The article focuses on the recruitment of Garibaldi’s followers in 1860, with the aim of tracing the main forms of their enlistment and identifying the concrete ways in which one became a redshirt. It is the crucial role played by the democratic movement in the struggle for Italian unification that thus comes to light. Garibaldinism was an essential component of this movement and reached its peak in the months following the landing of the Thousand at Marsala. Through the study of several hundred letters exchanged between the aspiring volunteers and Agostino Bertani, chairman of the Cassa centrale per il soccorso a Garibaldi, the paper sets out to illustrate the political, social, cultural and ideological character of the people enrolled by the Genoese committee. One result is to qualify the traditional interpretation of Garibaldinism, whose composition looks much less dominated by democratic radicalism than has been asserted by most historians.
Keywords: Garibaldinism, voluntarism, Agostino Bertani, Italian unification, Expedition of the Thousand, Risorgimento, 1860.