France the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean, it is bordered by Belgium and Germany to the northeast and Italy to the east, Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic and Indian oceans; the country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Toulouse, Bordeaux and Nice. During the Iron Age, what is now metropolitan France was inhabited by a Celtic people. Rome annexed the area in 51 BC, holding it until the arrival of Germanic Franks in 476, who formed the Kingdom of Francia.
The Treaty of Verdun of 843 partitioned Francia into Middle Francia and West Francia. West Francia which became the Kingdom of France in 987 emerged as a major European power in the Late Middle Ages following its victory in the Hundred Years' War. During the Renaissance, French culture flourished and a global colonial empire was established, which by the 20th century would become the second largest in the world; the 16th century was dominated by religious civil wars between Protestants. France became Europe's dominant cultural and military power in the 17th century under Louis XIV. In the late 18th century, the French Revolution overthrew the absolute monarchy, established one of modern history's earliest republics, saw the drafting of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, which expresses the nation's ideals to this day. In the 19th century, Napoleon established the First French Empire, his subsequent Napoleonic Wars shaped the course of continental Europe. Following the collapse of the Empire, France endured a tumultuous succession of governments culminating with the establishment of the French Third Republic in 1870.
France was a major participant in World War I, from which it emerged victorious, was one of the Allies in World War II, but came under occupation by the Axis powers in 1940. Following liberation in 1944, a Fourth Republic was established and dissolved in the course of the Algerian War; the Fifth Republic, led by Charles de Gaulle, remains today. Algeria and nearly all the other colonies became independent in the 1960s and retained close economic and military connections with France. France has long been a global centre of art and philosophy, it hosts the world's fourth-largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is the leading tourist destination, receiving around 83 million foreign visitors annually. France is a developed country with the world's sixth-largest economy by nominal GDP, tenth-largest by purchasing power parity. In terms of aggregate household wealth, it ranks fourth in the world. France performs well in international rankings of education, health care, life expectancy, human development.
France is considered a great power in global affairs, being one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council with the power to veto and an official nuclear-weapon state. It is a leading member state of the European Union and the Eurozone, a member of the Group of 7, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Trade Organization, La Francophonie. Applied to the whole Frankish Empire, the name "France" comes from the Latin "Francia", or "country of the Franks". Modern France is still named today "Francia" in Italian and Spanish, "Frankreich" in German and "Frankrijk" in Dutch, all of which have more or less the same historical meaning. There are various theories as to the origin of the name Frank. Following the precedents of Edward Gibbon and Jacob Grimm, the name of the Franks has been linked with the word frank in English, it has been suggested that the meaning of "free" was adopted because, after the conquest of Gaul, only Franks were free of taxation.
Another theory is that it is derived from the Proto-Germanic word frankon, which translates as javelin or lance as the throwing axe of the Franks was known as a francisca. However, it has been determined that these weapons were named because of their use by the Franks, not the other way around; the oldest traces of human life in what is now France date from 1.8 million years ago. Over the ensuing millennia, Humans were confronted by a harsh and variable climate, marked by several glacial eras. Early hominids led a nomadic hunter-gatherer life. France has a large number of decorated caves from the upper Palaeolithic era, including one of the most famous and best preserved, Lascaux. At the end of the last glacial period, the climate became milder. After strong demographic and agricultural development between the 4th and 3rd millennia, metallurgy appeared at the end of the 3rd millennium working gold and bronze, iron. France has numerous megalithic sites from the Neolithic period, including the exceptiona
Second French Empire
The Second French Empire the French Empire, was the regime of Napoleon III from 1852 to 1870, between the Second Republic and the Third Republic, in France. Many historians disparaged the Second Empire as a precursor of fascism. By the late 20th century some were celebrating it as leading example of a modernizing regime. Historians have given the Empire negative evaluations on its foreign-policy, somewhat more positive evaluations of domestic policies after Napoleon liberalized his rule after 1858, he promoted French business, exports. The greatest achievements came in material improvements, in the form of a grand railway network that facilitated commerce and tied the nation together and centered it on Paris, it had the effect of stimulating economic growth, bringing prosperity to most regions of the country. The Second Empire is given high credit for the rebuilding of Paris with broad boulevards, striking public buildings, attractive residential districts for upscale Parisians. In international policy, Napoleon III tried to emulate his uncle, engaging in numerous imperial ventures around the world as well as several wars in Europe.
