On this day:
1801 – Treaty of Florence is signed.
The Treaty of Florence (28 March 1801), which followed the Armistice of Foligno (9 February 1801), brought to an end the war between the French Republic and the Kingdom of Naples, one of the Wars of the French Revolution. Forced by the French military presence, Naples ceded some territories in the Tyrrhenian sea and accepted French garrisons to their ports on the Adriatic sea. All Neapolitan harbours were closed to British and Ottoman vessels.
Napoleon was relatively lenient to the defenseless kingdom of Naples thanks to his need to appease Tsar Paul I of Russia and its allies of the League of Neutrals. The Tsar, who was assassinated less than a week before the signing of the treaty, was concerned with the French advance in Italy and had decided to support the King of Naples. The First Consul, wanting to attract the Tsar to his side in the strife in Europe, was forced to allow Ferdinand IV remaining on the throne, albeit now a vassal of Napoleonic France.
In the early nineteenth century France, with Napoleon in charge, was at war against the Second Coalition formed by the Holy Roman Empire, Great Britain, Portugal, the kingdom of Naples, Russia and the Ottoman Empire. Spain and France remained a military alliance since the signing of the Treaty of San Ildefonso in 1796.
After the victories of Napoleon’s army in the campaign of 1800 in Marengo, Höchstädt and Hohenlinden, on 9 February 1801 the Holy Roman Empire made peace with France by the Treaty of Lunéville. Naples, that until Marengo had help from the Holy Roman Empire, was at the mercy of the powerful French army.
Ferdinand IV, King of Naples and (III of) Sicily, was the brother of Charles IV of Spain, but their relationship was no obstacle to oppose the Franco-Spanish alliance. The influence of his wife, Queen Maria Carolina of Austria, of the Austrian royal family, led to the alignment of Naples with the Second Coalition and the Holy Roman Empire. Maria Carolina was the sister of Marie Antoinette, queen consort of France. The crown prince of Naples, Francis, was married to the Archduchess of Austria Maria Clementina, daughter of Emperor Leopold II.
Armistice of Foligno
With the advance of the French army under General Murat, Count Roger de Damas, in command of the Neapolitan troops, sent Colonel Micheroux to negotiate an armistice for one month. With this preliminary armistice, the final armistice was signed in Foligno on 9 February a few days later.
Treaty of Florence
The final treaty was signed on 28 March in Florence with the mediation of the Russian general Lewaschef sent by the Tsar Paul I at the request of Maria Carolina. The main points of the agreement were:
King Ferdinand to be restored to the Neapolitan throne.
Naples to cede the State of Presidi with their portion of the island of Elba, Porto Longone, and the independent principality of Piombino to France.
The Neapolitan troops to withdraw from the Papal States.
Neapolitan ports to be closed to British and Ottoman ships.
Trading privileges to be granted to France.
Naples to allow the stationing of French troops, with Neapolitan financial support, on Neapolitan territory for a year: the city of Pescara and the province of Terra d’Otranto, including the cities of Brindisi and Otranto.
Release of prisoners of war on both sides, including the French scientist Gratet de Dolomieu, and Neapolitan amnesty to imprisoned and exiled Jacobins.
The statue Athena of Velletri to be returned to France.
Effect and aftermath
The principality of Piombino and the State of Presidi would be ceded to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany and transferred to the Spanish infante Louis Francis of Bourbon-Parma, in exchange for the Spanish colony of Louisiana, as agreed in the Treaty of San Ildefonso of 1800. In May 1801 the French general Soult with 10,000 troops occupied the ports of Otranto, Taranto (temporarily) and Brindisi, to facilitate communications with the French army in Egypt. Following the signing of peace between France and Russia in October 1801, French troops temporarily evacuate the Neapolitan territory, again to occupy the country in 1803 against the threat from the British fleet.
