Abbildungen der Seite
PDF

profit and honour, without striking a blow. One among them, called master Raoul le Saige, said, that he would never be present when they should chew, for the duke of Burgundy to swallow. In short, after much debating of the business, it was finally concluded that the request of the ambassadors should not be granted, and that the town should no otherwise be received in favour than by its surrender to the English. The ambassadors, hearing this, made a reply, which they had not, however, been charged with, that they knew well the townsmen of Orleans would suffer the utmost extremities rather than submit to such conditions. The ambassadors then returned to Orleans, to report the answer they had received. The duke of Burgundy was very well pleased with their conduct in this matter, and would not have disliked, had it been agreeable to the regent and council, to have had the government of Orleans, as much from his affection to his cousin of Orleans as to prevent it suffering the perils likely to befall it; but the English, at that time, in full tide of prosperity, never considered that the wheel of fortune might turn against them. The duke of Burgundy, while at Paris, had made many requests to his brother-in-law the regent, for himself and his adherents, which, however, were but little attended to. Having staid at Paris about three weeks, he returned to Flanders, where he was attacked by a severe illness, but by the attentions of able physicians he recovered his health.

CHAPTER LIx.—THE MAID WITH MANY NOBLE FRENCEI CAPTAINS OF GREAT RENOWN REINForce AND REVICTUAL THE Town of ORLEANs, AND AFTERwards RAISE THE sIEGE.

The English captains had continued their siege of Orleans about seven months, and had much straitened it by their batteries and towers, of which they had erected not less than sixty. The besieged, sensible of the peril they were in of being conquered, resolved to defend themselves to the last, and sent to king Charles for reinforcements of men, and a supply of stores and provision. From four to five hundred combatants were first sent; but they were followed by seven thousand more, who escorted a convoy of provision up the river Loire. With these last came Joan, the Maid, who had already done some acts that had increased her reputation. The English attempted to cut off this convoy; but it was well defended by the Maid and those with her, and brought with safety to Orleans, to the great joy of the inhabitants, who made good cheer, and were rejoiced at its safe arrival and the coming of the Maid.

On the morrow, which was a Thursday, Joan rose early, and addressing herself to some of the principal captains, prevailed on them to arm, and follow her, for she wished, as she said, to attack the enemy, being fully assured they would be vanquished. These captains and other warriors, surprised at her words, were induced to arm and make an assault on the tower of St. Loup, which was very strong, and garrisoned with from three to four hundred English. They were, notwithstanding the strength of the blockhouse, soon defeated, and all killed or made prisoners, and the fortification was set on fire and demolished. The Maid, having accomplished her purpose, returned with the nobles and knights who had followed her to the town of Orleans, where she was greatly feasted and honoured by all ranks. The ensuing day she again made a sally, with a certain number of combatants, to attack another of the English forts, which was as well garrisoned as the former one, but which was in like manner destroyed by fire, and those within put to the sword. On her return to the town after this second exploit, she was more honoured and respected than eWer.

On the next day, Saturday, she ordered the tower at the end of the bridge to be attacked. This was strongly fortified, and had within it the flower of the English chivalry and men-atarms, who defended themselves for a long time with the utmost courage; but it availed them nothing, for by dint of prowess they were overcome, and the greater part put to the sword. On this occasion were slain, a valiant English captain named Classendac, the lord Molins, the bailiff of Evreux, and many more warriors of great and noble estate.

The Maid, after this victory, returned to Orleans with the nobles who had accompanied her, and with but little loss of men. Notwithstanding that at these three attacks Joan was, according to common fame, supposed to have been the leader, she had with her all the most expert and gallant captains who for the most part had daily served at this siege of Orleans, mention of whom has been before made. Each of these three captains exerted himself manfully at these attacks, so that from six to eight thousand combatants were killed or taken, while the French did not lose more than one hundred men of all ranks.

The ensuing Sunday, the English captains, namely, the earl of Suffolk, lord Talbot, lord Scales and others, seeing the destruction of their forts, and the defeat of their men, resolved, after some deliberation, to form the remains of their army into one body, march out of their camp, and wait prepared for any engagement, should the enemy be willing to offer them battle, otherwise they would march away in good order for such towns as were under their obedience. This resolution they instantly executed on Sunday morning, when they abandoned their forts, setting fire to several, and drew up in battle-array, expecting the French would come to fight with them; but they had no such intentions, having been exhorted to the contrary by Joan the Maid. The English, having waited a considerable time for them, in vain, marched away, lest their forces might be further diminished, without prospect of success.

