The Olga Hussars.

A Battle Between Russian and Hungarian Hussars, 8(20) July 1849.

By Aleksandr Voronov.


[From Tseikhgauz No. 13, 1/2001. Pages 22-28.]


            In 1848 Europe was convulsed by a wave of revolution that rocked the foundations of most governments. Only Russia turned out to be practically untouched by the troubles and was even able to render aid to neighboring monarchies. To being with, on 6 June 1848 the 5th Infantry Corps of General-Adjutant A.N. Lüders, in agreement with the Turkish government, entered the principality of Moldavia, where it helped put an end to disturbances. Then in October-November of that same year, Russian forces occupied part of Walachia, putting down the remnants of the June revolution. Soon the Austrian empire asked for help. The Hungarian national revolt had put Hapsburg rule on the brink of catastrophe. Emperor Ferdinand I renounced the throne, and on 2 December 1848 the young Francis-Joseph ascended. Following the spirit of the Holy Alliance, Russia decided to again intervene in European affairs. The 1849 campaign offered Russian hussars a unique opportunity to contest their strength with their Hungarian colleagues who had at one time served as the prototype for all hussar cavalry.


            The Hungarian campaign opened in fact on 20 January (1 February) 1849, when two small columns—those of Major General Engelhardt (3 battalions, 2 sotnias, and 8 guns) and Colonel Skaryatin (4 battalions, 5 sotnias, and 8 guns)—crossed the Transylvanian border on Lüders’ orders (he had previously received Nicholas I’s approval). Here General Józef Bem’s Hungarian army was successfully pushing the forces of Feldmarschalleutnant Puchner toward Hermannstadt. At the request of the Austrians, Russian columns entered Transylvania and on 23 January occupied the cities of Kronstadt and Hermannstadt. The appearance of Skaryatin’s force compelled Bem to cease his pursuit of the Austrians and retreat to the Mures River. Puchner gained heart and crossed over to the offensive, but was decisively defeated in battle at Piski on 28 January. He was saved from complete destruction only by the incursion into Transylvania of another Austrian force under Colonel Urban. Bem was obliged to move to meet this new enemy and by 11 February had pushed Urban back into the Bukovina. After this the Hungarians concentrated at Medias. Meanwhile Puchner gathered his troops, crossed to the offensive on 17 February, beat the rebels after all, and occupied Medias on the 20th. Bem retreated and took up a strong position at Segesvar. Cheered by his rare success, Puchner decided to not take risks and went around the Hungarians by further marches. But upon approaching Segesvar on 27 February, he was quite amazed at not encountering the enemy. The field marshal did not even want to believe this until he received intelligence from Skaryatin. Bem had guessed the Austrian maneuver and undertaken a daring course of action. While the calculating Puchner was going around his left flank, Bem lunged forward to the road just abandoned by the enemy and moved along it straight into the enemy’s rear toward Hermannstadt. After realizing his false step, Puchner took off in pursuit but was too late. On 27 February the Hungarians fell upon the Russian column with all their strength. After a stubbornly fought battle Skaryatin was forced to retreat to the Walachian border. Only on 1 March was Puchner able to establish communications with the Russians and agree to attack Hermannstadt with their help. But here he fell ill and quit his army. General Caliani who replaced him lost the initiative once and for all and withdrew the Austrian force to Kronstadt to unite with Engelhardt’s column. Bem followed the Austrians and on 8 March approached the city. Caliani would not accept battle and he retreated further to Walachia, drawing Engelhardt behind him. Bem then turned again on Skaryatin, who had ensconced himself in the Rottenturm Pass. On 16-17 March the Russians beat off all Hungarian attacks. But Skaryatin saw no use in continuing the defense, and withdrew his troops into Walachia. Thus ended the first battles, which clearly showed that in a struggle with a strong and daring enemy, the Russian army could only count on itself.

