Segment 5: Orléans, Part I

"Messire m'a envoyée pour secourir la bonne ville d'Orléans." ["My Lord has sent me to help the town of Orléans"]1
- Joan of Arc herself, as quoted by Colette Milet
 

Anno Domini 1429
T
he first stop on the route to Orléans was the town of Blois, where provisions ("wheat... oxen, sheep, cows, hogs, and other eatables")2 were being prepared for transport into the besieged city. Food was a primary concern at this point, since the level of incoming supplies had dwindled to a trickle during March and April, as confirmed by the detailed records that were kept.3 One chronicler who served in the army says that Joan of Arc was "overjoyed" when Charles provided her with provisions to bring to the city.4
Blois was close enough to the principal area of fighting that the nearest English stronghold was only about 20 miles upriver at Beaugency, an easy ride for opposing cavalry. It was apparently here that she had her first encounter with the army assigned to her. Although her commanders later said that her personal presence was the crucial factor in achieving victory, nevertheless they adopted the usual procedure whenever religious visionaries were placed at the head of armies by technically giving her what is known as "titular command", a common arrangement during that era in which one person (usually a noble, but also sometimes members of the clergy or accepted religious figures) would serve as a symbolic leader presiding over a number of veteran commanders. There were many such titular leaders during the long series of conflicts known to us as the Hundred Years War, frequently in the form of aristocratic women who sometimes had to oversee their family's forces in the absence of their husband or son. Although Joan was unique in many respects, she was by no means the "only woman" (as is so often claimed) to be given titular command of an army during this period, nor did she ever express any desire to "defy gender norms" by so doing, a modern interpretation which ignores the historical context.

Based on the later testimony of some of the men who served in her army, her primary focus was the spiritual life of the troops, which required a great deal of work. Every vice that normally attaches itself to such armies - drinking, gambling, swearing, prostitution, theft - could be found in the camp at Blois. She was especially enraged by the presence of the women euphemistically dubbed "camp followers" (i.e., prostitutes), and the soldiers' mistresses; she required that the latter either marry their lover or leave the camp, and required the former to either leave or face the consequences.5 Looting of civilian property was to be strictly forbidden.6 She told her commanders that they had to give up swearing7 (which was especially troubling for La Hire, a true connoisseur when it came to the use of expletives),8 and required that all the troops go to Mass and confession regularly rather than neglecting their religious obligations - sins such as the above, she told them, were the reason that God was allowing the English to win,9 echoing Henry V's similar comments after Aginçourt.10 Her commanders obeyed: even La Hire, one eyewitness says, went to a priest to confess his sins.11

The commanders with the army at Blois constituted a large and diverse group. Those who were present at this point, or during the second stay at Blois, included: Lord Gaucourt, a long-term soldier who had first seen combat during the crusade of Nicopolis in 1396; Jean V de Bueil, who later recorded some of his observations on warfare in his loosely-autobiographical book "Le Jouvencel" in 1466; Lord Louis de Culan, who held the title "Admiral of France"; Jean de la Brosse (Lord of Boussac and Saint-Sévère), who was beloved by the citizens of Orléans for his service to the city, and held the added distinction of serving as one of several men with the title "Maréchal" (a subordinate commander under the Royal "Connétable"); Baron Gilles de Rais, who would later become a fourth Maréchal and (much later and less fortunately) would earn infamy for one of the worst series of crimes of that era; La Hire, a crippled mercenary from Gascony who had been known for callous pillage and a distaste for honoring truces, much like his frequent companion Poton de Saintrailles, another Gascon mercenary who was similarly present at Blois. Dozens of other commanders would serve in her armies during the course of the campaigns, ranging from members of the Royal family to foreign soldiers-of-fortune in charge of only a small contingent apiece.
Vast quantities of ink have been shed in contrasting some of these personalities with Joan herself, although the significance has often been greatly exaggerated by fiction. Rais, for example, didn't begin his crimes until some years later, nor was he in close association with her: unlike the case with some of the other men, the 15th century sources scarcely mention the two of them together except when providing lists of the numerous commanders.12 La Hire, for his part, is believed to have supported her mostly because she was willing to aggressively fight the English, unlike the lethargic and distracted Royal Court. There was said to have been an episode in which La Hire met with the Dauphin Charles to discuss urgent military matters, only to find that the main topic of interest was a bit of entertainment at the Court. La Hire dryly commented: "I do believe that one could not lose one's kingdom more cheerfully" ("Je pense que l'on ne scauroit perdre son royaume plus gaiment").13 Perhaps he felt that Joan would finally give the Royal army the boost that it needed.
Completing the collection was Regnault de Chartres, Archbishop of Rheims, who had presided over the examinations at Poitiers and subsequently accompanied her to Blois. As a crony of Georges de la Trémoille, who would become Joan's chief adversary within the Court, Chartres' true feelings about her are unknown; but at this stage at least he was in her camp.

