Menu: Home :: go to Journal :: switch to Russian :: switch to English
You are here: all Journals and Issues→ Journal→ Issue→ Article

Soldiers’ children as a successful project of the Russian army recruitment reserve formation in the first half of the 19th century


We describe the features of the reserve replenishment formation of the Russian army at the expense of soldiers’ children in the 19th century. We reveal the historical and legal aspects of the social and class status of the “military class” representatives descendants: soldiers’ children, recruits of soldiers’ children. Born in the recruits families and lower ranks during the service period in the Russian army, either retired, soldiers on indefinite leave and disabled veterans, the soldiers’ children had a special social and legal position in the class structure of Russian society, which are specifically regulated, as the legislative and enforcement practices in the capitals and provinces in the Russian Empire in the 19th century. The involvement of a fairly wide range of archival sources and published materials allowed to conduct the reconstruction of both the existing legal regulation and the actual social parameters of the “military offspring” in the armed forces. We also reveal the aspects of education of military cantonists in special military educational institutions and similar military units (military orphan units, training battalions and companies, carabinieri regiments) reflected in the primary archival documents and legislative acts, social and legal, class and everyday conflicts and trends that determined the life and fate of “military children”. We clarify statistical errors in the calculation of the military class representatives – soldiers’ children – in the Russian province. We give a detailed historiographical study assessment of the legal status of cantonists and recruits of soldiers’ children, as well as identifying research gaps in the works of domestic and foreign historians. We made conclusions about the prospects of the scientific problems study by domestic historians, as well as the presence of primary archival documents that need to be introduced into scientific circulation. It is proved that the category of “soldiers’ children” was the most important component of the Russian armed forces combat capability formation, allowing to prepare a significant reserve. We also show the prospects of the cantonists transformation into professional soldiers, as well as their role in the military history of the Russian Empire in the considered chronological period.


cantonists; Russian army; military class; soldiers’ children; soldier’s wife; War Office; cantonists of recruit’s children; military institutions for orphans; soldiers’ schools, garrison schools

