Hot Weather and White Kepi Covers on the March to the Balkans, 1877.

(From Istoriya 137-go pekhotnago Nezhinskago Eya Imperatorskago Vysochestva Velikoi Knyagini Marii Pavlovny polka. Staff-Captain Skvortsov. Moskva, 1896. Pages 43-44)

On 30 [June 1877] the troops entered the village of Grushevo, where 1 May was designated a rest day. Here orders were given for the troops to march out as early as possible because of the oncoming hot weather.

On 2 May the troops entered the town of Kishinev, arriving at 9 o'clock in the morning. From here, after a 1-1/2 hour halt at the edge of town, they entered the town itself. Upon entering they were met by the division commander and went to the military square where there was scheduled to be a review by His Highness the commander-in-chief of the army, but because the main headquarters left the day before across the border, the review was carried out by corps commander Lieutenant General Gan.

On this day the heat was unbearable. The strong dry wind literally pasted the eyes with dust and on top of everything else, there was not a drop of water on the whole march. The soldiers were advised before setting out from the overnight encampment to collect as much water as possible in the bottles each man had, made of thick glass and covered with cloth, and dilute the water with several drops of  citric acid [limonnaya kislota].

The 3rd, 4th, and 5th were spent resting in the town of Kishinev. Here the officers changed their headdresses for white kepis with neck cloths [belye kepi s nazatyl'nikami]. A short time after there was an order to make white covers with neck cloths [belye chekhly s nazatyl'nikami] for the lower ranks' kepis, too.

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Translated by Mark Conrad, 2005.