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Don Giuseppe Guasone, Sforzini castle and the Napoleonic army

The flood restrained Desaix’s men: at dusk on Friday, June 13, 1800, only the carabinieri department had forded the river Scrivia opposite Rivalta. The crossing of French forces on the watercourse succeeded in Castellar Ponzano: the action promoted by the Jacobin priest Don Giuseppe Guasone from the family castle (today Sforzini) adjacent to the ford on the river was crucial for the Napoleonic militias and for the French triumph in Marengo (14 June 1800). The priest, already imprisoned by the Piedmontese police, together with the thirty patriots coexisting with the Tortona and Novese clergy, had the opportunity to monitor the situation in the area from the privileged observatory.
The tree of liberty erected (June 1797) on the Collegiate Square in Novi was also praised by the patriotic oration on Liberty and Equality recited by the Archangel Father (Minor Observant) and the chime of open bells praised the verse of the Magnificat «deposuit potentes de sede» sung at the Holy Mass (July 1797) celebrated for the anniversary of the assault on the fortress Bastille.
In addition, the pro-French Castellani-Merlani lineage (injured by the brother who fell on the battlefield in Novi) hegemonic in Castellar Ponzano and Rivalta has always been revered by the indigenous population.
The synthesis was the flock of boats and boatmen, farmers equipped with axes and ropes, oxen yoked to the guns to ferry the Napoleonic militia on the western shore of Scrivia.

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