The Piedmontese fought like tigers but their leader Sonnaz started to call for regrouping before the day was out.The situazion was not check mate though Eugenio Di sonnaz still had cards to play. He had blocked up the weak centre and his men had killed double their number dead. He asked for the right to counter-attack but the King wouldn't give it, it was said that he feared his men getting sun stroke because of the extreme heat that day.
General Eugenio Bava thought if he took Volta he could take over the direction of the battle but his bid to oust the Austrians out of Volta ended in total defeat. Di Sonnaz had abandoned Volta earlier on.
The Piedmonts retreated and the war would have its last battle at Novara.
Charles Albert was ready to fight on but his generals thought the war useless and had lost heart.
To suppose that anything could have been gained by subjecting Milan to the horrors of a siege seems at this date the veriest madness; whatever Charles Albert's sins were, the capitulation of Milan was not among them. The members of a wild faction, however, demanded resistance to the death, or the death of the King if he refused.
It is their severest censure to say that their pitiless fury is not excused even by the tragic fate of a population which, having gained freedom unaided less than six months before, saw itself given back to its ancestral foe by the man in whom it had hoped as a saviour.
They saw crimes where there were only blunders, which had brought the King to a pass only one degree less wretched than their own. Crushed, humiliated, his army half destroyed, his personal ambition—to rate no higher the motive of his actions—trodden in the dust; and now the name of traitor was hissed in his ears by those for whom he had made these sacrifices.
Stung to the heart, the King instructed General Bava to tell the Milanese that if they were ready to bury themselves under the ruins of the city, he and his sons were ready to do the same. But the Municipality, convinced of the desperateness of the situation, had already entered into negotiations with Radetsky, by which the capitulation was ratified. On this becoming known, the Palazzo Greppi, where Charles Albert lodged, was the object of a new display of rage; an attempt was even made to set it on fire. During the night, the King succeeded in leaving the palace on foot, guarded by a company of Bersaglieri and accompanied by his son, the Duke of Genoa, who, on hearing of his father's critical position, disobeyed the order to stay with his regiment, and came into the city to share his danger.above the five days of milan
The next day, the 6th of August, the Austrians reentered Milan. They themselves said that the Milanese seemed distraught. The Municipality was to blame for having concealed from the people the real state of things, by publishing reports of imaginary victories. Had the unthinking fury of the mob ended, as it so nearly ended, in an irreparable crime, the authors of these falsehoods would have been, more than anyone else, responsible for the catastrophe.
The campaign of 1848 was finished. From the frontier, Charles Albert issued a proclamation to his people, calling upon the Piedmontese to render the common misfortunes less difficult to bear by giving his army a brotherly reception. 'In its ranks,' he concluded, 'are my sons and I, ready, as we all are, for new sacrifices, new hardships, or for death itself for our beloved fatherland
Lombard legion Manara Guerra Italiana 1848-49, 1848
The political and diplomatic transactions connected with the war in Lombardy were the subject after it closed of much discussion, and of some violent recriminations. Even from the short account given in these pages, it ought to be apparent that the supreme cause of disaster was simply bad generalship. Contemporaries, however, judged otherwise; if they were monarchists, they attributed the failure to the want of whole-hearted co-operation of the Provisional Governments of Lombardy with the liberating King; if they were republicans, they attributed it to the King's want of trust in the popular element, and anxiety lest, instead of receiving an increase of territory, he should find himself confronted with a new republic at his door.
Both parties were so far correct that the strain of double purposes, or, at least, of incompatible aspirations which ran through the conduct of affairs, militated against a fortunate ending. The Piedmontese Government, even had it wished, would have found it difficult to adhere strictly to the programme of leaving all political matters for discussion after the war.
What actually happened was that the union, under the not altogether attractive form of Fusion with Piedmont (instead of in the shape of the formation of an Italian kingdom), was effected at the end of June and beginning of July over the whole of Lombardy and Venetia, including Venice, where, perhaps alone, the feeling against it was not that of a party, but of the bulk of the population.