            Meanwhile the state of the Austrian army, demoralized by varied failures, became critical. The Vienna cabinet lost hope of being able to quell the revolt with its own resources, and in March 1849 officially turned to Russia for help. Emperor Nicholas I agreed under the condition that Russian forces operate independently and separately from the Austrians. For the Hungarian campaign an army of four corps was mobilized, deployed on the western border: Lieutenant General P.Ya. Kupriyanov’s 2nd Corps (4th, 5th, and 6th Infantry Divisions, 2nd Light Cavalry Division, and 2nd Artillery Division – 48,987 men); General-Adjutant Graf F.V. Rüdiger’s 3rd Corps (7th, 8th, and 9th Infantry Divisions, 3rd Light Cavalry Division, and 3rd Artillery Division – 44.928 men); Lieutenant General M.I. Cheodaev’s 4th Infantry Corps (10th, 11th, and 12th Infantry Divisions, 4th Light Cavalry Division, and 4th Artillery Division – 52,274 men); General-Adjutant A.N. Lüders’ 5th Corps (14th and 15th Infantry Divisions, 5th Light Cavalry Division, 5th Artillery Division, and 3rd Don Cossack Regiment – 28,676 men). On 18(30) April 1849 the commander of all Russian forces, General-Field Marshal the Prince of Warsaw, Graf I.F. Paskevich, issued the order to cross the border. On 28 April a Highest Manifesto was proclaimed in which it was said, “Having been called to aid the Just cause of the All-Highest Leader in battle and the Lord of victories, We have directed Our several armies to move to extinguish revolt and destroy the audacious evil-minded persons who are trying to disturb the tranquility of Our realm as well.”

            Hungarian forces were concentrated in several places: the Upper-Danube army commanded by Artúr Görgey, in the fortress of Komorn and nearby (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 7th, and 8th Corps; 58,000 men); the Bach-Banat army of Morits Pertsel (soon replaced by Fetter) (4th and 5th Corps; 29,000 men); the Upper-Tisza army on the northern border under Dembinski (later Vysocki) (9th Corps; 17,000 men); and Bem’s army in Transylvania and near Karlsburg (6th Siege Corps; 42,000 men). In addition there were 8000 men in volunteer units and the National Guard of the Csongrád comitatus; a reserve corps in the process of being formed (8000 men), and also a reserve at Debrecen (another 20,000 men). True, these troops varied widely in quality. The regular Hungarian army itself was very small and consisted of 25 battalions of infantry, 12 hussar regiments (96 squadrons), and 50 artillery batteries (400 guns), which at one time had been part of the Austrian imperial army. Additionally, there were 147 battalions and 6 hussar regiments of the honvéd (Hungarian militia), as well as Italian and Polish legions. Independent groups and bands of partisans were active in the mountainous districts of the Carpathians. In all, the revolutionary forces numbered about 200,000 men. Against them in Hungary and Transylvania were sent about 300,000 officers and soldiers of the Russian and Austrian armies. On 6 June, almost without meeting any opposition, the Russians reached Lublau-Bartfeld, which caused a panic in the Hungarian revolutionary government. The Upper-Tisza army, deployed along the route Dukla-Neumark-Eperjes [Prešov], retreated to the town of Kaschau [Kassa, Košice]. Here the first fight of the vanguard took place, in which the Yelisavetgrad Hussar Regiment distinguished itself (since 1 January 1845 it had been renamed after its chef as Her Imperial Highness Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna’s Hussar Regiment). This regiment (8 squadrons) was part of the 2nd Brigade of the 2nd Light Cavalry Division and upon crossing the frontier numbered 3 field-grade officers, 41 company-grade officers, 135 non-commissioned officers, 21 musicians, 928 privates, 20 non-combatants, and 1066 horses.

