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[78]

The following is a description of the Russian Cossacks:--

There are two peculiarities which cannot fail to arrest the attention and command the reflection of the observer of the Russian cavalry: these are, the general division of the cavalry into regulars and irregulars; and the corps of dragoons.

The irregulars may be comprehended in the general name of Cossacks. Yet their peculiarities of armament, costume, and action are as varied as their origin; while the sources of the latter are as multifarious as the tribes which compose the mass of Russian nationality, and the circumstances which, through centuries of warfare, have finally united into one compact whole a multitude of conflicting and heterogeneous elements. But, with all this diversity, there are important and peculiar characteristics which pervade the mass, and are common to every individual, with as much uniformity and certainty as that with which the firm government of the Czar is now extended over them. These peculiarities are: intelligence, quickness of vision, hearing, and all the senses; individuality; trustworthiness on duty; the power of enduring fatigue, privation, and the extremes of climate; great address in the use of weapons; strong feeling for their common country; caution, united with courage capable of being excited to the highest pitch: in short, the combination of qualities necessary for partisan troops. The events of more than one campaign have proved, besides, that these irregulars can be used successfully in line against the best regular cavalry of Europe.

Circumstances of geography and climate have given to these men a race of horses in every way adapted to their riders; the Cossack horse is excelled by none in activity and hardiness.

The Cossack neglects no opportunity of feeding his

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