Locations and Battles of Jeanne d’Arc

The Battles of Jeanne d’Arc

In thirteen known engagements, her troops were victorious nine times.

At least thirty different cities, towns, and villages surrendered without a fight when she approached with her army.

Jeanne was an aggressive military commander who always opted for offense instead of defense. Personally, she was a skilled horseman and swordsman, but tactically, she knew how to direct armies and place gunpowder artillery.

She was successful when she had the troops and the cannons to either match or overpower her opponents, but when she fought in overwhelming circumstances, she could not pull off a brilliant victory. In fact, the lack of cannons to match her opponents attributed directly to all four of her losses.

Historians have penned thousands of books that focus on this teenager’s gender, her influence on the Hundred Years War, and her canonization, but this paper aims to examine Jeanne’s contribution to the battlefield. While Jeanne’s aggressive approach to war and her skill with artillery made her a formidable opponent, they were also her greatest weakness and led to her eventual capture at Compiègne.

Beaugency 22

Beaugency

The Battle of Meung-sur-Loire took place on 15 June 1429. It was one of Jeanne’s battles following relief of the siege at Orléans. This campaign was the first sustained French offensive in a generation in the Hundred Years’ War.

Meung-sur-Loire was a small town on the northern bank of the Loire river in central France, slightly west of Orléans. It controlled a bridge of strategic significance during the latter part of the war. Conquered by the English a few years earlier as a staging point for a planned invasion of southern France, the French offensive reconquered the bridge and hampered English movement south of the river during the campaign.

Virtually all of France north of the Loire had fallen to foreign occupation by the end of 1428. The bridge at Orléans had been destroyed shortly before the siege lifted. The French had lost control of all other river crossings. Three swift and numerically small battles at Jargeau, Meung-sur-Loire, and Beaugency demonstrated renewed French confidence and laid the groundwork for subsequent French offenses on Rheims and Paris. The Loire campaign killed, captured, or disgraced a majority of the top tier of English commanders and decimated the numbers of the highly skilled English longbowmen.

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Beaurevoir La Tour Jeanne d'Arc

Beaurevoir

Jeanne was held prisoner in the château of Beaurevoir from July until November. During her captivity, she attempted to escape by jumping from the tower. Unfortunately, she was injured and her escape was unsuccessful. Jeanne states that the reason for this bold act was that she had heard that all the people in Compiègne, including children, were to be put to fire and sword. “And I would rather be dead than live on after such a destruction of good people” (In Her Own Words, p. 87). She also stated that she understood she had been sold to the English.

Hearing that Jeanne had been taken captive, King Charles attempted to persuade the Burgundians to release the Maid with a ransom typical of the day. The Burgundians refused the offered ransom. In addition, attempts to rescue her were unsuccessful.
Sold to the English

After four months imprisonment at Beaurevoir, the Maid was transferred and sold to the English for 10,000 livres. Pierre Cauchon was given the job of acquiring her and organizing the trial. Cauchon had a documented reputation of bribing church officials in order to influence court rulings. Jeanne was held at a fortress in Crotoy, then brought to Rouen, the town that housed the English occupation government. Inquisitorial procedures required that prisoners be held in church-run prisons and female prisoners guarded by nuns. However, Jeanne was held in a military prison guarded by English soldiers. This was a point of great distress to her character and explains her insistence at wearing male dress, bound and laced, to protect her holy virginity.

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Jeanne d'Arc - Chinon
Charles VII of France receiving Jeanne d'Arc at the Castle of Chinon. 1429. German tapestry.

Chinon

On 6 March 1429 Jeanne d’Arc arrived at Château de Chinon. She claimed to hear heavenly voices that said Charles would grant her an army to relieve the siege of Orléans. While staying at the castle she resided in the Tour du Coudray. Charles met with her two days after her arrival and then sent her to Poitiers so that she could be cross-examined to ensure she was telling the truth. Jeanne returned to Chinon in April where Charles granted her supplies and sent her to join the army at Orléans.

This mythical encounter was an important turning point in the Hundred Years’ War.

“Fair Dauphin, my name is Jeanne the Maid; and the King of Heaven speaks unto you by me and says that you shall be anointed and crowned at Reims, and be lieutenant of the King of Heaven, who is King of France.”

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The Siege of Compiègne (1430) was the beginning of Jeanne’s downfall and her final military action.
The Siege of Compiègne (1430) was the beginning of Jeanne’s downfall and her final military action.

Compiègne

Jeanne manages to maneuver into Compiègne before the Burgundians can arrive there, and from this point plans suprise assaults against the Burgundians. She tries to strike at the Burgundian outpost at Soissons, but the people there refuse them entry, and she has to withdraw. She tries again against the Burgundian outpost at Margny, with much more success, but Burgundian reinforcements arrive and she is forced to retreat.

