THE II WAR OF INDEPENDENCE (1859)


In 1859, thanks to the French and Piedmontese alliance, the italian unification . In the first months of the year popular patriotic demostrations took place in Bergamo, consequently the Austrian military control increased. In spite of this, more than a thousand men from Bergamo crossed the border clandestinely and other people arrived in Turin from in order to enlist in the Savoia army or in the Cacciatori delle Alpi, the group of soldiers that helped the 5 regular divisions at the command of Garibaldi. Among them were Gabriele Camozzi, Francesco Nullo,  Alessandro Carissimi, Antonio Cur˛, Giuseppe Gamba, Luigi Enrico Dall'Ovo, Daniele Piccinini, Giuseppe Tironi and Guido Sylva.

In particular, Gabriele Camozzi was the leading figure in the liberation of Bergamo and in the military actions of the Cacciatori delle Alpi. He accepted Garibaldi's programme only after Cavour assured him that the volunteer army would have been used only in a regular and not in an insurrectional war.

The duties of the Cacciatori delle Alpi consisted in helping the regular armies, performing pincer movements for the purpose of outflanking their opponents in the territories at the foothills of the Alps and by mobilizing and arming the liberated people. After the battle in San Fermo (happened on May 27th) and the occupation of both the towns of Varese and Como, while the Franco-Piedmontese armies were going to Magenta (on June 4th) the volunteers arrived in Lecco (on June 5th) and then went on to Bergamo. Major Camozzi made the occupation of the town easier by providing useful information and wrote: "Siete atteso da un momento all'altro e potete contare sull'appoggio di quella popolazione", and at the same time he asked Lombards to confirm through another poll their vote in favour of the adhesion to the Savoia Kingdom: "Lombardi, confermate quel voto, e pronti ad ogni sacrificio per non lasciarlo violare o distruggere, sanzionate l'unione col Piemonte, sotto il governo del Re Vittorio Emanuele, pegno d'indipendenza insieme e di libertÓ. Viva l'Italia, Viva il Re Vittorio Emanuele."

The Austrians left Bergamo in the night of June 7th and the following day Garibaldi with his General Staff entered town through Porta San Lorenzo, which was later to be called Porta Garibaldi. A new battle in the village of Seriate, were the patriots were lead by Narciso Bronzetti, scattered one hundred Austrian soldiers that were sent to Bergamo by the military commanders of Brescia and Venice. Bergamo proclaimed its annexation to Piedmont. Garibaldi asked all the young to join the army. In fact, thanks to Gabriele Camozzi, who was invested with full powers, in only 2 days more than a thousand people enlisted in the Cacciatori delle Alpi. That same day of Bergamo, Napoleon III and Vittorio Emanuele II entered Milan while the Austrians retreated. The decisive battles of Solferino and San Martino (June 24th) were about to begin.

  Picture: Gabriele Camozzi