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Villandras, who commanded the van of the French, behaved most gallantly, took place about eight o'clock in the morning. When the business was over the French assembled together in great joy, and returned thanks and praises to the Creator for the happy issue of the day. In consequence of this victory they won many towns and castles from the Burgundians; one was Aubrune, belonging to the prince of Orange, which after its capture was demolished.
CHAPTER XCVI.--THE FRENCH MARCH TO COMPIEGNE AND RAISE THE SIEGE.
The earl of Huntingdon and sir John de Luxembourg laboured long at the siege of Compiègne, and, by cutting off all provisions from entering the town, and by their continued attacks from the forts, were in daily hopes of forcing the garrison to submit to their will. But on the Tuesday before All-Saints' day the French, to the number of four thousand fighting men, under the command of the marshal de Bousac, the count de Vendôme, sir James de Chabannes, Poton de Saintrailles, sir Regnault de Fontaines, the lord de Longueval, sir Louis de Vaucourt, Alain Giron, and other captains, who had frequently been most earnestly pressed by William de Flavy the governor, and inhabitants of Compiègne, to come to their assistance, at length quartered themselves at La Verberie, attended by a multitude of peasants with spades, mattocks, saws, and other implements, to repair the roads which the Burgundians had destroyed, by felling down trees, digging deep ditches, and various other hindrances to the march of an army. The besiegers were soon made acquainted with their arrival, and a council was holden of the chiefs, to consider whether it would be more advantageous to advance and offer them battle or wait for them in their entrenchments. Many were for fighting them before they proceeded further; but others offered solid reasons why it would be better to strengthen their camp and wait their arrival,—adding, that should they quit the siege, to march to the French, and leave their forts unprotected, the besieged, who were impatient to get out of their distressed situation, would demolish them, or at least they would make their escape from the town to a place of safety. This had such weight, that the majority of the council agreed to it; and they resolved unanimously to wait the event, and exert themselves to the utmost to resist their enemies. The following orders were issued. The earl of Huntingdon was to cross the river very early on the morrow, Wednesday, with his Englishmen, at the new bridge, and march to Royaulieu, where he was to draw up in order of battle, with sir John de Luxembourg, leaving in the abbey of La Venette, which was strong, all useless hands, with the horses and baggage, with a few of his men to guard them, and defend the passage of the bridge.—Item, all carts, cars, merchandise, and stores, were to be secured in the abbey of Royaulieu, and the guard of it was given to sir Philip de Fosseux and the lord de Cohen.—Item, sir James de Brimeu, with three hundred combatants, were to remain in their fort, on promise from the lords that, should they be attacked, they would hasten to their support; having agreed on the signal they were to make, should they require aid.—Item, it was ordered, that the grand fort near the bridge of Marigny should be on a similar footing, as well as the two smaller ones on the river side toward Cleroi. When these orders had been issued, the captains retired to their tents, and exhorted their men to be ready prepared on the morrow to meet the enemy. A strong guard was also ordered, of horse as well as foot, for the night, at all the avenues likely to be attacked. On the morrow, in conformity to these regulations, the earl of Huntingdon marched six hundred English to join sir John de Luxembourg in order of battle between Royaulieu and the adjoining forest, near which they expected the enemy would advance. The remainder of the army posted themselves at the different quarters, ready to defend them should they be attempted. The French in Verberie took the field at break of day; and, by orders from the marshal de Bousac and other captains, a detachment of about one hundred men were sent toward Choisy, with provision to throw into the town, and exhort the garrison to make a strong sally against the enemy's fort. On the other hand, Poton de Saintrailles, with two or three hundred combatants, advanced by the high road toward Pierrefons, to attack that
fort; while the marshal, the count de Vendôme, and the other leaders, marched across the Oise, when, having passed the forest, they drew up in array about a bow-shot and a half distant from the Burgundians: they were all on horseback, with the reserve of some guisarmes and inferior people. The English and Burgundians were on foot, excepting a few that had been ordered to remain on horseback. Sir John de Luxembourg then created some new knights, such as Andrew lord de Humieres, Ferry de Mailly, L’Aigle de Sains, Gilles de Saucourt, and others. With sir John de Luxembourg were Hugh de Launoy lord de Xaintes, the lord de Saveuses, sir Daviod de Poix, sir John de Fosseux, and many nobles impatient for the combat, which could not well take place, for the French were on horseback and themselves on foot; and besides, it was necessary that they should be in readiness to succourtheir forts if attacked. There were, nevertheless, many skirmishes in the course of the day; in one of them, the count de Vendôme was repulsed, but no great damage was done on either side. However, a valiant man-at-arms attached to the marshal de Bousac, having charged the Picard archers, thinking that he was followed by his men, was instantly