In the Caucasus, however, the Russians have met with a foe of a different stamp; and, instead of having merely to repel sudden incursions, are obliged to fight for every inch of ground on which they plant their feet. In this way they have been constrained to fix upon a series of strong positions, on which they have constructed a kind of forts, called kreposts. The nature of these, the sudden attacks to which they are exposed, and the mode of giving the alarm, so as to call in the aid of neighboring posts, are well exhibited in the accompanying graphic and very faithful illustration. In this service, Cossacks chiefly are employed; and, though that remarkable quickness of ear, by which they can catch the slightest sounds, at almost incredible distances, may fit them well for it, it certainly must be a service altogether uncongenial to their nature and habits. The Cossack is almost constantly on horseback, and is in his element when scouring the open fields. Here he is cooped up within a narrow s pace, and dare not venture a hundred yards beyond it, without exposing himself to the deadly aim of a Circassian. So monotonous is this mode of life — so different from that which he had been accustomed to lead — that the Cossack often abandons himself to despair, and disappoints the Circassian, by becoming his own murderer.
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Sears, Robert. An Illustrated Description of the Russian Empire. New York: Robert Sears, 1855