Military Review

Defeat of the Kokand Khanate: Uzun-Agach and Ikan battles

"Attack by surprise." Artwork by Russian artist Vasily Vereshchagin (1871)

Change of strategy

By the beginning of the reign of Alexander II, the Russian government began a more active, offensive policy in Central Asia (Turkestan). This was due to several factors.

First, it became obvious that the problem could not be solved by defense alone (How Russia conquered Central Asia). There are few fortified lines and punitive raids. Yes, and spending more on this than on several operations with a decisive result.

Also, the tsarist government feared that the British would break into Turkestan, who had already tried to conquer Afghanistan, making it their springboard for further expansion to the north.

Given the hostility of England, we could get a more serious problem in the southern strategic direction than the raids of the steppes. The British could transfer to Bukhara, Kokand and Khiva modern weapon, send military instructors and advisers to reorganize and modernize the local armies. In the future, British troops could also appear in Central Asia.

Our diplomats and military realized the great importance of Turkestan for Russia. To the south, the snow-covered Himalayas and the valleys of Hindustan loomed. Two generations of the Turkestan military dreamed of the southern seas.

As a result, the military-strategic interests of the Russian Empire outweighed the protests of the Ministry of Finance.

Secondly, Russia now had the opportunity to pay more attention to the Turkestan direction.

The Eastern (Crimean) War was over. Our European policy was for the time being reduced to a minimum. Petersburg took offense at its Western "partners". The long, bloody and viscous struggle in the Caucasus was also coming to an end.

Thirdly, there was also an economic factor.

The British also celebrated it. Turkestan was an important market for the sale of goods, which would contribute to the development of Russian industry. The region also had prospects as a supplier of important raw materials, in particular, cotton.

As a result, the idea of ​​pacifying the bandit state formations in Turkestan found more and more support in society. It was necessary to bring a developed civilization to Central Asia and solve a wide range of military-political and economic problems.

Fourthly, by this time Russia had defensive lines and strongholds advanced forward, which could also become offensive footholds: from the side of Orenburg - Perovsk (now Kyzylorda), and from the side of Siberia - Verny (now Alma-Ata) laid down in 1854 .

Uzun-Agach battle

Between Perovsk and Verny there was a huge gap 900 miles wide, where the Kokand horsemen could pass. The Kokand people relied on the line of fortresses: Azrek, Chimkent, Aulie-Ata, Pishkek and Tokmak.

It was necessary to close this gap and protect the Kazakh and Kyrgyz tribes, subject to Russia, from Kokand influence. The main task was to connect the Syrdarya (development of the Orenburg) and Siberian fortified lines.

Russia had relatively small forces in these areas: 11 Orenburg line battalions (Ural and Orenburg Cossacks), 12 West Siberian line battalions and Siberian Cossacks.

These forces were located on a huge front with a total length of over 3 miles. The connection of the two lines was delayed by the arrangement of our "Kyrgyz", and then by the liquidation of the consequences of the attacks of the Kokand detachments on the Siberian line.

In 1860, the commander of the troops in the Trans-Ili Territory, Colonel Apollon Zimmerman, at the head of a small detachment, destroyed the Kokand fortresses Pishkek (now Bishkek) and Tokmak.

The Kokandians declared a holy war and gathered a 22-strong army to destroy Verny, raise the entire steppe against the Russians and defeat the Russian villages in Semirechye.

The situation was dangerous.

The head of the Alatau district and the Kazakhs of the Great Horde (Big Zhuz) was Lieutenant Colonel Gerasim Kolpakovsky, who had experience in fighting the highlanders of the Caucasus and a participant in the Hungarian campaign. He was able to gather about 2 thousand people in Verny.

The lieutenant colonel did not wait for the arrival of the enemy hordes and decided to go towards the Kokand army himself.

With a small detachment - about 1 thousand Cossacks and Kazakhs with 8 guns, he moved to the enemy.

On October 21, 1860, the Russians met the enemy on the Kara-Kastek River (near Uzun-Agach). In a three-day battle, Kolpakovsky utterly defeated the Kokand and organized the pursuit of the enemy. The loss of our troops - 33 people, Kokand - 1.

Defeat of the Kokand Khanate: Uzun-Agach and Ikan battles
Military Governor of the Semirechensk Region, Lieutenant-General G. A. Kolpakovsky

For the victory near Uzun-Agach, Kolpakovsky was promoted to colonel and awarded the Order of St. George, 4th degree.

In 1862, the colonel made a raid and again destroyed Tokmak and Pishkek, took Merke. Thus, the Siberian line was secured from enemy attacks.