            On the morning of 11 June advance units of the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Corps almost simultaneously entered Eperjes from three directions: from Terne, Kis-Zeben, and Kapi. Immediately after occupying the town, the troops assigned to make up a new vanguard began to go along the road from Eperjes to Kaschau. In front of all went Don Cossack No. 46 Regiment (5 sotnias), which kept watch on the movements of the Hungarian force that had retreated from Kis-Zeben through Eperjes. The regiment took up a position in front of the village of Makszarmany (Mo armani), a mile from the hamlet of Samoš (Šamoš). At about 4 o’clock in the afternoon the Hungarians, having sent out a line of three infantry battalions in front of the hamlet supported by three squadrons of cavalry and six guns, began an energetic advance and started to press heavily upon the cossacks, throwing them out of the positions they had occupied. The first to receive news of the enemy’s advance in overwhelming numbers was Major General A.F. Baggovut, commander of the 2nd Brigade of the 2nd Light Cavalry Division. He was marching with Her Imperial Highness Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna’s Hussar Regiment and Light-Horse No. 4 Battery, which formed the vanguard’s forward echelon of troops. Baggovut moved the hussars to Samoš at a trot. He arrived at the elevated point where the Don cossacks were but could not put the entire battery into position due to unfavorable terrain. Baggovut placed two guns on the highway but left the remaining six behind the elevation to the left, giving them a division [division, i.e. a double-squadron – M.C.] of hussars for cover. He deployed the rest of the regiment to the left of the highway while the cossacks were moved up on the right to come around the Hungarians’ left flank.

            The Russian artillerymen very effectively opened fire on the Hungarian artillery deployed across from them. With just the second shot an ammunition caisson was blown up, after which the enemy battery quickly limbered up and withdrew through the village and across the Tar a River. The cossacks who had been sent out around the flank withstood several insignificant attacks by Hungarian cavalry and in the end, after grouping together in one mass, entered into hand-to-hand fighting. At the same time as this combat began, four horse-artillery guns moved forward into the position abandoned by the Hungarian artillery and opened up an intense firing which forced the enemy infantry and cavalry to retreat to Samoš in disorder. Here on the outskirts of the town a great fight took place. Taking advantage of the enemy’s confusion, the Leib-Squadron of Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna’s Hussars charged into the attack, supported by the 2nd Division. The hussars bravely cut into the Hungarian ranks and smashed the foe, bringing him into total chaos and overturning him. Colonel Ernfeldt, the chief-of-staff of the Hungarian force, tried to organize resistance but was cut down by Captain L.F. von Raden, the commander of the Leib-Squadron. As a trophy he took from the slain officer his sash in the Hungarian national colors with long silver tassels (right up to the beginning of the First World War this sash was carefully preserved in one of the display cases of the officers’ club of Her Imperial Highness Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna’s 3rd Yelisavetgrad Hussar Regiment).

            The Hungarian forces withdrew in great disorder beyond the village, where a battery of seven guns had been opportunely set up. Under the cover of infantrymen who stayed in place and somehow formed into some kind of order, it opened fire on the hussars. But the firing was with round shot (as later explained by prisoners—because there was no canister). The rounds flew past the heads of the galloping horsemen but did not inflict the least harm. The dispersed units of Hungarian infantry retreated past the village through vegetable patches and gardens, forded across the Tar a River and joined the main force. Further pursuit of the enemy by the cavalry became impossible. The oncoming darkness separated the combatants, and the Russian troops lay down for the night on the battlefield. The Hungarians, however, did not halt but withdrew with such speed that the next day cossack patrols found on the road only large numbers of abandoned wounded men and discarded weapons. On 12 June the Olga hussars entered Kaschau.

            The Russian vanguard’s losses in the battle of 11 June were: 4 officers wounded and contused (including Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna’s Hussar Regiment’s Major Holstein, Captain Raden, and Cornet Mikul’skii), 1 killed and 15 seriously wounded lower ranks, and 11 men wounded but remaining in the ranks. Also, the hussars lost 34 horses killed and 10 injured. Hungarian losses amounted to about 64 men in killed alone (including 4 officers), and 113 prisoners. On learning of her regiment’s heroic performance, on 1 August 1849 Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna wrote in a letter addressed to its commander, Colonel Orlov 2nd:

   Sir Colonel. Having read with special satisfaction and pride the report of the deeds of My regiment, which distinguished itself in battles against the rebellious Hungarians, I am pleased to send through You to give to the regiment from Me an image of the Saint and Martyr George the Bearer of Victory, protector of our invincible warriors. Let Him always accompany and inspire them in all circumstances. To the commander of My squadron, Captain Raden, who so valiantly fought at Kaschau, I send a saber as a sign of My excellent esteem, and add My sincere best wishes to all of you.   OLGA.