At this point, it might be a good idea to examine the eyewitness accounts of Joan herself as she was at this stage of her life. She was about 17 years old, with a personality which may best be described in terms of its many different facets: she was normally "sweet-natured" but had a famous temper which flared up "whenever she heard anyone blaspheming God's name" or similar offenses;14 the witnesses frequently remarked that she "sheds abundant tears" on a regular basis, in counterpoint to her normally "cheerful face".15 They said that she still, as in childhood, preferred to be alone whenever possible and avoided "association and conversation with the masses",16 although her public presence was capable of stirring the masses and motivating cynical soldiers.17 Lord Perceval de Bouillainvilliers, a member of the Royal government who apparently met her around this time, made a common observation when he said that she "speaks little, [and] demonstrates remarkable prudence in her speech".18 The eyewitnesses noted her practice of fasting and were surprised by how little she ate and drank, several sources mentioning that she often had nothing but a few slices of bread dipped in a cup.19 Municipal accounts list more elaborate food bought for her and her group by various town governments, but it may be that she often let the others have this and contented herself with bread.20 Physically, she was "short" in stature, although a surviving order for some of her clothing indicates a likely height of around five feet, fairly normal for women in that era.21 The accounts say that her hair was "black" and cut in an approximation of the rounded style of the period (most likely covering part of her ears and neck and shaped like a bowl)22 as part of the attempt, begun by Metz and Poulengy, to make her blend in with the soldiery. This was only marginally successful: her soldiers and commanders remembered that she was "beautiful and shapely" (as Jean d'Aulon put it)23 even in her soldiers' clothing or armor, to the point that these men said that they found it "almost miraculous" that they didn't feel desire for her, a phenomenon which they attributed variously to her purity, or to some divine force which suppressed their normal inclinations.24 Some of them additionally said that they "never had the will to sin" when in her company.25 Her own choice of company, when she wasn't able to be alone, seems to have consisted in part of two oddly contrasting groups: Boullainvilliers said that she enjoyed being around the "armed and aristocratic men"26 who made up her circle of commanders; and at the opposite end of the economic scale, there are references to her frequent association with the group of "beggar clergy" from the mendicant orders27 (Dominicans, Franciscans, Carmelites and Augustinians), lowly friars who administered to the poor, taught theology, and were supposed to beg for their own food, which seems to have appealed to her: she sometimes said that her own mission was partly to help the destitute, evidently meaning those who had been left impoverished by the war.28 Chief among the mendicants in her army was the loyal Pasquerel.

Friar Pasquerel provided this memory of the army as it assembled at Blois: "...we were at Blois for about two or three days, while waiting for the provisions which were being loaded into boats there; and it was there that she told me to have a banner made for assembling the priests, and to have depicted on it the image of Our Lord crucified, which I did. And when this banner was done, Joan, two times each day, to wit, in the morning and in the evening, had me gather together all the priests. These, assembled, sang antiphons and hymns of the Blessed Mary, and Joan was with them; but she did not wish to permit any soldiers to be among the priests unless they had confessed that day, and she advised all the soldiers to confess, and then come to this assembly..."29