Manin shared that feeling, but his true patriotism induced him to push on the Fusion in order to avoid the risk of civil war. He retired into private life the day it was accomplished, only to become again by acclamation Head of the State when the reverses of Sardinia obliged the King's Government to renounce the whole of his scarcely—acquired possessions, not excepting Modena, which had been the first, by a spontaneous plebiscite, to elect him Sovereign
The diplomatic history of the war is chiefly the history of the efforts of the English Cabinet to pull up a runaway horse. Lord Minto had been sent to urge the Italian princes to grant those concessions which Austria always said (and she was perfectly right) would lead to a general attack upon her power, but when the attack began, the British Government strained every nerve to limit its extension and diminish its force.
That Lord Palmerston in his own mind disliked Austria, and would have been glad to see North Italy free, does not alter the fact that he played the Austrian game, and played it with success. He strongly advised every Italian prince to abstain from the conflict, and it is further as certain as anything can well be, that his influence, exercised through Lord Normanby, alone averted French intervention in August 1848, when the desperate state of things made the Italians willing to accept foreign aid.
What would have happened if the French had intervened it is interesting to speculate, but impossible to decide. Their help was not desired, except as a last resource, by any party in Italy, nor by any man of note except Manin.
The republicans wished Italy to owe her liberation to herself; Charles Albert wished her to owe it to him. The King also feared a republican propaganda, and was uneasy, not without reason, about Savoy and Nice. Lamartine would probably have been satisfied with the former, but it is doubtful if Charles Albert, though capable of giving up his crown for Italy, would have been capable of renouncing the cradle of his race.
When Lamartine was succeeded by Cavaignac, perhaps Nice would have been demanded as well as Savoy. That both the King and Mazzini were right in mistrusting the sentiments of the French Government, is amply testified by a letter written by Jules Bastide to the French representative at Turin, in which the Minister of Foreign Affairs speaks of the danger to France of the formation of a strong monarchy at the foot of the Alps, that would tend to assimilate the rest of Italy, adding the significant words: 'We could admit the unity of Italy on the principle and in the form of a federation of independent states, each balancing the other, but never a unity which placed the whole of Italy under the dominion of one of these states.'One other point has still to be noticed: the proposal made by Austria in the month of May to give up Lombardy unconditionally if she might keep Venetia, which was promised a separate administration and a national army. Nothing shows the state of mind then prevailing in a more distinct light than the scorn with which this offer was everywhere treated. Lord Palmerston declined to mediate on such a basis 'because there was no chance of the proposal being entertained,' which proved correct, as when it was submitted to the Provisional Government of Milan, it was not even thought worth taking into consideration. No one would contemplate the sacrifice of Venice by a new Campo Formio.Far, indeed, was Austria the victorious in August from Austria the humiliated in May. On the 9th of August, Hess and Salasco signed the armistice between the lately contending Powers. The next day the Emperor Ferdinand returned to his capital, from which he had been chased in the spring. He might well congratulate himself upon the marvellous recovery of his empire; but the revolution in Hungary was yet to be quelled, and another rising at Vienna in October tried his nerves, which were never of the strongest. On the 2nd of December he [Pg.119] abdicated in favour of his young nephew, the Archduke Francis Joseph, who had been brought face to face more than once on the Mincio with the Duke of Savoy, whom he rivalled in personal courage
On the 10th of December, another event occurred which placed a new piece on the European chess-board: Louis Napoleon was elected to the Presidency of the French Republic.
While the remnant of the Piedmontese army recrossed the bridge over the Ticino at Pavia, crushed, though not though want of valour, outraged in the person of its King, surely the saddest vanquished host that ever retraced in sorrow the path it had traced in the wildest joy, a few thousand volunteers in Lombardy still refused to lay down their arms or to recognise that, after the capitulation of Milan, all was lost.
Valueless as a fact, their defiance of Austria had value as a prophecy, and its prophetic aspect comes more clearly into view when it is seen that the leader of the little band was Garibaldi, while its standard-bearer was Mazzini. These two had lately met for the first time since 1833, when Garibaldi, or 'Borel,' as he was called in the ranks of 'Young Italy,' went to Marseilles to make the acquaintance of the head and brain of the society which he had joined, as has been mentioned, on the banks of the Black Sea.'When I was young and had only aspirations,' said Garibaldi in London in April 1864, 'I sought out a man who could give me counsel and guide my youthful years; I sought him as the thirsty man seeks water.
