To most westerners, the Cossacks remain a mysterious and romanticized people. Nineteenth century writers and artists depict the Cossacks as extraordinary horsemen. This image is often reinforced by descriptions of Cossacks immune to the vigour of the Russian winter as they continued to nip at the heels of Napoleon’s Grand Army in 1812. Novels, like Gogol’ s Taras Bulba, and the opera Mazepa, suggests the Cossacks were both cruel and crafty, while others highlight their barbarity and backwardness.
Mandzy, Adrian, "Fighting for Freedom: The 1649 War between the Cossacks and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth" (2005). Faculty Research at Morehead State University. 959.