(Louis de Contes was brother-in-law of Beauharnais, the Bourgeois of Orleans. He was a son of Jean de Contes, Captain of Châteaudun, and Chamberlain to the Duke d’Orleans.)
The year that Jeanne came to Chinon I was fourteen or fifteen years old. I was page to the Sieur de Gaucourt, Captain of the Castle. Jeanne arrived at Chinon in the company of two gentlemen, who conducted her to the King. I saw her many times going and coming to the King; there was given her for residence the Tower of Coudray, at Chinon. I resided and lived with her all the time that she stayed there, passing all the time with her, except at night, when she always had women with her. I remember well that while she was living at Coudray persons of great estate came many days to visit her there. I do not know what they did or said, because when I saw them coming I retired; nor do I know who they were. Very often while she lived in this town I saw her on her knees praying; but I did not understand what she was saying; sometimes also I saw her weep.
Shortly afterwards she was taken to Poitiers; then to Tours, where she resided with a woman called Lapau. In this place the Duke d’Alencon made her a present of a horse, which I saw at the house of the woman Lapau. At Tours I became her page; with me also was one named Raymond. From that time I remained with her, and was always with her as her page, at Blois, as well as at Orleans, and until she reached the walls of Paris.
While she was at Tours the King gave her a complete suit of armor and an entire military household. From Tours she went to Blois with the army, who had great faith in her. Jeanne remained some time with the army at Blois; how long I do not remember. Then it was decided that she should go to Orleans by the Sologne. She started fully armed, accompanied by her men-at-arms, to whom she said without ceasing that they were to put all their confidence in Our Lord and to confess their sins. On the way I saw her during this Journey receive the Sacrament of the Eucharist.
Having arrived near Orleans on the side of the Sologne, Jeanne with many others and myself were conducted to the opposite side of the Loire, on which side is the city of Orleans; and from thence we entered the said town. In her journey from Blois to Orleans, Jeanne had been all bruised, because on the night of the start from Blois she had slept fully armed. At Orleans she: lived at the house of the Treasurer (Jacques Bouchier.) of the Town, facing the Banner Gate; and in this house she received the Sacrament. The day after her arrival she went to seek the Sieur Bastard of Orleans, with whom she had an interview On her return I saw she was quite vexed that, as she told me, the captains had decided not to attack the English on that day. She went nevertheless to a Boulevard which the French were occupying, opposite to one garrisoned by the English, and there she spoke with them, telling them to retire in God’s Name, or otherwise she would drive them away. One of them, called the Bastard of Granville, assailed her with many insults: ” Do you wish us,” he said, “to surrender to a woman?” At the same time, he called the Frenchmen who were with her “maquereaux mescreans.” Then Jeanne returned to her lodging, and went up into her chamber: I thought she was going to sleep: shortly afterwards, there she was, coming down from her chamber; “Ah! bloodthirsty boy,” she said to me, you did not tell me that the blood of France was being shed! ” [“Ha! sanglant garcon, vous ne me dyriez pas que le sanc de France feust repandu!”] And she ordered me to go and look for her horse. At the same time she was being armed by the lady of the house and her daughter. When I returned with her horse I found her already armed: she told me to go and seek her banner, which had been left in her chamber: I passed it to her through the window. Immediately she rode hastily towards the Burgundy gate, whither the lady with whom she lodged told me to follow her, which I did. The attack took place against the Fort of Saint Loup; and in this attack the Boulevard was taken. On the way Jeanne met several of the French wounded, at which she was much disturbed. The English were preparing to resist when Jeanne advanced against them in all haste. As soon as the French saw her they began to shout aloud; and thus was the Fort of Saint Loup taken. I heard it said that the English ecclesiastics had taken their ornaments, and had thus [attired] come before her; that Jeanne had received them without allowing any harm to be done them, and had had them conducted to her lodging; but that the other English had been killed by the people of Orleans.
In the evening Jeanne returned to supper in her lodging. She had always most sober habits: many times I saw her eat nothing during a whole day but a morsel of bread. I was astonished that she ate so little. When she was in her lodging she ate only twice a day.
