Magenta, a town of Lombard v, Italy, about 5 m. from the E. (left) bank of the Ticino and 15 m. W. of Milan, with which city it communicates by railway and canal; pop. about 5,000. It is the first stage on the road from Novara to Milan, being nearly equidistant from the two places. On June 4, 1859, a great battle was fought here between the allied French and Sardinians, under the emperor Napoleon III. and King Victor Emanuel, and the Austrians commanded by Count Gyulai. The French suddenly crossed the Po at Casale (May 31), and, while the Sardinians menaced Mortara, moved toward the north, and threw three bridges across the Ticino at Turbigo, about 8 m. above Magenta. The Austrians thereupon withdrew across the river into the Lombard territory. On June 4 MacMahon's corps, followed by a division of the imperial guard and one of the Sardinian army, having crossed at Turbigo on the preceding day, marched along the left bank toward Magenta, while the emperor in person advanced with the grenadier division of the imperial guard to occupy the bridge of Buffalora, leaving orders for Canrobert to follow.
The grenadiers began the contest at noon, and after two hours' fighting took possession of the heights on the canal, in the face of an Austrian force of 125,000. The bridge was seven times taken and lost, but the arrival of Canrobert turned the scale in favor of the French. In the mean time MacMahon's advance from Turbigo had been several times checked by the Austrians, who on evacuating Buffalora concentrated the principal part of their force between him and Magenta. The French 45th regiment of the line made a successful attack upon a farm house defended by two Hungarian regiments, and Gen. Auger planted a battery of 40 guns on the railway, from which he poured a tremendous fire upon the Austrians in flank. On reaching the town of Magenta, MacMahon found it occupied by 7,000 of the enemy under Clam-Gallas, and the second army corps under Prince Liechtenstein. The combat here was terrible, as both sides felt Magenta to be the key of the position. The French took it house by house. At 8 1/2 P. M. Gyulai ordered a general retreat, leaving four guns in possession of the French. His official report gave his own loss at 9,713 killed, wounded, and missing,' and that of the enemy at 6,000 or 7,000 killed and wounded.
The French accounts acknowledged a loss of 4,957, and estimated that of Gyulai at 20,000, including 7,000 prisoners. The results of the battle were the evacuation of Lombardy by the Aus-trians. MacMahon was created a marshal of France and duke of Magenta.