Why Lincoln Wanted an Italian Freedom Fighter to Lead His Army
Giuseppe Garibaldi is best known for leading military campaigns that helped unify Italy, but the famed freedom fighter came very close to taking another notable assignment. And his brush with the Union blue remains one of the most curious tales of the Civil War.
An Italian adventurer and revolutionary might seem like an unlikely candidate for a Civil War general, but in the mid-19th century, the steely-eyed Giuseppe Garibaldi was an internationally recognized symbol of liberty. A sailor and sea captain in his youth, he had first made his name while serving as a guerrilla fighter in civil wars in Brazil and Uruguay in the 1830s and 1840s.