Boh Cossack Army

Boh Cossack Army. Military formation of the late 18th and early 19th century based in the lower Boh River region in southern Ukraine. The origin of the Boh Cossacks is associated with a Cossack regiment formed in 1769 during the Russo-Turkish War of 1765–74 that included Ukrainian Cossacks and with the arnauty, that is, Moldavian, Wallachian, Albanian, Bulgarian, and Serbian volunteers in the Russian military service during the war. In 1785–6, on the orders of Prince Grigorii Potemkin, two regiments of Boh Cossacks were recruited; in 1787 these were attached to the Katerynoslav Cossack Army. In 1788 the regiments were combined, and 3,800 southern Ukrainian peasants were assigned to the unit. The Boh Cossack Army was demobilized in 1797 and recalled to service in 1803 with a strength of 6,400 men (in 1811, this number rose to 9,400). The army took part in the Russo-Turkish wars (1787–91, 1806–12) and in Russia's defence against the Napoleonic invasion (1812–14). In 1817 the Boh Cossacks were reduced to military settlers; this sparked a revolt that was ruthlessly suppressed by the tsarist authorities.

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 1 (1984).]

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