Russia stood firmly in Semirechye and went in this direction to the Chinese borders.

For these successes, Kolpakovsky was promoted to major general.

In 1864, he led the troops of the Semipalatinsk region, since 1867 - the military governor of the Semirechensk region, the chief ataman of the Semirechensk Cossacks.

It is worth noting that these successes of Russia during the war with Kokand (1850–1868) were partly due to internal unrest in the khanate.

There was a long and continuous struggle between the khan and members of the ruling dynasty, specific rulers, nomadic and agricultural nobility, Sarts (sedentary, commercial and agricultural population, Uzbeks and Tajiks), Fergana Kipchaks and Kirghiz.

The struggle was extremely fierce and bloody, with acts of genocide.

Khudoyar Khan (reigned three times in 1845-1858, 1862-1863 and 1865-1875) was distinguished by cruelty and greed, his unjust policy caused popular hatred and constant rebellions and uprisings of the nobility.

Anxiety in the fortress redoubt (Attack of the Kokand people on the Cossack settlement of Uzun-Agach). Artist N. N. Karazin

Chernyaev's campaign

The Russian command decided to complete the task of connecting our two fortified lines and possessions.

In the spring of 1864, two detachments came out towards each other: from Verny - Colonel Mikhail Chernyaev (1 soldiers with 500 guns), a participant in the Hungarian, Danube and Crimean campaigns, from Perovsk - Colonel Nikolai Verevkin (4 people and 120 guns).

Having passed Pishkek, Chernyaev's detachment stormed the Kokand fortress Aulie-Ata on June 4 and in July reached Chimkent. Here, Chernyaev's troops withstood the attack of a large Kokand army.

Meanwhile, Verevkin took the fortress of Turkestan on July 12 and sent a flying detachment to communicate with Chernyaev.

Both Russian detachments, united, came under the overall command of Chernyaev, who was promoted to major general.

In September 1864, Russian troops headed for Chimkent.

On September 22, Chernyaev led troops to storm Chimkent, which was considered impregnable.

In the fortress there was a 10-strong Kokand garrison under the command of Alimkul.

The Russians were able to penetrate the fortress through the water supply, the Kokand people, amazed by the sudden appearance of the enemy inside the city, were demoralized and fled or surrendered. 4 banners, 31 cannons, and many other weapons were captured. Our losses are 47 people.

Lieutenant General Mikhail Grigorievich Chernyaev, 1882

The first assault on Tashkent

The remaining Kokand troops fled to Tashkent.

Tashkent was the largest trade center in the region, the largest city of the Kokand Khanate, the most important communications hub that connected Central Asia with Russia and the eastern part of Turkestan. With a population of 100 and a garrison of 15. Strong walls and towers 24 miles long, 50-60 cannons.

Chernyaev, with 1 soldiers and 500 guns, decided to take Tashkent on the move, until the enemy recovered from the unexpected fall of Chimkent. Also in the city there was a strong pro-Russian party that wanted an end to wars, unrest and the development of trade.

On September 27, 1864, the Russians approached Tashkent and on October 1 they launched an assault. However, the Kokandians stopped the Russian soldiers with strong fire. In this attack, 18 people were killed, including two officers, 60 people were injured, including Lieutenant Colonel Obukh and Lieutenant Reichard, who died of wounds in Shymkent. Chernyaev retreated.

Icahn fight

Perked up, the Kokandians decided to attack the Russians themselves.

The de facto ruler of Kokand, Alimkul (regent for the young khan and commander in chief), gathered about 12 soldiers in December 1864 to make a surprise attack on the fortress of Turkestan.

The commandant of Turkestan, Colonel Zhemchuzhnikov, having learned about the appearance of a gang of steppes in the vicinity, sent a hundred Cossacks of the 2nd Ural Regiment with one cannon (unicorn) under the command of Yesaul Vasily Serov to reconnaissance.

The Cossacks learned that the enemy was located in the village of Ikan (20 miles from Turkestan), but they had no information about his numbers.

On December 4 (16), 1864, near Ikan, the Cossacks clashed with the main forces of the Kokand people. The Russians entrenched themselves in the nearest ditch, covering themselves with food bags (then they used them to cover the dead horses). With rifle volleys and buckshot, they repulsed several attacks of enemy cavalry. Having suffered heavy losses, the Kokandans went over to the siege.

For three days, the Urals held a circular defense. The furious resistance of the Russians stunned the steppes.

The Kokandians fired at the position of the Urals, killed the horses. The Urals with well-aimed shots shot their horsemen, who tried to show off in front of them, knocked out representatives of the nobility, who stood out for the wealth of clothes and weapons.

