N.N. Murav’ev’s First Amur Expedition.



(“Pervyi Amurskii pokhod N.N. Murav’eva, by A. Danilov[1]. Istoricheskii Vestnik, Volume 36, 1889, Part 2, pages 642-652.)


At the same time as our army at Sevastopol was astounding the world by its selfless courage and covering Russian arms with unfading glory as it defended our southern borders from the allies’ invasion, in the Russian far east a handful of other Russian soldiers achieved a no less difficult and no less glorious feat, though it be not on such a grand scale.

In the early spring of 1854 there was unusual activity at the Shilka mining works in a remote corner of Eastern Siberia.[2] The riverbank was crowded with line soldiers and Trans-Baikal cossacks busy making ready large ungraceful boats and massive and equally clumsy rafts. Here also stood at anchor the small river steamer Argun under the Russian naval ensign.[3] The flotilla was being prepared to carry a handful of personnel into the then unknown Amur region, and was to depart in a few days. Of the whole contingent only cossack Supernumerary-Lieutenant [zauryad-sotnik] Skobel’tsyn had a little knowledge of this region, since when still only a simple cossack he wandered down the Amur searching out natural resources. He was now to serve as the expedition’s guide.[4]

The troops assembled at the Shilka works on the orders of the governor-general of Eastern Siberia, General-Adjutant Murav’ev,[5] consisted of a composite line battalion numbering 800 men, a composite mounted sotnia from the 2nd Brigade of the Trans-Baikal Cossack Host, and a section [divizion] of mountain artillery.

The battalion, formed from four companies of the 13th, 14th, and 15th [Siberian] Line Battalions that were in the Trans-Baikal, was commanded by Major Korsakov, an officer assigned to the governor-general, and he was also the overall force commander.[6] Individual companies were commanded by: 1st—Captain Medvedev,[7] 2nd—Lieutenant Monastyrev, 3rd—Sublieutenant Glehn, and 4th—Ensign Baranov.[8] The sotnia was under Sotnik Imberg.[9] Besides Imberg, there was one other officer in the sotnia—Supernumerary-Lieutenant Belomestnov,[10] and the mountain-artillery section was commanded by Sublieutenant Baksheev.[11] This handful of men faced the difficult task of laying the basis for the annexation of the vast Amur region to Russia, which they successfully completed in spite of the deprivations and hardships they met at every step.

Once all personnel had been gathered for the expedition, the governor-general came to the Shilka works accompanied by Captain-Lieutenant Kazakevich[12] who assumed command of the flotilla, military engineers Rein and Mravinskii, mining engineer Anosov,[13] naval Lieutenant Stibnev, and civil officials Sverbeev and Sychevskii.[14] Soon after Murav’ev’s arrival, the ice on the Shilka River broke up, and early on the morning of 8 May 1854 the force said prayers before an ancient icon of the Mother of God, brought from Albazin in 1690 when that settlement was turned over to the Chinese as a result of the Treaty of Nerchinsk. The expedition then boarded the boats and rafts and set off on its long journey.

In the front went the duty officer’s boat [dezhurnaya lodka] on which was always one of the officers and the expedition’s guide—Sotnik Skobel’tsyn. After it followed the battalion’s boats, numbering about twenty, then rafts with the artillery and mounted troops, and finally Murav’ev’s long boat. Behind this caravan came the steamer Argun traveling empty. It’s engine was so underpowered that it could not pull against the current, and in general it was of little use to the expedition and instead caused much trouble and effort through its consumption of great quantities of wood that had to be cut at night so that their would be no delay in the force’s progress. In addition to the battalion’s soldiers, each boat carried about 25 tons [1500 poods] of provisions, one part of which was intended for the expedition and the other to be transferred to a government transport at the mouth of the Amur for delivery to Kamchatka.

It had been a long time since the swift Shilka had seen so many persons, horses, and guns. A long, long time! In the second half of the seventeenth century, i.e. about 200 years before our expedition, free cossacks led by their atamans Poyarkov and then Khabarov passed down the Shilka, striving for the same unknown Amur region, the same Siberian Colchis. Now the descendents of these brave and daring men followed the path of their forefathers, not as an unorganized and turbulent band, but as a disciplined force with military training, well armed, under the leadership of a brilliant man of iron character who would never accept defeat, to whose will Russia would be obligated—more than to anything else—for the acquisition of the Amur territory.

