The Great Events by Famous Historians, Volume 17 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 532 pages of information about The Great Events by Famous Historians, Volume 17.

Montanari, my comrade at Rome and in Lombardy, was dangerously wounded and died a few days after.  He was one of those whom doctrinaires call demagogues, because they are impatient of servitude, love their country, and refuse to bow the knee to the caprices and vices of the great.  Montanari was a Modenese.  Schiaffino, a young Ligurian from Camogli, who had also served in the Cacciatori delle Alpi and in the Guides, was among the first to fall on the field, bereaving Italy of one of her bravest soldiers.  He worked hard on the night of our start from Genoa, and greatly assisted Bixio in that delicate undertaking.  De Amici, also of the Cacciatori and Guides, was another who fell at the beginning of the battle.  Not a few of the chosen band of the Thousand fell at Calatafimi as our Roman forefathers fell—­rushing on the enemy with cold steel, cut down in front without a complaint, without a cry, except that of "Viva L’Italia!" I may have seen battles more desperate and more obstinately contested, but in none have I seen finer soldiers than my citizen filibusters of Calatafimi.

The victory of Calatafimi was indisputably the decisive battle in the brilliant campaign of 1860.  It was absolutely necessary to begin the expedition with some striking engagement such as this, which so demoralized the enemy that their fervent southern imaginations even exaggerated the valor of the Thousand.  There were some among them who declared they had seen the bullets of their carbines rebound from the breasts of the soldiers of liberty as if from a plate of bronze.  Far more men were killed and wounded at Palermo, Milazzo, and the Volturno, but still I believe Calatafimi to have been the decisive battle.  After a fight like that, our men knew they were bound to win; and the gallant Sicilians, whose courage had been previously shaken by the imposing numbers and superior equipment of the Bourbon force, were encouraged.  When a battle begins with such prestige, with omens drawn from such a precedent, victory is sure.


On June 27, 1860, about three weeks after Garibaldi had taken possession of Palermo, Francis II solemnly announced his intention to give a constitution to the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, adopt the Italian flag, and ally himself with Sardinia.  These promises only provoked the cry of “Too late!” They did but recall how often the Neapolitan Bourbons had promised in the hour of danger, and proved faithless to every promise when the danger was passed.  Victor Emmanuel and his Government were now both unable and unwilling to agree to any such terms with a sovereign who had rejected similar offers at the beginning of his reign when such a settlement was possible.  Every friend of freedom felt that the time had gone by for any common action between the houses of Savoy and Bourbon.  Each had taken its own line of action, and each was now to abide by the result.

Project Gutenberg
The Great Events by Famous Historians, Volume 17 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook