The period from 1860 to 1870 is a very important one for the Papal army. Starting with the battle of Castelfirdado to the attack on Rome in 1870 they saw several fights and battles. I thought about Mentan before, working on a small diorama of the battle. Some good paintings of the battle can seen here:http://siba2.unile.it/moneta/index.php?sec=bio&page=history11And you Ralph had another interesting one on your blog:-))http://1815-1918.blogspot.com/2010/07/more-pontifical-zouaves.htmlcheersUwe
In 1861, Italian unification was still an aspiration rather than a reality. Venetia remained Austrian territory and the Papacy still had Rome and a rump of territory around it, even though severely reduced in size after the events of 1860. The key event of 1861 was the proclamation of the Kingdom of Italy with Victor Emmanuel II of Sardinia-Piedmont as the first King of Italy. Venetia was added to the Kingdom after the 1866 war, but Rome remained tantalisingly out of reach. It was Garibaldi’s frustration at this, well expressed by his slogan “Roma o morte” “Rome or death” that prompted him to launch the 1867 invasion of the Papal States that ended in defeat at Mentana.
Napoleon III was divided beetween his selves idears of liberty and democraty , his italian and carbonari youth; and political realism . He choose the second way for electoral reasons (the electorat weight of french catholic party).Mentana was the first batlle win by the new "chassepot" gun (and perhaps the last?)regardspaco