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THE WAR OF CHIOZZA
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XV. While they were laboring with such admirable dilligence to augment the republic's means of resistance, four warriors were making head against the enemy with the small forces they had been able to assemble. Every day that they should gain would change the situation of affairs for their benefit. They had dispatched light vessels in every direction, to recall Carlo Zeno to the assistance of Venice, he having been detached at the commencement of the pending campaign, with a squadron of eight galleys, to which he had been able to rally several others in the ports of the Levant; but from him, for some time, no news had been received, his dispatches having been intercepted. His assistance was uncertain, and would only be received late. In the meantime, Pisani occupied himself in pressing the new armament, and in preventing the progress of the enemy. Taddeo Justiniani, who commanded the galleys already armed, would under no pretext compromise a squadron which was the only hope of the Venetian marine. The flotilla risked itself more readily, because it had a sure retreat in the shallow waters, to which the Genoese galleys could not pursue it. This force, which was almost always engaged in unprofitable enterprises, was at last enabled to seize on a favorable occasion offered by fortune.
Barbadigo, at the head of a detachment of fifty boats, surprised one evening, at low water, a galley and two other vessels of the enemy, stationed before the port of Montalbaiio, occupied by the troops of Padua. The galley could not manoeuvre, and was, with the other vessels, carried by boarding. The flotilla bore away for Venice, with the full force of oars, towing the two small vessels they had captured; while the flames that rose from the galley tnnounced from afar to the Venetians that
last their arms had achieved an openintr
triumph. Suddenly, all the city was in a state of enthusiastic excitement; and whta the boats arrived with their prizes, and five hundred prisoners, every one demanded U be led against the enemy. Pisani was careful not to give way to so imprudent a confidence. The fleet however was rwforced. The month of September passed away, and they already had the certainty of being able to present a fleet of nwrt than thirty sail towards the middle of October. The whole of October was passri in unimportant operations, as the Genoe*^ admiral had been compelled to seatwenty-four of his galleys to the eastern shore of the Adriatic, in search of provisions. The fleet and army that held Ch. ozza experienced all the privations to wbict they had condemned the Venetians.
The Doge publicly announeed.that as sc« as the galleys should be ready, he shot-' embark with a portion of the senate, in • ■ der to take the command in person. ;■• solved to avenge his country, or to pvr.at the head of its defenders. This txi^ pie, given by the prince of the repul an old man of more than seventy ye*rredoubled emulation. The ocenrrene* some small successes increased their hop •■The flotilla captured a convoy of proviij- sent from Padua to Chiozza. Cavallj expelled the Genoese to evacuate Malum*.-. which they destroyed before abandon it. The Venetian galleys continuiillv r» formed their evolutions, but returned <-\ . night to the Grand Canal. As yet. n. telligence had been received from I". Zeno.
Of all the possessions of the repoi; there remained to it only a small for-. the midst of the salt marshes on th«? v of Italy. Three Genoese g;illevs »■, seen to prepare to attack it. Ptsini ». against these galleys with a det&cluae.^ the flotilla, forced them to fly, ajxi sued them even to the waters of Ciu-L He had even arrived by a more direct route before they reached the town, and hoped to cut off their retreat, and to place himself between them and the port; but, assailed on two sides by a cannonade, to which he had nothing to oppose, he was compelled to seek safety across the shallow waters, which he was not able to do until some of his boats had been destroyed by the enemy. Antonio Gradnigo, of a iucal family, was among those who perished in this expedition.
It was now towards the close of the pear 1379. The Genoese fleet, which lad kept the sea for a long time, had not :>een able to recruit on the shore of Chioz:a, where for four months it had experi>nced all manner of privations. It was lecessary to bring twenty of the vessels nto port, either to repair them, or to afbrd their crews some repose. The tweny-four galleys which had been detached, lad returned and discharged the provisons with which they had been laden. Three others were so posted as to defend he pass. The allies expected a fleet from Jenoa, which must soon bring them reinorcements. It was not without astonishient, mingled with alarm, that they saw hirty-four galleys in the waters of Venice; >ut they were far from believing that this ieet was in fighting condition, and that lie Venetians had so far recovered confience as to become the aggressors in their irn.
