De Laugier lineage
He descended from an ancient and noble family of Lorraine origin who came to Tuscany in 1739 following Francesco di Lorena. His father, Leopoldo De Laugier Count of Belfecour, was born in Florence. Infantry soldier was assigned, with the rank of captain, to the Portoferraio garrison where he was married to Miss Francesca Coppi, who belonged to a distinguished and wealthy family in the town. The wedding was celebrated in 1775 in the church of the Carmine later transformed (at the Napoleonic era) into the current theater.
Cesare De Laugier
From their union Cesare De Laugier was born in Portoferraio , on 5 October 1789. At the age of 18, he enlisted, like his father, in the infantry and was sent to fight – under Napoleon – in the Spanish countryside. His brave demeanor and a serious injury to Mataro earned him an iron cross on the field pinned to him by General Duchesne. Promoted to second lieutenant in 1810, then aide-de-camp to Prince Eugene, he followed the Grand Army in the Russian Campaign and participated in it until its disastrous end. After the fall of Napoleon he served in the small Tuscan army and in 1835 he had the rank of major. He was not very well liked at the grand ducal court because he had voted, with all the nobility of his commitment to the Italian cause. In 1848 he was colonel and at the beginning of the first war of independence he was promoted to major general and with this rank he was given command, in place of the removed general Ferrari, of the Tuscan militias that fought against preponderant Austrian forces, on the historic day of May 29, in Curtatone and Montanara. Carlo Alberto decorated it on the gold medal field. The audacious conduct of the general and the heroic behavior of his soldiers became legendary (lacking the reinforcements of General Bava, the 5,000 Tuscans could not hold up to the 18,000 Austrians for long) because what is important in wars is to fight well. De Laugier, an impetuous and generous man, had therefore, and with him another heroic fellow citizen of ours, the gunner Ebano Gasperi his period of great notoriety after that 29 May that was defined by Tommaseo” spring of our Risorgimento “. But his notoriety achieved not only in arms but also as a soldier of culture and study. This is demonstrated by the writings he was gradually publishing as a writer of history, novels and dramas. For a certain propensity or “vagueness”, a little theatrical and emphatic to offer to the public, they nicknamed him Medoni (general Medoni) who was a comedian “usually giving spectacular performances in arenas choruses and turns of soldiers and knights” (D’Ancona ).
Patriot and writer
Of his volumes and monographs of military history, the work “Fasti e vicende military italiano dal 1801 to 1813”, published in 1834, deserves to be remembered, which is a real mine of facts and documents of great interest for Italian military history. Furthermore, it is worth mentioning the memories of the Russian Campaign collected in four volumes entitled “The Italians in Russia” in which we can see the vivacity of descriptions and immediacy of impressions that De Laugier says he composed “day by day in the light of a village or a house on fire “and of having written them” even with coal “. Not least of his works is the rare booklet “The Tuscan militias in the war of Lombardy in 1848. published in Pisa in 1849, in which he narrates, with a wealth of details, of what” the Tuscan militias worked in the decorous Lombard Campagna “up to the day of 29 May, to Curtatone and Montanara. General De Laugier was retired in 1859. On 27 May, he sent the following letter to the Gonfaloniere of Florence in Livorno which, apart from the emphatic form in homage to a certain taste of sensational which, as we have said, was in him and in the air of the times, testifies to his generosity.
Letter to the Gonfaloniere of Florence
Most Illustrious Lord. A rusty sword lies idle, in spite of itself, in its scabbard. It will always hurt for the defended homeland, if the need requires it. Neither sluggish nor totally inglorious, she flashed a hundred times before our perpetual enemy. From the not rich patrimony, thanks to it collected, the undersigned dedicates, for now, Lire 400 to contribute to the expenses for the Italian war: Lire 100 as a subsidy for indigent families, who generously drove their dearest ones to the camp. Short is the war; sure the triumph. The Austrian bully will no longer tread the ground of the smile of God.
I protest with the distinction of VSIII. But most devoted servant C. De Laugier
Lieutenant General in retreat
The General died in his villa in S. Domenico, near Fiesole, on 25 May 1871 and was buried in the family chapel.
Historic building that takes its name from the Napoleonic officer of Elban origin Cesare De Laugier. Important Cultural and Congress Center of the city of Portoferraio.