Battle of Varese
|Battle of Varese|
|Part of the Second Italian War of Independence|
Battle of Varese, by Quinto Cenni
|Alpine Hunters||Austrian Empire|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Giuseppe Garibaldi||Karl von Urban|
|Casualties and losses|
Including 4 Officers
The Battle of Varese was fought on 26 May 1859 at Varese (Lombardy). It was an engagement of the Second Italian War of Independence, fought between the Italian volunteers formation of the Hunters of the Alps, led by Giuseppe Garibaldi, against Austrian troops. The Austrian defeat allowed the movement of the Hunters towards Como, and obliged the Austrians to keep troops on the northern part of the front.
Garibaldi and his Hunters had moved and occupied Varese, in the night of 23 May. The Austrian commander in chief, Ferencz Gyulai, had sent the Urban division to settle the matter.
In the meantime, on 25 May, 500 Austrian riflemen, 130 Ulans, and two guns from Gallarate attacked a company led by Carlo De Cristoforis at Sesto Calende, but were rejected to Somma.
On 26 May, at dawn, Urban arrived at Varese, where Garibaldi had already prepared the defence. The Italians were deployed as: one battalion (Enrico Cosenz) on the right, two battalions on the left (Giacomo Medici), one battalion in the middle (Nicola Ardoino); two reserve battalions, one at Varese (Nino Bixio), and one at Biumo Superiore.
The Austrians opened fire with the guns, then moved three columns against the enemy. Cosenz's battalion attacked the incoming Austrians, and routed them into the other columns, repulsing the Austrian attack with the help of the Medici battalion. Urban, overestimating the enemy forces, retreated on Malnate. Medici and Ardoino attacked the retreating Austrians, causing more losses.
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