For the war of 1859, the Piedmontese Army was set up in five infantry divisions and one cavalry division.

Each infantry division comprised two line infantry brigades, two Bersaglieri battalions (each brigade had one), one light horse regiment and three batteries of artillery (one 16pdr, and two 8pdr).  Two 16pdr batteries and the howitzer battery formed a reserve.

The cavalry division comprised two heavy cavalry brigades, each with two regiments, and one horse battery.

To these forces were added the Corps of Cacciatori delle Alpi (Alpine Rifles) led by Giuseppe Garibaldi, who for this occasion was raised to the rank of Major-General in the Piedmontese Army, and the Cacciatori degli Appennini.



Infantry was of two types:  line and Bersaglieri (light infantry).

The line infantry had 10 brigades, each led by a Major General. Each brigade was formed of two regiments; each regiment had four battalions, each of four companies. 

Each battalion had a paper strength of 676 officers and men, but the average real strength was from 550 to 600. 

The regiments were numbered 1 to 18 in order of their seniority, except for two regiments of Sardinian Grenadiers (the Granatieri di Sardegna), which came before others and had, were numbered separately.  Thebrigades were: Granatieri di Sardegna, Savoia, Piemonte, Aosta, Cuneo, Regina, Casale, Pinerolo, Savoia, and Acqui. 

The Bersaglieri comprised 10 independent battalions, each with four companies. Each battalion should have had a strength of 680 officers and men, but, like the line infantry, the average real strength was from 550 to 600 men.  The Bersaglieri consisted of carefully chosen men:  with the grenadiers, they were the best Piedmontese troops.


Cavalry comprised four regiments of heavy horse (named Nizza, Piemonte Reale, Savoia, and Genova) and five regiments of light horse or cavalleggeri (named:  Novara, Aosta, Saluzzo, Monferrato, Alessandria).   Each regiment had four squadrons, each with 100 cavalrymen.


Field artillery comprised one regiment of two horse batteries and eighteen foot batteries; with each battery having eight pieces. 

Seven batteries had eight 16pdrs;  ten batteries had six 8pdrs and two 15cm howitzers;  and one battery had eight 15cm howitzers. 

Each horse battery had six 8pdrs and two 15cm howitzers. 

Note that batteries usually went on campaign with only 6 pieces each. 

The Cacciatori delle Alpi

The Cacciatori delle Alpi comprised volunteers coming chiefly from Lombardy, Venetia and Tuscany who had fled away to Piedmont to fight against Austria and who had not been enlisted in the Piedmontese regular army.  

At the start of the war, it comprised 3 infantry regiments; with each regiment comprising two battalions of 500-600 men each.  In addition, there was one 'scout' half-squadron of 60 cavalrymen and a half company of 48 Genoese Carabineers.  

As the war continued, each regiment grew to four battalions and the Genoese Carabineers increased to three companies. 

Towards the end of the war, at the end of July, a battalion of Valtellina volunteers, a battalion of Teenagers with three companies, and a company of engineers were added.

Artillery support consisted of two sections (each of 2 pieces) of 15cm howitzers; with captured Austrian guns being used as the campaign continued.

The Cacciatori degli Appennini

The Cacciatori degli Appennini comprised four infantry battalions, each of 4 companies. They were added to Cacciatori delle Alpi in early August.



Line infantry and the Cacciatori delle Alpi were armed with a smoothbore percussion 1844 model musket, a bayonet and a straight short sword with a brass hilt.

Bersaglieri were armed with a muzzle-loading, rifled Minie carbine, model 1856, with a sight graded up to eight hundred metres, and a straight sword-bayonet with brass hilt.

The Genoese Carabineers (Carabinieri Genovesi) carried very good Swiss Federal rifled carbines.


The heavy cavalry were armed with a (dark brown) lance with a deep sky blue, two pointed guidon and a big pistol (a pistolone) with a rifle stock, suspended from the shoulder belt.  They also carried a sabre with white metal hilt and a white metal scabbard.

