The garb of Cossack cavalry officer
WHO Were the Cossacks?
The Cossacks mainly consisted of people from Ukraine and southern Russia. Known for their military skill, in particular their horsemanship, they were hired by the Tsars as soldiers for military campaigns. The Don Cossacks named after the Don river where they settled between the 16th and 17th centuries, were one of the earliest subgroups, or hosts, to enter the service of the Romanov dynasty,
Cossacks provided their own clothing, weapons and horses and for this reason, their clothing could vary. Their uniform also differed depending on whether it was for domestic or regimental use. This particular outfit was defined by the new legislation issued in 1801, to replace the uniforms worn during the reign of Catherine the Great.
Cossacks had to wear dark blue trousers, known as sharovary pants, with a stripe down the side to match their chekmen. The trousers could be worn either tucked in or out of their boots and although red was commonly used for the stripe, regimental colours could also be used.
Cossacks wore a tall hat made from astrakhan fur, known as a papakha. The hat had a red cloth top and for officers, it would also be decorated with a plume of white feathers. Aside from this hat, Cossacks could also wear a blue cloth cap with red trimming.
Armed to the teeth
Cossacks were typically armed with two pistols, a dagger, a whip with a lead ball and a sword. At this point, there were no regulations regarding the weapons Cossacks had to use and as a result, they could be equipped with a variety of different sidearms.
equipped AND ready
The new uniform regulations stipulated that all sword belts, shoulder belts and pouches had to be made from black leather, regardless of regiment. Cossacks would often carry cartridges in their pouches and other Cossack hosts, such as Kuban and Terek, sewed on ornamental cartridge holders.
Cossacks wore a long coat, known as a chekmen, which was made from dark blue cloth. It was usually worn from September to May, and for the rest of the year, they wore a short jacket called a kurtka. The chekmen had red piping along the collar and the cuffs, but this could be changed to the regiment colours by the ataman, the Cossack leader.