The sounding of war’s bugles
Impels us to swear loyalty to the greatest of Kings,
Ignites the soldier’s thought,
Reignites the soldier’s heart.
And raises from deep in the breast
The song of faith and honor.
— From Inno della Truppa Pontificia di Pius IX—“Evviva Pio” (1867)*
Although the Holy See was only too aware that Sardinian ships, money, men, and arms were at the moment assisting Garibaldi in conquering Naples, the Pope was less than reassured. Indeed, in May, when Garibaldi began his attack on Naples, he had sent a trusted lieutenant, Zambianchi (known as the “priest slaughterer” for his ordering the massacre of clergy at San Callisto during the 1848 Roman Republic) to start the revolution in the Papal States. (p.65-66)
Pius IX ordered in the 6th Company of the 2nd Battalion of the Zouaves. Upon their arrival, the Pope’s soldiers immediately began their work. Some were assigned to dig graves in the cemetery, where, the first night, ninety corpses were brought to them. The remaining spent their time finding and nursing the sick—feeding them, caring for them, and seeing that the dying received the sacraments. (p.120)
In the stifling heat, with the odor of death and excrement all round, it must have seemed like a chamber of hell. Cardinal Altieri, the Queen Mother of Naples, and her youngest son, Don Gennaro, caught the disease and died, as did two Dutch Zouaves. One of these, Henri Peters, spent his final hours clutching and kissing a crucifix, his last words being "I know Heaven is before me when all this is past.” (p.120)
• Around the Web: Excerpt from Off the Menu Episode 57 — "Italian Unification: Good or Bad?"