can mean either Russian government officials or cossack nobility. The normal Russian aristocracy was called dvoryane. Another term for cossack nobility and gentry is starshiny, meaning elders. 

A stanitsa (plural stanitsy) is a cossack settlement or village. A regular Russian peasant village is called a derevnya.

Russians called almost any fortified place a fortress (ukreplenie). In English most such places would simply be termed a walled town or fortified post.

An ataman is a cossack leader. The Russian government imposed its own men as host atamans, and the Tsar’ heir was the supreme ataman of all the cossack hosts as a whole.

Cossack officer rank was usually different from the terms used for regular troops; see the table in Appendix 4 for the English equivalents. Also, cossack NCO’s were called uryadniki as distinct from regular army unter-ofitsery. The terms used for various civil officials sometimes do not indicate a person’s actual function. For instance, an “assessor” was really just an assistant to a higher official. For non-cossack nobility, the normal title was “Prince” (“Knyaz”), but in more modern times some distinguished nobles carried the German title “Graf,” meaning “Count.”

A sloboda referred to a settlement which once had some kind of tax privilege granted by the government.

Gunners’ children were not really the offspring of artillerymen. These pushkari (from pushka, meaning a cannon) were an obsolete social class descended from men serving as artillery garrisons in frontier towns in pre-modern Russia.

Often the Russians counted population by “souls”. This usually meant adult males.

At St.-Petersburg there were several model army units. Officers and men from the rest of the army would serve here and then return to their parent units, hopefully to spread the standards and discipline they had adquired. Perhaps this was also the idea behind the Bashkir Instructional Regiment.

The Russians borrowed the Prussian word Junker as yunker and used it to mean a noncommissioned officer of noble origin. Usually these men intended to become officers. In the cavalry, a yunker was a formal rank equivalent to a sub-ensign.

Russia considered itself to have two capitals: Moscow and St.-Petersburg.

Raznochintsy were people who no longer belonged to a definite legal social class. As Russia became more modern, there were more and more raznochintsy, and they tended to be roughly equivalent to what western societies would call the middle class.

End of translation. Mark Conrad, 1993-2005