The first days went by much the same as the force floated down the wide Shilka pressed between steep banks. But finally there came Ust’-Strelka, the last Russian post and the end of the Shilka itself. Ahead shone the wide Amur, that mighty, mysterious river that rolled its waves for 2000 miles to flow into the Great Ocean, towards which the Russian people stove so determinedly in response to an elemental urge over the course of several centuries! This was the watery thread that was to connect the Pacific Ocean with the heart of Russia!

At this time, at the mouth of the Amur some 2000 miles from Murav’ev’s expedition was a small group of Russians under the leadership of a man whose name is also permanently connected with the acquisition of the Amur territory—this was Captain 1st Rank Nevel’skoi[15] who by his character, views, patriotic dedication to Russia, and drive, was a worthy companion to Murav’ev. With uncertain resources, meeting obstacles at every step, he succeeded in clearing up the age-old confusion regarding the Amur River’s estuary and showed that the Amur did not lose itself in the sands as supposed by such authorities as La Pérouse, Broughton, and Krusenstern, and that Sakhalin was not a peninsula.[16] Having demonstrated the accessibility of the Amur estuary and the existence of the Tatar Strait, he was the first to make clear to us the significance of the Amur River. Risking everything and without orders from higher authority, on 1 August 1850 he raised the Russian military flag at the mouth of the Amur, on Cape Kuegda, where the town of Nikolaevsk now stands.

Many of the highly placed persons who at that time were at the head of the government feared a conflict with China and England at a time when relations with the latter were strained, and they heaped a storm of criticism upon Nevel’skoi. The fate and career of this man who toiled so hard hung by a hair, but Murav’ev supported him and as a result Emperor Nicholas uttered the famous words: “Where the Russian flag has been raised, it may not be lowered.”

Having raised the flag, Nevel’skoi remained in the area as its sentry and for four years unswervingly protected his post. Murav’ev’s intention was to join Nevel’skoi and thus connect the mouth of the Amur with Russia, which was accomplished by the expedition described herein in spite of all obstacles. The moment that he met up with Nevel’skoi sealed the destiny of the Amur and as a result of this meeting the Treaty of Aihun [Aigun in Russian] was signed four years later, by which China officially recognized our right to the long desired Amur region.

Upon passing Ust’-Strelka, on 18 May at 2:30 PM the force halted and Murav’ev congratulated all for reestablishing Russian navigation on the Amur, closed to us for two hundred years. The choir of the battalion’s band sang the hymn “God Save the Tsar” accompanied by a thundering shout of “Hurrah!” from the whole force.

Two days journey brought the flotilla to the place where our cossack fort Albazin stood for 165 years before being burned to the ground by the Manchurians after Golovin signed the Treaty of Nerchinsk.

Accompanied by the hymn “How Glorious is Our Lord in Zion” as played by the battalion trumpeters, Murav’ev with his suite went on shore and ascended the ramparts which once surrounded Albazin and whose traces are still visible today. Everyone without conscious thought bared their heads and made the sign of the cross in memory of the fort’s defenders who died a hero’s death here, repelling with their breasts a horde of Manchurians that outnumbered them ten times over. Saying a prayer, the force moved on.

The deserted banks began to show signs of life from Albazin on as Daur nomads were encountered, and before reaching the Chinese town of Aihun the first fanza huts of Manchurians were seen.[17]

Everyone was concerned with one thought: “What awaits us in Aihun? Will the Chinese allow the flotilla to pass or will we have to win that right with our weapons in our hands?” Rumor at the time held that a strong Chinese force was concentrated near the town.

On 23 May, after a long day of travel, the force received the order to stop for the night not far from the spot where the Zei River flowed into the Amur and where now stands the town of Blagoveshchensk, about 15 miles from Aihun. As soon as the flotilla was tied to shore, Murav’ev sent the two civil officials in his suite to the town’s governor to find out if he had received permission from Peking for the Russians to pass down the Amur. Everyone anxiously waited for their return. But they brought the disquieting reply that the governor had no decision from Peking allowing the Russians to pass and declined to grant permission on his own authority.

