But even then, the original plan of attacking the allies west of the Chiese could not have been carried out, as on the 23rd the whole allied army moved forward, the French occupying Castiglione and Lonato, and the Sardinians Rezzato and Desenzano, on the lake of Garda. It is not clear how far the allies believed in the Austrian advance; that they had warning of it from several quarters is certain.
For instance, a gentleman living at Desenzano heard from the country people, who, for marketing or other purposes, constantly go to and fro between that place and Peschiera, that the Austrians had ordered a quantity of country carts and transport wagons to be in readiness on the 23rd, and he hastened with the intelligence to the Piedmontese General Delia Rocca(right), who, in a fine spirit of red-tapism, pooh-poohed the information.
The French encountered several Austrian patrols in the course of the day, but they were inclined to think that the Austrians were only executing a reconnaissance. On the whole, it seems that the conflict came as a surprise to both sides.lonato
Further north garibaldi's men had continued their activities against the austrians including this spectacular derailing of an Austrian train at seriate.on the right the river at seriate and below shows the incident.note the red shikrts are long gone
The Emperor of Austria, after accompanying the advance for a short distance, returned with Hess to Valleggio for the night. Napoleon slept at Montechiaro.
The Austrian forces bivouacked on the little hills between Solferino and Cavriana. They rested well, still confident that no fighting would be done next day. At two in the morning, the French began to move in the direction of Solferino, and the Sardinians in that of Peschiera.20mm Austrians
There is a legend, that in the grey mists of dawn an advance party of French cavalry espied a huge and gaunt hussar standing by the roadside. For a moment the figure was lost sight of, but it reappeared, and after running across the road in front of the French, it turned and dealt the officer who led the party so tremendous a blow that he fell off his horse.original hussar keppel from 1859 austrian
Then the adventurous Austrian fled, followed by a volley from the French troopers; the sound vibrating through the dawn stillness gave the call to arms to the contrasted hosts. The battle of Solferino had begun.