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Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria and Emperor Napoleon III meet in battle at Solferino in Italy

Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, circa 1850, detail
06/24/1859
With the Emperors of Austria and France present on the battlefield and in nominal command, the French and Piedmont-Sardinian forces defeated the Austrians at the Battle of Solferino in northern Italy. More than 200,000 men were engaged in a nine-hour battle made worse at its close by heavy thunderstorms. Both armies suffered around three thousand killed and more than 10,000 wounded while the French and Italians captured more than 8000 Austrians. This was the last full battle of the war and within three weeks an armistice was called. This would also be the last major battle in history where heads of state were in direct command on the battlefield on both sides. (By John Osborne)
Source Citation: 
The Annual Register or a View of the History and Politics of the Year 1859 (London: F. & J. Rivington, 1860), 247-250. The American Almanac and Repository of Useful Knowledge for the Year 1860 (Boston: Crosby, Nichols, and Company, 1860), 390

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