Around April 25th the army moved out from Blois and proceeded to follow the Loire River "on the Sologne side" (i.e., to the south of the river). The idea was to move the host of about 4,000 men, with its 60 heavy wagons and 400+ cattle, without interference from the English, who held the north bank of the river with strongholds at Beaugency and Meung-sur-Loire (between Blois and Orléans) and a series of fortresses and trenches on three sides of the besieged city. Only the eastern gate, called the Burgundy (Bourgogne) Gate, was accessible. The army therefore planned to take the south route past Orléans and on to Chécy, five miles upriver, where barges would be waiting to start ferrying the troops and supplies across.
Pasquerel gave a vivid description of the scene as the army began its march: "And when Joan left Blois to go to Orléans, she had all the priests gathered together with this banner, and the priests went ahead of the soldiers. They left by the side of the Sologne thus assembled, singing 'Veni Creator Spiritus' and many other hymns, and slept that day in the fields, and also the next day."30
Joan herself was said to have been dressed in full armor and carrying her banner, trailed by the mounted nobles in gilded armor and rich garments, the various contingents of troops presenting the full spectrum of livery colors from numerous aristocratic houses, all surmounted by embroidered or painted battle flags glowing in the sunlight. In this era a spectacular display was still important for every self-respecting army.
The soldiers were astonished by her fortitude while wearing armor,31 which must have kept her in considerable discomfort: Louis de Coutes said that "Joan was greatly bruised when she came to the town of Orléans, because she had slept in her armor on the night of her departure from Blois".32 Based on testimony from others, she always slept either in full clothing or in full armor when camped with the army,33 as an added means of safeguarding her chastity.34

The army arrived at Chécy on the third day out from Blois. It was apparently at this point that Joan realized the commanders had taken her past her destination, on the opposite side of the river. She was not pleased, and communicated her displeasure to Lord Dunois as soon as they met "at a point just across from the Church of St. Loup" [a church near Orléans which the English had fortified], where the heavy barges sent to ferry the army were having trouble moving against a contrary wind. Dunois, the famous commander who would later be instrumental in driving the English out of France toward the end of the war, was at this time the 26 year old defender of Orléans on behalf of his half-brother Duke Charles. Following the standard but somewhat peculiar practice adopted by sons born to the mistress of a nobleman, he matter-of-factly called himself "le Bâtard d'Orléans" ("the illegitimate son of Orléans"): in this case the term was not an insult, but merely a statement of fact signifying the means by which he obtained aristocratic status through no fault or sin of his own. He was almost invariably referred to as such by his contemporaries, and signed it as such in his letters.
Dunois himself testified to his first meeting with the saint, as follows:
"... then Joan said the following words: 'Are you the "Bâtard d'Orléans" ?' I replied, 'I am he, and I rejoice at your arrival.' And then she said to me, 'Was it you who decided that I should come here, to this side of the river, rather than going straight to where Talbot and the English are?' I replied that myself, and others wiser than I, had given this counsel, believing it to be better and safer. Then Joan replied in this manner: 'In God's name, the counsel of God our Lord is safer and wiser than yours. You thought to deceive me, and you deceive yourselves more, because I bring you better aid than ever came to any soldier or city, because it is aid from the King of Heaven. Nevertheless it proceeds not from love of me, but from God Himself, who, at the request of Saint Louis and Saint Charlemagne, took pity on the city of Orléans, not wishing to allow the enemy to have both the body of the lord of Orléans and also his city.'"35
Dunois added that after she said these words, the wind "changed direction, and became favorable; as a result the sails were immediately raised, and I entered the boats along with Friar Nicolas de Géresme, now Grand Prior of France; we traveled past the Church of St. Loup, despite the English [i.e., the English garrison in the church]. From that time I had good hope in her, and greater than before..."36 Lord Gaucourt and other sources also say that the wind changed suddenly, adding that she had predicted it would do so.37

The army as a whole was unable to cross, however, due to a shortage of boats; Dunois therefore endeavored to persuade her to come to Orléans without the majority of the troops, since the people of the city were hoping to see her: "...I asked that she would consent to cross the Loire, and enter the city of Orléans, where she was eagerly awaited. To this she raised objections, saying that she didn't want to send away her men-at-arms, who were well confessed, penitent and of good will; and she therefore refused to come. I went to the commanders who had the responsibility of leading the soldiers, and requested of them that, for the King's benefit, they should allow Joan to enter the city of Orléans while they themselves and their contingents would return to Blois, where they would cross the Loire in order to come to Orléans, since another crossing point could not be found nearby."38
This was agreed to, and on Friday, April 29th, she entered the city which she said she had been sent to save. As Dunois tells it:
"And then Joan came with me, carrying in her hand her standard, which was white, and upon which was the figure of Our Lord holding a lily flower in His hand; and La Hire crossed the river Loire with us, and we entered the town of Orléans together."39
According to the "Journal du Siège d'Orléans", they waited until darkness (around 8 pm) to bring her into the city itself, in order to avoid a mob scene.40 Despite this precaution the rumor had gone out that she was coming, and she was therefore greeted by a large group of citizens "making such joy as if they had seen God descend among them... they already felt themselves entirely comforted, and as if they were liberated ['deassiegez'], by the divine virtue that they were told was in this simple maiden, whom they regarded most affectionately, equally men, women, as well as little children. And there was a most wondrous press to touch her, or the horse upon which she rode..."41 She was mounted on a white horse, riding next to Dunois and followed by her brothers Jean and Pierre, La Hire, and a group of "nobles and valiant lords, squires, commanders, and soldiers."42
Jean Luillier, the same merchant who would later be commissioned to provide the cloth for some of her garments, remembered that "... she was received with as much joy and welcome by all people of both sexes, small and great, as if she were an angel of God."43
She and her entire group were given lodging in the home of Jacques Boucher, Treasurer for the Duke of Orléans, who lived in a prominent house near the Renard Gate with his wife and his nine-year old daughter Charlotte. Due to a lack of beds she was bunked with the child Charlotte, who later testified that "Joan often told my mother... that she should trust in God, and that God would help the city of Orléans and expel its enemies."44

