The Crimean War was a conflict which pitted Ottoman, French, British, and eventually Piedmont-Sardinian (Italian) forces against Russia, with the participation of volunteers and mercenaries from a dozen other states and nations. The threat of Austria, Prussia and Sweden joining the coalition in a grand rollback of the Russian Empire complicated matters, and the final butcher's bill approached a million dead, wounded, and disappeared without a trace. This prolonged armed confrontation witnessed novel weaponry such as rockets, new forms of logistics and communication via steamship, rail and telegraph, a fresh organization of military medicine with organized female nursing, and innovative forms of military journalism with a few war correspondents and some photography.
The Military Science Archive Crimean War collection ranges from directives and official correspondence to position papers and memoirs; political and military intelligence reports and reports on foreign intelligence; accounts of action inaction, logistics, fortifications, and engineering; and, among other things, information on native militias and foreign volunteers, spies, traitors, prisoners-of-war and their treatment, disinformation, domestic morale, field hospitals, military justice, and Russia's military cipher.
The cast of major characters in some of the files especially devoted to correspondence include Emperor Nicholas I and War Minister Prince V.A. Dolgorukov; the local commanders-in-chief, Field Marshall I.F. Paskevich, Prince Alexander Menshikov, and Prince M.D. Gorchakov; some of their top subordinates, Generals A.N. Lüders and P.E. Kotsebu (Kozebue) and Adjutant General Annenkov. Among the memoranda and memoirs are contributions of General F.V. Rüdiger, Col. A.P. Khrushchov, the experienced statesman and architect of Balkan policy, P.D. Kisilev, and the rising specialist of military statistics and future reforming War Minister, Dmitrii Miliutin.