This depicts an episode referring to the siege of Rome in 1849, during the Roman Republic. Following an order by the French King Louis-Napoléon, the General Charles Oudinot attacked the city with his troops on 1 June. Despite the stiff resistance offered by Giuseppe Garibaldi and the Republican Army, the French troops finally prevailed on 29 June. They entered Rome on 3 July, re-establishing the Holy's See temporal power and creating a provisional military government.
The present painting illustrates one of the most cruel attacks on French troops by the Republican armies: the siege of Villa Corsini also known as Casino dei Quattro Venti, happened during the night of 3 June.