The next day, towards 3 o’clock, the soldiers of the King crossed the Loire to attack the Fort of Saint-Jean-le-Blanc, which they took, as also the Fort of the Augustins. Jeanne crossed the river with them, and I accompanied her: then she re-entered Orleans, and went back to sleep at her lodging with some women, as she was in the habit of doing: for every night, as far as possible, she had a woman to sleep by her, and when she could not find one in war, or in camp, she slept fully dressed.
The following day, in spite of many Lords pretending that it was exposing the King’s followers to too great a danger, she had the Burgundy gate opened, and a small gate near the great tower: she then crossed the water with some of her followers to attack the Fort of the Bridge, which the English still held. The King’s troops remained there from morning to night, and Jeanne was wounded: it was necessary to take off her armor to dress the wound; but hardly was it dressed when she armed herself afresh and went to rejoin her followers at the attack and the assault, which had gone on from morning without ceasing. And when the Boulevard was taken Jeanne still continued the assault with her men, exhorting them to have a good heart and not to retire, because the fort would very soon be theirs. “When,” she told them, “you see the wind drive the banner towards the fort, it will be yours!” But the evening was drawing on, and her followers, seeing they made no way, despaired of success; yet Jeanne persisted always, assuring them they would take the fort that day. Then they prepared to attempt a last assault; and when the English saw this they made no resistance, but were seized with panic, and nearly all were drowned; nor did they even defend themselves during this attack. Those who survived retreated the next day to Beaugency and Meung. The King’s army followed them, Jeanne accompanying it. The English offered to surrender Beaugency by agreement, or to fight; but on the day of combat they retired again ; and the army began afresh to pursue them. On this day La Hire commanded the vanguard, at which Jeanne was much vexed, for she liked much to have the command of the vanguard. La Hire threw himself on the English, and the King’s army was victorious: nearly all the English were slain.
Jeanne, who was very humane, had great compassion at such butchery. Seeing a Frenchman, who was charged with the convoy of certain English prisoners, strike one of them on the head in such manner that he was left for dead on the ground, she got down from her horse, had him confessed, supporting his head herself, comforting him to the best of her power.
Afterwards she went with the army to Jargeau, which was taken by assault, with many English, among whom were Suffolk and de la Pole. (John de la Pole, Captain of Avranches, brother of the Earl of Suffolk.) After the deliverance of Orleans, and all these victories, Jeanne went with the army to Tours, where the King was. There it was decided that the King should go to Reims for his consecration. The King left with the army, accompanied by Jeanne, and marched first to Troyes, which submitted; then to Chalons, which did the same; and last to Reims, where our King was crowned and anointed in my presence for I was, as I have already said, page to Jeanne, and never left her. I remained with her until she arrived before Paris.
She was a good and modest woman, living as a Catholic, very pious, and, when she could, never failing to be present at the Mass. To hear blasphemies upon the Name of Our Lord vexed her. Many times when the Duke d’Alencon swore (Jeanne’s hatred of swearing is noticed by many of her followers, and in her hearing they endeavored to abstain from it. La Hire, whose language was apparently the most violent, was permitted by her to employ the mild expletive ‘Par mon martin,’ ‘By my baton,’ an expression she herself is constantly reported to have used.) or blasphemed before her, I heard her reprove him. As a rule, no one in the army dared swear or blaspheme before her, for fear of being reprimanded.
She would have no women in her army. One day, near Chateau-Thierry, seeing the mistress of one of her followers riding on horseback, she pursued her with her sword, without striking her at all; but with gentleness and charity she told her she must no longer be found amongst the soldiers, otherwise she would suffer for it.
I know nothing more, not having seen her after Paris.
(Jean, Duke d’Alencon, son of the Duke killed at Agincourt. He was of the Blood Royal, descended from Philip II.)
