Garibaldi, the return to Italy

Garibaldi, il ritorno in Italia (Leggi versione in italiano)

Many members of the “Italian Legion” returned home to participate in the Risorgimento, free Italy from the foreigner and build a single state, after the South American parenthesis. At the head of these patriots was Giuseppe Garibaldi.

On June 23, 1848, the brigantine “Speranza”, in whose Garibaldi was captain, arrived in the port of Nice. The boat had left from Uruguay April, 15th, it had crossed the Atlantic to bring home a small group of exiles. They were in 63, they had been part of the legendary “Italian Legion” that had become famous in the world also following the stories told by the writer-journalist Raffaele Lacerenza. Giuseppe Garibaldi was the leader of the patriots.

He stayed in Nice a few days. The time to greet his wife Anita and her three children, her mother’s guests. Despite the aversion of Carlo Alberto against him, he decided to reach Milan to bring help to the insurgents of that city who, after the five glorious days, were mired in the hesitations of Carlo Alberto, recalcitrant to attack the troops of the Emperor of Austria Ferdinand I, who had married his relative, Maria Anna of Savoy. Garibaldi was appointed general by the temporary government of Milan, he formed the Anzani battalion. Giacomo Medici, his comrade-in-arms in Montevideo, was commander of this battalion.

Garibaldi had the order from the temporary government of Milan to free Brescia. On 29 July 1848 he headed for that city with about 3700 men, together the faithful Medici with his battalion. He failed to engage battle against the Austrians because Carlo Alberto, using some of Garibaldi’s claims that criticized him for his decisions as an excuse, but in fact to prevent the clash with the men of Radetzky, gave orders to stop Garibaldi and, if necessary, to arrest him.

Carlo Alberto had regretted having dared so much against the oldest dynasty in Europe. On 5 August he signed the capitulation and hastened back to Turin. He re-opened hostilities against the Austrians to redeem himself from the shameful retreat on March 21st of the following year. On March 23 he suffered a humiliating defeat in the battle of Novara by the Austrians led by Radetzky. He abdicated in favor of his son Vittorio Emanuele II, who was forced to sign a hard peace treaty, and he retired to voluntary exile in Porto, Portugal, where he died on 28 July 1849. His remains are preserved in the Crypt of Superga. He was the last ruler of the Savoy to be buried in Turin.

Garibaldi continued the war against the Austrians alone. On 15 August 1848 he had the first clash with the Austro-Hungarian army in Luino. He embarked with his men on Lake Maggiore and carried out a blitz in enemy territory. Radetzky gave orders to kill Garibaldi who had dared to challenge him on his territory. After a clash in Morazzone, the general managed to escape the enemy by crossing the nearby border with Switzerland. On September 10 he returned to Nice, from his wife Anita.

But the Roman Republic needed help. On October 24th he succeeded in putting together about 400 patriots with whom he embarked on the Pharamond steamer starting from Genoa on October 24th, heading towards Rome. He landed on the Lazio coast and stopped at Rieti, where he managed to recruit other volunteers, bringing the total number of his men to around 1300.

Appointed brigadier general by the government of the Roman Republic, he returned to Rome taking his position with his men on the Gianicolo hill. Anita accompanied him and left his three children in Nice, cared for by his paternal grandmother. Even Luciano Manara with his 600 Bersaglieri had sided to defend Rome. The defenders were more than 10,000 and they settled in positioning themselves at strategic points. They guarded the Gianicolo, Porta Angelica, the left bank of the Tiber.

French troops had arrived by sea. The port of Civitavecchia became the starting point of the French expedition which, in spite of their republican constitution, which prohibited the wars of conquest, marched towards Rome to destroy the republic and return the city to Pope Pius IX. A first attack by the French, commanded by General Oudinot, was driven back by cannon shots by the Republican defenders. The French troops had to hurry back to Civitavecchia waiting for reinforcements.

The king of the two Sicilies, Ferdinand II, who gave hospitality to Pius IX in the fortress of Gaeta, felt obliged to intervene at the head of his army against the republicans. Garibaldi and Manara faced the vanguard of the Neapolitan army, commanded by General Lanza, in Palestrina. Lanza, seeing the unfavorable course of the battle, withdrew to Velletri where he joined the main army led by the king himself. Republican forces led by General Rosselli and Carlo Pisacane clashed with the Neapolitan troops, who found it convenient to retreat to Terracina. During the march they were faced by the troops commanded by Garibaldi. King Ferdinand II escaped the battle and managed to return with his men to the borders of the kingdom. The Neapolitan expedition to help of the Pope resolved itself with a defeat without any real battle fought.