Using harsh methods, he built up the French Empire in North Africa and in Southeast Asia. Napoleon III sought to modernize the Mexican economy and bring it into the French orbit, but this ended in a fiasco, he badly mishandled the threat from Prussia, by the end of his reign, Napoleon III found himself without allies in the face of overwhelming German force. On 2 December 1851, Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte, elected President of the Republic, staged a coup d'état by dissolving the National Assembly without having the constitutional right to do so, he thus became sole ruler of France, re-established universal suffrage abolished by the Assembly. His decisions were popularly endorsed by a referendum that month that attracted an implausible 92 percent support. At that same referendum, a new constitution was approved. Formally enacted in January 1852, the new document made Louis-Napoléon president for 10 years, with no restrictions on reelection, it concentrated all governing power in his hands. However, Louis-Napoléon was not content with being an authoritarian president.
As soon as he signed the new document into law, he set about restoring the empire. In response to inspired requests for the return of the empire, the Senate scheduled a second referendum in November, which passed with 97 percent support; as with the December 1851 referendum, most of the "yes" votes were manufactured out of thin air. The empire was formally re-established on 2 December 1852, the Prince-President became "Napoléon III, Emperor of the French"; the constitution had concentrated so much power in his hands that the only substantive changes were to replace the word "president" with the word "emperor" and to make the post hereditary. The popular referendum became a distinct sign of Bonapartism, which Charles de Gaulle would use. With dictatorial powers, Napoleon III made building a good railway system a high priority, he consolidated three dozen incomplete lines into six major companies using Paris as a hub. Paris grew in terms of population, finance, commercial activity, tourism. Working with Georges-Eugène Haussmann, Napoleon III spent lavishly to rebuild the city into a world-class showpiece.
The financial soundness for all six companies was solidified by government guarantees. Although France had started late, by 1870 it had an excellent railway system, supported as well by good roads and ports. Napoleon, in order to restore the prestige of the Empire before the newly awakened hostility of public opinion, tried to gain the support from the Left that he had lost from the Right. After the return from Italy, the general amnesty of August 16, 1859 had marked the evolution of the absolutist or authoritarian empire towards the liberal, parliamentary empire, to last for ten years; the idea of Italian unification – based on the exclusion of the temporal power of the popes – outraged French Catholics, the leading supporters of the Empire. A keen Catholic opposition sprang up, voiced in Louis Veuillot's paper the Univers, was not silenced by the Syrian expedition in favour of the Catholic Maronite side of the Druze–Maronite conflict. Ultramontane Catholicism, emphasizing the necessity for close links to the Pope at the Vatican played a pivotal role in the democratization of culture.
The pamphlet campaign led by Mgr Gaston de Ségur at the height of the Italian question in February 1860 made the most of the freedom of expression enjoyed by the Catholic Church in France. The goal was to mobilize Catholic opinion, encourage the government to be more favorable to the Pope. A major result of the ultramontane campaign was to trigger reforms to the cultural sphere, the granting of freedoms to their political enemies: the Republicans and freethinkers; the Second Empire favored Catholicism, the official state religion. However, it tolerated Protestants and Jews, there were no persecutions or pogroms; the state dealt with the small Protestant community of Calvinist and Lutheran churches, whose members included many prominent businessmen who supported the regime. The emperor's Decree Law of 26 March 1852 led to greater government interference in Protestant church affairs, thus reducing self-regulation. Catholic bureaucrats both were biased against it; the administration of their policies affected not only church-state relations but the internal lives of Protestant communities.
Napoleon III manipulated a range of politicized poli
Second Italian War of Independence
The Second Italian War of Independence called the Franco-Austrian War, Austro-Sardinian War or Italian War of 1859, was fought by the French Empire and the Kingdom of Sardinia against the Austrian Empire in 1859 and played a crucial part in the process of Italian unification. The Piedmontese, following their defeat by Austria in the First Italian War of Independence, recognised their need for allies; this led Camillo Benso, Count of Cavour, the prime minister of the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia, to attempt to establish relations with other European powers through Piedmont's participation in the Crimean War. In the peace conference at Paris following the Crimean War, Cavour attempted to bring attention to efforts for Italian unification, he found Britain and France to be sympathetic, but unwilling to go against Austrian wishes, as any movement towards Italian independence would threaten Austria's territory of Lombardy–Venetia. Private talks between Napoleon III and Cavour after the conference identified Napoleon as the most albeit still uncommitted, candidate for aiding Italy.