            After Major General L.F. von Raden’s death in 1878, the mentioned gold saber with the inscription “For Courage” was given by his widow to the Yelisavetgrad Regiment and kept alongside other relics of martial glory.

            On 18 June 1849 the Russian vanguard entered Miskolc, while the rest of the forces deployed between that town and Foro. The Hungarians retreated to Hatvan. The Russian 4th Corps moved forward to Tokaj and Debrecen, occupying the latter on 21 June. The Hungarian revolutionary government fled. During June and the beginning of July Russian troops defeated Görgey’s force at the village of Pered while the Austrian army finally managed to crush the Hungarian 7th Corps at the so-called Raab fortifications. Paskevich wedged himself between the Hungarian armies. Görgey with 27,000 men tried to break through to southern Hungary, but on 3 July he was rebuffed at Waitzen [Vác] and quickly withdrew to the north to avoid being destroyed. When Paskevich’s main forces attacked Waitzen on 5 July, only a rearguard consisting of small groups of Hungarians remained there, held back by their supply trains. Paskevich moved his forces north behind Görgey and established his headquarters in Waitzen, planning to relocate with his army to Hatvan. The supply train hurrying to Waitzen were halted and ordered to concentrate at Aszód.

            Meanwhile in the south, the Tisza Reserve Army (Pertsel’s 10th Corps and Vysocki’s force, 24,000 men and 54 guns in all) went into motion without waiting for Görgey. It moved from Szolnok to direct a blow on the rear of the Russian forces marching north. Discovering this, on 2 July Paskevich stopped his 2nd Corps in Waitzen. To protect the transport park a force was quickly formed under Lieutenant General A.P. Tolstoi: the 2nd Brigade of the 5th Infantry Division (Kostroma and Galich Jäger Regiments), 2 foot artillery batteries, a sapper company, 8 squadrons of Her Imperial Highness Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna’s Hussar Regiment, 5 squadrons of His Majesty the King of Hanover’s Hussar Regiment (formerly the Lubny Hussars), 8 guns of Light-Horse No. 4 Battery, 6 guns of Don Reserve No. 2 Battery, the Muslim Horse Regiment, and 2 sotnias of Don Cossack No. 32 Regiment. In the evening of the 5th the force marched out toward Aszód with the primary task of protecting the transport park. To support Tolstoi, on 6 July there was also sent to the village of Ujfal General Labintsov’s 1st Brigade of the 5th Infantry Division (His Imperial Highness Grand Duke Vladimir Aleksandrovich’s Infantry Regiment—formerly the Archangel Regiment—and the Vologda Infantry Regiment). Paskevich’s headquarters also moved there on 7 July with the remaining units of the 2nd Corps.

            On 7 July Tolstoi’s force camped in place. On 8 (20) July 1849, in accordance with battle orders, all the infantry, the Muslim Horse Regiment, and 2 batteries of foot artillery moved to the hamlet of Hatvan to act as a vanguard for Paskevich’s main force. The remaining units (13 squadrons of hussars, 14 horse-artillery guns, and 2 cossack sotnias) were to go from the town of Aszód to the village of Szambok (Zambok) to cover the army’s movement on the right flank. But before moving out, Tolstoi received a report from Major Dushkinskii, commander of a division of the Kharkov Lancer Regiment. Already on 1 July his division had been sent out from the 1st Brigade of the 2nd Light Cavalry Division to reconnoiter in the direction of Szambok and at the moment was at Fensar. Dukshinskii announced that significant Hungarian forces (from 15 to 20 thousand men) were moving toward Szambok and that the enemy vanguard (some 4 or 5 thousand strong) had already occupied the village of Tot-Almas. The Hungarians were swiftly approaching the Russian transport park. Upon assessing the situation, Tolstoi sent to Labintsov in Ujfal for help, and himself at 5 o’clock in the morning marched forward with his columns from Aszód to meet the enemy, sending two sotnias of cossacks out in front.