The situation was unenviable, and everyone became discouraged. The next day, on 29 May, Murav’ev ordered the force to press on further to within 2 or 3 miles of the town and tie up to the shore. He boarded the steamer with his suite and set off for Aihun in order to personally speak with the Chinese authorities. Before departing he ordered the force commander to be ready to go forth and attack the town at the first signal.

Murav’ev’s talks with the Chinese went on until evening and were crowned with success: permission was received for unimpeded passage of the flotilla further down the Amur. Having finished the talks, Murav’ev returned to the force on a boat since the steamer Argun could not make way against the current and wind which on that day was blowing in the same direction as the river’s flow, and he ordered the expedition to move onward at once. Thus the main obstacle was overcome, the way opened, and everything promised a successful end to the difficult business. There remained only the struggle with the mighty river, with storms, hunger, and cold, but the marvelous fellows of those times were able to shoulder such hardships.

On 3 June, due to an error by our guide who was confused by the countless islands, the flotilla entered the Ussuri River some 25 miles from its confluence with the Amur, at a place where there is now the Ussuri Cossack Host settlement of Kazakevich. When leaving the Ussuri and entering the Amur, Murav’ev was first of all struck by the river’s high right bank, thickly overgrown with primeval forest. “Here there will be a city,” he said, pointing at a particular precipice jutting out from the overall contour.[18] These words came true as now the city of Khabarovsk stands on that spot, the center of the Amur general-governorship, and on the cliff pointed out by Murav’ev was laid the fundament for a memorial to the hero of the Amur, Graf Murav’ev-Amurskii.[19]

On 9 June when the flotilla had left the mouth of Ussuri about 100 miles behind, an unexpected squall blew up and then turned into a terrific storm. The heavily laden boats and massive rafts dealt with it badly. Several of them were blown onto the shore and almost all the provisions were soaked. The force somehow managed to tie up to shore. The two succeeding days were spent in drying out the foodstuffs. On 10 June a native Gold boat [Gol’datskaya lodka][20] tied up where the expedition’s bivouac was laid out. On the boat was Midshipman Razgradskii[21] bringing Murav’ev a letter from Nevel’skoi and naming the young officer the expedition’s guide for its further journey. Going onward following Razgradskii’s directions, the flotilla covered a further 300 miles and at last in the middle of June reached the original Russian post of Mariinsk, founded in the fall of 1853 by Nevel’skoi, who at the time was staying there. And thus the forces of Murav’ev and Nevel’skoi were united. Thousands of miles had been traveled. Not the mighty unfamiliar river, not storms, not the lack of good guides, not the daunting physical hardships—nothing stopped these heroes. On wretched boats and clumsy rafts, under the threat of the either drowning or at least losing all the provisions overboard and then dying of hunger in the midst of the wild taiga thousands of miles from civilization, they nevertheless stubbornly pressed on and achieved their goal. With a mighty “Hurrah!” from the whole force, the expedition’s boats and rafts made fast to the shore. A few little huts blinked white against the dark backdrop of the forest that surrounded the post. These were not Manchurian fanza huts or the tents and lean-tos of nomadic natives such as were met with during the journey, but Russian izba cabins. For everyone it provided of whiff of far-away home! These izba dwellings in some way testified that this land was Russian, that the force had come across its own native soil! We stayed at Mariinsk for two days, resting after the hard journey. And thus was realized what Murav’ev and Nevel’skoi in St. Petersburg several years before had only dreamed of—that Russians would travel the whole length of the Amur.

After two days the force divided. The mounted sotnia and mountain artillery stayed in Mariinsk. Six hundred men from the battalion, along with provisions intended for Kamchatka, moved onwards. The remaining two hundred men under the command of Sublieutenant Glehn along with Ensign Baranov, and having Midshipman Razgradskii as a guide, set forth on their boats for Lake Kizi intending to cut a road from there to De Castries’ Bay on the shore of the Tatar Strait, to the post of the same name founded by Nevel’skoi. Joining Mariinsk to the De Castries post was very important since it was a point next to a good harbor. Connecting the two places ensured the transport of provisions to the post and made it possible to support it with troops from Mariinsk in case of an attack by an allied squadron on our ships standing there, and in case of a defeat, it would be possible for the ships’ crews to disembark on shore and withdraw into the interior of the country.

