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  • Writer's pictureGeorge Castrioti

November 3rd, 1867 - The Battle of Mentana

Conflict: Italian Unification

Combatants: French vs. Italians

Location: Italy

Outcome: French victory

Continuing his invasion of the Papal States under Pope Pius IX, Italian soldier of fortune Giuseppe Garibaldi's 4,000 volunteer "Redshirts" clashed with 3,000 Papal troops and 2,000 French soldiers sent by Louis Napoleon III near Mentana. Using the newly issued chassepot, breech-loading rifle, the French regulars inflicted devastating losses on the Redshirts. The survivors fled back across the Italian border. Garibaldi was captured.

The Battle Near Mentana by Lionel-Noël Royer

Points of Interest:

  • Garibaldi was exiled to the island of Caprera after his capture and, ironically, raised and a unit of Italian volunteers to fight for the French in the Franco-Prussian War. Garibaldi later served as a member of the Italian Parliament.

  • When the French were forced to withdraw from Rome in 1870 due to the Franco-Prussian War, Italians quickly stormed and invested the city. Rome was annexed to Italy on October 3rd of the same year.

Giuseppe Garibaldi 1861 by an unknown photographer

Louis Napoleon III by an unknown photographer

Pius IX in 1875 by Adolphe Braun

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