Her army returns to Compiègne, but when they arrive at Compiègne, the gates of the city are ordered closed by the governor while the rear of the French army is still in the field; and, the rear guard being the most dangerous place to be in a retreat, Jeanne is there with no place to go. The Burgundians swarm around her and she is pulled off her horse and captured. It is unknown whether shutting Jeanne out of the city was a deliberate or merely hasty act of the governor. It is notable, incidentally, that even the Burgundians who describe the event write admiringly of Jeanne’s valor in this last fight.

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The Battle of the Herrings. 12 Feb 1429
The Battle of the Herrings. 12 Feb 1429

Herrings

The Battle of the Herrings was a military action near the town of Rouvray in France, just north of Orléans, which took place on 12 February 1429 during the siege of Orléans. The immediate cause of the battle was an attempt by French forces, led by Charles of Bourbon, Count of Clermont, to intercept and divert a supply convoy headed for English forces. The English had been laying siege to the town of Orléans since the previous October. The French were assisted by a Scottish force led by the Constable of the Scottish army, Sir John Stewart of Darnley. There are two places called Rouvray in the region in question. In his biography of Sir John Fastolf, Stephen Cooper gives reasons why the battle probably took place near Rouvray-Sainte-Croix, rather than Rouvray-Saint-Denis.

This supply convoy was led by Sir John Fastolf and had been outfitted in Paris, whence it had departed some time earlier. According to Regine Pernoud, this convoy consisted of “some 300 carts and wagons, carrying crossbow shafts, cannons and cannonballs but also barrels of herring.” The latter were being sent since the meatless Lenten days were approaching. It was the presence of this stock of fish which would give the somewhat unusual name to the battle.

 

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Domrémy, birthplace of Jeanne d’Arc
The village, originally named Domrémy, is the birthplace of Jeanne d’Arc

Domrémy-la-Pucelle

Domremy. Prophecies, Faith, and Fairies

Domremy, in which Jeanne was born (January 6, 141 2?), is one of many villages that nestle by the banks of the Upper Meuse. The straggling river, broken by little isles, and fringed with reeds, flows clear in summer ; the chub and dace may be seen through its pellucid water, unbroken as it is by dimples of the rising trout. As in a Hampshire chalk-stream the long green tresses of the water-weeds wave and float, the banks are gardens of water-flowers, the meadows are fragrant with meadow-sweet. After the autumn rains the river spreads in shallow lagoons across the valley, reflecting the purple and scarlet of the vineyards. The scene, on a larger scale, much resembles the valley of the Test at Longparish, with its old red-roofed villages, mills, and mill-leads; but the surrounding hills are higher, and in places are covered with dark forests. The climate is temperate, the people are grave,–“Seldom die, never lie,” is a local proverb attesting their longevity and truthfulness.

Though the house of Jeanne d’Arc, and the village church where she prayed, still exist, terribly “restored,” they contain little that is old, except the ancient receptacle of holy water, shaped like a stone cannon. Little is here that to the Maid was familiar; but the aspect of her country, the river wherein her father threatened to drown her; the oakwood, even the clear fountain where once she saw her Saints, are almost unchanged.

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Battle Of Jargeau
Battle Of Jargeau, Miniature From Vigiles Du Roi Charles VII (1508)

Jargeau

Battle of Jargeau: After her victory in the relief of the besieged city of Orelans, Joan of Arc leads French forces in her first offensive action: recapturing the city of Jargeau from the English. The English defenders will suffer heavy losses, and the French will take the city after two days of fighting.

The Battle of Jargeau took place on June 11 – 12, 1429. It was Jeanne d’Arc’s first offensive battle. Shortly after relieving the siege at Orléans, French forces recaptured the neighboring district along the Loire river. This campaign was the first sustained French offensive in a generation in the Hundred Years’ War.

Jargeau was a small town on the southern bank of the Loire river in central France, about ten miles east of Orléans. Conquered by the English a few years earlier as a staging point for a planned invasion of southern France, the city was defended by a wall with several towers and fortified gates. A ditch just on the outside of the walls further enhanced the defenses. Outside the walls, suburbs had grown. There was a single fortified bridge, of strategic significance during the latter part of the war, crossing the Loire River to the north bank. The city was defended by approximately 700 troops armed with gunpowder weaponry.

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La Charité Sur Loire Monument De Jeanne D'Arc
La Charité Sur Loire Monument De Jeanne D'Arc

La Charité

La Charité was indeed highly fortified and provisioned, and the winter weather was extraordinarily bad; attempts to force surrender by assault failed. Jeanne lifted the siege a month after beginning it. We do not know exactly why; it could be anything from the difficulty of provisioning due to the winter weather to the impossibility of assault with the resources at hand to the fact that her troops, mostly mercenaries, were not responding well to her command.