This man I found; he alone kept alive the sacred fire, he alone watched while all the world slept; he has always remained my friend, full of love for his country, full of devotion for the cause of freedom: this man is Joseph Mazzini.'
The words spoken then—when the younger patriot was the chosen hero of the greatest of free nations, while the elder, still misunderstood by almost all, was shunned and calumniated, and even called 'the worst enemy of Italy'—gave one fresh proof, had one been wanting, that, though there have been more flawless characters than Garibaldi, never in a human breast beat a more generous heart. Politically, there was nearly as much divergence between Mazzini and Garibaldi as between Mazzini and Cavour; the master thought the pupil lacked ideality, the pupil thought the master lacked practicalness; but they were at one in the love of their land and in the desire to serve her.On parting with Mazzini in 1833, Garibaldi, then captain of a sailing vessel, went to Genoa and enrolled himself as a common sailor in the Royal Piedmontese Navy. The step, strange in appearance, was certainly taken on Mazzini's advice, and the immediate purpose was doubtless to make converts for 'Young Italy' among the marines. Had Garibaldi been caught when the ruthless persecution of all connected with 'Young Italy' set in, he would have been shot offhand, as were all those who were found dabbling with politics in the army and navy. He escaped just in time, and sailed for South America.
The most important event of the autumn of 1848 was the gradual but continuous break-up of the Papal authority in Rome. The meeting of the new Parliament only served to accentuate the want of harmony between the Pope and his ministers; assassinations were frequent; what law there was was administered by the political clubs. In Count Terenzio Mamiani, Pius IX. found a Prime Minister who, for eloquence and patriotism, could hardly be rivalled, but hampered as he was by the opposition he encountered from the Sovereign, and by the absence of any real or solid moderate constitutional party in the Chamber of Deputies, Mamiani could carry out very few of the improvements he desired to effect, and in August he retired from an impracticable task, to be replaced by men of less note and talent than himself.Wishing to create fresh complications for the Pope, the Austrians invaded the Legations, regardless of his protests, and after the fall of Milan, General Welden advanced on Bologna, where, however, his forces were so furiously attacked by the inhabitants and the few carabineers who were all the troops in the town, that they were dislodged from the strong position they had taken up on the Montagnola, the hill which forms the public park, and obliged to fly beyond the city walls. Radetsky disapproved of Welden's movements on Bologna, and ordered him not to return to the assault.Had the Austrians returned and massacred half the population of Bologna, the Pope might have been saved. When Rome heard that the stormy capital of Romagna was up in arms, once more, for a moment, there were united counsels. 'His Holiness,' ran the official proclamation, 'was firmly resolved to repel the Austrian invasion with all the means which his State and the well-regulated enthusiasm of his people could supply.' The Chamber confirmed the ministerial proposal to demand French help against Austria. But all this brave show of energy vanished with the pressing danger, and Bologna, which, by its manly courage, had galvanised the whole bloodless body-politic, now hastened the hour of dissolution by lapsing into a state of deplorable anarchy, the populace using the arms with which they had driven out the Austrians, to establish a reign of murder and pillage. L.C. Farini restored something like order, but the general weakness of the power of government became every day more apparent.The Pope made a last endeavour to avert the catastrophe by calling to his counsels Count Pellegrino Rossi, a man of unyielding will, who was as much opposed to demagogic as to theocratic government. Rossi, having been compromised when very young in Murat's enterprises, lived long abroad, and attained the highest offices under Louis Philippe, who sent him to Rome to arrange with the Pope the delicate question of the expulsion of the Jesuits from France, which he conducted to an amicable settlement, though one not pleasing to the great Society. Not being one of those who change masters as they change their boots according to the state of the roads, the ambassador retired from the French service when Louis Philippe was dethroned. As minister to the Pope, he made his influence instantly felt; measures were taken to restore order in the finances, discipline in the army, public security in the streets, and method and activity in the Government offices. The tax on ecclesiastical property was enforced; fomenters of anarchy, even though they wore the garb of patriots, and perhaps honestly believed themselves to be such, were vigorously dealt with. If anyone could have given the Temporal Power a new lease of life, it would have been a man so gifted and so devoted as Pellegrino Rossi, but the entire forces, both of subversion and of reaction, were against him, and most of all was against him the fatality of dates. Not at human bidding do the dead arise and walk. The most deeply to be regretted event that happened in the course of the Italian revolution gave his inevitable failure the appearance of a fortuitous accident.