The Novara and Aosta regiments of light cavalry had the same armament as the heavy cavalry:  a lance, a big pistol, and a sabre.  The other three regiments had a rifled carbine, carried across the men's backs, a pistol and a sabre.

The Scout squadrons carried a rifled carabine, two revolvers in black saddle holsters, and a sabre with white metal hilt and scabbard.


All guns were smoothbore. 

Effective range for the 8pdr was about 1000 metres, firing a roundshot of about 3 kilogrammes. Grapeshot consisted of 41 iron balls; it had a range under 400 metres. 

The 16pdr had an effective range of about 1200 metres; it fired a ball of 6.25 kilogrammes. Grapeshot consisted of 41 iron balls with a diameter of 38mm and was effective to 600 metres. Point blank was at about 300 metres. 

The 15cm howitzer fired a grenade of 8 kilogrammes or a grapeshot of 70 iron balls. The effective range against a limited target was about 1400 metres; against bigger targets like villages it reached 2000 metres.

Artillerymen carried a model 1844 rifled musket and a straight, short sabre bayonet. The horse artillery had sabres.



Line Infantry

Headgear consisted of a shako, covered with a black rubberized cloth, with the regiment's number painted white (grenadiers regiments had no number). Tassels were blue with white centre and blue company number for the first regiment of each brigade; these colours were reversed for the second regiment. Tassels of Grenadiers of Sardinia brigade were red with blue centre and red company number for the first regiment, with white centre and red number for the second. 

The campaign dress consisted of a light grey~-bluish greatcoat (more grey than blue); it was worn directly over the shirt, and the front tails lifted up. Buttons were of white metal and three pointed tabs in the brigade facing colour were worn on the collar. The Grenadiers of Sardinia had white frogs. Ties were black, with the exception of the Savoia Brigade, which had red ones.

Trousers were of white cloth. They were tucked into dark brown leather leggings. Shoes were dark brown, almost black.

Equipment consisted of a black leather cartridge box on a white leather waistbelt. The waistbelt had a yellow plate with a white metal Savoia cross. Knapsack was black leather; blanket was buff; blanket and knapsack's belts were black leather. A barrel-shaped, wooden canteen was carried on the right side. A white and blue striped cloth haversack was carried on the left side. Canteen and haversack's belts were dark natural leather.


Headgear was a black felt hat with a round brim. A green, white and red cockade was carried on the front, with two yellow metal rifles crossed and surmounted with a comet. When on campaign the hat was often covered with a black, rubberized cloth. There was also a black iridescent cock-feathers plume on the right side.

Campaign dress was a deep blue, single-breasted, short tunic, edged in crimson; with a deep blue collar with crimson tabs; deep blue pointed cuffs and shoulders tabs, both trimmed with crimson. This uniform was the same for all battalions. Buttons were yellow metal; cords and tassels were green; ties were black. Trousers were white cloth with white leggings.

Other equipment was the same as for the line infantry, except for the waistbelt, which was black.

Cacciatori delle Alpi

Deep blue kepi with green band and trimmings; white bugle horn and crown. Black peak. 

Greatcoat was the same as line infantry, with deep green three pointed tabs on the collar. 

Deep blue trousers with narrow green band. Deep brown leggings. 

Black waistbelt and cartridge box. Other equipment and armament were the same as line infantry. Knapsacks were frequently put aside and blankets were rolled over the left shoulder. 

From June the greatcoat was replaced with a more comfortable short, light grey-bluish jacket. Blue trousers were retained or replaced with white or brown ones.

Genoese Carabineers

Kepi as infantrymen, but without the green band. Short grey-bluish jacket with black tabs and pointed cuffs. Grey-bluish trousers with black band.


Both heavy and light cavalry used a deep blue pointed saddle cloth with royal cyphers on the tails and white braid on the edge (silver braid for officers). There was also a deep brown or black fur on the saddlecloth.

