Militia Settlement Defense

From the primary document – The Khlebnikov Archive, Travel Notes, 1824 by RAC Commercial Counselor Kirill Khlebnikov –

1. I wrote to the Ross Office to point out that the fortifications must be improved.

2. The private dwellings situated outside the fort should not be torn down without the Chief Manager’s approval, but do not allow any new dwellings to be built. Almost half the men now live outside the fort’s walls, and in the event of enemy attack, they would immediately be taken prisoner. If an attack appears to be imminent, everyone living outside the fort should be brought in without delay. I will inform the Chief Manager of this.

3. During the dark autumn and winter nights, post two sentries on the towers and appoint a prikazchik or one of his assistants to supervise the sentries in turn. Those sentries who sleep on watch are disobeying orders and are to be whipped with a ship’s line as punishment.

4. An enemy attack may come by land or sea. You should devote all your energies to repulsing them and, like a true son of the native land, spare neither your efforts nor your blood to defend the fort, whose safety has been placed in your hands. Your subordinates should be instilled with these same sentiments. From the sea, ships cannot approach the fort to fire their cannon, and a landing must therefore be prevented. It is impossible to move up artillery over the mountains, and with your cannon, you would have an advantage over an enemy armed only with light weapons. In any event, may the almighty prevent such an event from occurring during your management.

Khlebnikov also had a few words to say about the use of gunpowder at Ross…

“I noticed that there had been an excessive use of gunpowder, and I decided to write the office to point out the importance of economizing in all areas.”

“The warehouse accounts of the office records for the period ending on May 1 of this year contain an entry for the following expenses:   345 charges of gunpowder between September 1, 1823 and May 1, 1824, for special celebrations, for arriving
and departing ships, for signaling, and for firing the cannon at dawn.  Comparing that figure with earlier periods, I noted that it was more than twice as large. It must be remembered that any unnecessary waste of the company’s supplies is, to a certain extent, negligence with company capital, regardless of the capital’s form, and such negligence is in violation of one’s obligation to the company. In order to avoid such expenses in the future, I ask the Ross Manager to bear in mind the exact state of affairs and to refrain from using
the Company’s capital without reason. The value of any goods wasted without a valid reason will be debited to the account of the person responsible.”