When Jeanne arrived at Chinon, I was at Saint Florent. One day, when I was hunting quails, a. messenger came to inform me that there had come to the King a young girl, who said she was sent from God to conquer the English and to raise the siege then undertaken by them against Orleans. It was for this reason that I went on the following day to Chinon, where I found Jeanne talking with the King. Having approached them, she asked me who I was. “It is the Duke d’Alencon,” replied the King. “You are welcome,” she then said to me, “the more that come together of the blood of France the better it will be.” The next day she went to the King’s Mass; and when she perceived him she made a profound salutation. After Mass the King took her into his private room, where he kept me with him, as well as the Sieur de la Tremouille, after having sent away all the others. Jeanne then made several requests to the King amongst others that he would make a gift of his kingdom to the King of Heaven, because the King of Heaven, after this gift, would do for him as He had done for his predecessor, and reinstate him in all his rights. Many other things were said, up to the hour of dinner, which I do not remember. After dinner the King went for a walk; Jeanne coursed before him, lance in hand. Seeing her manage her lance so well I gave her a horse.
Following on this the King caused her to be examined by the Clergy. Choice was made of the Bishop of Chartres, the King’s Confessor; the Bishop of Senlis (The Bishop referred to is Simon Bonnet, Bishop of Senlis at that time, not the partisan of the English who occupied the seat in 1429.) Mende and Poitiers ; Maître Pierre de Versailles, since Bishop of Meaux; Maître Jourdin Morin, and many others whose names I do not recall. They questioned her in my presence and asked why she had come, and who had caused her to come to the King? She replied that she had come from the King of Heaven, that she had voices and a Counsel which told her what she was to do; but I do not remember if she made known what those voices told her.
One day when dining with me she told me that the clergy had examined her well, but that she knew and could do more than she had told them. The King when he had heard the report of his commissioners, wished that she should still go to Poitiers, in order to submitto another examination. I did not assist at this examination; I only knew it to be afterwards reported to the Council, that the examiners at Poitiers held the opinion that there was nothing in her contrary to the Faith, and that the King, considering his extreme necessity, might make use of her assistance.
On receiving this news the King sent me to the Queen of Sicily (Yolande, daughter of John I. of Aragon; wife of Louis XI., Duke of Anjou, and titular King of Sicily. She was the mother of Mary, wife of Charles VII I., and grandmother of Margaret, afterwards wife of Henry VI. A receipt is recorded, in Quiclierat (I II. 93), for the carriage of corn, on her behalf, from Orleans to Blois.) to prepare a convoy of supplies for the army, which was then being directed against Orleans. I found with the Queen the Sieur Ambroise de Loré (A captain of some repute, exchanged for Talbot after the Battle of Patay.) and the Sieur Louis-his other name I do not remember who prepared the convoy: but money was lacking, and in order to obtain it I returned to the King, to whom I made known that the supplies were prepared, and that it only remained to procure the necessary money to pay for them and for the army. The King then sent people who delivered the necessary sums; so that in the end soldiers and supplies were ready, and there was nothing more to be done but to gain Orleans, and try to raise the siege.
With this army Jeanne was sent. The King had caused armor to be made for her. (In the Accounts (formerly kept in the Chamber des Comtes at Paris), of Maître Hemon Raguier, Treasurer of War, there is an item relating to this suit of armor: “To the Master Armorer, for a complete harness for the said Pucelle, 100 livres tournois.”)
The King’s army started with Jeanne. What happened on the way, and afterwards in Orleans, I know only by hearsay for I was not present, not having then gone to Orleans but I went there shortly after, and saw the works which had been raised by the English before the town. I was able to study the strength of these works: and I think that, to have made themselves masters of these-above all, the Fort of the Tourelles at the end of the Bridge, and the Fort of the Augustins the French needed a real miracle. If I had been in either one or the other, with only a few men, I should have ventured to defy the power of a whole army for six or seven days: and they would not have been able, I think, to have mastered it. For the rest, I heard from the captains and soldiers who took part in the siege, that what had happened was a miracle; and that it was beyond man’s power.