The Piedmontese fell back to Milan whose population, fearing that Charles Albert would abandon them, tried to organize a resistance.
Parliament, which had been prorogued on the 26th of August, was to open on the 15th of November. Anarchy, black and red, was in the air. Though disorders were expected, Rossi made no provision for keeping the space clear round the palace where Parliament met; knots of men, with sinister faces, gathered in all parts of the square. Rossi was warned in the morning that an attempt would be made to assassinate him; he was entreated not to go to the Chamber, to which he replied that it was his duty to be present, and that if people wanted his blood they would have it sooner or later, whether he took precautions or not. Two policemen to keep the passage free when he reached the Chamber would, nevertheless, have saved his life. As he walked from his carriage to the stairs, an unknown individual pushed against him on the right side, and when he turned to see who it was, the assassin plunged a dagger in his throat. He fell, bathed in blood, to expire without uttering a word.The Pope decided on flight.
He left Rome in disguise during the evening of the 25th of November. After gaining the Neapolitan frontier, he took the road to Gaeta. The illusion of the Pope Liberator ended with the Encyclical; the illusion of the Constitutional Pope ended with the flight to Gaeta. Pius IX. was only in a limited degree responsible for his want of success, because the task he had set before him was the quadrature of the circle in politics.The mass of the population of the Roman States had desired such a change ever since the days of Gregory; the temporary enthusiasm for Pius, if it arrested the flow of the stream, did not prevent the waters from accumulating beyond the dyke. One day the dyke would burst, and the waters sweep all before them.A Constituent Assembly was convoked for the 5th of February 1849. The elections, which took place on the 21st of January, were on this basis: every citizen of more than twenty-one years was allowed to vote; every citizen over twenty-five could become a deputy; the number of deputies was fixed at two hundred; a candidate who received less than 500 votes would not be elected. On the 9th of February, the Constituent Assembly voted the downfall of the Temporal Power (free exercise of his spiritual functions being, at the same time, assured to the Supreme Pontiff), and the establishment of a republican form of government. The Roman Republic was proclaimed from the Capitol.Ten votes were given against the republic. No government ever came into existence in a more strictly legal manner. Had it not represented the true will of the people, the last Roman Commonwealth could not have left behind so glorious, albeit brief, a record.A youthful poet, descendant of the Doges of Genoa, Goffredo Mameli, whose 'Fratelli d'Italia' was the battle-hymn to which Italy marched, wrote these three words to Mazzini: 'Roma, Repubblica, Venite.' So Mazzini came to Rome, which confided her destinies to him, as she had once confided them to the Brescian Arnold and to Cola di Rienzi. Not Arnold—not Rienzi in his nobler days—dreamed a more sublime dream of Roman liberty than did Giuseppe Mazzini, or more nearly wrote down that dream in fact.Originally the executive power was delegated to a committee, but this was changed to a Triumvirate, the Triumvirs being Armellini, Saffi and Mazzini. Mazzini's mind and will directed the whole.On the 18th of February, Cardinal Antonelli demanded in the Pope's name the armed intervention of France, Austria, Spain and Naples, 'as in this way alone can order be restored in the States of the Church, and the Holy Father re-established in the exercise of his supreme authority, in compliance with the imperious exigencies of his august and sacred character, the interests of the universal Church, and the peace of nations. In this way he will be enabled to retain the patrimony which he received at his accession, and transmit it in its integrity to his successors.'
Though the king promised to defend the city, his army was too demoralized and disorganized to fight and retreated to Piedmont together with tens of thousands of Lombard refugees.
On August 7, Radetzky's Troops entered Milan.
The defeat at Custoza effectively eliminated the union of Piedmont and Venice.