The six hundred men sent out with provisions detached two hundred from their number to protect the post (now city) of Nikolaevsk, and then boarded the transport Dvina and set off for Petropavlovsk to provide manpower for the Kamchatka naval équipage [Kamchatskii flotskii ekipazh]. They arrived two weeks before the town was attacked by an Anglo-French squadron and took part in the glorious repulse of the allies’ landing.

Accompanied by Nevel’skoi and his suite, Murav’ev went to De Castries via Nikolaevsk.

Glehn’s force, once it had crossed Lake Kizi which was connected to the Amur by a channel, energetically set to work. The task they faced was not easy. In order to clear trees to lay down a road in this literally virgin forest it was necessary to fell and haul away by hand massive trees that were centuries old, uproot stumps, and also make corduroy roads and build bridges across the streams that frequently crossed the path. The men were exhausted. The scourge of the Siberian taiga, the “gnus”,[22] tormented them during the day and did not allow them to close their eyes at night. It was worst of all on grey, overcast, and drizzly days when the gnus bit hardest. There was little help from burning rotted wood and dried leaves, called the smoke cure by Siberian locals and set up in an attempt to smoke out the evil insects. To crown the misery, the staple food—salt beef—was so spoiled that it had to be thrown away and the column subsisted on just cabbage soup and rusk. But soon even these scanty provisions were used up, and still 6 miles of road remained to be cut. There was no point in thinking of returning to Mariinsk, since given the existing disciplinary regime and Murav’ev’s views regarding duty, it would only incur harsh punishment. It was either die or carry out the business to the end. In this crisis, Sublieutenant Glehn finally decided to send Ensign Baranov with some of the men back to Mariinsk for supplies while he himself continued working with the remaining soldiers. A week went by. The last crumbs of rusk and groats had been consumed long ago, and the men lived on cloudberries, roots, and grouse. Apparently, it was the first time the birds had ever seen man since they allowed themselves to be approached so closely that they did not have to be shot but simply beaten with sticks. But no matter how stupid were the grouse or so thick grew the cloudberries, the column’s situation still became very bad. Men’s stomachs literally swelled with hunger, yet they did not stop working and did not grumble. Another week went by and Baranov had still not returned. God knows how it would have ended if circumstances had not saved the suffering column.

Two officers from the frigate Diana, which it turned out had arrived in De Castries, went out hunting and upon going inland for about five miles came across the column’s camp just by chance. These officers were Lieutenant Prince Obolenskii and, from the Corps of Marine Artillery, Lieutenant Antipenko. All of the column’s adversities ceased: provisions were immediately sent from the Diana along with a doctor to help the sick, of whom there was no small number. Everyone’s spirits rose and the work surged forward. A week and a half later Ensign Baranov returned from Mariinsk with supplies and the force was again united. In a few days its mission was done and it marched back on the road cut to Lake Kizi and thence onward to Mariinsk. The cut road totaled 20 miles in length. In Mariinsk orders awaited the column to immediately go to the Nikolaevsk post, so without even staying one day it marched on down along the Amur. There was no rest at Nikolaevsk either. Murav’ev was there at this time and he ordered Glehn to go with the column to the Petrovsk winter station[23] on the Bay of Good Fortune [zaliv Schastiya].

And so the worn out, ragged, and half-starved force, without even a day’s rest, having journeyed thousands of miles already, once again on their boats, now half rotten and unsafe even for river travel, set off for the Sea of Okhotsk whose fierce storms were dangerous even for large ocean-going vessels. Such was the uncomplaining willingness and endurance of the Russian soldier, the best in the world! In Nikolaevsk anchors and chains were loaded onto the boats, they being needed to be delivered to the Petrovsk station, and the force was augmented by 30 sailors from the frigate Pallada.

The voyage was a failure. Upon leaving the Tatar Strait and entering the Sea of Okhotsk, the flotilla ran into a storm, and if it had not been for the sailors who knew how to handle boats in such circumstances, probably not a single man would have survived. Somehow the sloops ran onto a sand spit jutting far out to sea and beached themselves. The terrified and spent men threw themselves onto shore and fervently gave thanks to God for their miraculous salvation. All the boats were wrecked. There was no hope of continuing the voyage in them, so the force left the cargo of anchors and chains on the spit, took whatever provisions they could, and set off by land, without a road, to the Petrovsk winter station, which they finally reached after great effort.