            Hardly had he reached the village of Tura when a new report was received from the Kharkov Lancers: the enemy was pressing upon the two squadrons with Tornicki’s cavalry division under the commander of the Hungarian 10th Corps, Dzsefi (17 squadrons, 12 guns). Behind the cavalry came Pertsel with a brigade of infantry. Soon the most advanced cossack patrols discovered the approaching enemy, in front of whom the division of Kharkov Lancers were retreating in completely good order on foot. Under the cover of this division and cossacks that were sent forward, Tolstoi drew up his force in front of Tura in the following dispositions:

            - In the first line: Her Imperial Highness Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna’s Hussar Regiment in attack columns of divisions [v divizionnykh kolonnakh k atake], with Don Reserve No. 2 Battery in the middle interval.

            - In the second line: His Majesty the King of Hannover’s Hussar Regiment in attack columns of divisions, with Light-Horse No. 4 Battery in the second line.

            - Two sotnias of Don No. 32 Regiment and two squadrons of lancers were moved forward, as already mentioned, to mask the Don battery in the first line.

            The enemy also took up a position. The Russian troops approached to within a cannon shot of the Hungarians and halted. Tolstoi ordered the men to dismount and stand at ease. Seeing the great numerical superiority of the Hungarian cavalry, he did not want to begin the attack before the arrival of Labintsov’s seven battalions. But Labintsov, in spite of all haste, at this time was only just coming up to Aszód. He still had six miles to go to reach Tura, and in the most exhausting heat. The Hungarians in turn were waiting for Pertsel’s lagging brigade, still on the other side of Szambok.

            Two hours passed. Finally at 1 o’clock, enemy battalions deployed along the Hungarian front opened intense fire on the Russian columns. Tolstoi was forced to immediately move Light-Horse No. 4 Battery into the first line and to its left deploy five squadrons of the King of Hanover’s Hussar Regiment, which up to now had been in reserve. The lancers and cossacks were brought back. The Russian horse artillery very effectively countered the Hungarian gunners. Seeing this, Tolstoi moved all fourteen guns forward and placed them closer to the enemy positions, the center of which gave way a little under their fire. Soon the Hungarians, suffering significant casualties from the artillery fire, attacked the Russian left flank with six squadrons of Polish lancers. Then the commander of the King of Hanover’s Hussar Regiment, Colonel Voinilovich, left one squadron with the artillery and with the other four advanced at a walk to meet the enemey, who in spite of his numerical superiority still did not resolve to attack.

            Meanwhile, by taking advantage of the rolling terrain that to some extent concealed the situation, the Hungarians concentrated a large quantity of cavalry to outflank the Russian right. Soon, gathering speed before the blow, they began closing with our line. The dense mass of Hungarian hussars, composed of ten squadrons formed in attack columns without maintaining any intervals, determinedly attacked the Yelisavetgrad Hussars’ battle formations. In the second echelon on the edge of a wood, four more squadrons of the reserve were in motion (later they also entered the fight).

            Hungarian sources state that in the battle with the Russian hussars at Tura there were two Hungarian hussar regiments of the so-called “new” regiments formed after the outbreak of the uprising: the 16th (Károlyi) and 18th (Attila). They had a significant numerical superiority over their foe. In peacetime Hungarian hussar regiments consisted of ten squadrons, each of which numbered 180 hussars with their officers. During the military operations of 1848-49, according to prisoners and Austrian officers, there were from 120 to 130 horsemen in a hussar squadron. Thus there were about 1700 Hungarian hussars taking part in the attack at Tura, while Her Imperial Highness Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna’s Hussar Regiment counted only 46 officers and 962 men in formation (returns of 6 July).

            Nevertheless, in spite of a resolute charge and advantage in numbers, the attack by the Hungarians cavalry was unsuccessful. Under the leadership of the brigade commander, Major General A.F. Baggovut, the Olga hussars valiantly withstood the assault and then themselves counterattacked. A hot cavalry fight ensued. They Olga hussars cut and hewed, not yielding a single step back. In the words of an eyewitness:

When the cossack patrol reported the enemy’s appearance, the regimental commander ordered the trumpeters to blow the alarm and Captain Raden to attack the Hungarians while the other squadrons were brought out onto the field. In Raden’s squadrons the singers suddenly suspended their song and did not even have time to button their dolmans, and he himself galloped forward with his uniform unbuttoned and the song “Take Care of the Name of Olga” [“Beregite Imya Ol’gi”] on his lips. He extended his front and attacked the frenzied Hungarians who received the blow at the trot and swallowed the squadron. Raden was wounded. Following the first squadron with the same glorious regimental song that reminded everyone of the Olga name, there dashed up in turn the other squadrons, which deployed and attacked the enemy like madmen. Here, as is said in the song, the hussar pelisse truly turned red with bloodstains…

            Just how fierce the hussar fight was is evidenced, for example, by the fact that the Olga Hussars’ Major Goldstein received thirteen saber wounds, from which he died two hours after the battle.