Alimkul ordered to prepare brushwood shields in order to get closer and use the multiple numerical advantage.

In Turkestan, they realized from the shots that the Cossacks were fighting an unequal battle and sent reinforcements. But the garrison was small - 2,5 companies. Therefore, the rifle company of Lieutenant Sukorko could not break through to his own, not reaching the Cossacks for about three versts, and with difficulty made their way into the city (it took two days).

Alimkul offered Serov to surrender and convert to Islam. The Kokand people gladly accepted fugitive or captured Russians, they were excellent military specialists.

The Cossacks responded with gunfire.

V. R. Serov in the rank of colonel and his Cossacks, awarded for the battle near Ikan. Photo 1872–1879

Serov sent two Cossacks to the fortress - Borisov, Chernyaev and Kirghiz Akhmet.

On the morning of 6 (18) December, the Kokandians resumed their offensive, the Cossacks repulsed several attacks. A hundred suffered heavy losses, almost all were wounded. All horses are killed. The last hope was a breakthrough to the city, from where help could come.

The Urals got up in a square, went for a breakthrough and made their way through the ranks of the Kokand army.

The nomads did not dare to lean on the entire cavalry mass, apparently, they were afraid of new high losses. They preferred to follow and shoot. Dzhigits immediately attacked the fallen Cossack, cut off his head, mocked the seriously wounded.

Therefore, those fighters who felt a close fall asked their own to kill them. But the Urals responded to the last with marksmanship, and the Kokandians, who approached too close, became their victims.

At the end of the day, the remnants of the detachment were saved by the second detachment, expelled from Turkestan.

The Ural hundred in this three-day desperate battle lost 52 people killed, 47 wounded (including Serov).

However, their feat was not in vain, they were able to break the offensive impulse of the Kokand people. The Kokand army lost dozens of commanders and hundreds of soldiers (according to other sources, more than 2 thousand soldiers).

Alimkul did not dare to accept the battle with the Russian detachment sent against him and returned home.

All the Ural Cossacks who survived the battle were awarded the Insignia of the Military Order, Serov himself was awarded the Order of St. George, 4th degree.

Participants of the Ikan battle 25 years later. “Praise to you, Icanians, and honor to you by right! You are right in front of duty and the Russian Tsar, And bringing glory to the banner of the troops, You gave much to the descendants in return. N. V. Savichev, "To the Heroes of Ikan".
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  1. Humpty
    Humpty 21 January 2022 06: 55
    Vereshchagin's painting depicts in an extremely dramatic form an episode that occurred during the first capture of Pishpek. Using the names of peoples and tribes that are now available, the essence is this - a detachment of Kyrgyz of several hundred people climbed where it was not necessary. They attacked the camp of workers - Kazakhs hired by the Russians for earthworks. One worker was killed. The attackers were pursued by the military for 25 kilometers. As a result, the workers received a bonus in the form of 250 horses and silver, I don’t remember exactly how much was indicated in the report, but more than 20 kg. After 2 years, the Kyrgyz themselves took up earthworks in the same place. The tools were provided to them, as always there were none of their own.
    1. Zymran
      Zymran 21 January 2022 10: 40
      Vereshchagin's painting depicts a skirmish between a Russian detachment and Kazakhs and Uyghurs, whom he calls Kirghiz and Taranches in Western China. You can read about this in his story "Chinese border. Raid"
      1. Humpty
        Humpty 21 January 2022 10: 58
        Quote: Zymran
        You can read about this in his story "Chinese border. Raid"

        That's how it always is with artists. The natural background may have been drawn from memory. There is a work of art. But the place is easy to guess. It is now on the southernmost outskirts of Bishkek.
        The short-term siege was about 10 kilometers from there. The chase went through this place.
        1. Zymran
          Zymran 21 January 2022 11: 07
          Here is what Vereshchagin himself wrote:

          It must be said here that it was this attack that served as a model for me when I later performed the films "Attack by surprise" and "Surrounded - pursued." The officer, with a saber drawn, waiting for an attack, in the first of these pictures, conveys to some extent my situation, when, realizing the seriousness of the moment, I decided, if possible, to shoot back, and if not, then at least not to fall easily into the hands of the one who had flown on us hordes. Of course, much in these pictures has been changed, something, for example, is taken from a fresh story at that time about an accidental attack by the famous Sadyk on a small Russian detachment sent to search for him - an attack that happened just before my arrival in Turkestan, on the ground through which I passed. Since I didn’t take this fact as a whole, but borrowed from it only the necessary, the most characteristic, I later had to hear a lot of criticism that my pictures were an unheard of story, lies, slander on the brave Turkestan army, etc. Even the reasonable, kind and well-disposed General K.P. Kaufman publicly reproached me that "I gave vent to my imagination too much, I made up too much."