I did not see Jeanne from the time she left the King until after the raising of the siege of Orleans. After this siege, we succeeded in assembling as many as 600 lances, with which we decided to march on Jargeau then occupied by the English. That night we slept in a wood. On the following morning we were joined by another division, under the command of the Sieur Bastard of Orleans, the Sieur Florent d’Illiers, (A street in Orleans is still called after d’Illiers, then Captain of Châteaudun.) and many other captains. When we were all joined together, we found ourselves to number about 1,200 lances. There was then contention among the captains : some were of opinion that the attack should be made; and others opposed it, seeing the great strength of the English and their large numbers. Jeanne, seeing us thus divided, said: ” No, do not fear their numbers; do not hesitate to make the attack; God will conduct your enterprise; if I were not sure that it is God Who guides us, I would rather take care of the sheep than expose myself to such great perils!” On these words we marched to Jargeau, counting on gaining the suburbs that day and passing the night there. But on the news of our approach, the English came to meet us and at first drove us back. Seeing this Jeanne seized her standard and began the attack, telling the soldiers to have good courage. We succeeded so well that we were able that night to camp in the suburbs. I think truly it was God Who was leading us; for, in the night that followed, we kept no guard; so that, had the English made a sally, we must have been in great danger. The next morning we prepared artillery and had the machines and bombards placed in position. Then we consulted for some time as to what should be done against the English in Jargeau in order to take the town. While we were deliberating, we were told that La Hire was in conference with the English Lord Suffolk. I and the other captains were much provoked at this, and sent for La Hire, who came at once. The attack being resolved upon, the Heralds-at-Arms began to sound, “To the Assault!” ” Forward, gentle Duke, to the assault!” cried Jeanne to me. And when I told her it was premature to attack so quickly: “Have no fear,” she said to me, “it is the right time when it pleases God ; we must work when it is His Will: act, and God will act!” “Ah ! gentle Duke,” she said to me, later, “are you afraid? did you not know that I promised your wife (Jeanne, daughter of the Duke d’Orleans.) to bring thee back, safe and sound ?”
And indeed when I left my wife to come with Jeanne to the head-quarters of the army, my wife had told me that she feared much for me, that I had but just left prison (The Duke d’Alencon, at the age of eighteen, had been taken prisoner at the battle of Verneuil, in 1424, and kept for five years in the Castle of Crotoy, where Jeanne herself was afterwards imprisoned.) and much had been spent on my ransom, and she would gladly have asked that I might remain with her. To this Jeanne had replied: ” Lady, have no fear; I will give him back to you whole, or even in better case than he is now.
During the assault on Jargeau Jeanne said to me: “Go back from this place, or that engine pointing out an engine of war (cannon) in the city will kill you.” I retired, and shortly after that very engine did indeed kill the Sieur de Lude in that very place from which she told me to go away. On this account I had great fear, and wondered much at Jeanne’s words and how true they came. Afterwards, Jeanne made the attack; in which I followed her. As our men were invading the place, the Earl of Suffolk made proclamation that he wished to speak with me, but we did not listen, and the attack continued. Jeanne was on a ladder, her standard in her hand, when her Standard was struck and she herself was hit on the head by a stone which was partly spent, and which struck her calotte. (Head-covering without visor, “chapeline casque leger en fornie de calotte sans masque.”) She was thrown to the ground; but, raising herself, she cried: “Friends! friends! come on! come on! Our Lord has doomed the English! They are ours! keep a good heart.” At that moment the town was carried; and the English retired to the bridges, where the French pursued them and killed more than 1,100 men.