            Meanwhile four Hungarian squadrons came of the woods and threatened to strike the Olga men in the flank. Lieutenant General Tolstoi himself then took the last reserve into the attack—the cossacks and Kharkov lancers. By this combined blow the enemy cavalry was overthrown, so much so that several squadrons of Hungarian hussars were cut off and fled into the woods, losing cohesion and rejoining their own forces only in small and scattered groups. At this decisive moment Lieutenant General Labintsov finally arrived. The foot artillery accompanying his infantry was going almost at a trot. Behind them at a run came His Imperial Highness Grand Duke Vladimir Aleksandrovich’s Infantry Regiment, which upon its arrival went into the first line. After these first units came the Vologda Infantry Regiment and an Austrian rocket battery. The deploying Russian infantry gave the hussar squadrons of Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna’s Hussar Regiment the opportunity to reform, and they then set off in pursuit of the defeated foe. Heavy [batareinnaya] No. 3 Battery and the horse artillery supported them with heavy firing. After pushing the Polish lancers off the battlefield, the hussars of the King of Hanover’s Regiment captured a gun, and the Vologda men—an ammunition caisson. At this moment Pertsel came up to the Hungarians with a brigade of infantry, but it was already too late. Hungarian troops were retreating everywhere. They quickly withdrew under the cover of Pertsel’s brigade and were pursued by the Russians to Szambok.

            In spite of the fierce nature of the battle, Russian losses were not great: 7 privates and 1 non-combatant killed; 1 field-grade officer, 7 company-grade officers, 8 non-commissioned officers, and 42 privates wounded. Three privates were missing. In Her Imperial Highness Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna’s Hussar Regiment itself there were wounded 1 field-grade officer (Major Goldstein, mortally), 7 company-grade officers (Captain Raden, Captain Freitag, Lieutenant Gavrilov, Lieutenant Proshinskii, Cornet Manteufel, Cornet Pahlen, and Cornet Talaev), 2 junkers (Proshinskii and Manteufel), 4 non-commissioned officers, and 28 privates. Forty horses were lost. It must be supposed that Hungarian casualties exceeded Russian losses. Unfortunately, we do not possess exact information regarding this, but Hungarian histories of the 1849 war acknowledge the failure of their hussar regiments at Tura, which, you must agree, does not happen often.

            The affair at the village of Tura on 8 July 1849 is noteworthy as a valiant cavalry attack where Russian hussars vied with Hungarians in courage and self-sacrifice. For his brilliant victory A.P. Tolstoi, commander of the Russian force, was decorated with the order of St. George 3rd class. During the rest of the 1849 campaign Her Imperial Highness Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna’s Hussar Regiment took part in a skirmish at Norszlo on 13 July and the Battle of Debrecen on 21 July, and was also at the surrender of the main Hungarian army on 1 August at Vilagoj. But for the Olga hussars the fight at Tura was the most spectacular event of the war and one of the most important in the regiment’s history.

            The regiment was put forward fro an award of St.-George trumpets for the Hungarian campaign, but since it already has 25 St.-George trumpets given for the Patriotic War by a Highest ukase of 13 April 1813, the inscription “For distinction in the defeat and expulsion of the enemy from Russia in 1812” had added on 25 December 1849: “and for the pacification of Hungary in 1849.” According to some sources the regiment was also submitted for an award of a St.-George standard, but for some reason this was not granted.


Sources and literature:

1. RGVIA, F. 846, op. 16, d. 5353, d. 5350.

2. Pamyatka Yelisavetgradskogo gusara. St. Petersburg, 1914.

3. G. Kevdes. A szabadságharc huszárai. Budapest, 1992.




On the cover: Staff-trumpeter of Her Imperial Highness Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna's Hussar Regiment, 1845-55. (Artist Igor' Dzys'.)