At this time the city was cut off on three sides by a chain of fortresses which the English had built on the spot or modified from existing churches or other sturdy buildings; these included (moving clockwise from the east) St. Loup; St. Jean-le-Blanc; the fortress of the Augustins; the towers known as Les Tourelles; Le-Champ-de-St-Privé; the fortress on the Ile de Charlemagne; St. Laurent; La Croix Boissé; Les-Douze-Pierres (which the English had nicknamed "Tower of London")45; Le Pressoir Ars (nicknamed "Rouen"); and St. Pouair (known as "Paris"); the latter five, on the western side, were connected by trenches. To break the siege, these strongholds would need to be taken one by one.
She tried to convince Dunois to begin, but the commanders felt it was prudent to wait until the rest of the army had made it into the city; as a result, little fighting occurred the day after her arrival (April 30th) except for a skirmish led by La Hire, Florent d'Illiers, and other commanders against the fortress of St. Pouair. This attack merely resulted in the brief capture of one of the English positions before a counterattack convinced the French to fall back, and the effort thus came to nothing.46 Joan herself seems to have been concerned with ending the siege by negotiation if possible: Dunois testified that she had another message sent to Talbot telling him to leave; and although this second letter has not survived, the descriptions given by Dunois and Pierre Milet would make it seem to have been in much the same form as the previous message.47

 
The heralds who delivered this message, "Ambleville" and "Guienne", met an unfriendly welcome: Ambleville was thrown in prison (in disregard of the rules of warfare by which heralds were supposed to be inviolate), and the English promised that they'd burn him at the stake for serving as a messenger for someone whom they were already deriding as a "sorceress". Guienne was released with a message telling Joan to go back to the farm, calling her a "vachère" (a girl who tends the cows) and a "ribaulde" (an indecent woman).48 The English commanders were bilingual,mn1, and used their knowledge of French to verbally abuse her in her own language.
That evening she made another attempt, this time in person. There was a point along the city's defenses at which the French and English positions were separated by little more than a broken section of a bridge across the Loire (two arches of the bridge had been destroyed after Les Tourelles was taken the previous October); a small fortification on the island of La Belle Croix was at the French end of the chasm, and from this vantage point she could communicate with the English garrison inside Les Tourelles. She called out to the commander, Sir William Glasdale, to "surrender in the name of God"; but the reply was much the same as before, with the garrison calling her a "vachère" again and threatening to burn her.49 Dunois later commented that Glasdale himself "had spoken of the Maiden most wrongfully and shamefully",50 presumably meaning something a bit stronger than "vachère".

Margin Note 1:
This was not merely due to prolonged service in France: the English nobility were descended from the Normans who invaded England in 1066, with the result that a dialect of French had been their native tongue through the end of the 13th / beginning of the 14th century, and remained in use for many official documents through the final stages of the Hundred Years War.

