Thursday, 16 April 2009


54mmdurando by emi at 17 pounds
General Durando crossed the Po on the 21st of April with 17,000 men, partly Pontifical troops and partly volunteers, to which weak corps fell the task of opposing Nugent's advance in Venetia.
The colours of the Pontifical troops were solemnly blessed before they left Rome, but  as the order was only given to go to the frontier, and nothing was said, though everything was understood, about crossing it, the Pope was technically able to assert that the war was none of his making.
Austrian engineer1848
 His ministry ventured to suggest to him that the situation was peculiar. Now it was that Catholic Austria and Russia, herself schismatic, flourished in the face of the Pope the portentous scare of a new schism. It is said that the Pope's confessor, a firm Liberal, died just at this time, not without suspicion of poison. austrian artillery 1848

Thoroughly alarmed in his spiritual capacity, the Pope issued his Encyclical Letter of the 29th of April—when his ministers and the whole country still hoped from day to day that he would formally declare war—in which he protested that his sacred office obliged him to embrace all nations in an equal paternal love. If his subjects, he added, followed the example of the other Italians, he could not help it: a half-hearted admission which could not mitigate the indignation which the document called forth. With regard to Durando's corps, the Pope did what was the best thing under the altered circumstances; he sent L.C. Farini as envoy to the King of Sardinia, with the request that he would take the Roman troops under his supreme command, the Papal Government agreeing to continue the pay of such of them as belonged to the regular army.
 Pius IX. made one last effort to help his fellow-countrymen which people hardly noticed, so futile did it appear, but which was probably made in profound seriousness.

Italian Cavalry 1848 plasic Xiloplasto
 He wrote a letter to the Emperor of Austria begging him to make all things right and pleasant by voluntarily withdrawing from his Italian dominions. Popes had dictated to sovereigns before now; was there not Canossa? Besides, if a miracle was sought, why should not a miracle  happen?

The Tuscans at Curatone
Pope and Emperor shaking hands over a free Italy and a world reconciled—how delightful the prospect! Who can doubt that when the Pope wrote that letter all the beautiful dreams of Cardinal Mastai carried him once more away (it was the last time) in an ecstasy of blissful hopes? 'Let not your Majesty take offence,' ran the appeal, 'if we turn to your pity and religion, exhorting you with fatherly affection to desist from a war which, powerless to re-conquer the hearts of the Lombards and Venetians, can only lead to a dark series of calamities.

Plastic Papal officer Xiloplasto
 Nor let the generous Germanic nation take offence if we invite it to abandon old hatreds, and convert into useful relations of friendly neighbourhood a dominion which can be neither noble nor happy if it depend only on the sword. Thus we trust in the nation itself, honestly proud of its own nationality, to no longer make a point of honour of sanguinary attempts against the Italian nation, but rather to perceive that its true honour lies in recognising Italy as a sister.

'THE MINCIO. This was the frontier in 1848.One side the Italianite forces on the other the Austrians
There would be the crossing of the mincio at three points,Three bridges to take.The Italian plan was to take three bridges over the Mincio and thereby cut the Austrian defences to pieces but it was easier said than done. Goito , Monzambano and Borghetto were the points were they had decided to cut the Austrian defences and these were three opoints on the river Mincio.BORGHETTO

      Sardinian Grenadiers in marching uniform at Goito
      The firm Il Plantageneto does maybe what are the best toy soldiers of the Italian wars of Independence anywhere. They cost 25 euros painted, a bit steep maybe but worth having in any collection. If you need info google the name and yuo'll get their web page; if you need other info contact me, thats if you don't understand Italian.


      Heres a Bersaglieri from NEW HOPE DESIGN.What happeneed to them?

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