Page 22: Map of the theater of operations in Hungary in 1848-49. Appended to the article “Vengerskaya voina 1848-1849 gg.” in Volume V of I.D. Sytin’s Voennaya entsiklopediya, St. Petersburg, 1911.  

Page 23: (Inset) Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna in a uniform dress as chef of Her Imperial Highness Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna’s Hussar Regiment. Watercolor by V.I. Gau (Argentine National Museum of the Decorative Arts, Buenos Aires).

            Daughter of Nicholas I, Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna was named honorary colonel (chef) of the Yelisavetgrad Hussar Regiment on 1 January 1845 and remained chef of the of the Yelisavetgradtsy men until 24 October 1894. At her appointment, the regiment was retitled Her Imperial Highness Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna’s Hussar Regiment, but on 10 March 1857 the word Yelisavetgrad was added to this title. One interesting detail in the portrait is that the silver cord on the shako is, against regulations, attached by a small bone toggle not to a buttonhole on the back of the headdress, but to one of the button loops on the front of the dolman.

(Below) Twenty-five St.-George trumpets inscribed “For courage at the defeat and expulsion of the enemy from Russia in 1812” and “For the pacification of Hungary in 1849.” Photograph from 1914 (Regimental Museum of Her Imperial Highness Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna’s 3rd Yelisavetgrad Hussar Regiment).  

Page 24: Hussar of the 16th (Károlyi) Hussar Regiment of the Hungarian national army (Honvéd). This unit was one of the six hussar regiments formed after the outbreak of the uprising, called “new” as distinct from the twelve permanent regiments which had previously been in the regular Austrian army. Usually new regiments were named in honor of heroes from Hungarian history. However, the 16th Regiment received the name of Graf Istvan Károlyi, a great magnate who formed the unit at his own expense. (Artist Igor’Dzys’, 2001.)  

Page 25: Private of Her Imperial Highness Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna’s Hussar Regiment in campaign dress, 1846-55. On 10 January 1845, the regiment was ordered to have as distinctions to the normal hussar uniforms: white shakos, pelisses, and sabertaches; blue [svetlo-sinie] dolmans and saddlecloths; white shoulder straps and collar piping on greatcoats; white piping on riding trousers; yellow cords, lace, and trim on the uniform. In 1846 firing-cap pouches were introduced. During the 1849 campaign hussars wore dolmans, riding trousers, and shakos covered with black covers. Pelisses, being part of the parade uniform, were in the wagon train. (Artist Igor’ Dzys’, 2001.)  

Page 26: Senior lieutenant of the 18th (Attila) Hussar Regiment of the Hungarian national army (Honvéd), 1849. The regiment was one of the “new” units and was raised in honor of the famous Hun leader Attila, traditionally held to be the precursor of the ancient Hungarians. (Artist Igor’ Dzys’, 2001.)  

Page 27: Lieutenant of Her Imperial Highness Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna’s Hussar Regiment in parade uniform, 1845-55. Judging from individual pictures, during the 1849 Hungarian campaign some officers in hussar regiments were, against regulations, dressed in parade uniform even during battle (slung pelisse [mentik na opash] and shako without a cover). (Artist Igor’ Dzys’, 2001.)  

Page 28: (Top) Officers of the 16th (Károlyi) Hussar Regiment. Right – in red shakos, officers of the 2nd (King of Hanover’s) Hussar Regiment (one of the permanent regiments formerly in the Austrian army). From a painting by K. Lote, “The Battle of Kaplon 1849” (Historical Picture Gallery of the Hungarian National Museum, Budapest). In the painting it can be clearly seen that the color of the shako cover corresponds to that of the shako itself.

(Map) The Battle of Tura, 8(20) July 1849. [Red unit designations, left to right: Russian 2nd Corps at Ujfalu, transport park, Tolstoi’s column at Aszód. Blue: Austrian Danube Army at Pesht. Green: Hungarian 10th Corps at Szambok. Yellow: Division of the Kharkov Lancer Regiment, near Fënszaru]


Translated by Mark Conrad, 2001.