The town taken, (Jargeau was taken on June 11th 1429.) Jeanne and the army went to Orleans; then from Orleans to Meung-sur-Loire, where the English were under the command of ‘the child of Warwick’ and Scales. Beneath the walls of Meung, I passed the night in a Church with a few soldiers, and was in great peril. The day after the taking of Meung, we went to Beaugency; and in the neighborhood of this town we rallied to us a part of the army with which we attacked the English who were in Beaugency. In consequence of our attack the English abandoned the town and retired into a camp which we had watched during the night for fear they should beat a retreat. We were there when the news reached us that the Constable was coming to join us: Jeanne, the other Captains, and I myself were much troubled by this news, and wished to retire, because we had orders from the King not to receive the said Constable into our company. I told Jeanne that if the Constable came I should retire. The next day, before his arrival, we learned that the English were marching upon us in great number, under the command of Talbot. (John Talbot, afterwards Earl of Shrewsbury. He was exchanged for Ambroise de Lore and killed while attempting the relief of Chatillon, then besieged by Dunois.) Our men immediately called “To arms !” and, seeing that I wished to retire because of the arrival of the Constable, Jeanne told me that we must help one another. The English surrendered their camp by agreement, and retreated by a safe conduct which I gave them : for I was then Lieutenant to the King, and thus in command of the army. We thought they had retired, when a man of La Hire’s company told us they were marching upon us, and that in a moment we should have them before us, to the number of a thousand men-at-arms. Jeanne asked what this messenger had stated; and when she knew what was going on she said to the Lord Constable, (Arthur, Count de Richemont, Constable of France, brother of the Duke of Brittany. He was one of the Princes of the Blood taken at Agincourt, but was released on parole; and Henry V. dying soon after, he claimed his freedom, saying he had given his word to the King alone. He married a sister of the Duke of Burgundy and widow of the late Dauphin. Although friendly to the French cause, he was distrusted by Charles, and, at this time, was in disgrace. He was uncle to the Duke d’Alencon, his sister Mary having married the preceding Duke. He succeeded to the Duchy of Brittany in 1453, but died childless.) “Ah! fair Constable, you have not come by my will, but now you are here you are welcome.” Many were in fear and said it would be well to await the arrival of the cavalry. “In God’s Name !” exclaimed Jeanne, “we must fight them at once: even if they were hanging from the clouds we should have them, because God has sent us to chastise them.” She assured us she was certain of obtaining the victory, saying in French : “The gentle King shall have today the greatest victory he has ever had. My Counsel has told me they are all ours.” Without great difficulty the English were beaten and slain, and Talbot made prisoner. There was a great slaughter. Then the army went to Patay, where Talbot was brought before me and the Constable in the presence of Jeanne. I said to Talbot that in the morning I had never expected what had happened. “It is the fortune of war,” (It was after this battle of Patay that Sir John Fastoif, one of the English Captains, was deprived of the Garter, for his conduct in retreating before the French army.) he replied. Afterwards we returned to the King, and it was decided to direct our way towards Reims for his coronation and consecration.
Many times in my presence Jeanne told the King she would last but one year and no more; and that he should consider how best to employ this year. She had, she said, four duties to accomplish: to beat the English; to have the King crowned and consecrated at Reims; to deliver the Duke d’Orleans from the hands of the English; (Louis, Duke d’0rleans, taken prisoner at Agincourt, in 1415, was imprisoned in England until the year 1440, when he was ransomed at the price of 54,000 nobles (about £36,000), the negotiations being carried out on the English side by Cauchon, Bishop of Beauvais.) and to raise the siege of Orleans.
Jeanne was a chaste maiden; she hated the women who follow in the train of armies. I saw her one day at Saint Denis on the return from the coronation, pursuing one of them sword in hand: her sword was broken on this occasion. She was very vexed if she heard any of the soldiers swear. She reproved me much and strongly when I sometimes swore; and when I saw her I refrained from swearing.
So far as I could judge, I always held her for an excellent Catholic, and a modest woman: she communicated often, and, at sight of the Body of Christ, shed many tears. In all she did, except in affairs of war, she was a very simple young girl; but for warlike things bearing the lance, assembling an army, ordering military operations, directing artillery-she was most skillful. Every one wondered that she could act with as much wisdom and foresight as a captain who had fought for twenty or thirty years. It was above all in making use of artillery that she was so wonderful.
(Of the Order of Hermit Friars of Saint Augustin, living at their Convent in Tours in 1429, and at Bayeux in 1456.)