Following after the force came Murav’ev on the schooner Vostok, and upon arriving he immediately ordered the construction of a four-gun battery. Then on the same schooner he left for Ayan. A week after the schooner’s departure the transport Irtysh under the command of Chikhachev arrived at the Petrovsk station, and the force, having finished building the battery, was sent on that vessel to Ayan where it arrived in the middle of August. Hardly had the Irtysh dropped anchor then up came Lieutenant Prince Obolenskii with orders from Murav’ev for the force to transfer to the Russian-American Company’s transport Kamchatka, which at this time flew the military flag and carried four guns, and sail on it to the Shantar Islands to catch English whalers. Within an hour of receiving the order all personnel had been transferred from the Irtysh to the Kamchatka, which immediately raised anchor and went to sea. The cruise lasted for a few days and during this time the transport met only one ship, which turned out to be an American whaler. Upon returning to Ayan the force was deposited on shore where it set up an encampment. During its four-week stay at Ayan the force built two batteries. In the middle of September, leaving 50 men to finish the work, Sublieutenant Glehn with the remaining personnel set off on the same transport for Sitkha in Novo-Arkhangel’sk to protect the town since, in spite of the fact that our colonies in North America had been declared neutral, they nevertheless fully expected an attack by the Anglo-French fleet.

The 50 men left in Ayan were also soon carried to Novo-Arkhangel’sk on the company brig Knyaz’ Menshikov.

Although with its departure for Sitkha the force’s participation in the acquisition of the Amur territory came to an end, some events during its subsequent service are of enough interest to warrant our relating them to the reader.

After all the difficulties and deprivations that had been endured, life at Sitkha naturally seemed to one and all to be good and even quite enjoyable. Apart from their guard duties, the soldiers worked in the Russian-American Company’s port for special wages (100 paper roubles per year for each man) and actually lived well, but the detachment’s officers, Glehn and Baranov, did not have it so good. Due to the blockade of Sitkha by the allies it was impossible for them to send pay attestations to their units at the proper time, and for five years they received no government funds and lived only on what they were paid by the Russian-American Company in accordance with an agreement with the government. Thus five years of treasury pay was lost to them.

The uneventful and relaxed life at Sitkha was suddenly enlivened by an extraordinary occurence. At that time there was a large village around Novo-Archangel itself, populated by natives of the Kolosh, or Kolyuzh, tribe.

The detachment’s soldiers often strolled through the village, but soon relations between them and the natives became strained. The reason was women. Arguments arose which sometimes ended in fights, but the affairs went no further than fisticuffs. A year after the force’s arrival, several women and girls disappeared from the village. Convinced that they had been stolen by the soldiers, the village inhabitants sought revenge and treacherously murdered some woodcutters from the detachment who had been sent into the forest. In spite of demands from the Sitkha governor, Admiral Vsevolozhskii, the Kolosh refused to turn over the guilty parties. Feeling that they would be made to pay for this affair, they swarmed out of the village and occupied the mission church next to the town. Upon learning of this, Vsevolozhskii summoned the garrison and personally led it to the occupied church. Halting with his force about 200 yards from it, he once again appealed to the rebels to turn over the murderers, but in reply the Kolosh opened fire. Seeing that his entreaties were having no effect, Vsevolozhskii ordered an attack on the church. But this was not an easy task. The church stood on a height in the middle of completely open terrain, and the Kolosh were armed with English rifles when our garrison only had bad quality flintlock muskets. Cannon had to be brought from the town, and the church began to be fired upon. After a few shots the doors were smashed and the force rushed into the attack. Hand-to-hand fighting ensued, during which Ensign Baranov was seriously wounded, eight lower ranks were killed, and twenty were wounded. The Kolosh, unable to save themselves by fleeing, were almost all cut down or run through.

A year after this affair, upon Vsevolozhskii’s recommendation, Ensign Baranov was awarded the order of St. Anne 4th class “For Courage,” and two lower ranks who had distinguished themselves the most received St.-George crosses. Upon the end of this accidental war, life resumed it old quiet and languid pace.