On May 29, 1849, General Oudinot, failing to keep faith with the agreement signed by Mazzini and the French ambassador Lesseps, which provided for a 20-day respite, then prolonged another 15-day, presented himself under the walls of Rome with 30,000 soldiers. He attacked June 3 on the side of the Gianicolo, which was defended by Garibaldi and his soldiers. Manara came to the rescue with the Bersaglieri. In the evening the French had managed to position themselves inside Villa Doria Panphilj. Goffredo Mameli, who died after a few days, was seriously wounded in the clashes. Three women did their best to rescue the injured among the defenders of Rome, creating the first medical rescue organization and the first field hospital. They were Anita Garibaldi, who worked to help the wounded, despite being pregnant, Enrichetta Di Lorenzo, the mistress of Carlo Pisacane, who was the director of the ambulance service, Cristina Trivulzio di Belgiojoso, who had gone to Rome from Milan because she was wanted by Austrian for her Risorgimento activity, who took care of the hospital organization in the service of wounded soldiers.

In the following days the French heavily bombed the city. They built trenches on the Via Portuense and Testaccio which, having an oblique direction towards the city, allowed the troops to approach and remain protected from enemy strikes. On June 30th there was the final attack of the French who managed to break through the Republican lines of defense by entering the city. The Tiber was the last bulwark. After a brief respite the constituent assembly, in which Giuseppe Mazzini took part, decided to surrender. Morosini and Manara lost among others their lives in that tragic day. Even the former slave, freed by Garibaldi in South America, Andrea Aguyar, who had followed his liberator as a shadow, lost his life in the clashes at the Gianicolo. On July 2, on the eve of the entry of the French into the city, Garibaldi delivered a memorable speech in San Pietro Square to his patriots: “I leave Rome: who wants to continue the war against the stranger, come with me … I do not promise wages, not idle. Water and bread when it will be”. Garibaldi, Anita, who had been near him in the defense of Rome, and another 4,000 patriots gathered in Piazza S. Giovanni with 400 horses and a cannon.

At 8 P.M. o’clock they crossed Porta S. Giovanni, taking shortly after the Via Casilina. Four days later the column reached Terni, where Garibaldi stopped, reorganizing his men in two legions and 400 knights. In Terni he found another 900 volunteers ready to join the Garibaldians. The 900 of Terni were commanded by the English colonel Hugh Forbes. Garibaldi and his men headed for Perugia, stopping at Todi where they stayed overnight. The following day they reached the Val di Chiana, stopping at Città della Pieve. The following day, 20 July, the column of Garibaldi reached the city of Montepulciano. The inhabitants welcomed them enthusiastically. The city representative donated 6,000 lire to Garibaldi, to help support the costs of military campaign.

After a further stop at Castiglion Fiorentino, Garibaldi and his men came under the walls of Arezzo. Due to the desertions, the number of Garibaldians had reduced to only 2,000. Arezzo had the city doors barred. There were about 60 Austrian soldiers and a few hundred civilians enlisted in the civic guard in defense of it. After spending the night camped outside the walls, Garibaldi gave up colliding with the Arezzo garrison. He had realized that his intention to bring freedom to those towns was unattainable due to the non-active participation of the affected populations.

The general and his staff decided to reach the Adriatic to march towards Venice that still resisted the siege of Radetzky. The elderly Austrian Field Marshal Kostantin d’Aspre, urged by Radetzky, went in pursuit of the 2,000 Garibaldians with a force of 25,000 soldiers, to prevent them reaching the lagoon.

The Garibaldini left Arezzo urged by the Tuscan army, led by the Austrian Poumgarten, sent by d’Aspre to pursue them. On July 24 the general heard at Citerna that two columns of troops had dangerously approached. The first of about 1200 men was from Perugia, while the second, of 2,000 soldiers chased him from Arezzo. There were some clashes between the avant-garde of the latter and Garibaldi’s rearguard. Fortunately, the regular Tuscans did not insist on giving battle, allowing Garibaldi and his men to disengage and head towards Urbino to continue in the direction of the Adriatic. On 29th there was a new battle at Sant’Angelo in Vado. Garibaldi then headed north to reach the territory of the Republic of S. Marino, where he found refuge with his 1,000 patriots who still followed him. The Captains of the Republic acted as intermediaries to allow a surrender with an amnesty for all the volunteers. D’Aspre and Radetzky responded in an ambiguous way, they did not want to commit themselves to granting the amnesty. Until then all the volunteers captured by the Austrians had been shot.