Equipment consisted of a deep blue bag with white braid and black belts.  Light yellow ochre knapsacks were carried on both sides of the saddlecloth. All horse furniture was black leather. 

When on campaign the saddlecloth's tails were turned over to protect embroidered cyphers. The saddlecloth's back was light brown.

Heavy Cavalry

The heavy cavalry wore a white metal helmet with yellow metal crest and chinstraps; and a black skin ring. It had a yellow metal Savoia cross on the front.

The tunic was deep blue, short, and double-breasted, edged with the distinctive regimental colour, and eight white metal buttons. The collar was also in the regimental colour; as were the trimmings on the deep blue cuffs and back vertical pockets. These colours were as follows:  Nizza, crimson; Genova, yellow; Savoia, black with scarlet trimming; ,Piemonte Reale (Royal Piedmont), red.  All had white fringed epaulettes. 

Trousers were light grey-bluish with a deep blue double band, worn over black half boots.

Belts were white leather belts; with a black cartridge box. On campaign the grey-bluish overcoat was rolled on the right shoulder.

Light Cavalry

The shako was the same as the infantry's, but covered with the regiment's facings. Tassels were red for all regiments and squadrons.  When in full dress, and sometimes on campaign too, a long black horse hair tail was worn.  On campaign the shako was covered with yellowish rubberized cloth. 

Dress consisted of a deep blue, short, double-breasted tunic edged in the regimental colour, with white metal buttons. The tunic had a deep blue collar with three pointed tabs in the regimental colour, deep blue pointed cuffs and black pockets also trimmed in the regimental colour.  Regimental colours were as follows: Novara, white; Aosta, scarlet; Saluzzo, yellow; Monferrato, crimson; Alessandria, orange.  Epaulettes were white fringed. Trousers were same as for the heavy cavalry.

Scout Squadrons

Grey-bluish kepi with black band and trimmings. Grey-bluish (later, in June, red) dolman with five black frogs and edge; grey-bluish collar (red), trimmed black; black pointed cuffs; long grey-bluish trousers with black band. Belts were white leather. Officers had gold chevrons on their sleeves and silver belts (covered with black cloth on campaign).

No saddle cloth was worn. Black horse furniture.

Valtellina Volunteers battalion and Teenagers battalion

The first had deep blue kepis, short grey jackets, grey or tan or light brown trousers. The second had deep blue kepis, grey-bluish jackets with black tabs and pointed cuffs.

Equipment was the same as other units of the Cacciatori.

Cacciatori degli Appennini 

Same uniforms as the Cacciatori delle Alpi, but with sky blue facings instead of green. They, had no cavalry or artillery.


Guns were painted light grey-bluish.

Line Artillery

A shako the same as the line infantry was worn. It was covered with a black cloth and had a badge of a yellow grenade with flame and two crossed gun barrels. The tassel was red with black centre.  Horse artillery had a black horsehair, as light cavalry. 

The tunic was deep blue and double-breasted, with eleven yellow metal buttons; black collar and pointed cuffs trimmed yellow. Yellow leather belts; black cartridge belt with yellow cypher, as on the shako. Light grey-bluish trousers with a deep blue band.

Artillery of the Cacciatori

Deep blue kepi; short grey-bluish jacket with black collar and pointed cuffs; yellow belt. Grey-bluish trousers with black band.


Deep blue kepi with scarlet trimming and band, with silver "Greek" braid; black leather peak. 

Deep blue, double-breasted tunic, with scarlet collar, square cuffs and front edge. On collar and cuffs silver Greek braid. Buttons and shoulder-knots on the right side were silver. Waistbelt of white leather. 

Light grey-bluish trousers with silver band. Gold sabre knot. Scabbard of white metal. Saddle cloth was red with silver braid.

The uniform of General Garibaldi was the same as that of Piedmontese generals, but he usually sported a sky blue handkerchief around the collar.


The Bersaglieri, Grenadiers and Cacciatori should be average to good quality. 

Line troops are average quality. 

Volunteers and teenagers poor quality.