The Siege of La Charité was incited by the order of Charles VII to Jeanne d’Arc after the warlord Perrinet Gressard seized the town in 1423.

La Charité was not only strongly fortified, but fully victualled for a prolonged siege. Jeanne’s forces were known to be poorly equipped with artillery. On November 7, 1429 the people of Clermont were addressed with a letter asking the town to send supplies to Jeanne’s army for the siege.

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Plaque. Lagny Sur Marne

Lagny-sur-Marne

For reasons that are somewhat obscure, perhaps as an attempt to restart her consolidation campaign, Jeanne attacks a small Burgundian contingent and captures its leader, Franquet d’Arras, who seems to have been setting himself up as a sort of local warlord with Burgundian backing. She attempts to use him to negotiate the release of the leader of an anti-English revolt in Paris, but upon learning that this leader had already been executed, she turns d’Arras over to the local courts. After a trial, he is executed on charges of murder, robbery, and treason.

It is in April of 1430 that Jeanne first begins to expect that she will be captured by the English or the Burgundians before Midsummer. By this time Jeanne is also beginning to worry about English designs on Compiègne, and attempts to prepare, despite still having very little support. In May she learns that her worries were justified, and she sets out for Compiègne, very likely without the permission of the king, and certainly without official support.

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Alexandre Louis Robert. ( View of the Chateau de Loches and Agnes Sorel turn, location unknown 1819) and, like the Museum Tours pretext to evoke a historical anecdote. If the table of 1814 recalls the loves of Charles VII and Agnes Sorel, the 1819 calls a female figure emblematic of the place, that of Joan of Arc, however does not appear in the main title but in the subtitle Catalogue of the Exhibition of 1819.

Loches

Favorite retreat of Charles VII

It was here on 11 May 1429 that Jeanne d’Arc arrived, fresh from her historic victory at Orleans, to meet the king. After the take-over of the city of Orléans, Charles received Jeanne d’Arc again in the Castle of Loches. Here she finally convinced him to proceed to Rheims and take the crown. It was here on 11 May 1429 that Jeanne d’Arc arrived, fresh from her historic victory at Orleans, to meet the king. The castle has two wings linked end to end.

The older one is taller (north ,15C), was created for Charles VII and used primarily to house his mistress Agnes Sorel. The newer wing (south, 16C) was built for Charles VIII and Louis XII. The rooms are sparsely furnished and decorated. The most important one (historically) is preserved as the room in which Jeanne d’Arc convinced Charles VII to go to Reims to be crowned King establishing France as a sovereign state and legitimate entity.

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www.Jeanne-darc.info

Meung-sur-Loire

The Battle of Meung-sur-Loire took place on 15 June 1429. It was one of Jeanne’s battles following relief of the siege at Orléans. This campaign was the first sustained French offensive in a generation in the Hundred Years’ War.

Meung-sur-Loire was a small town on the northern bank of the Loire river in central France, slightly west of Orléans. It controlled a bridge of strategic significance during the latter part of the war. Conquered by the English a few years earlier as a staging point for a planned invasion of southern France, the French offensive reconquered the bridge and hampered English movement south of the river during the campaign.

Virtually all of France north of the Loire had fallen to foreign occupation by the end of 1428. The bridge at Orléans had been destroyed shortly before the siege lifted. The French had lost control of all other river crossings. Three swift and numerically small battles at Jargeau, Meung-sur-Loire, and Beaugency demonstrated renewed French confidence and laid the groundwork for subsequent French offenses on Rheims and Paris. The Loire campaign killed, captured, or disgraced a majority of the top tier of English commanders and decimated the numbers of the highly skilled English longbowmen.

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www.Jeanne-darc.info

Montépilloy

After some complicated feinting between the English-Burgundian army, the English and French meet at Montépilloy. However, the battle is a relatively minor skirmish and the English eventually withdraw.

Pont des Tourelles 1690
Pont des Tourelles 1690

Orléans

The Siege of Orléans (1428–1429) marked a turning point in the Hundred Years’ War between France and England. This was Jeanne d’Arc’s first major military victory and the first major French success to follow the crushing defeat at Agincourt in 1415. The outset of this siege marked the pinnacle of English power during the later stages of the war.

The city held strategic and symbolic significance to both sides of the conflict. The consensus among contemporaries was that the English regent, John Plantagenet, would succeed in realizing Henry V’s dream of conquering all of France if Orléans fell. For half a year the English appeared to be winning, but the siege collapsed nine days after Jeanne’s arrival.

For years, vague prophecies had been circulating in France concerning an armored maiden who would rescue France. Many of these prophecies foretold that the armored maiden would come from the borders of Lorraine, where Domrémy, Jeanne’s birthplace, is located. As a result, when word reached the besieged citizens of Orléans concerning Jeanne’s journey to see the King, expectations and hopes were high.