          Sadyk is the Kazakh sultan Sadyk Kenesarin, and it is not clear what kind of attack on the Russian detachment. Perhaps the battle with the Anchokov detachment, where the Russians lost 20 killed, is a big loss by the standards of Central Asian campaigns.
          1. Humpty
            Humpty 21 January 2022 12: 37
            Quote: Zymran
            Perhaps the battle with the Anchokov detachment, where the Russians lost 20 killed - by the standards of Central Asian campaigns, heavy losses

            That was the forties of the 19th century.
            The Internet and Votsap are cut down. We have someone arrested, a support group in the center is gold.
            1. Zymran
              Zymran 21 January 2022 13: 04
              Quote: Humpty
              That was the forties of the 19th century.

              No, most likely a battle with Anchokov's detachment, as indicated here in the commentary. True, in fact it was Sadyk who forced the enemy to retreat, but it did not work out completely.

              What Vereshchagin saw and experienced in Kazakhstan and Western China was also reflected by him in the films "Attack by surprise" and "Surrounded - persecuted." The canvases depict the heroism of a handful of Russian soldiers defending to the last drop of blood from a numerically stronger enemy. Vereshchagin wrote that he created these paintings based on the story of the attack of Sultan Sadyk on a small Russian detachment sent to the steppe for reconnaissance. Probably, the artist had in mind the unequal battle of hundreds of Russian Cossacks under the command of Anchokov with two thousand horsemen of Sadyk. The battle, which lasted three days, took place in May 1867 near the road from the Syrdarya Fort No. 1 to Bukhara. Having lost twenty people killed, a hundred forced Sadyk to retreat.

              Quote: Humpty
              The Internet and Votsap are cut down. We have someone arrested, a support group in the center is gold.

              Has nothing to do with our events?
              1. Humpty
                Humpty 21 January 2022 13: 08
                Quote: Zymran
                Has nothing to do with our events?

                No. We often get arrested. Akaev, for example, calmly came, True, Kirkorov had to sell real estate for a lard of rubles.
                Kenesary, as far as I remember, in 1847 was captured and executed by the Sarybagysh, where Tokmak is now.
  2. Humpty
    Humpty 21 January 2022 07: 21
    The Kokand people restored the Pishpek fortress, but in 1862 they took it again and literally razed it to the ground. Kolpakovsky later drew up a plan for the construction of the city of Pishpek. The street named after him was first renamed 90 years ago. Now few people know what kind of street it is, although it is in the city center.
    It is curious whether there is now a street in Alma-Ata with surnames directly related to these events? Obukhov, Chernyaev, Kolpakovsky, Shaitanov, Zimmerman... I know that they are not in Bishkek. There is a very noticeable Kolpakovsky glacier in size. At the site of the battles for Uzun-Agach in Kazakhstan, a monument was erected not so long ago, under the new authorities.
      TANKISTONE 25 January 2022 19: 46
      As a child, every summer I rested in "Uzun" with my grandparents. I didn’t know anything, they didn’t have time to tell (they died early) how they were evicted after Bronstein’s repressions.
  3. Daniil Konovalenko
    Daniil Konovalenko 21 January 2022 07: 57
    The Kokand Khanate was finally liquidated in 1876, and instead of the liquidated Kokand Khanate, the Fergana region was created as part of the Russian Empire.
  4. vladcub
    vladcub 21 January 2022 09: 11
    "two generations of the Turkestan military dreamed of the southern seas" perhaps Russians?
    For the then Uzbeks or Kyrgyz, the southern seas were unnecessarily
    1. Humpty
      Humpty 21 January 2022 09: 52
      Quote: vladcub
      two generations of the Turkestan military dreamed of the southern seas "possibly Russians?