On 14 January 1858, an Italian, led an attempt on Napoleon III's life. This assassination attempt brought widespread sympathy for the Italian unification effort, had a profound effect on Napoleon himself, who now was determined to help Piedmont against Austria in order to defuse the wider revolutionary activities that the governments inside Italy might allow to happen in the future. After a covert meeting at Plombières, Napoleon III and Cavour signed a secret treaty of alliance against Austria: France would help Sardinia-Piedmont to fight against Austria if attacked, Sardinia-Piedmont would give Nice and Savoy to France in return; this secret alliance served both countries: it helped with the Sardinian plan of unification of the Italian peninsula under the House of Savoy, weakened Austria, a fiery adversary of Napoleon III's French Empire. Cavour, being unable to get the French help unless the Austrians attacked first, provoked Vienna with a series of military manoeuvers close to the border.
Austria issued an ultimatum on 23 April 1859, demanding the complete demobilization of the Sardinian army, when it was not heeded, Austria started a war with Sardinia, thus drawing France into the conflict. The French army for the Italian campaign had 170,000 soldiers, 2,000 horsemen and 312 guns, half of the whole French army; the army was under the command of Napoleon III, divided into five corps: the I Corps, led by Achille Baraguey d'Hilliers, the II Corps, led by Patrice MacMahon, the III Corps, led by François Certain de Canrobert, the IV Corps, led by Adolphe Niel, the V Corps, led by prince Napoleon. The Imperial Guard was commanded by Auguste Regnaud de Saint-Jean d'Angély; the Sardinian army had 4,000 horsemen and 90 guns. It was divided into five divisions, led by Castelbrugo, Manfredo Fanti, Giovanni Durando, Enrico Cialdini, Domenico Cucchiari. Two volunteer formations, the Cacciatori delle Alpi and the Cacciatori degli Appennini, were present; the commander in chief was Victor Emmanuel II of Savoy, supported by Alfonso Ferrero la Marmora.
The Austrian army fielded more men: it was composed of 220,000 soldiers, 824 guns and 22,000 horsemen and was led by Field Marshal Ferenc Graf Gyulay. At the declaration of war, there were no French troops in Italy, so Marshal François Certain Canrobert moved into Piedmont in the first massive military use of railways; the Austrian forces counted on a swift victory over the weaker Sardinian army before French forces could arrive in Piedmont. However, Count Gyulai, the commander of the Austrian troops in Lombardy, was cautious and marched around the Ticino River in no specific direction until he crossed it to begin the offensive. For him heavy rains began to fall, allowing the Piedmontese to flood the rice fields in front of his advance, slowing his army's march to a crawl; the Austrians, under Gyulai arrived in Vercelli, menacing Turin, but the Franco-Sardinian move to strengthen the Alessandria and Po River bridges around Casale Monferrato forced them to fall back. On 14 May Napoleon III arrived in Alessandria.
The initial clash of the war was at Montebello on 20 May, a battle between an Austrian Corps under Stadion and a single division of the French I Corps under Forey. The Austrian contingent was three times as large, but the French were victorious, making Gyulai still more cautious. In early June, Gyulai had advanced to the rail centre of Magenta, leaving his army spread out. Napoleon III attacked the Ticino head on with part of his force while sending another large group of troops to the north to flank the Austrians; the plan worked, causing Gyulai to retreat east to the quadrilateral fortresses in Lombardy, where he was relieved of his post as commander. Replacing Gyulai was Emperor Franz Josef I himself, he planned to defend the well-fortified Austrian territory behind the Mincio River. The Piedmontese-French army had taken Milan and marched further east to finish off Austria in this war before Prussia could get involved; the Austrians found out that the French had halted at Brescia, decided that they should counterattack along the river Chiese.