About two years after arriving at Sitkha, Glehn and Baranov received completely unexpected orders transferring them to the navy as midshipmen. Of course, this was an great surprise, but there was nothing to be done and they not only donned naval uniform but even set to diligently studying naval subjects. But it turned out they were not to be in the navy for long. After some time they again received orders, this time directing them to just wear naval uniform but maintain their status and rank in the infantry as before. Subsequently they were ordered to also take off the uniform. What the higher authorities’ motives were in transferring them to the navy and then ordering them to wear naval uniform—remained unknown.

In 1859, having spent five years at Sitkha, Glehn with part of the detachment returned to Nikolaevsk on the company steamer Aleksandr, from which place the lower ranks were sent to the Trans-Baikal to serve out their time with their battalions. Glehn himself was transferred to a line battalion in Blagoveshchensk.

Ensign Baranov remained with the rest of the men in Novo-Arkhangel’sk and died there from effects from the wound he received in the skirmish with the Kolosh. Glehn, currently a colonel, did not leave the region in whose acquisition by Russia he took such an active part, and now commands the Ussuri Cossack Half-Battalion located at the post of Kamen’-Rybolov, in the Maritime District.


A. Danilov


Translated by Mark Conrad, 2006.


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[1] Written down as told by a participant of the expedition, Sublieutenant (now Lieutenant Colonel) N.A. Glehn. [Note by M.C. – Nikolaus von Glehn [Nikolai Aleksandrovich fon Glen in Russian] was commissioned as an officer in 1852 and promoted from ensign to sublieutenant on 26 January 1854, in Siberian Line Battalion No. 14. His father Aleksandr Khristianovich was a doctor who worked for private gold mining concerns in Russia and settled in Kazan. In the 1870s Lieutenant Colonel von Glehn was the commander of the Ussuri Foot Cossack Battalion.]

[2] The Shilkinskii zavod on the Shilka River in the Trans-Baikal Territory.

[3] Construction of a long boat, boats, rafts, and steamer Argun began two years before this expedition, namely in 1852. Captain-Lieutenant Kazakevich and Midshipman Sgibnev directed the construction. Lower ranks of the 15th Line Battalion did the work in building the craft, with the Mines Administration making no less a contribution.

[4] The editors of Istoricheskii Vestnik have Skobel’tsyn’s interesting notes on hand, and they will be published this year.
[Note by M.C. - See Istoricheskii Vestnik, Vol. 58, 1894, part 4, pgs. 189-210, “Zapiski G. D. Skobel’tsyna.” Gavriil Dmitrievich Skobel’tsyn accompanied his father into the Amur region several times before going on active duty in 1849, whereupon took part in government topographical expeditions and was eventually commissioned as an officer. He was promoted from supplementary-sotnik (lieutenant) to supplementary-yesaul (captain) in the Trans-Baikal Horse Cossack on 6 June 1854. On 11 December 1854 he was awarded the order of St. Anne 3rd class for distinguished service, being listed as an officer of the 4th Regiment of the Trans-Baikal Horse Cossack Host. – M.C.]

[5] Note by M.C. - Graf Nikolai Nikolaevich Murav’ev (1809-1881). One of several prominent generals and statesmen of the Murav’ev family. As an officer in the Life-Guards Finland Regiment took part in the Russo-Turkish War of 1828-29 and the suppression of the Polish insurrection in 1831. Fought in the Caucasus from 1838 and promoted to major general in 1841. Named governor of Tula Province in 1846, and in 1847 the governor-general of Irkutsk and Yeniseisk, soon acting as governor-general of Eastern Siberia. In 1854 he led the Amur expedition and in 1858 concluded the Treaty of Aigun by which Russia took possession of the Amur and Ussuri regions. In 1858 promoted to general-of-infantry and given the title of Graf Murav’ev of the Amur [Murav’ev-Amurskii]. Visited Japan in 1859 and returned to St. Petersburg in 1861. Settled abroad and died in Paris in 1881.

[6] Note by M.C. – Lieutenant-Colonel Mikhail Semenovich Korsakov (not major), commissioned an ensign in the Life-Guards Semenovskii Regiment in 1845, now serving in the Trans-Baikal Cossack Host as head of the cossack section in the Main Administration for Eastern Siberia.

[7] Note by M.C. – Actually Lieutenant Medvedev of Siberian Line Battalion No. 15, awarded the order of St. Anne 3rd class on 24 December 1854.

