Alekseevskaya "army" enters the battle
As previously noted, the position of the Alekseevts on the Don was precarious. Formally, they were considered "refugees". The Don government initially did not want to aggravate relations with the SNK and hoped to maintain autonomy and remain out of competition. Therefore, they did not want to annoy Petrograd, giving shelter to anti-revolutionary elements. The Cossacks-front-line soldiers and workers were rushing to the "assembly of counter-revolutionary elements", conducting fierce agitation campaigns. The Social Revolutionaries and Mensheviks had a strong position in the region, which at the peasant congresses, in the newspapers, in the workers' organizations passed one after another resolutions of mistrust to the ataman and the government. They protested against martial law, against disarmament and expulsion of decomposed regiments, against the arrest of Bolshevik agitators, advocated "democratic reconciliation with the Bolsheviks." Ataman Kaledin, for the time being, managed to restrain attacks only by the ancient Cossack law: “There is no delivery from the Don!”
Cossack regiments were returning from the front. Returned with a personal weapons and artillery. We drove in an organized manner, it happened that they made their way through the cordons and barriers of the Ukrainian nationalists and the Reds. In addition, organized parts were easier to capture in echelons and move in the conditions of transport collapse. But as soon as the Cossacks returned to the Don, the order collapsed. The Cossacks-front-line soldiers were tired of fighting and wanted to spit not only on the central, but also the local authorities, who wanted to raise them to a new war — against the red ones. Most of all, they were afraid of the new war and hated everyone who called them to war again. Many liked the ideas of the left, including the anarchists. In the villages, a conflict arose between the "young" -frontovikov and the "old men" who called for the tradition to be honored. The traditional Cossack way of life, the unshakable authority of the "old men", began to crumble. There were more front-line soldiers; they were well armed, more energetic. Therefore, in most of the villages the power was with them.
Thus, despite the fact that Don had a whole army - dozens of regiments and some hundreds of artillery batteries, the region had no forces for defense. The overwhelming majority of the Cossacks took the position of "neutrality" in the outbreak of the conflict between the Don government and the red Petrograd. As Kaledin himself noted: “The whole question is in Cossack psychology. Come to their senses - well. No - Cossack song is sung. "
Therefore, when the 22 - 23 of November 1917 of the year, prisoners of the Bykhov prison — generals A. I. Denikin, A. S. Lukomsky, S. L. Markov, and I. P. Romanovsky — came to Don in different ways, then Kaledin advised them to leave Don. Since their names are all the left associated with the "Kornilov" and counter-revolution. Ataman asked them to wait somewhere whenever possible. Lukomski went to the Terek. Denikin and Markov - to the Kuban.
However, the situation itself soon strengthened the position of volunteers. 7 (20) November Ataman Kaledin addressed the population of the Don region with the statement that the army government does not recognize the Bolshevik government, and therefore the region is proclaimed independent before the formation of the legitimate Russian government. 15 (28) in November in Rostov created the Military Revolutionary Committee (WRC) of the united democracy, which called itself the government of the united democratic forces and suggested that the population not to follow the orders of the government of the Don Army. November 20 (December 3) in Novocherkassk began to rebel spare (non-retail) shelves. There was no way to disarm them and send them from the Don. The Donets, except the ataman convoy and the junkers, refused to carry out this order. Alekseev proposed to use the forces of volunteers to disarm them. On the night of November 22, volunteers surrounded the shelves and disarmed them without firing a shot. The selected weapon went into service with the Alekseevs.
The revolutionary forces of Rostov opposed the Don government and turned for help to the sailors of the Black Sea fleet. A torpedo boat, minesweepers and several smaller vessels with Black Sea sailors approached Taganrog. Ships went along the Don to Rostov, landed troops. Local Bolsheviks together with them captured the city. On November 26 (December 9), the Rostov Bolsheviks announced that power in the region was transferred to the hands of the Rostov Military Revolutionary Committee. Cossack troops, taking a position of neutrality, refused to participate in the suppression of the uprising in Rostov. Kaledin again asks Alekseev for help. A detachment of officers and junkers was formed of 400-500 bayonets, Don youth joined them - gymnasium students, cadets, and later several Cossack units approached. As a result, almost the entire Alekseevskaya “army” advanced under the command of Colonel Preobrazhensky Life Guards Regiment I.K.
