The History of Sicily

Garibaldi (Continued)

On June 6, 1860, the Bourbon troops began their evacuation of the capital without a shot being fired. Garibaldi followed them eastward, attacking them at Milazzo, where they took cover in the city’s castle. Garibaldi’s only warship was in the harbor, and he ordered the castle to be shelled. On July 23, the Bourbon general negotiated the release of his troops, who boarded ships bound for Calabria. The Neapolitans left their munitions and horses with Garibaldi.

Victor Emanuel was still unable to aid Garibaldi, fearing both the French, who were guarding Rome and the Pope, and the Austrians, who controlled parts of northern Italy. However, the King secretly supplied Garibaldi with rifles, and he cautioned him to try to capture the Neapolitan army intact, in case it was needed to help fight a war against Austria.

On August 18, Garibaldi sailed for Calabria. The Redshirts’ advance was unstoppable, and on September 6, Francis departed for Gaeta. The next day, Garibaldi entered Naples to the cheers of thousands.

He had wanted to lead his army against Rome, but his way was barred by Neapolitan forces, still a formidable force. In addition, there was the Piedmontese army to contend with, for King Victor Emanuel did not want to engage the French. However, Garibaldi did engage the Bourbons at the Volturno River, winning a battle that ended Francis’s opposition forever. Realizing that Garibaldi was on the march, Cavour, King Victor Emanuel’s chief minister, ordered his troops into the Vatican-controlled territories of the Marches and Umbria. But Rome was spared. The Piedmontese then marched south to meet Garibaldi’s forces.


Camillo Cavour