The townsmen of Orleans were greatly rejoiced on seeing themselves, by their dishonourable retreat, delivered from such false and traitorous enemies, who had for so long a time kept them in the utmost danger. Many men at arms were despatched to examine the remaining forts, in which they found some provision, and great quantities of other things, all of which were carried safely to the town, and made good cheer of, for they had cost them nothing. The whole of these castles were soon burnt, and razed to the ground, so that no men at arms, from whatever country they might come, should ever lodge in them again.

[ocr errors]

CHAPTER Lx.—THE KING of FRANCE, AT THE REQUESTs of THE MAID JoAN AND THE Noble CAPTAINS IN ORLEANs, SENDS THEM A LARGE REINFORCEMENT of MEN-AT-ARMs TO PURSUE HIS ENEMIES.

THE French within Orleans, and the captains who accompanied the Maid, with one common accord, sent messengers to the king of France, to inform him of their vigorous exploits, and that the English had retreated to their own garrisons,—requesting him, at the same time, to send them as many men-at-arms as he could procure, with some of the great lords, that they might be enabled to pursue his enemies, now quite dismayed at their reverse of fortune, and praying that he himself would advance towards the country where they were. This intelligence was very agreeable to the king and his council, and the advice readily, as may be supposed, attended to. He instantly summoned to his presence the constable, the duke d'Alençon, Charles lord d'Albreth, and many other lords of renown, the greater part of whom were sent to the town of Orleans. After some time, the king advanced, with a considerable force, to Gien, where many councils were held with the captains from Orleans and the nobles lately arrived, whether or not they should pursue the English. To these councils the first person summoned was the Maid, for she was now in high reputation. At length, on the 4th day of May, the siege of Orleans having been raised, the French took the field with about five or six thousand combatants, and marched straight for Gergeau, where the earl of Suffolk and his brothers were quartered. The earl had sent frequent messages to the regent at Paris, to acquaint him with the misfortunes that had happened at Orleans, and to request speedy succours, or he would be in danger of losing several towns and castles which he held in Beauce and on the river Loire. The duke of Bedford was much angered and cast down at this intelligence ; but seeing the necessity of immediately attending to what was most urgent, sent in haste for four or five thousand men from all the parts under his dominion, whom he ordered toward the country of Orleans, under the command of sir Thomas Rampstone, the bastard de Thian and others, promising very soon to join them with the large reinforcements which he was daily expecting from England.

CHAPTER LXI.--THE MAId JoAN, witH THE CONSTABLE OF FRANCE, THE DUKE D'Alençon, AND THEIR MEN, conquER THE Town of GERGEAU.--THE BATTLE of PATAYE, when THE FRENCH DEFEAT THE ENGLISH.

The constable of France, the duke d'Alençon, Joan the Maid, and other captains, having, as I said, taken the field, advanced with their army to Gergeau, wherein was the earl of Suffolk, and from three to four hundred of his men, who, with the inhabitants, made all diligence to put themselves in a posture of defence. The place was very soon surrounded by the enemy, who commenced an instant assault on the walls. This lasted a considerable space, and was very bloody; but the French pushed on so boldly that the town was stormed in spite of the courage of the besieged, and about three hundred of the English slain, among whom was a brother to the earl of Suffolk. The earl and another of his brothers, the lord de la Pole, were made prisoners, with sixty or more of their men.

Thus was the town and castle of Gergeau won by the French, who after their victory refreshed themselves at their ease. On departing thence, they went to Mehun, which soon surrendered ; and the English who were in la Ferté-Imbaut fled in a body to Beaugency, whither they were pursued by the French, always having the Maid with her standard in front, and they quartered themselves near to Beaugency. The whole report of the country now resounded with praises of the Maid, and no other warrior was noticed.

The principal English captains in Beaugency, observing that the fame of this Maid had turned their good fortune, that many of their towns and castles were now under the subjection of the enemy, some through force of arms, others by composition,-and that their men were panic-struck by their misfortunes, were very desirous of retiring into Normandy. They were, however, uncertain how to act, or whether they should soon receive succour; and thus situated, they treated with the French for the delivery of the town, on condition that they might depart in safety with their property. On the conclusion of this treaty, the English marched away through Beauce toward Paris; and the French joyfully entered Beaugency, whence they resolved, by the advice of the Maid, to advance to meet a party of the English, who they heard were marching to offer them combat. They again took the field, and were daily reinforced by new-comers.

