February 22 in Russian history

1918: The beginning of the famous Ice Campaign of the Volunteer Army (Dobrovolcheskaya Armiya, or simply Dobrarmiya). The army was born on December 27, 1917 by general Alexeyev to fight the Red Army. General Anton Ivanovich Denikin also assisted the formation of the Volunteer Army. The commander of the Army was general Lavr Fyodorovich Kornilov. It consisted of officers, soldiers, cadets, students, even schoolchildren who escaped to Don from the parts of Russia controlled by bolsheviks.

By the end of January 1918 there were about 3,500-4,000 soldiers. Together with the Cossacks led by Alexey Kaledin they fought against the regiments of Antonov-Ovseenko. Unfortunately, Cossacks were generally reluctant to support the counter-revolutionary movement and a month later the Volunteer Army had to retreat. On February 22, 1918, they left Rostov and went to Kuban. It was not the "heroic and glorious" campaign, as it is sometimes painted by the historians in emigration. Heroic -- yes, but definitely not that glorious. It was more of a march of the desperate people, who sometimes "confiscated" food from the local population, sometimes executed those who, as they suspected, supported communists, etc. They went under rain and snow, they died from frost and starvation, and reached Kuban in March. They attempted to capture Yekaterinodar (modern Krasnodar), but failed. The Kuban Cossacks, like Don Cossacks, did not grant their support.

General Kornilov was killed during the storm of Yekaterinodar and Denikin became the commander of the Dobrarmiya. He managed to raise the number of the fighters to 30,000-35,000 men and achieved some successes which made many to believe that the Bolshevism would be soon overthrown. In 1919 he almost took Moscow, but he failed. In autumn of 1919 they began to move back southwards and in spring of 1920 what remained of the army were evacuated from Novorossiysk to Crimea. In Crimea, they merged with the Armed Forces of South Russia, led by general Pyotr Nikolayevich Wrangel. I deeply respect these people, but I am not sure if I would respect them if I had met them face to face.

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