With the treaty of Florence, together with the treaties of Lunéville and Badajoz and the Concordat with the pope and culminating in 1802 with the signing of the Peace of Amiens, there was peace in Europe until 1805, when hostilities would resume in the French war against the Third Coalition.
Born on this day:
1842 – William Harvey Carney, American sergeant, Medal of Honor recipient (d. 1908)
William Harvey Carney (February 29, 1840 – December 9, 1908) was an African American soldier during the American Civil War. In 1900, he was awarded the Medal of Honor for his gallantry in saving the regimental colors during the Battle of Fort Wagner in 1863. Because his actions preceded those of other medal honorees, he is considered to be the first African American to be granted the Medal of Honor.
William H. Carney was born as a slave in Norfolk, Virginia, on February 29, 1840. How he made his way to freedom is not certain. According to most accounts, he escaped through the Underground Railroad, and joined his father in Massachusetts. Other members of their family were freed by purchase or by the death of their master.
Carney joined the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry in March 1863 as a Sergeant. He took part in the July 18, 1863, assault on Fort Wagner in Charleston, South Carolina. (The attack on Fort Wagner is depicted in the film Glory.) It was in this attack that Carney’s actions ultimately earned him the Medal of Honor. When the color guard was fatally wounded, Carney retrieved the American flag from his comrade and marched forward with it, despite suffering multiple serious wounds. When the Union troops were forced to retreat under fire, Carney struggled back across the battlefield. He eventually made his way back to his own lines and turned over the colors to another survivor of the 54th, modestly saying, “Boys, I only did my duty; the old flag never touched the ground!” Carney received an honorable discharge due to disability (as a result of his wounds) in June 1864.
William H. Carney
After his discharge,William H. Carney returned to New Bedford, Massachusetts, and took a job maintaining the city’s streetlights. He married Susannah Williams, and the couple had a daughter, Clara Heronia. Carney spent a few years in California, then returned again in 1869 and began working for the post office as one of the city’s four mail carriers. As a public speaker, he addressed veterans’ groups and other civic organizations.
Medal of honor old.jpg
Carney did not receive his honor until May 23, 1900, nearly 37 years after the events at Fort Wagner. (More than half such awards from the Civil War were presented 20 or more years after the fact.) At least 25 African Americans have received the Medal of Honor. However, because Carney’s battle actions took place earlier in the war than others, he is generally considered to be the first African American to receive this medal. His citation reads,
When the color sergeant was shot down, this soldier grasped the flag, led the way to the parapet, and planted the colors thereon. When the troops fell back he brought off the flag, under a fierce fire in which he was twice severely wounded.
Carney died in New Bedford on December 9, 1908, due to complications from an elevator accident. He is buried in the family plot at Oak Grove Cemetery in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Engraved on his stone monument is an image of the Medal of Honor.
Other honors and awards
Carney’s face is shown on the monument to Robert Gould Shaw and the 54th on the Boston Common designed by Augustus Saint Gaudens. A New Bedford, Massachusetts, elementary school was named in his honor, and his New Bedford home at 128 Mill Street is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
In 2015, Carney was honored as one of the Library of Virginia’s “Strong Men & Women in Virginia History,” because of his actions during the Civil War.
San Boldo Pass
The San Boldo Pass (in Italian Passo San Boldo, formerly Passo Sant’Ubaldo and Umbaldopass) is a small mountain pass in Veneto between the towns of Trichiana [329 m (1,079 ft)] and Tovena in the Cison di Valmarino region [272 m (892 ft)] over a distance of 17 km (11 mi).
The pass lies at the southern edge of the Alps and connects the Val Belluna with the Val Mareno over a height of 706 m (2,316 ft). The mountain pass is called the SP 635 and only one lane is passable, the traffic is regulated by several sets of lights. There is a speed limit of 30 km/h (19 mph) and a height limit of 3.2 m (10.5 ft), after buses were repeatedly stuck in the tunnel. There are five tunnels blasted into the rock with hairpin turns or loops, and six bridges.