pulled off his horse by these archers, and cruelly put to death. In the mean time, the detachment that had been sent to Choisy announced the arrival and plans of their friends to the besieged, who, rejoiced at the news, and with a fervour of courage arising therefrom, as well as from hatred to those who had caused them such distress, made a numerous sally from the town, with scaling-ladders and other warlike instruments, to attack the grand fort, in which were the marshal, sir James de Brimeu, and the lord de Crequi. They made a gallant defence and repulsed them into the town, but, fresh men rushing out, recommenced the assault, which lasted a long time, but, as in the former one, they were again driven out of the ditches, which were not deep nor wide, for, as I have said, the works had not been completed. At this moment, Poton de Saintrailles advanced with his men from the forest, and near the high road leading to Pierrefons joined those from the town, and, thus united, made a fresh attack on this fort. William de Flavy was very active himself, and encouraged his men to do their duty; and even the women assisted greatly, no way sparing themselves to annoy their adversaries. Notwithstanding the courage of the Burgundians, the fort was stormed in spite of their defence, and upward of eight score warriors were slain; the principal of whom were, the lord de Ligniers knight, Archambault de Brimeu, Guillaume de Poilly, Druot de Sonis, Lyonnel de Touleville, and many other gentlemen. Those made prisoners were instantly carried into Compiègne ; namely, sir James de Brimeu marshal of the duke's household, the lord de Crequi, sir Florimont de Brimeu, sir Valerian de Beauval, Arnoul de Crequi, Colart de Bertanecourt, lord de Rolepot, Regnault de Saincts, Thierry de Mazingien de Reteslay, the bastard de Remy, and other noblemen, who after some time obtained their liberties by paying great ransoms. Sir John de Luxembourg having promised his friends succour if they were attacked, hearing what was passing, was desirous of fulfilling his engagement, and going thither with his whole power, but he was advised to remain where he was, lest the enemy should take advantage of his absence, and worse happen. This induced him to remain, and the day passed away. The marshal de Bousac, the count de Vendôme, and the other captains, now entered the town of Compiègne with their men, where they were joyously received,—but from the great scarcity of provision suffered much that night from want of food. They, however, consoled themselves with their good success, and heartily congratulated each other thereon, expecting on the morrow to drive away the enemy from before the town. They constructed in haste a bridge of boats, by which they crossed the river to attack a fort on its banks, guarded by forty or fifty combatants, Genoese, Portuguese, and other foreigners, which was quickly won, and all within put to death, except a common man from the Boulonois, very expert in arms, named Branart, who was carried prisoner into the town of Compiègne. Aubert de Folleville, who commanded in another fort hard by, observing what was passing, and fearing to be stormed, set fire to his works, and retreated to the quarters of the English. The French made a grand attack on the fourth fort, at the end of the bridge, which was of some continuance. Sir Baudo de Noyelle guarded it so well, and had such a force of menat-arms and artillery, that the enemy was obliged to withdraw into the town, seeing they could not then succeed in taking it. It was late in the evening when the French retreated into Compiègne, vespers having sounded some time. The earl of Huntingdon and sir John de Luxembourg, knowing they should not be attacked that evening, called a council of the principal captains to consult on their situation, and determine how they were to act. It was resolved that, on returning to their quarters, they should that night sleep in their armour, and, on the morrow, draw up in battle array before the town, to see if their adversaries were inclined to combat them, expecting from the great dearth of provision they could not remain in such numbers therein without making some sallies. When this had been settled, the earl of Huntingdon with his English returned to their quarters at La Venette : he promised to have the bridge well guarded, so that none of their men should go away without leave. Sir John de Luxembourg retreated with his force to Royaulieu, and established a strong guard round his quarters, but, notwithstanding this, a great part of his men collected together, and took upon them to depart without sound of trumpet, and go whither they pleased. The most of them crossed this bridge, which, although promised, had not been sufficiently guarded. With them went also some of the earl's men. When the captains heard of this they changed the plan they had determined on the preceding evening, namely, to appear in battle array before the town ; and sir John de Luxembourg, and the others, made preparations to pass the Oise with the earl of Huntingdon. This was done on the Thursday morning early,–on which day the French sallied out of Compiègne in great force, sending forward scouts to learn what was become of the enemy, who soon found they had marched off; and when this was made known to those who had sent them, they and their men were greatly rejoiced. They hastily made for the abbey of Royaulieu, wherein they found plenty of provision and wines, which they devoured till they were satisfied, and made excellent cheer, for it had cost them nothing. Finding the English and Burgundians were decamped, the better-armed part of the French went to the bridge near La Venette, which they