Garibaldi decided to reach Cesenatico with his men, to embark and to head for Venice. Reached the coastal town, the 1,000 volunteers took possession of 13 boats heading towards Venice. They clashed with the Austrian navy in the proximity of the Comacchio Valley. Eight boats were forced to surrender. Garibaldi’s boat along with the remaining boats managed to touch the ground in the proximity of Magnavacca. At that point the occupants of the boats dispersed. Garibaldi, Anita pregnant in the sixth month, very suffering, and Captain Culiolo were hidden by some peasants. Giovanni Nino Bonnet, a local resident whose brother had been a volunteer from Garibaldi, accompanied the three through various farms in the Comacchio valley, where the Romagna peasants demonstrated their patriotism by hosting and hiding the general and his wife in various farms in the open country.

On 4 August Anita appeared very serious, nearing death. They were hosted in the Giuccioli farm where they were joined by the medical officer Dr. Nannini. The doctor intervention was late and useless. Anita died in the evening of that day. Garibaldi did not even have time to bury properly the body of his wife, who was buried near the farm. Urged by the Austrians, he had to leave urgently. He took the Appennini direction where several farmers and residents helped him escape. After much wandering he succeeded, always accompanied by the Culiolo, to reach Prato. Leaving Prato, the two crossed all of Tuscany arriving in Maremma. Garibaldi found available a fishing boat that took him on board in Cala Marina, near Follonica. After some stops at Elba and Livorno the boat safely brought Garibaldi to Portovenere, a town in the Kingdom of Sardinia. It was September 5, 1849.

Despite the fact that the Savoy parliament, during a session in which Rattazzi and Depretis spoke to defend the General, had recommended welcoming him, Garibaldi was first arrested by the Piedmont authorities and then expelled. After having gone to Nice, where he entrusted his sons to his cousin Augusto Garibaldi and his daughter to the Deidery spouses, he traveled between Tunisia, La Maddalena and Gibraltar, finding refuge in Tangier where he was hosted by the local ambassador of the Kingdom of Sardinia.

Shortly after he left Tangier reaching England. On 27 June 1850 he embarked on the Waterloo steamer that took him to New York. In the US city was hosted by Antonio Meucci, the inventor of the phone, which gave him the opportunity to work in his candle factory. He then embarked for South America, where he arrived in Lima (Peru). He resumed his old profession, finding a boarding as captain of the brigantine Carmen. He left for China on January 10, 1852, and he touched Australia and surpassed the Cape of Good Hope. He circumnavigated the world. He entered the port of Boston on September 6 of the following year.

In 1854 Garibaldi went to London where he contacted Giuseppe Mazzini. In the British capital he met a rich widow, Emma Roberts, who became his mistress. In London he also had an hot relationship with the young Countess Maria Martini Giovio della Torre, daughter of the Piedmontese general Conte di Salasco, who had signed the armistice, or rather the surrender, with the Austrians at the end of the adventure of Carlo Alberto at Milan in 1848. Emma Roberts was a friend of Jessie White, who followed her and Garibaldi on the journey that led the general to Caprera in May 1855. Jessie became a Garibaldi’s follower, attending in all subsequent battles of the general. She studied as a nurse for to be able to bring help to the patriots wounded in battle. Garibaldi also met Paolina Pepoli, nephew of Joachim Murat, in London, and she became his mistress for a short season.

On the island of Caprera the general bought a property from a local farmer, plus another piece of land from his neighboring Englishman, Emma Claire Collins, who later also served him as secretary. He built his house on the island with his own hands and with the help of some friends. In the following years, the island became entirely his property. The very rich Emma Roberts gave him a cutter to which the general gave the name of his mistress “Emma”. He resumed his maritime life for some time. Roberts, after having realized that she was not able to convince Garibaldi to make an easy life in a rich London mansion, returned to London. Garibaldi entrusted Emma with his son Ricciotti to take care of his education. with his bad behavior, He had been expelled from the college of the Jesuits in Nice because his bad behavior. Emma will forever be in the heart of Garibaldi. He will remain on good terms with her for the rest of her life.

Since he had been reached in Caprera by his daughter Teresita, he engaged a young maid of Nice, Battistina Ravello. Battistina had been indicated to the general by her brother Carlo Andrea Antonio Raveau (Italian: Ravello) who had been a volunteer from Garibaldi. Battistina became the general’s mistress. In 1859 she had a daughter, Anna Maria Imeni Garibaldi, called Anita, as the heroic wife of General who died in 1849. In 1857 the beautiful baroness Esperance von Schwartz arrived on the island, who was writing a book on Garibaldi. Garibaldi suddenly fell in love with the baroness when he asked him for a pair of trousers to ride easily. She had pants. In front of everyone, she took off his skirt, remaining in his underwear before wearing the men’s garment. The relationship with Esperance went on for a few months, arousing the jealousy of Battistina. The same ended when the general asked the baroness to marry him, receiving a definite refusal.

