Segment 7: " Dieu donnera victoire": The Loire Valley Campaign

"...the Maiden, whom We piously believe to be the angel of the Lord of Hosts [a Biblical term for God]..." ("...Puellae, quam angelum Domini exercituum esse pie credimus...")1
- Jacques Gelu, Archbishop of Embrun, in his treatise to Charles VII, May 1429

Anno Domini 1429
he victory was summarized by Jean d'Aulon as follows: "...through the help of Our Lord and the Maiden, the city was delivered from the hands of [its] enemies."2


The lifting of the siege of Orléans was important for much the same reason that Gettysburg was a decisive battle: while neither brought matters to a rapid conclusion, both were turning points in which one side staved off defeat during its bleakest moment and ultimately went on to win the war.
The French commanders felt that the victory had been due entirely to Joan of Arc's intervention.mn1 Lord Dunois later testified that after she had sent her message to Lord Talbot on April 30, "...I attest that from that hour the English, who with two hundred men could previously rout eight hundred or a thousand of the Royal troops, after that point four or five hundred soldiers could fight against practically the entire strength of England..."3 The Duke of Alençon, who later toured the fortifications previously held by the English, gave the opinion that something supernatural would have been required to take such positions: "...I believe [them] to have been captured through a miracle rather than by force of arms, particularly the fortress of the Tourelles at the end of the bridge, and the fortress of the Augustinians, in which, if I were [there] with a mere handful of soldiers, I would have gladly dared to wait out any armed force for six or seven days..."4 The English and Burgundians gave their own unwitting tribute to her: the Duke of Bedford would later say that it was the "Pucelle" who shattered the English fortunes at Orléans, admitting that she inspired terror among his troops - echoing Burgundians such as Jean LeFevre de Saint-Remi and Enguerrand de Monstrelet, who noted that their English allies feared her "more than any other commander" (to use Monstrelet's phrase).5

Margin Note 1:
Among the many theories diligently promoted by some modern pop authors is the notion that her victories were "engineered as a false miracle" by the Royal court in order to boost morale, with the "usual commanders" simply achieving the victory themselves. Of course, if the usual commanders had been capable of winning such victories, the Dauphinist faction would have been winning all along and there would never have been any need to "stage a miracle" in the first place.

These events created quite a stir as the news gradually spread throughout Europe as fast as horse and rider could carry the message.

The Dauphin Charles, in his headquarters at Chinon, received the glad tidings on May 9th and 10th while dictating a letter to be sent to his loyal cities; he had to make two addendums to this letter as a succession of messengers arrived with updates from Orléans. [click here to read the full text of the letter]
Duke Jean V of Brittany, in his capital of Nantes, reacted to the news by sending his confessor, Friar Yves Milbeau, and a herald, to congratulate Joan of Arc on the victory and to ask if she was acting by God's orders. To this she replied "yes", prompting the Friar to say that the Duke would therefore ally himself with the Armagnacs (again) and send his son with an army.6
The Archbishop of Embrun, Jacques Gelu, overcame his original skepticism and caution when he announced that "We piously believe [the Maiden] to be the angel of the Lord of Hosts" ["angelum Domini exercituum"], and advised Charles to follow her counsel in conducting the war.7 Other prominent clergy gave similar support, such as in Jean Gerson's treatise on May 14th, "De Mirabili Victoria Cujusdam Puellae", which called for an end to the criticism against her, stating that this is a case in which God's power is at work.8
And the 64-year old Christine de Pisan, in her final year of life, emerged from obscurity to write one last poem before she died, called "Le Ditie de Jehanne Darc", expressing her joy at the unexpected good fortune for her faction. The poem begins: "Je Christine qui ay ploure / XI ans en abbaye close" ("I, Christine, who have wept / for eleven years in a walled convent") and goes on to praise the victories delivered "par une vierge tendre" ("through a tender [or "young"] virgin"). The last line of the document concludes with the critique: "...ung tresbel ditie fait par Christine." ("a very fine poem made by Christine"). [click here for the full text]