The location at La Belle Croix was near the favorite stomping grounds of a French soldier named Jean de Montesiler (better known as "Maitre Jean"), who was famous for his marksmanship with a weapon called a "culverin", a term which referred to several types of small cannons or early guns. Maitre Jean's culverin may have been of a new type, possibly already in use by the Hussite armies of Czechoslovakia, in which the gunpowder could be ignited by the use of a long Z-shaped lever attached to the stock rather than by the more cumbersome methods used in earlier "hand-cannons".51 The "Journal du Siège..." says that this gunner was so skilled at picking off English troops that the latter came to regard him with a pronounced dislike; and to add insult to injury, he had a standard routine: "...to mock them, he sometimes let himself fall to the ground, pretending to be dead or wounded, and had himself carried into the town; but he immediately returned to the assault and achieved such that the English knew him to be [still] alive to their great harm and displeasure."52 It doesn't say whether or not he had maintained this jaunty attitude after losing one of his culverins to the English during a chaotic retreat on January 25th, in which his boat was swamped by panicked troops and he'd had to make his escape by swimming across the icy Loire on the boat's rudder, leaving his weapon behind.53 This incident had been fairly typical of French fortunes up until La Pucelle arrived.
Maitre Jean would faithfully serve in her army for several of the campaigns, although it's unknown whether she ever personally met this famous "coulevrinier", either on April 30th or at any other point.

The next day, May 1st, Dunois and d'Aulon set out for Blois in order to retrieve the rest of the army - or at least what was left of it. Jean Chartier, the Royal chronicler of this period, indicates that a significant number of troops had deserted in Joan's absence.54
Since it was Sunday, fighting was suspended out of respect for the centuries-old rule known as "the truce of God", by which warfare was outlawed on certain holy days. During this lull in the action, the citizens of Orléans focused themselves on getting a glimpse of the woman whom they already viewed as their deliverer. The "Journal..." says that they "nearly broke down the door" of the Boucher home in an effort to see her, with the result that she eventually obliged the citizens by taking a tour through the streets on horseback, escorted by "many knights and esquires". The escort was needed, for there was "such a great number of townspeople in the streets where she passed, that only with great difficulty could they pass..."55
Near evening, she continued her habit of trying to communicate with the English, choosing a different location (the Croix Morin) but meeting with the same results as on the previous evening.56

May 2nd was passed waiting for Dunois and company to return with the reinforcements. She used the time to look over the five English fortresses to the west / northwest of the city; the "Journal" implies that she inspected them at fairly close range, followed as always by a large group of citizens "taking great pleasure in being able to see her and be around her".57 This document concludes its description of the day's events by saying: "...And when she had seen and viewed at her pleasure the fortifications of the English, she returned to the Church of Sainte Croix of Orléans within the city, where she heard Vespers." [i.e., the early evening church service]58

On May 3rd the advance elements of the forces approaching from Blois were spotted in the distance by the city's sentries, and in anticipation of renewed fighting a procession was held in the evening "...to implore Our Lord for the deliverance of the town of Orléans".59 As an unusual detail on an otherwise sparsely-documented day, we know that someone named Raoulet de Recourt bought Joan some fish meat (from a shad) to eat, being reimbursed by the city government with a payment of 20 sous-Parisis; and another obscure citizen named Jean Lecamus brought three friends to see her.60 This wasn't the sort of activity for which she had come, but the situation was about to change rapidly.

On May 4th the long-awaited army finally arrived from Blois. Riding out from Orléans with 500 troops "to aid them, if need be", she met Dunois and company as they approached and rode with them into the city "without the slightest opposition", according to d'Aulon.61 Jean Pasquerel, who was also with the group, confirms this: "...we entered the city of Orléans without interference, and brought in the food supplies, within the sight of the English..."62

 
Her first view of combat was now only hours away.
After she and d'Aulon had eaten dinner, Dunois arrived to announce that an English army under Sir John Fastolf had been spotted near Janville about 20 miles north of Orléans, and was approaching to reinforce and resupply the besiegers. Jean d'Aulon said that after hearing this bit of news she was "overjoyed" ("toute resjoye"), perhaps relieved that the agonizing wait was apparently almost over. It is in this context that her next comment to Lord Dunois was apparently intended,mn2 perhaps meant in humorous mimicry of the sometimes harsh discipline meted out by the nobles to their lower-ranking troops: "... in God's name I command you to let me know as soon as you are aware of the arrival of Fastolf; because if he should pass without my knowledge, I promise you that I will have [your] head removed."63 Dunois seems to have taken this in good humor, and replied that "she should have no fear, as he would make it known to her."64

Margin Note 2:
This comment has long been considered to have had a humorous intent, since d'Aulon specifically says that she was 'overjoyed' rather than angry; and it wouldn't work very well as a threat, obviously, since she didn't have the means to order Lord Dunois' beheading.