Full-text in one file









1. Shcherbinin P.P. Voyennyy faktor v povsednevnoy zhizni russkoy zhenshchiny v XVIII – nachale XX v. [The Military Factor in Daily Life of a Russian Woman in 18th – Early of 20th Centuries]. Tambov, 2004, 508 p. (In Russian). 2. Mendelevich Y. Kantonisty [Cantonists]. Moscow, LLC Stolichnaya pressa Publ., 2015. (In Russian). 3. Petrovskiy-Shtern Y. Evrei v russkoy armii: 1827–1914 [Jews in Russian Army: 1827–1914]. Moscow, 2003, 555 p. (In Russian). 4. Rediger A. (compiler) Komplektovaniye i ustroystvo Vooruzhennoy sily. Ch. 1. (Komplektovaniye armii) [Recruitment and Arrangement of Armed Forces. Part 1. (Army Recruitment)]. St. Petersburg, 1913. (In Russian). 5. Fadeyev R. Vooruzhennyye sily Rossii [Russian Armed Forces]. Moscow, 1868. (In Russian). 6. Bogdanovich M.I. Istoricheskiy ocherk deyatel’nosti voyennogo upravleniya v Rossii v pervoye dvadtsatipyatiletiye blagopoluchnogo tsarstvovaniya gosudarya imperatora Aleksandra Nikolayevicha. 1855–1880 gg. [Historical Essay on the Military Administration Activities in the First Twenty-Five Years of a Successful Reign of the Emperor Alexander II. 1855–1880]. St. Petersburg, 1879, vol. 2. (In Russian). 7. Zaustsinskiy P. Kodifikatsiya russkogo voyennogo zakonodatel’stva v svyazi s istoriyey razvitiya russkogo voyska do reform XIX v. [Codification of Russian Military Legislation in Connection with the History of the Russian Army Development before the 19th Century reforms]. St. Petersburg, 1909. (In Russian). 8. Filimonov N.G. Postepennoye razvitiye meropriyatiy po mobilizatsii russkoy kadrovoy armii v XIX stoletii [The Gradual Development of Measures for the Mobilization of Russian Army in 19th Century]. St. Petersburg, 1908. (In Russian). 9. Zayonchkovskiy P.A. Voyennyye reformy 1860–1870-kh gg. v Rossii [Military Reforms of the 1860–1870s in Russia]. Moscow, 1947. (In Russian). 10. Beskrovnyy L.G. Russkaya armiya i flot v XVIII v. [Russian Army and Navy in 18th Century]. Moscow, 1958. (In Russian). 11. Beskrovnyy L.G. Russkaya armiya i flot v XIX v. [Russian Army and Navy in 19th Century]. Moscow, 1973. (In Russian). 12. Fedorov A.V. Russkaya armiya v 50–70-kh godakh XIX v.: ocherki. [Russian Army in 50–70s of the 19th Century: Essays]. Leningrad, 1959. (In Russian). 13. Yachmenikhin V.K. Institut voyennykh kantonistov v strukture russkoy armii [Military cantonists institution in the Russian army structure]. Vestnik Moskovskogo universiteta. Seriya 8: Istoriya – Vestnik Moskovskogo universiteta. Seriya 8: History, 2000, no. 1, pp. 55-68. (In Russian). 14. Yachmenikhin K.M. Voyennyye poseleniya v Rossii (Istoriya sotsial’no-ekonomicheskogo eksperimenta) [Military Settlements in Russia (History of Social and Economic Experiment)]. Ufa, 1994, 298 p. (In Russian). 15. Shcherbinin P.P. Sotsial’no-pravovoye polozheniye soldatskikh detey v Rossii v XIX v. [Social and legal status of soldiers’ children in Russia in the 19th century]. Sbornik trudov Mezhdunarodnoy zaochnoy nauchnoy konferentsii «Armiya i obshchestvo v Rossiyskoy istorii XVIII–XX vv.» [Proceeding of the International Correspondence Scientific Conference: “Army and Society in Russian History of 18–19th Centuries”]. Tambov, Tambov State Technical University Publ., 2007, pp. 114-120. (In Russian). 16. Wirtschafter E.K. Soldiers Children, 1719–1856: A study of social engineering in imperial Russia. Forschungen zur osteuropaische Geschichte, 1982, no. 30. 17. Lohr E., Poe M. The Military and Society in Russia 1450–1917. Boston, 2002. 18. Beyrau D. Militär und Gesellschaft im Vorrevolutionären Russland. Cologne, 1984, 504 p. (In German). 19. Keep J.L.H. Soldiering in Tsarist Russia. USAFA Harmon Memorial Lecture, 1986, no. 29. 20. Shcherbinin P.P. Sotsial’no-pravovoy i povsednevno-bytovoy status soldatskikh detey v XVIII–XIX vv. [Social, legal and everyday household status of soldiers’ children in 18–19th centuries]. Vestnik Tambovskogo universiteta. Seriya: Gumanitarnye nauki – Tambov University Review. Series: Humanities, 2014, no. 7 (135), pp. 161-167. (In Russian). 21. Livron de V. (compiler). Statisticheskoye obozreniye Rossiyskoy imperii [Russian Empire Statistical Overview]. St. Petersburg, 1874. (In Russian). 22. Nikitin V. Mnogostradal’nyye. Ocherki byta kantonistov [Long-suffering. Essays on everyday life of cantonists]. Otechestvennyye zapiski [Patriotic Notes], 1871, no. 8. (In Russian). 23. Bakhrushin S.V. Maloletniye nishchiye i brodyagi v Moskve (istoricheskiy ocherk) [Young Beggars and Hobos in Moscow (Historical Essay)]. Moscow, Gorodskaya tipografiya Publ., 1913, 51 p.



Section of issue

National history

Для корректной работы сайта используйте один из современных браузеров. Например, Firefox 55, Chrome 60 или более новые.