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Battle of Magenta

Battle of Magenta
Part of the Second Italian War of Independence

The Battle of Magenta by Gerolamo Induno. Musée de l'Armée, Paris
Date 4 June 1859 [1]
Location Magenta, present-day Italy
Result Decisive Franco-Sardinian victory
Belligerents
Second French Empire
 Sardinia
 Austrian Empire
Commanders and leaders
Emperor Napoleon III
Victor Emmanuel II
Marechal Mac-Mahon
Feldmarschall Ferenc Gyulay
Strength
59,100 infantry
91 guns
125,000 infantry[2]
Casualties and losses
657 dead
3,858 wounded
1,368 dead
4,538 wounded
4,500 captured
Map of the Second Italian War of Independence

The Battle of Magenta was fought on 4 June 1859 during the Second Italian War of Independence, resulting in a French-Sardinian victory under Napoleon III against the Austrians under Marshal Ferencz Gyulai.

It took place near the town of Magenta in northern Italy on 4 June 1859. Napoleon III's army crossed the Ticino River and outflanked the Austrian right forcing the Austrian army under General Gyulay to retreat. The close nature of the country, a vast spread of orchards cut up by streams and irrigation canals, precluded elaborate maneuver. The Austrians turned every house into a miniature fortress. The brunt of the fighting was borne by 5,000 grenadiers of the French Imperial Guard, still in the First Empire style uniform. The battle of Magenta was not particularly large, but it was a decisive victory for the French-Sardinian forces. Patrice Maurice de MacMahon was created Duke of Magenta for his role in this battle, and later served as President of the Third French Republic.

The Franco-Piedmontese coalition consisted in overwhelming majority of French troops (1,100 Piedmontese and 58,000 French). Their victory can therefore be considered as mostly a French victory.

Aftermath

Sword of honour

A dye producing the colour magenta was discovered in 1859, and was named after this battle,[3] as was the Boulevard de Magenta in Paris.

References

  1. ^ Ambès, Intimate Memoirs of Napoleon III: Personal Reminiscences of the Man and the Emperor, 1912, P. 148.
  2. ^ Spofford, Ainsworth Rand. The Library of Historic Characters and Famous Events of All Nations and All Ages, P. 77.
  3. ^ Cunnington, C. Willett, English Women's Clothing in the Nineteenth Century, Dover Publications, Inc. New York 1990, page 208
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