Italian 1863 Brigata Estense Medal

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The medal for the dissolved Estense Brigade also known as the emigration medal was a medal of merit decreed by Duke Francesco V of Modena to reward the men of the Estense Brigade who were still with him at the time of its dissolution on 24 September 1863. Shortly after the outbreak of the second war of independence, Francesco V had to leave Modena, for the third and last time, on 11 June 1859, while the Austrian army left Lombardy to move under the fortresses of the Quadrilatero.  The duke with his army settled, as per tradition, in Mantua, waiting for the events. With the armistice of Villafranca, Francesco V should have returned to his own domains, but the royal commissioner appointed by the Kingdom of Sardinia refused to accept the delivery and began organizing three new divisions, with the guidance of Savoy officers, under the direction of Manfredo Fanti. The army of Francesco V, however, did not disband, and was renamed Regia Ducal Brigata Estense, about 3600 men strong. The Brigade remained for about four years in Lombardy-Veneto with the protection of the Emperor, but in 1863, under pressure from the Austrian liberals, the treaty of alliance between the Duchy and the Empire was dissolved.  This forced Francis V to dismiss his army of loyalists. At the time of its dissolution, the Brigade had 2,722 men among its ranks, of which 158 were officers.  Only one officer and more than half of the troop returned to their homeland, while all the officers and the other part of the men chose to be incorporated into the Austrian imperial army. The decoration was delivered to officers, non-commissioned officers, troops and civilian employees on 24 September 1863 in a moving ceremony in the courtyard in front of Villa Morosini Cappello, in Cartigliano.  The duke personally pinned the decoration on the chest of the officers of the General Staff, while the rest of the men received the medal from their superiors. On the recto appears the profile of the sovereign facing right, accompanied in small left by the name of the medalist C. Radniztky, surrounded by the Latin inscription: FRANCISCUS • V • AUST: ATESTINUS • DUX • MUTINAE (Francesco V of Austria Este Duke of Modena). On the reverse two oak branches intertwined at the bottom enclose the Latin inscription: FIDELITATI / ET / COSTANTIAE / IN / ADVERSIS / MDCCCLXIII (To fidelity and constancy in adversity 1863). The original Austrian triangular ribbon is made of white and light blue horizontal strips edged with light blue with white edges.

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