In July, Charles Albert had led his army still full of hope over the Mincio to face the Austrians in a show down but Radetzky responded with a decisive counterattack.
In a two-day battle, he inflicted a painful humiliating defeat on the Piedmontese,Custoza was taken by the bayonet. Both sides suffered major casualties, each army having lost more than half of its troops during the fight. The first battle, on July 24, 1848, was a crushing defeat on the young ,relatively young, Charles Albert , king of Sardinia-Piedmont, at the hands of the 82-year-old Austrian veteran of the Napoleonic Wars, Field Marshal Joseph Radetzky. An armistice was signed August 9.Radetsky was THE man.Remember that next time you use an ageism.
The Pope, who could not bring himself to stain his white robes with the blood of the enemies of Italy, called in four armies to shoot down his subjects, because in no other way could he recover his lost throne.Pius IX. was the twenty-sixth Pontiff who called the foreigner into Italy.The final conquest of the Pope by the party of universal reaction could only be effected by his isolation from all but one set of influences; this is precisely what happened at Gaeta. There are reasons for thinking that his choice of the hospitality of the King of the Two Sicilies, rather than that of France or Spain or Sardinia, was the result of an intrigue in which Count Spaur, the Bavarian minister who represented the interests of Austria in Rome after that power withdrew her ambassador, played a principal part. Even after Pius arrived at Gaeta, it is said that he talked of it as the first stage of a longer journey. He had never shown any liking for the Neapolitan Bourbons, and the willingness which he expressed to Gioberti to crown Charles Albert King of Italy if his arms were successful, was probably duly appreciated by Ferdinand II.
To save the Pope from absorption by the retrograde party, and to avoid the certainty of a foreign invasion, Gioberti, who became Prime Minister of Piedmont in November 1848, was anxious to occupy the Roman states with Sardinian troops immediately after the Pope's flight, when his subjects still recognised his sovereignty. Gioberti resigned because this policy was opposed by Rattazzi and other of his colleagues in the ministry. It would have been a difficult rôle to play; Sardinia, while endeavouring to checkmate the reaction, might have become its instrument. The failure of Gioberti's plan cannot be regretted, but his forecast of what would happen if it were not attempted proved to be correct
Hungary sent troops to help in the Italian war Soon after the arrival of his exalted guest, King Ferdinand with his family, a great number of priests, and a strong escort, moved his residence from the capital to Gaeta. The modified Constitution, substituted for the first charter after the events of the 15th of May, was still nominally in force; Parliament had met during the summer, but the King solved the riddle of governing through his ministers, on purely retrograde principles, without paying more heed to the representatives of the nations than to the benches on which they sat. Prorogued on the 5th of September, Parliament was to have met on the 30th of November, but when that date approached, it was prorogued again to the 1st of February. 'Our misery has reached such a climax,' wrote Baron Carlo Poerio, 'that it is enough to drive us mad. Every faculty of the soul revolts against the ferocious reactionary movement, the more disgraceful from its execrable hypocrisy. We are governed by an oligarchy; the only article maintained is that respecting the taxes. The laws have ceased to exist; the Statute is buried; a licentious soldiery rules over everything, and the press is constantly employed to asperse honest men. The lives of the deputies are menaced. Another night of St Bartholomew is threatened to all who will not sell body and soul.' Ferdinand only waited till he had recovered substantial hold over Sicily to do away with even the fiction of parliamentary government. Messina had fallen in September, though not till half the city was in flames, the barbarous cruelties practised on the inhabitants after the surrender exciting the indignation of the English and French admirals who witnessed the bombardment. This was the first step to the subjection of Sicily, but not till after Syracuse and Catania fell did the King feel that there was no further cause for anxiety—the taking of the capital becoming a mere question of time. He was so much pleased at the fall of Catania that he had a mock representation of the siege performed at Gaeta in presence of the Pope and of half the sacred college.campaign uniform, although they were in revolt against their allies the Austrians. Here we can see their hussars.A lot of the uniforms were more or less the same as in the Napoleonic wars as we can see below
On the 13th of March Prince Torelli handed the President of the Neapolitan Chamber of Deputies a sealed packet which contained a royal decree dissolving Parliament. Naples was once more under an irresponsible despotism. The lazzaroni of both the lower and higher classes, if by lazzaroni may be understood the born allies of ignorance, idleness and bigotry, rejoiced and were glad. Nor were they few. Unlike the Austrians in the north, Ferdinand had his party; the 'fidelity of his subjects' of which he boasted, was not purely mythical. Whether, considering its basis, it was much to boast of, need not be discussed.