XVI. On the 21st of December, after solemn mass, the Doge left St. Mark's, ■ith the standard of the republic in his and, and went on board of the ducal gal^y, followed by the greater part of the :nators. Pisani had conceived the projct of compelling the Genoese fleet to lrrender; but in order to succeed, it was ecessary to avoid fighting, since that eet was superior in number, and incomarably better armed. It was necessary > surprise it in the port where it had had le imprudence to place itself. But they >uld not close even that port. The town f Chiozza is situated on a group of small lands amid the lagunes. It communiltes by a bridge, as we have previously :en, with the neighboring island. Thereire it is separated from the sea by that ,rip of land which to the north leaves a assage between it and the island of Pales
trina, which is called the pass of Chiozza. To the north, another communication is opened with the sea, by the interval which separates the island from the continent, and is called the pass of Brondolo. It will be seen that when one is in the port of Chiozza, and wishes to regain the sea, it is necessary to go out by one of these passes, or to ascend the lagunes by the canal of Lombard}7, and go in search of the passes of Malamoreo, of the Lido, or of San Erasmo. It therefore entered into the plan of the Venetian admiral to shut up the enemy in the lagunes, by opposing to him at each of the three issues of Chiozza, of Brondolo, and of the canal of Lombardy, not precisely an armed resistance— for they were the stronger party—but an inert and insurmountable obstacle. It was necessary to carry, conduct, and establish these obstacles in each of the channels, and to prevent the Genoese from destroying them. Finally, it was necessary to place the Venetian fleet outside of the issues, so that it should not itself be shut up among the lagunes, exposed to sustain an unequal combat, and in order that it might be enabled to disperse the new fleet which was coming to reinforce the allies, and which had perhaps already sailed from Genoa.
This very complicated operation was at the same time a daring conception. We shall see what the difficulties were which presented themselves to its execution.
The thirty-four Venetian galleys, accompanied by sixty armed barks, and by several hundred boats, left the port in the night between the 21st and 22d of December, and directed themselves in silence towards Chiozza, across the lagunes. Pisani and Justiniani, who had taken the command of the advanced guard, towed two large vessels, destined to be sunk in the passes, in order to close them. They avoided approaching the port where the Genoese fleet lay, and before day-break they arrived in the channel of Chiozza, which is between the island of Palestrina and that of Brondolo. One shore of this pass had belonged to them since the Genoese had evacuated Malamoreo. Pisani made his flotilla immediately advance, and throw four or five thousand men on the opposite shore, with orders to carry the extremity of Brondolo, so that the fleet should have less difficulty in closing that pass; but the island of Brondolo was covered with troops, who fell upon the Venetians and compelled them to reembark in disorder, and with considerable loss. Pisani, however, had brought up one of his great hulks, which he intended to sink in the middle of the channel. The presence of the enemy's troops on the shore rendered this a very perilous operation. Seven Genoese galleys, which had had time to prepare themselves, hastened up before it was terminated, and attacked the hulk together, and set it on fire. It was sunk in the passage. The Genoese galleys were dispersed by the remainder of the Venetian fleet, and immediately a multitude of boats, laden with stores, came up, filled the hulk, and made of it a dike that obstructed the channel. As a portion of the Genoese fleet was disarmed at the time, they could not oppose to the Venetians a force sufficient to compel them to remove. The next day, Pisani completed the closing of this channel, by sinking other vessels there, and by joining them together with a strong stockade, which was protected by a battery placed on the southern extremity of the island of Palestrina.
This operation finished, it remained to do as much in the pass of Brondolo; but they could not do that on a sudden, and the enemy occupied both shores of the pass. This arm of the sea is not more than four paces in breadth, and there is little water in the middle of it. It is navigable for vessels only close to its banks. It was, therefore, necessary to come under the fire of the enemy in order to bring up the small vessels to be used in closing the pass.
Pisani confided this operation to Frederico Cornaro, whom he detached with four galleys. Fourteen Genoese galleys came to oppose the undertaking. Pisani advanced with ten of his own in order to sustain his people. The combat was terrible in this contracted field of battle ; but, finally, in spite of the attack of the enemy's vessels, and of the fire of all the batteries on the shore, the channel was closed, as that of Chiozza had been the preceding day. But the work was not yet completed. It was necessary to complete the hastily made stockades, to place them in a defensible state against the tempests, and
to protect them against the efforts of the enemy, who would lose no time in endeavoring to destroy them. The admiral, leaving his flotilla in the lagunes, ascended the canal of Lombardy with his galleys, in which canal he sank large vessels, left the lagunes by the passage of the Lido, mailed along the islands, and placed himself outside of the channels on the sea-shore.
