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mconrad

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  1. (I sent this reply to Mr Alho offline, but the forum readers may find some interest in it, so I include it here also.) For many years I have been building a database of officers and civilian officials in tsarist Russia. Of course, the database is far from complete. This is what I found on the family name Poppius: 1814 August - Vice-Geradsgevding Poppius travelled from Vyborg and arrived in St Petersburg sometime during the time 19 to 23 August. 1814 Aug 26 "Daniel Popius" awarded the order of St. Vladimir 4th class. 1819 Dec 4 - Under-Junker (officer candidate) Popius of the 45th Jager Regiment promoted by vacancy to ensign (first officer rank). 1820 Feb 12 - Cadet Poppius of the Fredrikshamn Cadet Corps promoted to ensign in the Vyborg Infantry Regiment. 1820 Oct 19 - Ensign Poppius of the Vyborg Infantry Regiment released from service for personal domestic reasons. 1845 April 14 - Gavriil Poppius awarded the order of St Stanislav 3rd class. 1847 Aug 14 - to Sub-Lieutenant (i.e. for doing well as a cadet he was promoted not to the lowest officer rank of ensign but to the next rank higher) {{{Agrees with the information in the original query re: 1847 - Johan Henrik Poppius (1825-1882)}}} 1853 Sept 2 - Sub-Lieutenant Poppius of the 15th Artillery Brigade promoted by vacancy to lieutenant. 1855 Dec 13 - Lt. Poppius of the 15th Art. Brig. transferred to the 9th Artillery Brigade. 1856 Feb 3 - Lt. Poppius of the 9th Art. Brig. transferred to the 9th Reserve Artillery Brigade [part of an expansion of artillery units during the Crimean War]. 1856 Dec 21 - Lt. Poppius of the 9th Res. Art. Brig. transferred to the 13th Artillery Brigade [because the war is over and the reserve units are reduced.] Around 1820, the 45th Jager Regiment was one of the regiments in the 21st Infantry Division (later renumbered 23rd), which garrisoned Finland. Officers of the 45th could be detached to serve in local Finland positions: Sveaborg Major de Place, Sveaborg Adjutant de Place, Aland commandant, Torneo Major de Place) Most of the officers were Russian. Around 1820, the Vyborg Infantry Regiment, like the 45th Jagers, was in the Separate Finland Corps, 21st Infantry Division (later 23rd), and its officers were commonly seconded to positions such as adjutant to the commander of the Finland Corps, Abo Adjutant de Place, Vyborg Fortress Adjutant de Place. At least half of the officers were Russian. Regarding the Duke of Wellington's Regiment, in the 1840s it was in the same division (9th Division) as the Vitebsk Regiment, so see http://www.marksrussianmilitaryhistory.info/VTBSK.html which is a history of the Vitebsk Regiment. The Duke of Wellington's Regiment was largely in the same places and doing the same things as the Vitebsk. The Duke of Wellington's Regiment was renamed in 1826 from the Smolensk Infantry Regiment. The reason was that in 1826 the Smolensk buttons had the number "33", which was the number of the British army regiment (First West Yorkshire Regiment) most closely associated with the Duke's early career, and which much later, in 1852 after the Duke died, was renamed in his honor as the Duke of Wellingtons' (33rd (or The Duke of Wellington's) Regiment). In 1852 the Russian Duke of Wellington's Regiment reverted back to the title Smolensk Infantry Regiment. The Duke of Wellington's Regiment came to Poland in 1845, from Dunaburg. At the beginning of 1849 it was in Warsaw, in April 1849 in Tarnograd, in May and June in Samos-Nadob, in September in Lublin, temporarily in Warsaw from April to June 1850, then in Sinyavka in Sept., and in Gomel in October. In 1851 it was in Dobryanka, Kiev, Roslavl, and finally Mglin in Chernigov Province, where it stayed until Dec 1851. In 1852 it was in Gomel, and in 1853 in Kiev. In Sept of 1852, as part of the 3rd Infantry Corps, it was inspected by the tsar himself and commended for its firing at target practice. In 1849 the 15th Artillery Brigade was the artillery of the 15th Infantry Division. In 1848 it was at Leovo. It was in General Luders corps which occupied Moldovia - Wallachia (present day Romania). In Sept 1848 the 15th Artillery Brigade's commander, Major General Renfeld, was made commandant of Bucharest. In 1849 the batteries were scattered at Bucharest, Ploesti, Bakeu, Rymnik on the Olta, and Kyneni. In 1852 the 15th Artillery Brigade was stationed at Soroki and nearby towns, and was at annual maneuvers with the 5th Infantry Corps in Voznesensk in the summer. In 1854 the 15th Artillery Brigade fought the Turks and especially distinguished itself crossing the Danube at Brailov in March 1854. Several medals awarded, but none for Poppius. On 10 April of 1854 a few of the 15th Brigade's officers helped defend Odessa against British naval attack. Other officers were commended for bravery in 1854 at the siege of Silistria and the defense of Ochakov (Sept). In Oct 1855 the brigade was inspected by the new tsar and commended. The 15th Artillery Brigade did not take part in the defense of Sevastopol. I believe it manned coastal defenses between the Pruth and the Crimea (towns such as Ochakov, Odessa, Nikolaev). Poppius's transfer from the 15th to 9th brigade was on the same day that 99 other artillery officers were transferred between artillery brigades, obviously part of reorganization after the heavy losses during the war. On the same day Poppius was transferred from the 15th, six other officers in his brigade were also transferred, but only Poppius went to the 9th Brigade. On 3 February 1856, Poppius was one of 325 artillery officers transferred from the old artillery brigades to reserve artillery brigades. On 21 Dec 1856, Poppius was one of 22 officers in the 9th Reserve Art. Brig. transferred to other artillery units, mostly new reduced reserve artillery brigades, but five including Poppius went to active regular brigades. One man, Lieutenant Lisenko, even went to the 13th Artillery Brigade like Poppius. I don't know where the 13th Artillery Brigade was stationed, or anything of Poppius' further career in the army after 11 May 1857, when he transferred from the 13th to the 2nd Composite Field Artillery Brigade of the Finland Artillery District. This again was the same day when about 100 other artillery officers were transferred between units. It is my speculation that this last known transfer could be the only one of Poppius's moves that was he had a say in. The first ones were probably a tap on the shoulder and "You. Go." But given P's Finland origin and the assignment to Finland, maybe this was something he was able to influence. For Gustaf P. and the 18th Pereyaslav Dragoons in the late 1860s and early 1870s, in 1866 the regiment changed stations from Tsarskie Kolodtsy (it had been there since 1857) to Mozdok, the 1st Squadron to Magoment-yurt, the 2nd to Terskaya, the 3rd to Mozdok itself, the 4th to Galyugaevskaya, and regimental headquarters in Mozdok. Before Gustaf P. arrived at the regiment, it took part in the last of the Caucasian wars against the mountaineers, and after he had died, it took part in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78, so he missed both. Kislovodsk is a spa town, so Gustaf P. was probably already ill when he went there to die. Regards, Mark Conrad
  2. If we're open for pure speculation - then I have doubts about an escape attempt. Typically the forced marches were from east to west, so why try to slip the leash when you're going in the right direction anyways? Plus, in winter, in hostile territory -- it's hard to imagine anyone thinking escape is a viable option. Perhaps more likely are summary executions for not keeping up on the march - happened by the thousands for concentration camp inmates on those end-of-war winter marches. I would have thought western Allied PoWs would be a more privileged group, though. That's it for my speculation. Eagerly awaiting anyone with facts.
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