The constable ordered the marshal de Boussac,” La Hire, Poton, and some other captains, to form the vanguard; and the main body, under the command of the duke d'Alençon, the bastard of Orleans, and the marshal de Raix,t amounting to eight or nine thousand combatants, to follow it close. The Maid was asked by some of the princes, what she would advise to be done, or if she had any orders to give. She said, “that she knew full well their ancient enemies the English were on their march to fight with them,--but in God's name advance boldly against them, and assuredly they shall be conquered.” Some present having asked, “where they should meet them 7" she replied, “Ride boldly forward, and you will be conducted to them.”

The army was then drawn up in battle array, and advanced slowly, for they had despatched sixty or eighty of their most expert men-at-arms, mounted on the fleetest horses, to reconnoitre the country and gain intelligence of the enemy. They thus marched for some time, until they came within half a league of a large village called Pataye. The men-at-arms who had been sent to reconnoitre put up a stag, which ran straight for the army of the English, who were assembling their men together, namely those who had come from Paris, as has been mentioned, and those who had marched from Beaugency, and the English seeing the stag dash through them, set up a loud shout, not knowing the enemy was so near ; but this shout satisfied the scouts where the English were, and a moment afterward they saw them quite plain. They sent back some of their companions with intelligence of what they had seen, and they desired that the army might advance in order of battle, for the hour of business was at hand. They immediately made every preparation with great courage, and were soon in sight of the enemy

* John de Béosse, lord of St. Seve and Boussac, marshal t Marshal de Raix is Giles de Laval, marshal de Retz, of France in 1424. afterwards burned for sorcery, and other infamous crimes.

The English, observing the French advance, made also their preparations with diligence for the combat. Some of the captains proposed that they should dismount where they then were, and take advantage of the hedge rows to prevent being surprised on their rear; but others were of a contrary opinion, and said they should be better off on the plain. In consequence they retreated about half a quarter of a league from their former position, which was full of hedges and bushes. The French were very eager to come up with them ; and the greater part dismounted, turning their horses loose.

The vanguard of the French were impatient for the attack, having lately found the English very slack in their defence, and made so sudden and violent a charge that they were unable to form themselves in proper order. Sir John Fastolfe and the bastard de Thian had not dismounted, and, to save their lives they, with many other knights, set off full gallop. In the mean time those who had dismounted were surrounded by the French before they had time to fortify themselves, as usual, with sharp-pointed stakes in their front; and without doing any great mischief to the French, they were soon completely defeated. About eighteen hundred English were left dead on the field, and from one hundred to six score made prisoners, the principal of whom were the lords Scales, Talbot, Hungerford, sir Thomas Rampstone and several more. Some of the great lords were killed, and the rest were people of low degree, of the same sort as those whom they were accustomed to bring from their own country to die in France.

When the business was over, which was about two o'clock in the afternoon, all the French captains assembled together, and devoutly and humbly returned thanks to their Creator for the victory. They were very gay on their good fortune, and lodged that night in the village of Pataye, which is two leagues distant from Anville in Beauce; and this battle will bear the name of that town forever.

On the morrow, the French returned to Orleans and the adjacent parts with their prisoners. They were everywhere received with the utmost joy; but the Maid especially seemed to have acquired so great renown, it was believed that the king's enemies could not resist her, and that by her means he would soon be acknowledged throughout his kingdom. She accompanied the other captains to the king, who was much rejoiced at their success, and gave them a gracious reception. Several councils were held in the presence of the king; and it was resolved to collect as many men-at-arms as possible from all parts under his dominion to pursue his enemies.

On the day of the battle of Pataye, before the English knew that their enemies were so near, Sir John Fastolfe one of the chief captains, and who fled without striking a blow, assembled a council, when he remonstrated on the losses they had suffered before Orleans, at Gergeau and other places, which had greatly lowered the courage of their men, and on the contrary raised that of the French, and which made him now advise that they should retire to some of their strong towns in the neighbourhood, and not think of combating the enemy until their men were more reconciled to their late defeats, and until the reinforcements should be sent them which the regent was expecting from England. This language was not very agreeable to some of the captains, more especially to lord Talbot, who declared that if the enemy came he would fight them.

