Guiseppe Garabaldi Biography
GARIBALDI, Giuseppe (1807- 82). An Italian patriot and liberator, born at Nice, July 4, 1807. He was a sailor’s son and adopted the sea as his own calling and as early as 1830 was in command of a brig. It was about this time that he became interested in the Italian national movement, which afterward became the great passion of his life. He made the acquaintance of Mazzini and other leaders of Young Italy in 1833 and became imbued with an unquenchable hatred of despotism. He was compromised by his participation in the futile outbreak at Genoa in 1834 and fled to French territory, while his condemnation to death was published in Italy. He resumed his seafaring life and sailed to South America, where he took an active part in the struggle of the new Republic of Uruguay, against the Argentine Dictator, Manuel Rosas. He distinguished himself as an intrepid partisan leader on sea and land and contracted a romantic marriage with Anita, the remarkable woman who for several years shared his campaigns. Upon receiving news of the rising of northern Italy against Austria in 1848, Garibaldi hastened to Europe to share in the struggles of his countrymen. He bore an effective part in the whole of the Sardinian campaign as the commander of a volunteer corps. He then joined the revolutionary government at Rome and distinguished himself by his defense of the city against the French forces under Oudinot in June and July, 1849. After a retreat of unparalleled difficulty through districts occupied by Austrian forces, Garibaldi, accompanied by his heroic wife, set sail in a small fishing craft towards Venice; but being pursued by Austrian vessels, they were compelled to land where they could, and, not far from the shore, his wife, exhausted by the dangers and terrible exertions of their flight, expired in the arms of her husband. Garibaldi at length reached Genoa in safety and thence embarked for Tunis. He afterward lived on Staten Island, N. Y., supporting himself by making candles in a factory, revisited South America, and commanded an American trading-vessel on the Pacific coast.
Returning to Europe in 1854, Garibaldi accepted the Sardinian monarchy as the hope of Italy, in the years preceding the War of 1859. As the head of an irregular auxiliary force of the Piedmontese army on the commencement of hostilities in 1859, his services were brilliant and effective, notwithstanding the limited scope assigned for his operations. In 1860 he undertook the most momentous enterprise of his career. After the disappointing Peace of Villafranca had defeated the hope of liberation from the Austrian yoke just when it seemed to be approaching realization, the Italian people resumed the revolutionary operations which had been temporarily suspended in the hope that Italian unity would be accomplished through the efforts of Sardinia. In Sicily, early in 1860, disturbances broke out, and Francesco Crispi (q.v.) obtained from Garibaldi a promise of assistance. In fulfillment of this promise Garibaldi assembled at Genoa a volunteer force of 1070 patriots, and on May 5 set sail for the island of Sicily. On the 11th his two small transport steamers reached Marsala in safety, and the landing of his followers was successfully effected in sight and partially under the fire of the Neapolitan fleet. On the 15th, in the battle of Calatafimi, 3600 Neapolitan troops were routed by Garibaldi’s small force, and this opening victory cleared the way to Palermo. On the 27th of the same month Garibaldi and his little army occupied the heights which commanded Palermo, and after a desperate conflict with the Royalist troops fought their way into the city, which for several subsequent days had to sustain a ruthless bombardment from the united fire of the Neapolitan garrison and fleet. The intervention of the British fleet, however, and the isolated and destitute condition of the garrison shut up in the forts, induced the Neapolitan general to capitulate (June 6), and on his departure with his troops Garibaldi remained in undisputed possession of the city and strongholds of Palermo. He issued a proclamation as Dictator in the name of Italy and Victor Emmanuel, armed the citizens, and on July 20, at the head of 2500 men, he gave battle at Milazzo to 7000 Neapolitans, who were completely defeated and compelled to evacuate that fortress. On the 25th the Neapolitans were driven back into Messina, into which Garibaldi made his triumphal entry on the 27th.
On August 19 Garibaldi crossed over into Calabria and was immediately joined by large bodies of volunteers from all directions, by whom he was accompanied on his memorable and eventful march to Naples. On September 5 his army, which then amounted to 25,000 or 30,000 men, occupied Salerno on the withdrawal of the Royalists, and on the 7th, amid the frenzied enthusiasm of the inhabitants, Garibaldi entered Naples, with only one or two friends, to prove to Europe that his advent was that of a welcome liberator and not of a conqueror. On the previous day the capital had sullenly witnessed the withdrawal of the King, Francis II, to the fortress of Gaeta. On the 1st of October the Royalist troops, numbering 15,000 men, advanced from Capua and attacked the whole line of Garibaldians spread along the Volturno. Finally the Royalists were driven back to Capua in disorder. Victor Emmanuel, at the head of the Sardinian army, now crossed the papal frontier, routed the troops under Lamoricière, and passed on into the Kingdom of Naples, where Garibaldi relinquished into his sovereign’s hands the unconditional disposal of his army and absolute sway over the Neapolitan provinces. Francis II was now besieged by the Sardinian forces in his stronghold of Gaeta, where on Feb. 13, 1861, he was compelled to surrender to Victor Emmanuel. Garibaldi retired to Caprera, but in June, 1862, he raised a force of volunteers at Palermo, invaded Calabria, and marched upon Rome, which he believed must be wrested from the Pope before the unity of Italy could be accomplished. Victor Emmanuel, fearing that Garibaldi’s attempt on Rome would bring about foreign intervention with disastrous consequences to Italy, dispatched an army to check his progress. Garibaldi was defeated by the Italian troops at Aspromonte (August 29) and taken prisoner, but was pardoned in October.
During the campaign of 1866 Garibaldi took the field and was engaged in operations against the Austrians in the Tirol. The year 1867 was disastrous for him. Impatient of the long delays in completing the unification of Italy and bitterly opposed to the papal power, he organized an open invasion of the Papal States, which the Italian government could not countenance. France came to the aid of the Pope, the Garibaldians were defeated at Mentana (November 3), and their leader was made a prisoner, but was afterward allowed to return to Caprera, in the neighborhood of which a man-of-war was stationed to prevent his escape. He left Caprera to fight for the French Republic in 1870 and was nominated to the command of the irregular forces in the region of Burgundy. In 1871 he was returned a deputy to the French National Assembly which met at Bordeaux, but encountered such bitter criticism of his conduct during the war that he returned to Caprera. He entered the Italian Parliament in 1874. After much hesitation he accepted from the Parliament an annual pension of 10,000 lire. In 1860 Garibaldi was inveigled into an unhappy marriage with the Countess Raimondi, which was annulled in 1879, when he married Francesca, a peasant, who had been in his family’s household for many years. He died at Caprera, June 2, 1882. Garibaldi’s novels, Clelia and Cantoni il volontario, have little literary value. Of his two sons by his first wife the elder one, Menotti (1845- 1903), fought with credit by his father’s side; the younger, Ricciotti (1847- ), was for some time deputy.
The New International Encyclopaedia, Vol. IX (New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1920) 471-472.