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www.Jeanne-darc.info

Paris

The siege of Paris was an assault undertaken in 1429 by the French troops of the recently crowned King Charles VII, with the notable assistance of Jeanne d’Arc, to take the city held by the English and their Burgundian allies. The Armagnac French troops failed to enter Paris, defended by the governor Jean de Villiers de L’Isle-Adam and the provost Simon Morhier, with the support of much of the city’s population.

After Henry V of England entered Paris in 1420, the English administration was sympathetic to the citizens of Paris, confirming their former privileges and giving even new ones. The Parisians had accepted the English mostly by hatred of Charles VII (whom they had nicknamed “King of Bourges”) and the Armagnac party, who threatened the many liberties that the city had obtained over the centuries.

After the battle of Montépilloy on 26 August 1429, Jeanne d’Arc and Duke John II of Alençon, took Saint-Denis, a town north of Paris. On August 28, Charles VII signed the truce of Compiègne which excepted from the armistice Saint-Denis (which was already taken), St. Cloud, Vincennes, Charenton and Paris.

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Jeanne d'Arc at the Battle of Patay, 1429

Patay

After the relief of the Siege of Orléans, the French recaptured several English strongholds in the Loire valley. This regained bridges for the subsequent French assault on English and Burgundian territory to the north. Nearly all of France north of the Loire river was under foreign control. The French victory at Orléans had destroyed the only French-controlled bridge. Three smaller battles had recovered bridges along the Loire.

The Battle of Patay took place the day after the English surrender at Beaugency. In this battle, the English attempted to use the same tactics it had in the victorious battles of Crécy in 1346, Poitiers in 1356, and Agincourt in 1415.

These tactics called for having extensive numbers of longbowmen defended by sharpened stakes driven into the ground in front of their army, the stakes slowing and hampering a cavalry assault while the longbowmen massacred the enemy. However, in the Battle of Patay, the French knights were finally able to catch the English unprepared.

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Sainte Catherine de Fierbois

Poitiers

The examination at Poitiers

Unfortunately, the transcript of the hearings at Poitiers is lost and no trace of this Examination has been found: the ‘Book of Poitiers’ is referred to several times in the Trial; but it was not forth coming at the time of the Rehabilitation. It was probably lost or destroyed by Jeanne’s enemies among her own party.
The theologians found nothing heretical in her claims

Before Jeanne could be employed in military operations she was sent to Poitiers to be examined by a numerous committee of learned bishops and doctors. They questioned her for 3 weeks. The examination was of the most searching and formal character. It is regrettable in the extreme that the minutes of the proceedings, to which Jeanne frequently appealed later on at her trial, have altogether perished. All that we know is that her ardent faith, simplicity, and honesty made a favourable impression. The theologians found nothing heretical in her claims to supernatural guidance, and, without pronouncing upon the reality of her mission, they thought that she might be safely employed and further tested.

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Joan of arc - Abbey Church Of Saint Denis

Saint-Denis

Jeanne hung up her arms in the Abbey church of Saint-Denis in 1429

Before the attack on Paris in September 1429, Jeanne stopped at the Basilica of Saint-Denis, where she was able see the saint’s relics as well as the effigies of the ancestors of Charles VII. She also reappeared after the failed attack where she sacrificed her white armor that was paid by Charles VII.

The special armor which was paid by Charles VII sacrificed Jeanne September 13, 1429 in Saint-Denis, after the failed attack on Paris, where she was wounded by a crossbow arrow while carrying her banner. She followed a tradition that many men-at-arms used from the period in which they sacrificed all or parts of one’s own armor in the churches. We do not know exactly where the armor was placed or hung in the church.

From that moment, she wore another armor that was take from a Burgundian soldier. There is no knowledge of the value of this new equipment. The armor she left Saint-Denis was later taken over by British soldiers when they took over the city. It is unknown what happened to her original “white” armor later on. Possibly, parts of the armor distributed among the winners of the battle.

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Saint Pierre Le Moutier 09

Saint-Pierre-le-Moûtier

The Siege of Saint-Pierre-le-Moûtier was the beginning of Jeanne’s attempt at a consolidation campaign to bring minor strongholds for resistance in the Loire region under the king’s authority. The tiny town was well defended and the initial assault failed, but a second assault insisted on by Jeanne succeeded.

The Siege of Saint-Pierre-le-Moûtier was a venture of the so-called Lancastrian War. The small town was however heavily fortified and surrounded by a deep moat. According to Jeanne d’Arc’s bodyguard, Jean d’Aulon, the initial assault failed and the retreat was sounded. Jeanne managed to initiate a second assault which, according to d’Aulon, was meet ‘without much resistance’. d’Aulon had been wounded in the heel during the initial assault and was therefore probably mounted on his horse during the second assault.

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Source: From a wide range of sources