On to Battle

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Blog Post 2

On to Battle

Joan of Arc was sent to battle in Orleans, the besieged city, with a full suit of armor tailored to her petite figure and a banner. The Maid’s standard had golden fleur-de-lis on a white field, the words “Jhesus Maria,” and a painted image of Christ on judgement day. She also had what is said to be Saint Catherine’s sword (that she carried and was killed by). The Maid sent for this sword from the church in the town of Sainte-Catherine-de-Fierbois, and many theologians thought it fitting she should receive assistance from Saint Catherine, the patron saint of young virgins. Joan also had the companions a military leader at the time would have: a squire, two pages, and a chaplain.

Joan of arc miniature graded.jpg

Artist’s Interpretation of Joan of Arc, 1485: Centre Historique des Archives Nationales, Paris, AE II 2490 (Wikipedia Contributors)

Instead of commencing battle immediately upon her arrival, the Maid, along with food and other provisions, snuck through the English blockade. The Orleanais, having seen the Maid, attacked the one English fortification, the bastille of the Saint-Loup so Joan could make her way through. Over the next few days, she began to familiarize herself with the terrain and strategies employed there. The Bastard of Orleans, the town’s commander, rode to Blois to rally Joan’s soldiers to come to Orleans to fight. When they returned, battle begun.

The Maid’s forces first attacked the bastille of Saint-Loup and burned it. Joan did not fight but carried her banner to embolden her men. With the Saint-Loup in French hands, the Maid and her troops were able to cross the river to attack the bastille of Saint-Jean-le-Blanc. The English soldiers that had been protecting that fortification fled to another: the bastille of Augustins and the Tourelles. These areas were “the key to the town’s safety” (Castor 109). The Maid led a charge to the bastille and forced her enemies back. By the end of the day, and after much bloodshed, the bastille of Augustins was under French control.

The English in desperation fought with their lives to protect the Tourelles as well as their honor, position, and the hope that God was still on their side. The French felt inspired because it seemed God had finally sided with the Armagnacs. Battle that day was still exhausting, and almost stopped when the Maid had been struck by an arrow between her neck and her shoulder, but she refused to quit and raised her standard. Her men became reenergized and fought with renewed vigor. The Englishmen panicked and within a few hours lost the Tourelles. The remaining English force retreated the next day. Joan had freed Orleans in just four days of fighting!

The Maid then rode to Chinon to see the dauphin and request more supplies and money. She also insisted he go to Reims to be crowned and that she would lead him there. It seemed an ambitious statement since Reims is farther away from Orleans than Paris, but Charles agreed.

She and the prince had to wait a month until she received the troops she needed, but when they came, they cleared the route of English forces (in cities such as Jargeau, Patay, and Troyes) and reached the city July 16, 1429.

When the royal procession entered Reims, the townspeople cried ,“Noel!” The archbishop reclaimed his seat which had been in Burgundian control for years. The next day, July 17, the dauphin was crowned King Charles VII, forty-nine years after his father’s coronation. The Maid had fulfilled her mission to restore the prince to the throne, but her battles were not yet over. She would not rest until the war was over and the king of England and the duke of Burgundy honored Charles as king of France.

Sources:

Castor, Helen. “Like an Angel from God.” Joan of Arc: A History. New York, NY: Harper, 2015. 100-127. Print.

Wikipedia contributors. “Joan of Arc.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 19 Nov. 2016. Web. 15 Dec. 2016.

Yeatts, Tabatha. Joan of Arc: Heavenly Warrior. New York: Sterling, 2009. Print.

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