Sir John Fastolfe was bitterly reproached by the duke of Bedford for having thus fled from the battle, and he was deprived of the order of the Garter: however, in time, the remonstrances he had made in council, previously to the battle, were considered as reasonable; and this, with other circumstances and excuses he made, regained him the order of the Garter. Nevertheless, great quarrels arose between him and lord Talbot on this business, when the latter was returned from his captivity. Prior to the battle of Pataye, Jacques de Milly, Gilles de St. Simon, Louis de Marconnay, Jean de la Haye, and other valiant men, were made knights by the French.

CHAPTER LXII.--THE DUKE OF BURGUNDY, AT THE REQUEST OF THE DUKE of BEDForn comes to PARIs, whex THEY RENEw THEIR ALLIANCEs.

WHEN news of this unfortunate defeat was known to the duke of Bedford and the council at Paris, he was very much disturbed,—and several, on hearing of it, wept in the council. They were also informed, that king Charles was assembling his forces to march and conquer all the country before him. In consequence of this, the duke of Bedford and the Parisians appointed a solemn embassy to duke Philip of Burgundy, to make him acquainted with the strange events that had happened, and to request that he would hasten to Paris, to advise with the regent and his ministers how to act in these extraordinary circumstances. The ambassadors on this occasion were, the bishop of Noyon, two celebrated doctors in theology from the university, and some of the principal burghers of Paris. They found the duke at Hédin, related to him the cause of their coming, and earnestly required of him, on the part of his brother-in-law the regent and the Parisians, that he would be pleased to come to Paris with all diligence, to concert measures with them for the more effectually opposing their adversaries.

The duke complied with their request, and promised to be at Paris within a few days. He instantly assembled from seven to eight hundred combatants from his territories in Artois, by whom he was escorted to Paris. His arrival gave great joy to all ranks, and for many days he and the regent held constant councils on the present state of affairs, at the end of which they entered into the following mutual engagement, namely, that each would exert his whole powers to resist their adversary Charles de Valois, and then solemnly renewed the alliances that existed between them. When these things were done, the duke of Burgundy returned to Artois, and carried his sister the duchess of Bedford with him, whom he established with her household at Lens in Artois. The duke of Bedford despatched messengers to England, with orders to send him, without delay, as large a body of the most expert men-at-arms as could be raised. In like manner he called to him the different garrisons in Normandy, and from other parts under his government, with all nobles and others accustomed to bear arms.

Some little time before, about four thousand combatants had been sent from England to the regent, under the command of the cardinal of Winchester, who crossed the sea with them to Calais, and thence marched to Amiens. The cardinal went from Amiens to Corbie, to meet the duke of Burgundy and his sister-in-law the duchess of Bedford, who were on their return from Paris. After they had conferred together some time, the cardinal went back to Amiens, and conducted his men to the regent, who was much rejoiced at their arrival. In these days, John, bastard of St. Pol, was sent to the duke of Bedford with a certain number of men from Picardy, by orders of the duke of Burgundy. The regent appointed him governor of the town and castle of Meaux in Brie, and gave him the sovereign command of all the adjacent country, to defend it against the power of king Charles, who was daily expected in these parts.

CHAPTER LXIII.-KING CHARLES OF FRANCE TAKES THE FIELD WITH A NUMEROUS BoDy OF CHIWALRY AND MEN-AT-ARMS.–MANY TOWNS AND CASTLES SUBMIT To him on his MARCH.

WHILE these things were passing, Charles king of France assembled at Bourges in Berry a very great force of men-at-arms and archers, among whom were the duke d'Alençon, Charles de Bourbon count of Clermont, Arthur count of Richemont constable of France, Charles of Anjou, brother-in-law to the king, and son to René king of Sicily, the bastard of Orleans, the cadet of Armagnac", Charles lord d'Albreth, and many other nobles and powerful barons from the countries of Aquitaine, Gascony, Poitou, Berry and different parts, whom he marched to Gien on the Loire. He was always accompanied by the Maid and a pleaching friar of the

* Bertrand count of Pardiac, second son to the constable. became in her right count of la Marche, and afterwards He married Eleanor de Bourbon, heiress of la Marche, and duke of Nemours.

« ZurückWeiter »