On the outbreak of war in 1859 he was placed in command of the Alpine infantry, defeating the Austrians at Casale on the 8th of May, crossing the Ticino on the 23rd of May, and, after a series of victorious fights, liberating Alpine territory as far as the frontier of Tirol.
Very differently situated are the great canals of Lombardy, drawn from the Ticino and Adda rivers, flowing from the Maggiore and Como lakes.
Further, in 1512, the Swiss Confederation as a whole won the valleys of Locarno with Lugano, which, combined with the 15th century conquests by the Forest Cantons, were formed in 1803 into the new Canton of Ticino or Tessin.
The Ticino and Adda do not rise in floods more than 6 or 7 ft.
But the young king was determined to abide by his fathers oath, and had therefore to agree to an Austrian occupation of the territory between the P0, the Ticino and, the Sesia, and of half the citadel of Alessandria, until peace should be concluded, the evacuation of all districts occupied by his troops outside Piedmont, the dissolution of his corps of Lombard, Polish and Hungarian volunteers and the withdrawal of his fleet from the Adriatic.
Lombardy is quite as well off as Piedmont for the means of irrigation and, as already said, its canals have the advantage that being drawn from the lakes Maggiore and Como they exercise a moderating influence on the Ticino and Adda rivers, which is much wanted in the Dora Baltea.
The great lakes of Central Africa, Victoria and Albert Nyanza, and the vast swamp tract of the Sudan, do for the Nile on a gigantic scale what Lakes Maggiore and Como do for the rivers Ticino and Adda.