The two armies met accidentally around Solferino. A French corps held off three Austrian corps all day at Medole, keeping them from joining the larger battle around Solferino, after a day-long battle, the French broke through. Ludwig von Benedek with the Austrian VIII Corps was separated from the main force, defended Pozzolengo against the Piedmontese part of the opposing army; this they did but the entir
The Austrian Empire was a Central European multinational great power from 1804 to 1867, created by proclamation out of the realms of the Habsburgs. During its existence, it was the third most populous empire after the Russian Empire and the United Kingdom in Europe. Along with Prussia, it was one of the two major powers of the German Confederation. Geographically, it was the third largest empire in Europe after the Russian Empire and the First French Empire. Proclaimed in response to the First French Empire, it overlapped with the Holy Roman Empire until the latter's dissolution in 1806; the Kingdom of Hungary – as Regnum Independens – was administered by its own institutions separately from the rest of the empire. After Austria was defeated in the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867 was adopted, joining together the Kingdom of Hungary and the Empire of Austria to form Austria-Hungary; the power of nationalism to create new states was irresistible in the 19th century, the process could lead to collapse in the absence of a strong nationalism.
The Austrian Empire had the advantage of size, but multiple disadvantages. There were rivals on four sides, its finances were unstable, the population was fragmented into multiple ethnicities and languages that served as the bases for separatist nationalism, it had a large army with good forts. Its naval resources were so minimal, it typified by Metternich. They employed a grand strategy for survival that balanced out different forces, set up buffer zones, kept the Habsburg empire going despite wars with the Ottomans, Frederick the Great and Bismarck, until the final disaster of the First World War; the Empire overnight disintegrated into multiple states based on nationalism. Changes shaping the nature of the Holy Roman Empire took place during conferences in Rastatt and Regensburg. On 24 March 1803, the Imperial Recess was declared, which reduced the number of ecclesiastical states from 81 to only 3 and the free imperial cities from 51 to 6; this measure was aimed at replacing the old constitution of the Holy Roman Empire, but the actual consequence of the Imperial Recess was the end of the empire.
Taking this significant change into consideration, the Holy Roman Emperor Francis II created the title Emperor of Austria, for himself and his successors. In 1804, the Holy Roman Emperor Francis II, ruler of the lands of the Habsburg Monarchy, founded the Empire of Austria, in which all his lands were included. In doing so he created a formal overarching structure for the Habsburg Monarchy, which had functioned as a composite monarchy for about three hundred years, he did so because he foresaw either the end of the Holy Roman Empire, or the eventual accession as Holy Roman Emperor of Napoleon, who had earlier that year adopted the title of an Emperor of the French. To safeguard his dynasty's imperial status he adopted the additional hereditary title of Emperor of Austria. Apart from now being included in a new "Kaiserthum", the workings of the overarching structure and the status of its component lands at first stayed much the same as they had been under the composite monarchy that existed before 1804.
This was demonstrated by the status of the Kingdom of Hungary, a country that had never been a part of the Holy Roman Empire and which had always been considered a separate realm—a status, affirmed by Article X, added to Hungary's constitution in 1790 during the phase of the composite monarchy and described the state as a Regnum Independens. Hungary's affairs remained administered by its own institutions, thus no Imperial institutions were involved in its government. The fall and dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire was accelerated by French intervention in the Empire in September 1805. On 20 October 1805, an Austrian army led by General Karl Mack von Leiberich was defeated by French armies near the town of Ulm; the French victory resulted in the capture of many cannons. Napoleon's army won another victory at Austerlitz on 2 December 1805. Francis was forced into negotiations with the French from 4 to 6 December 1805, which concluded with an armistice on 6 December 1805; the French victories encouraged rulers of certain imperial territories to ally themselves with the French and assert their formal independence from the Empire.
On 10 December 1805, Maximilian IV Joseph, the prince-elector and Duke of Bavaria, proclaimed himself King, followed by the Duke of Württemberg Frederick III on 11 December. Charles Frederick, Margrave of Baden, was given the title of Grand Duke on 12 December; each of these new states became French allies. The Treaty of Pressburg between France and Austria, signed in Pressburg on 26 December, enlarged the territory of Napoleon's German allies at the expense of defeated Austria. Francis II agreed to the humiliating Treaty of Pressburg, which in practice meant the dissolution of the long-lived Holy Roman Empire and a reorganization under a Napoleonic imprint of the German territories lost in the process into a precursor state of what became modern Germany, those possessions nominally having been part of the Holy Roman Empire within the present boundaries of Germany, as well as other measures weakening Austria and the Habsburgs in other ways. Certain Austrian holdings in
Battle of Varese
The Battle of Varese was fought on 26 May 1859 at Varese. 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, obliged the Austrians to keep troops on the northern part of the front. Garibaldi and his Hunters 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 the 25 May, 500 Austrian riflemen, 130 Uhlans, two guns from Gallarate attacked a company led by Carlo De Cristoforis at Sesto Calende, but were rejected to Somma Lombardo. On the 26 May, at dawn, Urban arrived at Varese, where Garibaldi had prepared the defence; the Italians were deployed as: one battalion on the right, two battalions on the left, one battalion in the middle. The Austrians opened fire with the guns moved three columns against the enemy.