destroyed without any great opposition, and threw it into the river in sight of the enemy, abusing them with many villanous expressions; for the French were now no longer afraid of the Burgundians hurting them, since the bridge was demolished. They also this day made a serious attack, with all the large cannon from the town, on the fort commanded by Baudo de Noyelle, which damaged it much. But the earl of Huntingdon and sir John de Luxembourg, having again advised with their captains, concluded, that as it was impossible at that moment to withstand their enemies with hopes of success, or to keep their men together, it was advisable to withdraw to Noyon, and thence to dismiss their men to their homes. In consequence they sent orders to sir Baudo to set fire to his fort, and march away, which he punctually obeyed. The Burgundians decamped about vespers, in a very disorderly manner, for Pont-l'Evêque, shamefully leaving behind in their quarters, and in the large fort, a great number of huge bombards, cannon, culverines, veuglaires, with other artillery and very many stores, belonging to the duke of Burgundy, all of which fell into the hands of their enemies. Sir John de Luxembourg was vexed at heart at this retreat, but he could not avoid it. On the Saturday they left Pont-l'Evêque, and went to Roye, and thence, without making any stay, each departed to his own country, or to different garrisons. The garrison of Compiègne, on their departure repaired the bridge over the Oise, and issued in large bodies, with displayed banners, over those parts that had been possessed by the enemy, bringing back all stragglers, whom they put to death. They burnt many buildings and villages, committing great cruelties in a short time, so that they were dreaded by the country round, and scarcely any person would, from fear of them, venture out of the fortified towns or castles. In short, they created such terror that the following places surrendered to them, without waiting for an attack or striking a blow, namely, Ressons sur Mas, Gournay sur Aronde, le Pont de Remy, le Pont de St. Maixence, Longueil Sainte Marie, the town and strong castle of Bertheuil, the castle of Leigny les Chastigniers, the tower of Vermeil, and others, in which they found abundance of wealth. Having regarrisoned them, they sorely harassed the adjoining countries, more especially those parts that were of the English or Burgundian party.
CHAPTER XCVII.--THE MARSHAL DE BOUSAC LAYS SIEGE TO THE CASTLE OF CLERMONT IN The beau Voisis.
WHILE these things were passing, the marshal de Bousac collected a great part of the French who had raised the siege of Compiègne, and marched away with cannon and other artillery, to lay siege to the castle of Clermont in the Beauvoisis, at the instigation of some of the townsmen of Beauvais, wherein he and his men were lodged. The lord de Crevecoeur, his brother Jean de Barentin, the bastard Lamon, with about fifty combatants, were in the castle, and vigorously defended it against the French, who made many assaults, but in vain. Several of their men were killed and wounded : nevertheless, they continued the siege for about twelve days; at which time Boort de Buyentin, with ten combatants and a trumpet, secretly entered the castle during the night, by a postern that opened to a vineyard, to assure the lord de Crevecoeur that he would very shortly be relieved.
This was true; for the earl of Huntingdon, who had lately retreated to Gournay in Normandy, again took the field, having with him sir John bastard of St. Pol, and a thousand fighting men, with the intent to raise the siege. The French hearing of this, marched off one morning very early, leaving behind them the cannon they had brought from Compiègne. They returned to their garrisons, and with them many Burgundians from Clermont who had joined their party. The lord de Crevecoeur was well pleased at their departure.
CHAPTER xCVIII.-A LARGE BODY OF ENGLISH AND BURGUNDIANS, ON THEIR MARCH To BESIEGE GUERBIGNY, ARE ATTACKED AND conquered BY THE FRENCH.
Duke Philip of Burgundy was in Brabant when he heard that the French had forced his men to raise the siege of Compiègne. He was much troubled thereat, as well for the loss of his troops in killed and wounded as for the great sums of money he had expended on this siege. He, however, made preparations to return to Artois with all the men-at-arms he had with him, and summoned his nobles to assemble as large a force as they possibly could. The duke advanced to Peronne, and sent forward sir Thomas Kiriel, an Englishman, James de Helly, sir Daviod de Poix, Anthony deVienne, and other captains, with five or six hundred combatants, by way of vanguard, to post themselves at Lihons in Santerre. The duke, in the mean time, was preparing to follow them, having intentions to lodge at Guerbigny, to wait for the arrival of the main body of his men ; for the French had possession of the castle, whence they much annoyed the country.
It happened that these captains whom the duke had sent in advance, dislodged one morning from their quarters at Lihons, and took the road towards Guerbigny, in separate bodies, without keeping any order on their march, or sending scouts forward as experienced men at arms always do, more especially when near their adversaries. Gerard bastard de Brimeu, the governor of Roye, now joined them with about forty combatants, and they advanced together to a town called Bouchoire. On their march they put up many hares, which they pursued with much hooting and hollowing, for their captains were very inattentive in not preserving better order, and many of them had not even put on their armour, for which neglect they suffered severely, as you shall hear.