On the move, Rostov was unable to take. In the city there were many soldiers from spare parts and units returning from the front. The core of the red troops were the sailors of the Black Sea Fleet and the Red Guard fighters. There were a lot of weapons in the warehouses, which made it possible to form detachments of local workers and citizens. The battle of November 27 (December 10) began near the Rostov suburb of Nakhichevan. White launched an offensive along the Novocherkassk-Rostov line. In the center of the battle formations, Alekseev’s officers were chained, on the right flank were the cadets, on the left were the Don volunteers of General Popov. They were met by strong fire. The frontal attack allowed them to divert the Reds while whites made a roundabout maneuver on the flanks. Reds were thrown into the streets of the city. However, the successes of the Alekseevs and Kaledinians ended there. Red entrenched on the streets of the working outskirts of Rostov - Temernik. The minesweepers who stood on the Don opened fire. Soon, they were able to target themselves, thickly scrubbing white whitewash with shrapnel. Offensive choked. Under the cover of artillery fire, the Reds came to their senses, regrouped their forces, and launched a counteroffensive. Khovansky had no reserves, and by evening the whites had to retreat to the Kizyterinka railway station, having lost about a quarter of their composition with those killed and wounded. Thus, in this battle, almost all the cadets of the Odessa and Orlov corps were killed.
A participant in this campaign, a former member of the State Duma, N. N. Lvov, recalled: “I remember the howling of a blizzard at night at Kizyterinka station. The headquarters stood in the planks station buildings. Dim lantern light in total darkness. On the sidings warming shop; there they transferred the wounded and laid them in the straw in the cold ... At night they dug the frozen ground ... Fur coats, stockings, and boots were worn by people in trenches. In November, the cold they went who was what. " In addition, the Don units were not provided with food at all, Alekseyevts had with them at least a reinforced dry ration. The situation was saved by the help of local residents who brought bread, sugar and tea to the positions.
The next day, overcoming the boycott of railway drivers (instead of them, the cadets themselves led the train), reinforcements arrived - the combined Mikhailovsko-Konstantinovskaya artillery company, a hundred Cossacks, an artillery platoon with two guns. The fighting near Rostov forced several wavering Cossack units to think again, and they moved to the aid of the White Guards. Junior artillerymen had an idea to build an armored train. Immediately the railway platforms were strengthened with sleepers, machine guns were installed and the first white armored train was ready. On this day, the Reds went on the attack, but were beaten off. The next day, November 29, the Reds attacked again, supported by fire from the Kolkhida yacht, which was on the fairway of the Don. White's losses were great and amounted to 72 man for that day, but the attack of the Reds was repelled.
On November 30 Kaledin arrived and appointed a decisive attack on December 1. In the morning, the volunteers and the Donians launched a general attack, now they have gained a numerical advantage. The Reds fiercely defended. Suddenly, in the rear of the Reds, gun shots rang out. The Reds quivered and began to retreat. It turned out that in the rear of the Reds a small detachment of General Nazarov attacked from Taganrog. Rostov was finally taken to 2 (15) December. Kaledins and Alekseevs also captured Taganrog and a significant part of the Donbass. From this day Alekseevskaya organization was legalized. She began to assist in the supply and armament. But all the plans were broken. Alexeev hoped to form the backbone of the future army under the protection of the Don Cossacks, now his insignificant "army" (in fact, a small detachment) has become the defender of the Don.
Poster of the Volunteer Army "My son, go and save the Motherland!"
Alekseevskaya organization in December increased significantly. The 1-I Combined Officer Company deployed in four, 50 numbers - 60 fighters each, they were supposed to be deployed in battalions. The cadet battalion was divided into two companies (cadet and cadet, total 120 people), formed a Sea Company (about 50 people). The 1 th separate light artillery division, commanded by Colonel S. Ikishev, was also formed from three batteries: a cadet, an officer, and a mixed battery.
Major-General A. N. Cherepov, who lived in Rostov, in agreement with General D. N. Chernoyarov, head of the garrison, organized a meeting of local officers, at which it was decided to create a detachment to protect law and order in the city. Soon the “self-defense” unit under the command of Cherepov became a part of the Volunteer Army. About 200 officers enrolled in it. A volunteer record bureau was also opened to form a Rostov officer regiment. Within two weeks, only about 300 people enrolled in it, of whom mainly comprised the Rostov officer company, and the rest fell into the Student battalion and the Technical company that had begun to form.