[8] Note by M.C. - Aleksei Yevg. Baranov had followed his brother, a government official, to Siberia, hoping to be likewise appointed to a civil service position, but eventually settling for an officer’s commission. Ensign Baranov was transferred from Siberian Line Battalion No. 12 to Battalion No. 14 by an order of 27 May 1854. On 31 October 1855, for “establishing order among the wild Kolosh tribes on the island of Sitkha ,” he was awarded the order of St. Anne 4th class inscribed “For Courage,” and on 6 October 1856 he was promoted to sublieutenant. Baranov wrote his own account of the Amur expedition (“Na reke Amure v 1854-56 gg.” Russkaya Starina, vol. 71, 1891, part 3, pages 327-54).

[9] Note by M.C. – Sotnik (cossack Lieutenant) Aleksei Imberg of the Trans-Baikal Horse Cossack Host was promoted to Yesaul (cossack captain) on 6 June 1854. He was awarded the order of St. Anne 3rd class on 11 December 1854, being listed as in the host’s 2nd Regiment. In 1855 a report in the naval journal Morskoi Sbornik referred to him as in the 6th Sotnia of the “Amur Horse Regiment.”

[10] Note by M.C. – Zauryad-Sotnik Pavel Belomestnov of the Trans-Baikal Cossack Host.

[11] Note by M.C. - Sublieutenant Baksheev, unassigned within the artillery branch. Promoted to lieutenant on 6 September 1854 and awarded the order of St. Anne 3rd class on 24 December 1854.

[12] Note by M.C. –  Petr Vasil’evich Kazakevich. In 1856 he was acting military governor of Kamchatka.

[13] Note by M.C. – Nikolai Pavlovich Anosov, 1835-1890. Graduated from the Mining Institute in 1853, published a paper on the Amur for the Russian Geographical Society in 1855.

[14] Note by M.C. – Collegiate Secretary Nikolai Dmitrievich Sverbeev was an official in Murav’ev’s chancellery, and Titular Councilor Sychevskii was a translator of the Manchurian language who was awarded the order of St. Vladimir 4th class on 23 February 1855.

[15] Note by M.C. – Gennadii Ivanovich Nevel’skoi. Born in 1813. Entered the Naval Cadet Corps at age sixteen, arrived in Kamchatka in 1849 with the intent of proving the Amur navigable to ships, and in the following years directed many expeditions and surveys. He was promoted to rear admiral on 26 August 1854. After returning to European Russia in 1856, Nevel’skoi promoted naval and merchant marine causes until his death in St. Petersburg in 1876, having achieved the rank of full admiral.

[16] Note by M.C. – Actually, the Japanese explorer Mimaya Rinzo determined Sakhalin to be an island in 1809, that expedition being prompted by raids on northern Japanese outposts by two overzealous Russian navy lieutenants.

[17] Fanza – a Chinese hut built out of boards and smeared with clay.

[18] From the words of the late admiral and general-adjutant, Kazakevich.

[19] The ceremonial placement of the memorial’s fundament took place on 27 October 1888, and the monument itself was erected in 1889.

[20] Note by M.C. - Gol’di was a Russian name for a native people more correctly known as the Nanai or Hezhezu.

[21] Note by M.C. – Midshipman Grigorii Danilovich Razgradskii, commissioned in the Corps of Naval Navigators in 1851 but now in the 47th Naval Équipage, had been awarded the order of St. Anne 3rd class on 11 April 1854. In 1855 he was appointed civil chief of the Kizi District.

[22] In Siberia “gnus” is the name given to mosquitos, midges, spiders, gadflies, gnats, and such noxious insects in general. They swarm in remote untrodden parts of Siberia in such masses that in those places it is impossible to go out except with a hair net over one’s face. There were cases of the gnus biting domestic animals to death. Clouds of these bloodsuckers swarm the poor animal so that it finally has no more strength, collapses to the ground, and dies. These instances occur not only in the taiga itself into which livestock sometimes wander away from their herds, but even in the outlying, more remote streets of Siberian towns, as for example happened in 1881-82 in Khabarovsk.

[23] The station named Post “Petrovskoe zimov’e” was founded by Nevel’skoi in 1850.