This same day Poton de Saintrailles had arrived very early at Guerbigny, and taking the garrison with him, advanced into the open country. He had altogether full twelve hundred fighting men, the greater part well experienced in war, whom he led toward Lihons in Santerre, and prudently sent his scouts before him. These, on approaching Bouchoire, heard the shoutings, and saw the state of the enemy, and returned with all haste to give an account of what they had seen and heard. Poton, on learning this, ordered his men instantly to prepare themselves, and led them straight to the enemy, admonishing them to do their duty well against adversaries no way in a state for the combat. Poton and his men advancing thus suddenly, and with a great noise, charged the enemy, and soon threw them into confusion : most part of them were unhorsed by the lances of the French. The leaders, however, and some others, rallied under the banner of sir Thomas Kiriel, and made a gallant
defence; but it was in vain, for their men were so scattered and confused that most of them saved themselves by flight as well as they could. Those who had stood their ground were either killed or taken: in the number of the first were James de Helly and Anthony de Vienne, with fifty or sixty Burgundians and English. From four score to a hundred were made prisoners, the chief of whom were sir Thomas Kiriel and two of his kinsmen, valiant men-at-arms, Robert and William Courouan, sir Daviod de Poix, l'Aigle de Saincts knight, l'Hermite de Beauval, and others, to the numbers aforesaid. Sir Gerard de Brimeu attempted to escape, after the defeat, to Roye, whence he had come; but, the trappings of his horse being very brilliant with silversmith's-work, he was closely pursued, and carried away prisoner with the others. When the business was over, Poton, having collected his men, led his prisoners to Guerbigny, but not before they had stripped the dead, anong whom were not more than four or five of the French. He and his men refreshed themselves that day and night at Guerbigny, and on the morrow he departed with his whole force, leaving the castle in charge with the townsmen. In like manner he dislodged the garrison of La Boissiere, and set it on fire. He went to Ressons-sur-Mas, and thence to Compiègne, with his prisoners, where he was joyfully received, on account of the victory he had gained over the enemy. James de Helly was interred in the church, with a few others of the dead; the rest were buried in the church-yard near to the place where they had been slain.
CHAPTER xCIx.—THE FRENCH offer BATTLE to THE DUKE of BURGUNDY AND His ARMY, which THE DUKE, BY Advice of His council, REFUSEs.
The duke of Burgundy received the news of this unfortunate defeat at Peronne on the very day when it happened. He was greatly affected by it, more especially for the loss of James de Helly and Anthony de Vienne, and instantly called together the captains then with him, namely, sir John de Luxembourg, the vidame of Amiens, the lord d'Antoing, the lord de Saveuses, and others of his household, with whom he determined to fix his quarters at Lihons in Santerre, and he marched thither that day. On the morrow, he advanced to Roye in the Vermandois, where he remained eight days waiting for the earl of Stafford, the earl of Arundel, and other Englishmen, to whom he had sent orders to join him.
During this time, many of the captains of king Charles collected a body of about sixteen hundred combatants, and, under the command of the marshal de Bousac, the count de Vendôme, sir James de Chabannes, William de Flavy, Poton de Saintrailles, the lord de Longueval, sir Regnault de Fontaines, sir Louis de Vaucourt, Alain Guyon, and Boussart Blanchefort, marched in good array near to Mondidier, and thence went to quarter themselves at two villages two leagues distant from Roye. Very early on the ensuing day they held a council, and unanimously determined to offer combat to the duke of Burgundy and his army, if he would meet them in the open country; and that their intentions might be publicly known, they sent a herald to the duke with their challenge. The duke, on receiving it, agreed to meet them in battle. The matter, however, was delayed by his council, who remonstrated with him on the impropriety of risking his person and honour against such people, as they had not with them any prince of equal rank with himself for him to contend with. They also stated, that he was weak in numbers, and that his troops were dispirited from the defeat they had lately suffered, and the loss of James de Helly, as well as by their retreat from before Compiègne. The duke, much grieved that he could not follow his own inclinations, assented to the advice of his council. They sent, therefore, an answer to the French, that if they would wait until the morrow, they should be unmolested in their quarters; that even provision should be sent them, and that then sir John de Luxembourg would engage them in battle, for which he was willing to give sufficient securities.
The French, on receiving this answer, said, they would not consent to it; but that if the duke of Burgundy was willing to advance into the plain, they were ready to combat him. While these messages were passing, the duke drew his men up in battle array without the town of Roye: the French were also in order of battle, fronting him; but it was difficult to pass from one army to the other, by reason of the deep marshes that were between them