Cossack Infantry (ETW Unit)
They are organised into large hosts, each under the leadership of an ataman, or chief. Within each host, smaller Cossack bands fight as separate units. Traditionally, Cossacks are cavalrymen without peer, as might be expected of a steppe people, but they are equally adept at fighting on foot. They are personally brave, even headstrong, in the presence of enemies, something that can make them too eager to get into the fight.
Historically, Russians and other Eastern Europeans have had an ambiguous relationship with the Cossacks. There is admiration for their fighting qualities, yet a certain wariness of their wild nature. This has not stopped them being used as irregular troops by many nations. Even as late as the Second World War entire Cossack divisions were used by the Soviet Army, and then by the Germans who invaded Russia. Those Cossacks who served with the Germans (there were Cossack Waffen-SS divisions) were either killed in combat or captured and sent to die in labour camps.
Russia's unique version of Line Infantry, they are inferior in most aspects apart from their cost and easy recruitablity. Line infantry form the heart of any army in Empire: Total War and these units are no different in the early game. In a head-on fight, a line infantry will be able to beat almost any non-line infantry regiment (with the exception of a well-angled and timed salvo of canister shot fired from an artillery piece). Cossack Infantry however quickly become obsolete once Rank By Fire is researched, they effectively lack one third the firepower of standard Line Infantry regiments. Due to this inferiority they should be used early on in the game when money is tight and such techs haven't been researched yet, they might just be able to help you set yourself up for later conquests. Their ability to be recruited from Magistrates mean you will always be able to keep an Invading army well equipped if you should lose a unit or two.