The peace conference that took place in Paris in 1856 was the place where Cavour‘s initiatives to unite Italy were successful. He succeeded in raising the “Italian question” with the support of Napoleon III. Count Alexandre Colonna Walewsky, the natural son of Napoleon I and Countess Maria Walewska, raised the issue publicly, complaining about the poor conditions in which the people were held in the Papal States and in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, making comments on oppression suffered by the Italians of Lombardo-Veneto, subjects of the Austrian Empire. The second war of independence was prepared.

After the agreements signed to Plombiers, which sanctioned the alliance of the Kingdom of Sardinia with France, and which had as its purpose the expulsion of the Austrians from Italy, Cavour wanted to meet Garibaldi, believing that the general could not be kept aside in the juncture of a new war against the Austrians. The meeting took place on December 20, 1858 and in that place it was agreed that Garibaldi was entrusted with an army brigade to be set up ad hoc. In March 1859, the brigade of the Cacciatori delle Alpi was created with the royal decree of Vittorio Emanuele, in whose command Giuseppe Garibaldi was placed, promoted “major general”. The staff was made up of 3200 volunteer soldiers, part of the Sardinian regular army. The Cacciatori were divided into three regiments. Giacomo Medici and the Neapolitan (born in Gaeta) Enrico Cosenz assisted Garibaldi in the command.

Cacciatori delle Alpi a Seriate, 1859 - Stampatore Rossetti 1860-61
Cacciatori delle Alpi a Seriate, 1859 – Stampatore Rossetti 1860-61

Garibaldi and his men, on May 23 of the same year, crossed the border between Piedmont and Lombardo-Veneto in Sesto Calende conquering, after brief clashes, the city of Varese. On May 26 they clashed with the Austrian troops commanded by the baron Karl Urban, known as the Austrian Garibaldi, in the battle of Varese, in which the Cacciatori won. The following day the clashes continued in the battle of San Fermo. At the end of the day Garibaldi, victorious, entered the city of Como. After the reconquest of Varese by the Austrians of Urban, Garibaldi was forced to retrace his steps to free Varese for the second time. What he did easily also for the defeat that the Austrians had suffered in Magenta by the French troops sent by Napoleon I.

On 15 June Garibaldi, on the basis of the instructions received from the Chief of Staff Enrico Morozzo della Rocca, left with his troops heading towards Garda Lake. Not receiving provisions, the general gave orders to Stefano Türr, Enrico Cosenz and Giacomo Medici to attack the Austrians in what was later called the Battle of Treponti.
While the Cacciatori delle Alpi were in Valtellina to push the Austrians over the Stelvio pass, the signing of the armistice of Villafranca came to an end. It established Lombardy to Kingdom of Sardinia. At the time of the armistice, the Cacciatori’s volunteers had grown between 9,000 and 12,000. Garibaldi was deprived by the command of the brigade, where Manfredo Fanti took over. He had the second command of the Cacciatori, and the command of one of the three regiments, while the other two were entrusted to Pietro Roselli and Luigi Mezzacapo. On 12 April 1860 Garibaldi, elected deputy in the Savoy parliament, strenuously opposed the transfer of Nice to France. On the 23rd of the same month, disappointed by the loss of Nice and offended by the treatment received after the armistice of Villafranca, he resigned as a member of parliament.

At the end of 1859 the general had met the young Lombard Giuseppina Raimondi, who at the time was 17 years old. Garibaldi, 52 years old, fell madly in love with the girl and did not hesitate to ask her to marry him. After a few months, after many hesitations, his young friend accepted. The wedding was celebrated on 24 January 1860 in Fino di Mornasco, in the province of Como, where the Raimondi family had their estates. Immediately after the ceremony was delivered by Major Rovelli to Garibaldi a letter in which all the love adventures were told that the beautiful Giuseppina had had around, including that with the major Rovelli. Among other things, he became aware that his wife was pregnant of a couple of months following the relationship she had with a Garibaldian, Lieutenant Luigi Caroli. Garibaldi, feeling himself cheated, slapped the new bride, threw a chair on her, addressing her: “You’re a whore.” He immediately abandoned her leaving for Caprera. The marriage will last legally for 20 years, since Giuseppina Raimondi refused to give its consent to the annulment of the same.

Clelia Garibaldi, Mio Padre, Erasmo, 2007.
Indro Montanelli, Marco Nozza, Giuseppe Garibaldi, BUR, 2007 Garibaldi
Antonio Pagano, Giuseppe Garibaldi, Raimondi