Cosenz's battalion attacked the incoming Austrians, 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
Lombardy is one of the twenty administrative regions of Italy, in the northwest of the country, with an area of 23,844 square kilometres. About 10 million people, forming one-sixth of Italy's population, live in Lombardy and about a fifth of Italy's GDP is produced in the region, making it the most populous and richest region in the country and one of the richest regions in Europe. Milan, Lombardy's capital, is the largest metropolitan area in Italy; the word Lombardy comes from Lombard, which in turn is derived from Late Latin Longobardus, derived from the Proto-Germanic elements *langaz + *bardaz. Some sources derive the second element instead from Proto-Germanic *bardǭ, *barduz, related to German Barte. During the early Middle Ages "Lombardy" referred to the Kingdom of the Lombards, a kingdom ruled by the Germanic Lombards who had controlled most of Italy since their invasion of Byzantine Italy in 568; as such "Lombardy" and "Italy" were interchangeable. The Kingdom was divided between Longobardia Major in the north and Langobardia Minor in the south, which were until the 8th century separated by the Byzantine Exarchate of Ravenna and the Papacy.
During the late Middle Ages, after the fall of the northern part of the Kingdom to Charlemagne, the term shifted to mean Northern Italy.. The term was used until around 965 in the form Λογγοβαρδία as the name for the territory covering modern Apulia which the Byzantines had recovered from the Lombard rump Duchy of Benevento. With a surface of 23,861 km2, Lombardy is the fourth-largest region of Italy, it is bordered by Switzerland and by the Italian regions of Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol and Veneto, Emilia-Romagna, Piedmont. Three distinct natural zones can be easily distinguished in Lombardy: mountains and plains—the latter being divided in Alta and Bassa; the orography of Lombardy is characterised by the presence of three distinct belts: a northern mountainous belt constituted by the Alpine relief, a central piedmont area of pebbly soils of alluvial origin, the Lombard section of the Padan plain in the southernmost part of the region. The most important mountainous area is an Alpine zone including the Lepontine and Rhaetian Alps, the Bergamo Alps, the Ortler Alps and the Adamello massif.
The plains of Lombardy, formed by alluvial deposits, can be divided into the Alta—an upper, permeable ground zone in the north and a lower zone—and the Bassa—dotted by the so-called line of fontanili, spring waters rising from impermeable ground. Inconsistent with the three distinctions above made is the small subregion of Oltrepò Pavese, formed by the Apennine foothills beyond the Po River; the mighty Po river marks the southern border of the region for a length of about 210 km. In its progress it receives the waters of the Ticino River, which rises in the Bedretto valley and joins the Po near Pavia; the other streams which contribute to the great river are, the Olona, the Lambro, the Adda, the Oglio and the Mincio. The numerous lakes of Lombardy, all of glacial origin, lie in the northern highlands. From west to east these are Lake Maggiore, Lake Lugano, Lake Como, Lake Iseo, Lake Idro Lake Garda, the largest in Italy. South of the Alps lie the hills characterised by a succession of low heights of morainic origin, formed during the last Ice Age and small fertile plateaux, with typical heaths and conifer woods.
A minor mountainous area, the Oltrepò Pavese, lies south of the Po, in the Apennines range. In the plains, intensively cultivated for centuries, little of the original environment remains; the most commons trees are elm, sycamore, poplar and hornbeam. In the area of the foothills lakes, grow olive trees and larches, as well as varieties of subtropical flora such as magnolias, acacias. Numerous species of endemic flora in the Prealpine area include some kinds of saxifrage, the Lombard garlic, groundsels bellflowers and the cottony bellflowers; the highlands are characterised by the typical vegetation of the whole range of the Italian Alps. At a lower levels oak woods or broadleafed trees grow. Shrubs such as rhododendron, dwarf pine and juniper are native to the summital zone. Lombardy counts many protected areas: the most important are the Stelvio National Park, with alpine wildlife: red deer, roe deer, chamois, foxes and golden eagles. L
Battle of Solferino
The Battle of Solferino on 24 June 1859 resulted in the victory of the allied French Army under Napoleon III and Sardinian Army under Victor Emmanuel II against the Austrian Army under Emperor Franz Joseph I. It was the last major battle in world history where all the armies were under the personal command of their monarchs. 300,000 soldiers fought in the important battle, the largest since the Battle of Leipzig in 1813. There were about 130,000 Austrian troops and a combined total of 140,000 French and allied Piedmontese troops. After the battle, the Austrian Emperor refrained from further direct command of the army; the battle led the Swiss Jean-Henri Dunant to write A Memory of Solferino. Although he did not witness the battle, he toured the field following the battle and was moved by what he saw. Horrified by the suffering of wounded soldiers left on the battlefield, Dunant set about a process that led to the Geneva Conventions and the establishment of the International Red Cross; the Battle of Solferino was a decisive engagement in the Second Italian War of Independence, a crucial step in the Italian Risorgimento.