Henceforth, the Genoese had no means of issue. It was necessary to overthrow these barriers in order to save themselves from being compelled to surrender. The Venetians posted themselves before the passes in order to cut off from their enemy all hope of escape. This was a perilous position, as a squall might drive them away, render all their labors useless, and raise the blockade. It was particularly difficult to maintain possession of the channel of Brondolo, under the continual fire of the batteries erected on both shores. Sixteen galleys were detailed to guard the stockade there, before which they regularly relieved each other, only two remaining at once in the channel. The enemy did not cease to attempt the removal of these obstacles. So severe a service began to dishearten the crews of Pisani's ships. The Doge, in order to inspire them wiih resolution, swore not to return to Venice until after the capture of the enemy's fleet. Nevertheless, Venetian constancy was exhausted: the seamen declared that it was sheer obstinacy to wish to keep the sjaJlevs in the passes, where they every instant ran the risk of foundering, and which Has* a portion of their crews every dav—ihat it was exacting more than could be expected of human power. The admiral did his best to exhort them, and to encourage them by his example. He explained to them the importance of the port, wkidk if given up, they could never hope to regain. All that he could obtain was a delay; and he solemnly promised then *» leave the ground on the first of lini—j that is, in forty-eight hours, if on that diy the fleet of Zcno should not arrive.
That fleet was expected with Do law impatience by the generals than by a>e soldiers. The army was gh big war fc» discouragement. All that had complished would turn out a loss. The enemy, already superior in ber, and soon to be reinforced,
fain all his advantages. The blockade vould be raised. If he should accept >attle, he was sure of beating the Veneian fleet; if he avoided it, of taking Venice almost without resistance. To ;omplete their misery, there remained no tsylum for the Venetian fleet; in other lorts, it would find only enemies; in its (to, only famine.
Amid intense anxiety, all awaited the ermination of that period which Pisani lad so venturously fixed. One portion aw in it only an end to perils above their :ouragc to endure; the other, the ruin of i great project, and the inevitable loss of he country. All eyes were continually ixed upon the sea, when, on the first of January, they perceived eighteen sail in he distance. It might be the Genoese quadron that was coming to the assistmce of Doria. Twenty light vessels were ient to reconnoitre it. They returned, unler full sail, their signals announcing that he squadron which was approaching was hat of Carlo Zeno.
XVII. The arrival of Zeno revived all lopes. Not only did his return render he Venetians numerically superior, but lis crews, composed of experienced marilers.were capable of surmounting difficulies before which the inexperienced sailors >f Pisani must have succumbed. Zeno, on irriving, went on board the ducal galley o render an account to the chiefs of the epublic of all that had happened to him ince his departure from Venice.
With his squadron of eight galleys, he lad at first cruised on the coast of Sicily, vhere he had taken and burnt a great lumber of Genoese merchantmen. Dura<r the winter he had presented himself »efore Naples, in order to attempt a negoiation with Queen Joan, hoping to bring ler to a change of party, and to enter into .n alliance with Venice. This negotiation lad procured for him the advantage of >assing' a portion of the bad season in wrt; but the news of the battle of Pola iad overthrown all his hopes of reconcilng the queen with the republic, and he letermined to carry the war to the coast >f Genoa, in order to retain there the disposable forces of the republic. During he whole summer he ravaged the Liguian shores, attacking all weakly fortified lo'mts, pursuing the Genoese squadrons,
and desolating their commerce. His name became the terror of that sea.
His instructions recommending him to protect the merchant fleets which the Venetians had in the Syrian ports, he set sail towards the Archipelago, rallying to his squadron some galleys which were in thbse latitudes, and aided the Emperor Calojohannes to subdue his son. He went to Beyrout to take charge of a convoy destined for Venice, and it was while he was there that he received intelligence of the danger of the capital. The squadron and the convoy made all haste in order to arrive there. Off Rhodes, they had fallen in with a great Genoese galley, the largest in the world, and which they immediately attacked with four galleys. The combat was unequal, but this vessel, which was of much stronger build than the Venetian galleys, making a vigorous resistance, it had been necessary to take her by boarding. In this action, Zeno had received two severe wounds—one in the eye, and the other in the foot. Arrived in the Adriatic, and beaten by a tempest which had engulfed one of his galleys, he had thrown his convoy into the port of Panuzo, andihad hastened to the assistance of his country.