In March, the happy family at Gaeta was increased by a new arrival. Had he been better advised, Leopold, Grand Duke of Tuscany, would have never gone to breathe that malarious atmosphere. He had played no conjuror's tricks with his promises to his people; Austrian though he was, he had really acted the part of an Italian prince, and there was nothing to show that he had not acted it sincerely. But a persistent bad luck attended his efforts. Though the ministers appointed by him included men as distinguished as the Marquis Gino Capponi, Baron Ricasoli and Prince Corsini, they failed in winning a strong popular support. Leghorn, where the population, unlike that of the rest of Tuscany, is by nature turbulent, broke into open revolution. In the last crisis, the Grand Duke entrusted the government to the extreme Liberals, Montanelli the professor, and Guerrazzi the novelist; both were honourable men, and Guerrazzi was thought by many to be a man of genius. The vigorous rhetoric of his Assedio di Firenze had warmed the patriotism of many young hearts. But, as statesmen, the only talent they showed was for upsetting any régime with which they were connected.
Throughout the winter of 1848-1849 Venice was blockaded by the Austrians.
In March 1849 the Piedmontese government renewed the hostilities with Austria but was defeated decisively at the battle of Novara after less than a week of fighting and had to seek peace. Battle of Novara, (March 23, 1849), battle of the first Italian War of Independence in which 70,000 Austrian troops under Field Marshal Joseph Radetzky thoroughly defeated 100,000 poorly trained Italian troops (not all of whom were actually employed in the battle) under Charles Albert, king of Sardinia-Piedmont. It was fought at Novara, 28 miles (45 km) west of Milan, 11 days after Charles Albert had denounced the armistice that he had signed the previous August after his defeat at the first Battle of Custoza. This new defeat, a result of Radetzky's military superiority and Piedmont's lack of support from the smaller Italian states, led to a treaty on Aug. 9, 1849, which included an indemnity of 65 million francs to be paid to Austria. The defeat also led to the abdication of Charles Albert in favour of his son Victor Emmanuel II.
If you follow my blog as a guide nearly all the places from the start of this blog to the present are near to each other .Above is the ristorante THE FORT (AL FORTE). It is inside what was one of the Austrian forts in the area. You will find this at Pastrengo.
The Grand Duke was asked to convoke a Constituent Assembly, following the example of Rome. If every part of Italy were to do the same, the constitution and form of government of the whole country could be settled by a convention of the various assemblies. The idea was worthy of respect because it pointed to unity; but in view of the existing situation, Tuscany's solitary adhesion would hardly have helped the nation, while it was accompanied by serious risks to the state. The Grand Duke seemed about to yield to the proposal, but, on receiving a strong protest from the Pope, he refused to do so on the ground that it would expose himself and his subjects to the terrors of ecclesiastical censure. He still remained in Tuscany, near Viareggio, till he was informed that a band of Leghornese had set out with the intention of capturing his person. Then he left for Gaeta on board the English ship Bull Dog. The republic had been already proclaimed at Florence, with Montanelli and Guerrazzi as its chief administrators. It succeeded in pleasing no one. Civil war was more than once at the threshhold of Florence, for the peasants rose in armed resistance to the new government. In less than two months the restoration of the Grand. Ducal authority was accomplished almost of itself. Unfortunately, the Grand Duke who was to come back was not the same man as he who went away. The air of Gaeta did its work.
Following Novara, the Austrians appealed to Venice to surrender but the Venetians refused.
In the long run, however, Venice could not resist; the Austrians bombarded it, supplies ran short, famine spread, and epidemics broke out. After some negotiations, the city surrendered on August 22, 1849, and Manin and other leaders were allowed to leave. The 1848-1849 revolutionary period in Italy was over.