from the War Budget - July 5th 1917
'Garibaldi's Grandsons Carry On'

Guiseppe's Story of His Fight for Freedom

Bruno and Constanti were killed in the Argonne, fighting for France, and Ezio on the Italian front
from a French magazine : 'les Annales'


“Men are nowhere finer than they are in battle," once said Guiseppe Garibaldi, the youthful veteran of seven wars and a hundred and thirty battlefields. Confident that one actual engagement was worth months of drill in barracks, this fighting grandson of the finest fighting man in Europe fared across the world with his sword, a Don Quixote of the tented field to learn the arts of war in many lands.

The most probable postal address of this warrior born may well have been for many years somewhat as follows: —

"Guiseppe Garibaldi
At the Front
The Seat of War"

At one time the letters thus directed would have found their way to Mexico, at another to Venezuela, again to South Africa, and so on, just wherever the war of the moment happened to be located.

"The man who fights without an object is not likely to fight well," is one of G.G,'s conclusions, after the most varied experience a soldier could obtain. His own chief object was to draw his sword on the aisle of liberty anywhere, in order to prepare himself for the service of his own country in the hour of need which he foresaw approaching.


another Garibaldi family member : general Ricciotti-Garibaldi reviewing French troops


The Cause Makes the Soldier

"The man who fights with his heart in a real cause," he has said, "whether trained or not, whether big or little, black or white, Latin, Anglo-Saxon, or what not, is certain to fight well."

It was among revolutionary forces that Guiseppe learned most of the real inwardness of fighting. The element of revolt against tyranny or injustice ennobled the poorest armies and strengthened their arms. "In a regular army," he says, "an officer commands machines — machines of flesh and blood, I admit, but changed into mere automata." His favourite fighters are the men who have left their families to the help of God, fully conscious that their all is at stake.

Villa's Jealous Rage

Exceptions to this rule are not unknown, even to the Apostle of Liberty, who has admitted the possibility of “trouble over discipline," a trouble well exemplified by the attempts of General Villa to assassinate Guiseppe. The intended victim of Villa's jealousy met the situation with a smile of sympathy and went on with his fighting. ''They won't harm me, any of them," he said to an officer who warned him; "I keep close watch on events."


from French newspapers announcing the arrival of general Ricciotti-Garibaldi in Paris
on thephoto at left, Bruno Garibaldi in French uniform and kepi


Cigarettes to Save Powder

At Boucher, when his men were firing far too rapidly and using up their ammunition recklessly, he stopped the waste ‘of the undisciplined' by passing down the line a great tin box of precious, imported, cigarettes which had just reached him after twisted travelling from Europe. Throughout the fighting he was notably cold-blooded under fire, becoming more deliberate in every instance as those about him became more excited.

No man worked harder during the campaign. He was untiring. At Casas Grandes fatigue so overcame, him that he fell from sheer exhaustion. An American saw him fall, stumbled on his body and reported that he had been killed. The gallant young Italian had been too exhausted to explain to him that he was not in truth the victim of a bullet, but only of complete exhaustion. But in an hour he was again in fighting trim and leading his men gallantly.

In a highly interesting chat with Mr. Lewis R. Freeman for "The World's Work," Guiseppe Garibaldi gave the following sketch of his own and his family's devotion, to the cause of liberty :

"As the eldest of seven .sons, and the namesake of my grandfather, my father felt that it was up to me to carry on the Garibaldi tradition, and when I was scarcely out of my teens he sent me out ito train in the only school that the old General ever recognised that of practical experience. ‘Some day you will be needed in Europe,' he said. 'Until then see that you make yourself ready by taking part in every war that you can find, learn how men follow, and then learn how men lead.


left : the generations of Garibaldi's as soldiers - from 'le Petit Journal'
right : from 'le Miroir' - (top) a group of Italian volunteers and (under) the six Garibaldi grand sons


Take Grandfather's Side

" 'If there is any choice between two causes, fight for the one you think your grandfather would have fought for; but don't miss a fight because you 'can't make up your mind on that score. The experience is the thing, and the only way you can get it is in real battles, not sham ones.'

"Well, I did the best I could, considering the day and age we live in, to follow out my father's idea. With what success you may judge from the fact that, up to the outbreak of the present war I had — counting skirmishes — fought on 132 battle- fields. That I had not been wounded was not, I trust, entirely due to not having been exposed to fire.

"The preparation of my brothers had been rather less drastic — less Garibaldian — than my own. In their oases it was my father's idea that it would be sufficient if they simply knew the world and how to get on with men.


left : Bruno and Constantino on the left - both killed in the Argonne
right : a newspaper article on the heroism of Peppino Garilbaldi, January 1915


A Training Record

"I .think our work with. the 'Legion Italienne' was about a record for quick training. It was. October before we were well started, and by the end of December we were not only on the first line, but had already gone through some of the bloodiest fighting the war has seen. My grandfather used to say that proper military training was nine-tenths a matter of applied common sense and one-tenth a matter of drill.

Well, I employed what. common sense and experience I had and made up the rest with dri.ll. Inside of two months we had 4,000 men at the front, where the French Higher Command was so well impressed with their quality that it was but a week or two before they were deemed worthy of the place of honour in an attack upon the Prussian Guard, which had been pressing steadily forward in the hope of cutting the communications between Chalons and Verdun. No regiment ever had a warmer baptism of fire. We drove back the Guard two and a half kilometers, but lost a thousand men .in the effort.


the six Garibaldi grandsons fighting for France
top : from 'the War Budget' / under : from 'le Miroir'

the Garibaldi brothers in a photograph from 'the War Illustrated'

Some Garibaldi Blood

"I don't recall anything that was actually said between us on the subject, but it seemed to be generally understood among us brothers that the shedding of some Garibaldi blood — or, better still, the sacrifice of a Garilbaldi life — would be calculated to throw a great, perhaps a decisive, weight into the wavering balance in Italy, where a growing sympathy for the cause of the Allies only needed a touch to quicken it to action. Indeed, I am under the impression that my father said something to that effect to the two younger boys before he sent them on to France. At any rate, all three of the youngsters behaved exactly as though their only object in life was to get in the way of German bullets. Well — Bruno got his in the last week in December, ten or twelve days ahead of Constanti, who fell on January 5th. Ezio — the youngest of the three fire-eaters — though through no fault of his own, had to wait and take his bullet from the Austrians on our own front. (It occurred not far from here, by the way)."


the funeral of Bruno Garibaldi in Rome, January 1915

a commemorative ceremony in Marseilles, January 1915

see also French texts : Les Funérailles de Bruno Garibaldi / La Mort de Bruno Garibaldi


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