The war's geopolitical context was the nationalist struggle to unify Italy, which had long been divided among France, Austria and numerous independent Italian states. The battle took place near the villages of Solferino and San Martino, south of Lake Garda between Milan and Verona; the confrontation was between the Austrians, on one side, the French and Piedmontese forces, who opposed their advance. In the morning of 23 June, after the arrival of emperor Franz Joseph, the Austrian army changed direction to counterattack along the river Chiese. At the same time, Napoleon III ordered his troops to advance, causing the battle to occur in an unpredicted location. While the Piedmontese fought the Austrian right wing near San Martino, the French battled to the south of them near Solferino against the main Austrian corps; the Austrian forces were led by their militarily inexperienced 29-year-old emperor, Franz Joseph, were divided into two field armies: 1st Army, containing three corps, under Franz von Wimpffen and 2nd Army, containing four corps under Franz von Schlick.
The French army at Solferino led by Napoleon III, was divided in four Corps plus the Imperial Guard. Many of its men and generals were veterans of the French conquest of Algeria and the Crimean War, but its commander-in-chief had no military experience of note; the Sardinian army had four divisions on the field. Although all three combatants were commanded by their monarchs, each was seconded by professional soldiers. Marshal Jean-Baptiste Philibert Vaillant served as Chief of Staff to Napoleon III, while Victor Emmanuel was accompanied by his Minister of War, Lieutenant General Alfonso Ferrero La Marmora; the Austrian high command was hindered by the rivalry between the Chief of Staff, Heinrich von Heß, the Emperor's Adjutant General Karl Ludwig von Grünne. According to the allied battle plan formulated on 24 June, the Franco-Sardinian army moved east to deploy along the right river banks of the Mincio; the French were to occupy the villages of Solferino, Cavriana and Medole with the 1st Corps, 2nd Corps, 3rd Corps, 4th Corps.
The four Sardinian divisions were to take Pozzolengo. After marching a few kilometers, the allies came into contact with the Austrian troops, who had entrenched themselves in those villages. In the absence of a fixed battle plan, the fighting which took place was uncoordinated, why so many casualties occurred, it fell into three separate engagements, at Medole and San Martino; the battle started at Medole around 4 am. Marching towards Guidizzolo, the 4th Corps encountered an Austrian infantry regiment of the Austrian 1st Army. General Niel decided to engage the enemy and deployed his forces east of Medole; this move prevented the three corps of the Austrian 1st Army from aiding their comrades of the 2nd Army near Solferino, where the main French attacks took place. The French forces were numerically inferior to the Austrians'; the 4th Corps contained three infantry divisions under de Luzy and Failly and a cavalry brigade. Niel, holding a thin line of 5 kilometres in length, was able to stop the Austrian assaults on his position by ably warding off attacks and counterattacking at opportune moments.
After 15 hours of combat the Austrians retreated. Around 4:30 am the advance guard of the 1st Corps came into contact with the Austrian V Corps under Stadion near Castiglione delle Stiviere. Around 5 am 2nd Corps under Mac-Mahon encountered; the Austrian forces were three corps strong and positioned on the towns of Solferino and Volta Mantovana. The Austrians were able to hold these positions all day against repeated French attacks. Near 3 pm the French reserves, formed by Canrobert's 3rd Corps and the Imperial Guard under Regnaud, attacked Cavriana, defended by the Austrian I Corps under Clam-Gallas occupying it at 6 pm and thereby breaking through the Austrian center; this breakthrough forced a general retreat of both Austrian armies. On the no