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  • Giuseppe Garibaldi
    July 4, 1807 - June 2, 1882
    Part 3 of 7: Campaign of 1860
    Continued from part 2

    At the beginning of April 1860, uprisings in Messina and Palermo in the absolutist Kingdom of the Two Sicilies provided Garibaldi with an opportunity. He gathered about a thousand volunteers (called i Mille, or, as popularly known, the "Red Shirts") in two ships, and landed at Marsala, on the westernmost point of Sicily, on May 11.

    Conquest of Sicily

    Swelling the ranks of his army with scattered bands of local rebels, Garibaldi defeated an opposing army at Catalafimi on May 13. The next day, he declared himself dictator of Sicily in the name of Victor Emmanuel II of Italy. He advanced then to Palermo, the capital of the island, and launched a siege on May 27. He had the support of many of the inhabitants, who rose up against the garrison, but before the city could be taken, reinforcements arrived and bombarded the city nearly to ruins. At this time, a British admiral intervened and facilitated an armistice, by which the Neapolitan royal troops and warships departed and surrendered the city.

    Garibaldi had won a signal victory. He gained worldwide renown and the adulation of Italians. Faith in his prowess was so strong that doubt, confusion, and dismay seized even the Neapolitan court. Six weeks later, he marched against Messina in the east of the island. By the conclusion of July, only the citadel resisted him.

    Crossing to the Mainland

    Having finished the conquest of Sicily, he crossed the Straits of Messina, under the nose of the Neapolitan fleet, and marched northward. Garibaldi's progress was met with more celebration than resistance, and on September 7th he entered the capital city of Naples. However, he had never defeated the king, Francis II. Most of the army remained loyal, and had gathered north of the river Volturno. Though by then his volunteers numbered some 25,000, Garibaldi could not oppose it. A major battle was fought on the Volturno on the 1st and 2nd of October, but the bulk of the fighting was left to the Sardinian army under the command of Victor Emmanuel.

    Garibaldi deeply disliked the Sardinian Prime Minister, Camillo di Cavour. To an extent, he simply mistrusted Cavour's pragmatism and realpolitik, but he also bore a personal grudge for trading away his home city of Nice to the French the previous year. On the other hand, he felt attracted toward the king, who in his opinion had been chosen by Providence for the liberation of Italy. He greeted Victor Emmanuel with the title of King of Italy, and resigned the next day, telegraphing the single word Obbedisco ("I obey"). Garibaldi rode into Naples at the king's side, then retired to the rocky island of Caprera, refusing to accept any reward for his services.

    Garibaldi's fellow revolutionaries were not satisfied. With the motto "Free from the Alps to the Adriatic," the unification movement set its gaze on Rome and Venice. Mazzini was discontented with the perpetuation of monarchial government, and continued to agitate for a republic. Garibaldi, frustrated at inaction by the king, and bristling over perceived snubs, organized a new venture. This time, he intended to take on the Papal States.

    Part 4: Expedition Against Rome

    In this biography:
    Part 1: Introduction
    Part 2: Early Activity
    Part 3: Campaign of 1860
    Part 4: Expedition Against Rome
    Part 5: In the Austro-Prussian War and Afterward
    Part 6: Legacy
    Part 7: Related Articles, Sites, etc.

    This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Giuseppe Garibaldi".


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