Under the reign of Alexander II, the number of units and the total number of soldiers serving in His Majesty's Own Escort increased significantly. In 1855, the troupe of Cossacks was reformed into the Life-Guards Caucasian Cossack Squadron. In 1861, the squadron was divided into three squadrons (since 1867, there were two Life-Guards Kuban Cossacks squadrons and one Terek Cossacks Host), one of which served in St. Petersburg. In 1863, a troupe of Crimean Tatars, formed on the basis of the Life-Guards Crimean-Tatar Squadron, became a part of the Escort.
All the national units were brought together in the Life-Guards Caucasian Squadron, which consisted of four units: a platoon of Georgians (newly formed), a platoon of highlanders, a platoon of Lezgins, and a platoon of Muslims. A series of drawings stored in the funds of the State Russian Museum demonstrate how the ranks of the Escort units looked in the 1860–1870s.
This section introduces the uniform, weapons, equipment and regalia of these units. It is dedicated to the Escort's participation in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–1878, after which it was granted many awards. At the end of the section, the exhibits relatable to the tragic attempt on the life of Alexander II on March 1, 1881, when he was mortally wounded, despite the dedication of the Cossacks of the Escort around him, are presented.
His Majesty’s Own Escort
Lower ranks. 1858. Coloured lithograph after a drawing by K.K. Piratskiy. Tsarskoe Selo State Museum and Heritage Site
Circassia (?). 1877. From the collection of A.D. Gnedovsky
Saber with a scabbard
Tiflis (Tbilisi), blade by master Geurk Eliarov (Eliazarov). The middle of the 19th century. From the collection of A.D. Gnedovsky
The bride of the Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich arrives to Tsarskoe Selo
1874. By A.I. Charlemagne. The State Russian Museum
Medal "For Service in His Majesty’s Own Escort of the Emperor Alexander II"
The Saint-Petersburg Mint, by medallionist V.V. Alekseev. 1850s–1860s. The State Hermitage Museum
Schabraque of the Life-Guards Crimean-Tatar Squadron. The Russian Empire
1835. The Military-Historical Museum of Artillery, Engineer and Signal Corps