Shortly thereafter, her group retired to their lodgings to get some much-needed rest at the Boucher home, with d'Aulon and Joan apparently in Charlotte's room along with the hostess (as was common practice in mixed company, in order to insure that nothing improper took place); Louis de Coutes was somewhere on a lower level of the house. Jean d'Aulon had just lain down when "suddenly the Maiden got up from her bed, and roused me while making a great noise. And then I asked her what she wanted; she replied, 'In God's name, my Counsel has told me that I should go against the English; but I don't know whether I should go against their fortresses or against Fastolf, who is to resupply them.'"65
In fact combat had been initiated when 1,500 troops under Lord Dunois launched an assault against the fortress of St. Loup, although no one had bothered to keep her informed. The guilty party was apparently young Louis de Coutes the page boy, who evidently had been given the task of warning her if a battle was underway; in any event, her first move was to go downstairs to give him a good scolding. As Louis himself tells it in his testimony: "... I thought she had gone to sleep, but a little later she came down and said these words to me, 'Oh, you nasty boy ['sanglant garson'], you didn't tell me that the blood of France was being spilled,'66 while telling me to go find her horse; and meanwhile she had herself placed in her armor by the matron of the house and her daughter [note: Jean d'Aulon said that he was the one who performed this task; Pasquerel says that she was still waiting for someone to do it when he arrived],67 and when I came from preparing her horse I found her already in her armor; and I went to find her banner, which was upstairs, and this I handed to her through the window. After receiving the banner Joan quickly charged toward the Burgundy Gate; and then the hostess told me to go after her, which I did."68
All those years later, the testimony still takes on a breathless and confused quality, with d'Aulon and Joan frantically preparing themselves and Louis de Coutes running in circles while retrieving various needed items.

At the Burgundy Gate and all along the road to St. Loup, the group encountered the flotsam of battle: wounded men being helped back to safety, "for whom she grieved greatly", according to Pasquerel.69 Jean d'Aulon gave a more thorough description: "When we arrived at the gate, we saw people carrying one of the citizens, who was very badly wounded; and then the Maiden asked those who were carrying him who this man was; they told her that he was a Frenchman [i.e., as opposed to one of the foreign troops]. And she said that she never saw the blood of Frenchmen without her hair rising on her head."70
At some point she must have seen a worse sight, of a type which even veteran troops often find disturbing: sprawled-out corpses staring with blank, open eyes and ghoulish expressions, a haunting vision which soldiers wish they could forget.
The group headed for St. Loup, where the French were apparently getting the worst of it. But, said Louis de Coutes, when the troops saw Joan approaching with her standard, "they began to shout, and the fortress of St. Loup was taken."71 Another source confirms that as soon as she showed up, the English defense collapsed and their troops fell back to St. Loup's bell tower to make a final stand.72 The overall English commander, Lord Talbot, tried to aid the beleaguered garrison by sending a detachment of reinforcements from Saint-Pouair, but these were blocked by 600 troops led by Lords Saint-Sévère, Graville, and Coulences, and threatened with encirclement by other troops pouring out from the city. Talbot had to order the reinforcements to fall back, leaving the garrison of St. Loup to its fate.73
Louis de Coutes remembered that she saved a group of men from the general butchery that took place as the bell tower was stormed: "And I heard it said that certain churchmen [among the English in St. Loup] put on ecclesiastic garb, and came to meet Joan; and she did not allow any harm to be done to them, and had them brought with her to her lodging."74 Another source75 specifies that these men were native Englishmen - either English clergy with the garrison, or English soldiers disguised as clergy. Either way, this incident implies that some of the English themselves didn't believe their propaganda about her: they would hardly appeal to her Catholic piety by dressing as Catholic priests if they truly believed that she held views contrary to the Catholic faith.
Most of the other Englishmen in St. Loup were killed in the fighting or during its aftermath: they are said to have lost their entire garrison, with a toll of 114 dead and 40 captured.76 The battle had lasted a total of three hours.77
Jean Pasquerel testified to the compassion she felt for the enemy dead: "Joan grieved greatly; she said that they had died without confessing, and she wept a great deal for them; and she confessed to me right there."78

The capture of St. Loup was the first ray of hope for the defenders at Orléans. Pasquerel said that "she told me to publicly advise all the soldiers to confess their sins and to give thanks to God for the victory achieved; otherwise, she would not be with them, but would remove herself from their society; she said also, on that same day, the eve of the Lord's Ascension, that within five days the current siege laid to Orléans would be lifted..."79
The next four days would witness a rapid series of assaults to accomplish that goal.

 

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