The first time I heard of Jeanne, and that she had come to find the King, I was at Anche, (There is some doubt as to the identity of this town. The text gives “Aniciensis,” which would refer to Puy-en-Valais; but this, Quicherat says, is unlikely, owing to the distance, and proposes to substitute “Anceinsi,” i.e., Anche. Fabre, following Simon de Lune, is in favor of the former reading, as the town was one noted for pilgrimages; and, in the Lent of 1429, there was an unusual number of pilgrims, in honor of the special feast of La Vierge Noire de Puy, which, in that year, fell on Good Friday. This fact might account for the presence of Jeanne’s mother at Puy, and of the men-at-arms, who had escorted the Maid to Chinon.) in which town was her mother (Quicherat prefers to read, “brother.”) and some of those who had accompanied her thither. One day, they invited me to go with them and see her, and told me they would not leave me till I had seen her. I came then with them to Chinon; then to Tours, in which town I was at that time Reader in a Convent; and there we found her lodging in the house of a citizen named Jean Dupuy, (Probably the husband of the woman named Lapau, mentioned by Louis de Contes.) a burgher of Tours. My companions addressed Jeanne in these terms: “Jeanne, we bring you this good father; when you know him you will love him much.” “I am very glad to see you,” she said to me ; “I have already heard of you; I should like tomorrow to confess myself to you. The next day, indeed, I heard her in confession, and recited Mass before her. From that day onward, I always followed her and was always with her as her Chaplain, until Compiegne, where she was taken prisoner.
On her arrival at Chinon, I heard that she had been visited on two occasions by women. The Lady de Gaucourt and the Lady de Treves, it is said, were those who visited her.
Afterwards, she was taken to Poitiers, to be examined there by the Clergy of that University as to what should be done with regard to her. Maitre Jourdin Morin, Maître Pierre de Versailles, since deceased as Bishop of Meaux, and many others, after having questioned her, came to the conclusion that, in view of the necessity which weighed upon the Kingdom, the King might make use of her aid, and that they had found nothing in her contrary to the Catholic Faith. She then returned to Chinon, and thought she would be allowed to speak with the King; but it was not yet to be. At last, by the advice of the Council, she was permitted an interview with the King. The day on which this interview was to take place, just as she entered the Castle, a man, mounted on horseback, said, “Is that the Maid ?” He insulted her, and swore with horrid blasphemy. “Oh! in God’s Name,” she said to him, ” do you blaspheme God, you who art so near thy death!” And, an hour after, this man fell into the water and was drowned. I report this fact as I gathered it from Jeanne and from many others, who said they had been witnesses of it.
It was the Sieur Count de Vendome who brought her into the King’s apartment. When he perceived her, the King asked her name. “Gentle Dauphin,” she replied, “I am called Jeanne the Maid; and the King of Heaven sends you word by me that you will be consecrated and crowned at Reims, and that you will be the lieutenant of the King of Heaven, who is King of France.” After the King had asked her a number of questions, she said to him, “On the part of My Lord, I tell thee you art true heir of France and Son of the King; (Doubt had been thrown on the fact here stated, since Charles VII’s mother, Queen Isabeau, had denied her son’s legitimacy.) and He Sends me to lead you to Reims to the end that you may receive your crowning and thy consecration, if you will.” At the close of this interview, the King said that Jeanne had confided to him secrets which were not known and could not be known except by God, which gave him great confidence in her. All this I heard from Jeanne, but without having been witness of it. She told me she was not pleased at so many examinations; that they prevented her carrying out the work for which she was sent, and that it was quite time for her to act. She told me she had asked from the Messengers of her Lord that is to say, God who appeared to her, what she ought to do; and they had told her to take the banner of her Lord. It was for this she had her banner made, on which was painted the image of Our Savior seated in judgment on the clouds of Heaven, with an Angel holding in his hand a fleur-de-lys which Christ was blessing. I was at Tours with her when this banner was painted. (The account for this banner appears in the 13th Compte of Maître Hemon Raguier, Treasurer of War: 25 liv. tour. were paid to “Hauves Poulnois, painter, living at Tours, for painting and procuring materials for a great standard, and a small one for the Maid.”)
A short time after Jeanne departed with the army to the succor of the town of Orleans, which was then besieged; I went with her, and did not leave her until the day when she was taken at Compiegne. I acted as her Chaplain, confessed her, and sang Mass for her. She was, indeed, very pious towards God and the Blessed Mary, confessing nearly every day and communicating frequently. When she was in a neighborhood where there was a Convent of Mendicant Friars, she told me to remind her of the day when the children of the poor received the Eucharist, so that she might receive it with them; and this she did often: when she confessed herself she wept.