      How much I read what they did and how the Russian military thought in Middle Az. 19th century, no idea to "wash boots" came to their minds. Lived in reality. And the reality is that all the dots over the "ё" in the geography of the territory were placed only in the forties of the 20th century. No one could get anything important from the locals. Around their camp or aul, which they usually knew, some more knew the paths of merchants. The Kokand people did not manage to complete the road to China.
  5. vladcub
    vladcub 21 January 2022 09: 17
    The topic is little known, and therefore interesting, but the author failed to present it.
    Valery would have turned out a candy, otherwise ... If you want to know, read it yourself, but don’t count on the author
  6. north 2
    north 2 21 January 2022 10: 10
    I can't help confessing my love for Vereshchagin's paintings. As for the painting "Attack
    unawares" - then this picture is a hymn to the courage and patriotism of the Russian soldier. After all, in the picture
    there is no massacre, only the courage and patriotism of a handful of Russian soldiers in front of an advancing thousandth detachment of enemies. Of course, like any person, a Russian also has a feeling of fear, but courage, duty and an oath do not allow Russian wars to scatter and hide between rocks. The squad is likely to die...
    Bowing before the very History of Russia, when Russia expanded to all parts of the world and before the people who carried out these expansions, with regards to Turkestan, one cannot forget about the first Governor-General of Turkestan Kaufman, the Conqueror of Samarkand and Khiva. But ... In Tashkent there was a magnificent monument to von Kaufmann. He was blown up. Kaufman was buried in the Military Savior - Priobrazhensky Cathedral in Tashkent . The cathedral, together with the grave of Kaufman, was shot and destroyed from artillery pieces, because mediocrity even with dynamite failed to blow up the Cathedral with the grave of Kaufman. All this was done in the thirties of the twentieth century. Kaufman, by the way, saved all the mosques of Samarkand, Khiva, Tashkent. That's when the new Vereshchagin was born to show how the memory of those who were brave, faithful to the oath and duty to Russia were trampled on the canvases of that Vereshchagin?
    1. Vladislav 73
      Vladislav 73 22 January 2022 00: 05
      Quote: north 2
      All this was done in the thirties of the twentieth century.

      Quote: north 2
      to show how they trampled on the memory of those who on the canvases of that Vereshchagin were brave, faithful to the oath and duty to Russia?

      Apparently, those who fought the Basmachi in the thirties, died, built, taught and actually returned this region "under the wing" of the new, Soviet Russia, were neither brave nor faithful to the oath and duty ... But they only trampled everything, blew up , destroyed and shot from cannons! Well, that's right, how else to evaluate "The Hated Rebellious Ham!" (White Guard slogan who does not know).
      1. north 2
        north 2 22 January 2022 08: 15
        so after all, they erected monuments to themselves precisely instead of the blown up and destroyed monuments to Kaufman, Skobelev, etc. What, there wasn’t enough space on Russian soil, what,
        could not fit both the old heroes and the new heroes ...
        1. Vladislav 73
          Vladislav 73 22 January 2022 11: 00
          Well, what can I say? Only already set on edge - "The time was like that" ... And it is necessary to judge not from the positions of today, but from the position of THAT era. Agree, it's stupid to judge any medieval absolute monarch from the position of liberal democracy? I'm not making excuses, but I'm not judging either. Look from this side - for them, then, it was primarily the tsarist generals, satraps, and not really someone bothered there, for what kind of merits are there monuments to them? Well, I think so. And not so long ago, the Civil War died down in Russia itself (Kolchak, for example, is still remembered in Siberia), and they fought with the Basmachi until the mid-30s for sure. This is a word about THAT era. Well, let me remind you of the "Internationale", which was the anthem of the USSR until 1944:
          The whole world of violence we will destroy
          To the ground, and then
          We are ours, we will build a new world -
          Who was nothing, that will be all

          Well, they built their world on the ruins of the old ... Fanatics? Maybe. Yes, they only destroyed, but also built. And we? Destroyed, and then? .... What are we building? Or just judge? And who are the judges? request what
  7. saygon66
    saygon66 21 January 2022 15: 07
    - Lieutenant General Chernyaev... Here, it turns out, where the name "Chernyaevka" comes from! ... Did not know... recourse
  8. The comment was deleted.
  9. navodchik
    navodchik 21 January 2022 19: 33
    Heroes eternal glory and the Kingdom of Heaven. Thanks to the author. An old song about the battle near Ikan
  10. Oleg133
    Oleg133 22 January 2022 07: 06
    Quote: Zymran
    with Kazakhs and Uighurs, whom he calls Kirghiz and Taranchi

    My grandmother in 1985 did not know any Kazakhs and called them Kyrgyz. We live in Siberia.
    1. Zymran
      Zymran 22 January 2022 11: 08
      She didn’t even know the Deutsches and called everyone Germans, didn’t she?
  11. Oleg133
    Oleg133 22 January 2022 07: 10
    And where are the cities of Verny and Perovsk now? Who to thank?
  12. Oleg133
    Oleg133 22 January 2022 17: 28
    Quote: Zymran
    She didn’t even know the Deutsches and called everyone Germans, didn’t she?

    From us to Kazakhstan 200 km. And her son lived in Alma-Ata