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Manfredo I Fanti


FANTI, MANFREDO (I , Italian general, was born at Carpi on Feb. 24, 18o6, and educated at the military col lege of Modena. In 1831 he was implicated in the revolutionary movement organized by Ciro Menotti (see FRANCIS IV., of Modena), and was condemned to death and hanged in effigy, but escaped to France, where he was given an appointment in the French corps of engineers. In 1833 he took part in Mazzini's abortive attempt to invade Savoy, and in 1835 he went to Spain to serve in Queen Christina's army against the Carlists. There he remained for thirteen years, rising to a high staff appointment. But on the outbreak of the war between Piedmont and Austria in 1848 he hurried back to Italy, and although at first his services were rejected both by the Piedmontese government and the Lom bard provisional government, he was afterwards given the com mand of a Lombard brigade. In the general confusion following on Charles Albert's defeat on the Mincio and his retreat to Milan, where the people rose against the unhappy king, Fanti's courage and tact saved the situation. He was elected member of the Piedmontese chamber in 1849, and on the renewal of the campaign he again commanded a Lombard brigade under General Ramorino. After the Piedmontese defeat at Novara (March 23) peace was made, but a rising broke out at Genoa, and Fanti with great diffi culty restrained his Lombards from taking part in it. But he was suspected as a Mazzinian and a soldier of fortune by the higher Piedmontese officers. He was court-martialled, and, though ac quitted, he was not employed again until the Crimean expedition of 1855. In the second Austrian war in 1859 Fanti commanded the second division, and contributed to the victories of Palestro, Magenta and San Martino. After the peace of Villafranca he con verted the army of the Central Italian League (composed of the provisional governments of Tuscany, Modena, Parma and Ro magna), into a well-drilled body of 45,000 men. He steered a clear course between the exaggerated prudence of Baron Ricasoli, who wished to recall the troops from the frontier, and the impetu osity of Garibaldi, his second-in-command, who was anxious to invade Romagna prematurely, even at the risk of Austrian inter vention. Fanti's firmness led to Garibaldi's resignation. In Jan. 186o Fanti became minister of war and marine under Cavour, and incorporated the League's army in that of Piedmont. In the mean while Garibaldi had invaded Sicily with his Thousand. and the king of Sardinia, Victor Emmanuel, decided at last that he too must intervene; Fanti was given the chief command of a strong Italian force which invaded the papal states, seized Ancona and other fortresses, and defeated the papal army at Castelfidardo, where the enemy's commander, General Lamoriciere, was captured. In three weeks Fanti had conquered the Marche and Umbria and taken 28,00o prisoners. When the army entered Neapolitan territory the king took the chief command, with Fanti as chief of the staff. After defeating a large Neapolitan force at Mola and organizing the siege operations round Gaeta, Fanti returned to the war office at Turin to carry out important army reforms. His attitude in opposing the admission of Garibaldi's 7,000 officers into the regu lar army with their own grades made him unpopular, and led to a severe reprimand from Cavour. In 1861 he resigned office and took command of the VII. army corps. He died in Florence on April 5, 1865. His loss was greatly felt in the war of 1866. See A. Di Giorgio, Il Generale M. Fanti (Florence, igo6) .

(L. V.; X.)

army, war, piedmontese, modena, king and command