December 6 (19) to the Don with documents of the peasant Ivanov, a refugee from Romania, arrived General L. G. Kornilov, who immediately joined the activities of General Alekseev. The Kornilovites from the Tekinsky Regiment (became the personal escort of Kornilov) and the Kornilov shock regiment began to flock to the Don. Generals Denikin, Markov, Lukomsky and other commanders were called up from the Kuban and the Caucasus. Kornilov himself originally planned to take Denikin, Lukomsky and go further, raise the Volga region and Siberia. He believed that since the work was going on here and the organization was headed by Alekseev, he had nothing to do on the Don. The organization of troops in the south of Russia seemed to him to be a local matter, especially since in the territory of the Cossack troops they would have to depend on the Cossacks, their troops, governments, circles and atamans. Kornilov in Siberia and the Volga region saw the opportunity to turn around in full force. I thought that, relying on the east of Russia, it was possible not only to defeat the Bolsheviks, but also to recreate, at least partially, the anti-German front. Kornilov said: “I know Siberia, I believe in Siberia. I am convinced that it will be possible to put the case widely there. Here one General Alekseev will cope with the case. I am convinced that I will not be able to stay here for a long time. I only regret that they detain me now and do not let me go to Siberia, where it is necessary to begin work as soon as possible so as not to lose time. ”
In addition, Kornilov and Alekseev were not comrades. They were never close and very different in character. It was difficult for them to work together, and Kornilov honestly told Alekseyev. However, at this time a group of prominent members of the public (former fevralists) arrived from Moscow - Prince Trubetskoy, Prince Lvov, Milyukov, Fedorov, Struve, Belousov. The National Center, assembled from the wreckage of moderate and liberal parties (the fevralist right-wing camp), decided to support the creation of the White Army, and had connections with the missions of the Entente countries. Moscow representatives demanded that Kornilov stay on the Don. They wanted to use the popular general. If he had left, many White Guards might have followed him. And the whole center of the uprising on the Don could fall apart. Indeed, Kornilov was very popular among the officers, with him were ready to go to his death.
Influential circles of Moscow were able to push through their decision, since behind them were great finances. Moscow has set a categorical condition: material support will be provided only to a real, existing organization, if the leaders of the White movement work together, distributing responsibilities among themselves and signing the corresponding agreement. The Western powers, England and France, have joined this condition, promising assistance in 100 million rubles, in terms of 10 million per month. Kornilov was forced to agree. 18 (31) December in Novocherkassk was created Don Civil Council, which was headed by three generals - Don Cossack ataman Alex Kaledin and two former commanders of the Russian army Mikhail Alexeev and Lavr Kornilov (the so-called "triumvirate"). Don Council claimed the leadership of the emerging white movement throughout the former Russian Empire. The Entente countries came into contact with him, sending their representatives to Novocherkassk.
25 December 1917 (7 January 1918) Alekseev’s organization received the official name Volunteer Army (YES). The army received this name at the insistence of Kornilov, who was in a state of conflict with Alekseev and dissatisfied with a forced compromise with the head of the former Alekseev organization: the division of spheres of influence. For Kornilov was the military power, for Alekseev remained political leadership and finance.
Thus, the highest command positions were distributed among the leaders of the White movement as follows: Alekseev became the supreme leader of the army, Kornilov became commander-in-chief, Lukomsky — chief of staff, 1 division head — Denikin. If generals Alekseev, Kornilov and Denikin were the organizers and ideological inspirers of the White Army, the person who became the “sword of General Kornilov” was General S.L. Markov. He served first as chief of staff of the commander-in-chief, then as chief of staff of the 1 division and commander of the 1 Officer Regiment (he himself formed and received his name after Markov's death).
Immediately after the creation of the Volunteer Army (about 4 thousand bayonets) joined the fighting against the Red Army. In early January, 1918, she acted on the Don together with the units under the command of General Kaledin.
General L. G. Kornilov with officers of the Kornilov regiment. To the right of Kornilov - M. O. Nezhentsev. Novocherkassk. 1918