XVIII. Although not yet recovered from his wounds, Zeno desired, on the day of his arrival, to take part in new dangers; and his courage was honored with the most perilous post. He was ordered to take position with his squadron in the pass of Brondolo, where, for eight days, the other galleys had suffered so much. The next day a violent tempest assailed the fleet. The galleys were torn from their anchors, and were dispersed. The Genoese, seeing the station abandoned, hastened to the shore in order to attack the works of the Venetians. Zeno could bring forward only three galleys, the terrible lire of which compelled the enemy to remove. The following day, in spite of the wind, which blow more furiously than before, he obstinately kept firm .before the Genoese batteries. The combat lasted all day. One Venetian galley was so badly treated that she was compelled to surrender. That which Zeno was on board of, was dragged by the currents and thrown by the tempest on shore, at the foot of a tower occupied by the enemy. It was night; the stranded galley was fired upon from all sides. The bravest saw no hope of escape. The admiral imposed silence on those who dared to speak of surrender. He prevailed upon a sailor, who was a good swimmer, to jump into the sea with a rope, which he bore to some Venetian vessels that were not far off. When the cable was made fast, they threw overboard the armament of the galley, which was thus made to float; and, under the fire of the enemy, she was slowly towed off from that shore on which, a moment before, she appeared to be lost.
At this moment, Zeno received a wound in the throat from an arrow. He broke the shaft, without losing time in drawing the iron from the wound, and, traversing the deck with his usual vivacity, he continued to give his orders. In the obscurity, he fell through the hatchway into the hold, and was believed to be lost. A sailor, who came to his assistance, drew the iron from his wound, and the blood gushed forth impetuously. In order not to be suffocated, the admiral ordered himself to be placed on his stomach, and it was in that position that he arrived at the place where his fleet was stationed. The surgeons believed the wound to be mortal, and declared that he ought to be carried on shore; but the admiral refused to quit his ship, saying that if death were inevitable, it was there he should wish to meet it. Fortunately, nature baffled the sinister predictions of art, and, after a short interval, this hero was restored to Ids country.
XIX. On the 6th of January, Pisani obtained a considerable advantage over the troops that guarded the island of Brondolo. Some days after, he established on the shore batteries armed with those enormous cannon called bombards, which were proofs rather of the infancy of the art than of its power. In all new inventions, the first object is to augment effects by over-doing the means. Perfection consists in obtaining certain and wellcalculated results with the least possible means. We are told that Pisani's bombards launched balls of marble of the weight of one hundred and forty and two hundred pounds. It was not then known that the quantity of powder necessary to send Biich balls could not be icraited at
once, and that consequently it was onlj L feeble portion of the charge that acted es the projectile, which considerably dirrir.ished the effect, at the same tim* ti* the expense Was considerably augmented These pieces also could be fired oolv Ok; a day, and then the result was always very uncertain. However, one of the balls sent from them at hazard, killed th* Genoese admiral. On the 22d of January, while visiting the works of Broacki:. Pietro Doria was crushed by a wall tin: was overthrown by an enormous bullet; happy, perhaps, in escaping by sack ■ death from the reproaches that he coaji not have avoided for not having rabcd the blockade of Chiozza. Kapolera Grimaldi took the command. As he >i* that the Venetians were closing up its forces more firmly with each succeetirsr day, he came to the great resolution o; intersecting the island with a canal, aad thus to open up a passage for his ships to the sea.
The Lord of Padua had succeeded a throwing into the place a reinforcement d eight hundred lancers and three hundred infantry. The shore of the island of Brtffidolo was about to become the scene '.i new combats. It was to Zeno that the republic still confided the command of hi land troops. Unfortunately they were composed of adventurers of different rations, all equally insubordinate and avaricious. In spite of the example of thtir general, who, in the public distress, wooM share only in its dangers, this host of foreigners loudly demanded a gratuity, te the payment of which the treasury conKl furnish only five hundred ducats. Zeno. from his own means, doubled this sum. and appeased the tumult for the time.
The little army which the Venetians had collected at Palestrina, amounted to only eight thousand men. That of the Genoese was reduced to thirteen thousand, of which a portion occupied tt* town of Chiozza, and the remainder tit island of Brondolo, which was joined to that place by a bridge. In order to prevent the Genoese from cutting a passim to the sea across Brondolo, it was necessary to drive them from that island. «d to compel them to shut themselves up it Chiozza.
XX. On the 13th of January Ttsa