When Jeanne left Tours to go to Orleans, she prayed me not to forsake her, and to remain always with her as her Confessor; this I promised to do. We were at Blois about two or three days, waiting for the supplies with which the boats were to be loaded. At Blois she told me to have a banner made, round which the Priests might assemble, and to have painted thereon the Image of Our Savior crucified. I had it done, as she required of me. As soon as this banner was made, Jeanne, twice a day, morning and evening, charged me to assemble the Priests around this banner: they then sang anthems and hymns to the Blessed Mary. Jeanne was with them, permitting only the soldiers who had that day confessed themselves to join her; she told her people to make confession, if they wished to come to this assemblage. There were Priests always ready to confess those in the army who wished to apply to them.
On leaving Blois to march to Orleans, Jeanne made all the Priests assemble round this banner; and in this wise they marched at the head of the army. They departed, thus assembled, from the side of the Sologne, singing the ” Veni Crealor Sptritus” and many other anthems. On that and the two following days, we slept in the fields. On the third day, we arrived at Orleans, where the English held their siege right up to the bank of the Loire: we approached so close to them that French and English could almost touch one another. The French had with them a convoy of supplies; but the water was so shallow that the boats could not move up-stream, nor could they land where the English were. Suddenly the waters rose, and the boats were then able to land on the shore where the [French] army was. Jeanne entered the boats, with some of her followers, and thus came to Orleans. As for myself I returned to Blois, by Jeanne’s command, with the Priests and the banner. Then, some days after, accompanied by the whole army, I came to Orleans by way of the Beauce always with this same banner surrounded by Priests meeting no obstacle. When Jeanne knew of our approach, she came to meet us; and together we entered Orleans without difficulty, bringing in the provisions in sight of the English. This was a marvelous thing; for the English were in great number and strength, all prepared for fight. They had opposite them our army, very inferior to theirs: they saw us; they heard our Priests singing; I was in the midst of the Priests bearing the banner. The English remained immovable, never attempting to attack either the Priests or the army which followed them.
As soon as we entered Orleans, the French sallied from the town at Jeanne s urgent entreaties, and went to attack the English, who were shut up in the Fort of Saint Loup. After dinner the other Priests went with me to seek Jeanne at her residence. When we arrived, we heard her calling out: “Where are those who should arm me? The blood of our people is falling to the ground!” And, So soon as she was armed, she sallied from the town and made for the Fort of Saint Loup, where the attack was taking place. On the road she met many wounded soldiers; the sight of them distressed her much. She went to the assault, and did so well, that by force and violence the fort was at last taken, and all the English who were there were taken prisoners. I remember that this took place on the Eve of the Ascension of Our Savior.
When the Fort of Saint Loup was taken, the English died there in great numbers. Jeanne was much afflicted when she heard that they had died without confession, and pitied them much. On the spot she made her confession. She ordered me to invite the whole army to do likewise, and to give thanks to God for the victory just gained. Otherwise, she said, she would help them no more, but would abandon them. On this day, the Eve of the Ascension, she predicted that within five days the siege would be raised, and that not a single Englishman would be left within the walls of Orleans. (The siege was raised on the 8th of May.) And so it was: for on this Wednesday, as I have already said, the Fort of Saint Loup was taken, which formerly had been a convent. (Established on the site of a convent in the previous December.) More than one hundred men of distinction were found there, all well armed, not one escaping. In the evening, when Jeanne returned to her lodging, she told me that on the following day, the Ascension of Our Savior, she would not fight, nor even put on her armor; and that she wished, out of respect for the Festival, to confess and to receive the Sacrament of the Eucharist. And this was done.
On Ascension Day, she ordered that no one should go out of the town to the attack on the same day without first making confession,and forbade women of bad reputation to follow her, lest, on account of sin, God should cause us to lose the battle. All these orders were carried out. It was on Ascension Day that she wrote to the English, entrenched in their forts, a letter thus couched: