Ottoman Uniforms
Ottoman Uniforms


Cossack in Ottoman Service (1817-1824)

Avigdor Levy identified a number of instances where, from the late 1700s various newly arrived 'Cossack' refugees arrived within the Ottoman Empire, to resettle and were employed in various military auxiliary roles [1].

  • This even encluded service on Imperial Navy Ships as LEVENTI or 'Turckischer ship-soldiers'. As 700, in 1817, were recuited to serve in the reformed Ottoman Danube Flotilla (a river fleet of gun boats).
  • In 1824, 60 of the 'Cossack' LEVENTI were seen on the Ottoman Battleship 'SELIMIYE' (1,400 member crew) wearing their Cossack -styled "sheep-skin caps".


[1] Levy, Avigdor. "Formalization of Cossack Service Under Ottoman Rule." East Central European Society and War. Ed. Gunther E. Rothenberg et al. New York: Columbia University Press, 1982: 491-505.

Silistra Cavalry Regiment (1826)

In 1826, the 'Silistra Cavalry Regiment' was formed, as part of the general reorganization of that year, and was raised in Silistria province (the Danube Delta), and made up of Turks, Tatars and Christians in equal proportions.

  • The latter were a mixture of old believers and Zaporozhain Cossacks who had fled Russian rule and been allowed to settle in the region.

The Regiment-Brigade was organised into two ‘alays’ (regiments):

  • One of these, later became a regular cavalry Dragoon regiment.
  • The remaining Cossack regiment, may be the origin of the 1848 1st Cossack regiment (discussed below). Avigdor Levy, does not identify that the 'Cossack' battalion in the original 'Silistra Cavalry Regiment' were armed with lances; however, as this was the traditional weapon of the Cossacks, it would seem likely, and that the Turkish battalion in the original 'Silistra Cavalry Regiment' were operated more as Dragoons, armed with swords and muskets only.

In terms of the uniform of the 1826 regiment, the men were issued with:

  • Vests: This could be referring to the sleeveless over-coat-vest, which was fitted with hanging sleeves/wings that are commonly seen in Ottoman uniforms throughout this period, as well as like the 'Cossacks' costume that incorporated the very same detail.
  • Short jacket: However, reading Avigdor Levy’s description he is actually describing the standard jersey, being issued to all New Model Army soldiers. 
  • Oriental breeches.
  • Black riding boots.

1848 Ottoman 1st Cossack Regiment

The first Ottoman Cossack Regiment/Brigade, can be dated back to 1848 [1].

  • Nothing about the uniform worn by this regiment, is known.
  • Right - Extracted from a picture in the NYPL Digital Gallery, containing the ‘Vinkhuijzen Collection of Military Uniforms/Egypt, 1820-1898’, has an 1840s group of the Egypt Army from 1830-40, and is titled "Turkisches Militar". These three central figures look to be Ottoman Cossacks, and may be representative of the type of uniforms worn by the 1848-1853 1st Regiment [2].


[1] Marcel Roubicek (1978) Modern Ottoman Troops, 1797-1915: In Contemporary Pictures. Franciscan Printing Press: 13.

[2] Egyptian Circassians (formed as a cavalry auxiliary unit in the Egypt Army in the 1840s). Nevertheless, would still be representative of the type of uniforms worn by the 1848-1853 1st Regiment.

Ottoman Cossack Regiment Flag

The old banner of Zaporozhian Cossacks (which had been kept in Constantinople, following the Ottoman-Russian war in 1828-29). The banner was described as silk, with a cross on a blue background.

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