The reaction of the opposing faction was somewhat less jolly. Previously, the English had felt confident that their long string of victories had provided indisputable proof that God supported their cause, and they were seldom shy when it came to announcing this discovery to the rest of Christendom. Then came the unexpected and unusual defeat at Orléans at a time when ultimate victory was within sight. English morale was not improved. The Duke of Bedford, alarmed by the reports coming in from the Loire, immediately issued a call-to-arms in those areas of Northern France which were under his control, raising "from four to five thousand" men according to Monstrelet.9

The Duke of Burgundy responded to the news by plotting to add his own armies to the forces arrayed against her. Burgundy was now in a position to take a more active role in France, since the war against his "dear cousin Lady Jacqueline" had ended ten months earlier when Jacqueline of Hainault finally surrendered at Gouda and agreed to sign the Treaty of Delft on July 3, 1428, making Burgundy the legal heir to her territories.10 The Duke, despite his chronic disagreements with the English, was not willing to abandon their cause: he would soon send troops to Bedford's aid, albeit in exchange for the usual modest sum to compensate him for his expenses and pains.11

Joan's stay in Orléans was brief. On May 9th, only a day after the English withdrawal, she and Lord Dunois were apparently at Clery, ten miles south of Orléans: the chapel there has a record of their visit. On the 11th they were at Loches to meet with Charles. A detailed description was provided by a German chronicler, Eberhardt von Windecken, the treasurer for Emperor Sigismund: "... Then the young girl bowed her head before the King as much as she could, and the king immediately had her raise it again; and one would have thought that he would have kissed her from the joy that he experienced."12
Dunois provided a description of their subsequent audience with the king in his chamber: "...while the King was in his private room, in which were Lord Christophe Harcourt, the Bishop of Castres [Gerard Machet], the King's confessor, and the Lord of Treves [Robert le Maçon], previously Chancellor of France; the Maiden, before she entered the room, knocked on the door, and as soon as she entered she went down on her knees and embraced the King's legs, saying words such as these or something similar: 'Noble Dauphin, do not take so many and such lengthy deliberations, but come as quickly as possible to Rheims, to take a worthy crown.' Then Lord Christophe Harcourt, speaking with her, asked her if her Counsel had said this to her; she replied: yes, that she was being much prompted on this subject. Then, Christophe said to Joan: 'Are you not willing to say, in the presence of the King, the manner of your Counsel when it speaks to you?' To which she replied, blushing: 'I understand,' she said, 'well enough what it is you wish to know, and I will freely tell you' ... and said words such as these or similar: that when she was displeased sometimes because people wouldn't readily believe that what she said was from God, she would withdraw apart and pray to God, complaining to Him that people wouldn't readily believe what she told them; then, her prayer to God completed, she would hear a voice saying to her: 'Fille Dé, va, va, va; je serai a ton aide, va" ["Daughter of God, go, go, go; I will aid you, go."], and when she heard this voice, she felt great joy, and desired to always be in that state; and, what is more striking, in reciting these words she exulted in an extraordinary manner, raising her eyes to heaven."13
The "Journal du Siège d'Orléans" says that the above exchange convinced Charles to adopt her plan.14 Preparations were therefore made for securing the Loire Valley before moving the army north.

The English had pulled their troops back to the remaining strongholds along the Loire. The Earl of Suffolk's contingent was at Jargeau, which was unsuccessfully assaulted by Lord Saint-Sévère and other French commanders while the aforementioned reunion with Charles was taking place.15 To make a more concerted effort, the Duke of Alençon was appointed lieutenant-general over the combined Royal forces - being a Duke, he outranked the other lords in the army, although at age 23 he was also one of the least experienced. Orders were sent out calling upon the other commanders to gather their contingents together at a place "near Remorantin", about 40 miles south of Orléans.16

On May 23rd Joan left Loches for Selles-en-Berri, near Remorantin. It was around this time, (on June 2nd) that Charles granted her armorial bearings [click here for details], and she apparently met the future Louis XI, at that time a little boy of seven years, who later said that he remembered meeting the famous Maiden all his life.17
On June 6th she met the grandsons of the widow of Lord Bertrand du Guesclin, who was revered by the French for his victories over the English several decades earlier. These young men, Guy and André de Laval, had arrived that day with a small contingent of troops.18 The elder, Guy XIV, wrote a letter on the 8th describing this experience to his mother and grandmother. In between personal details - e.g., a messenger reported that Guy's sister Catherine was now pregnant, or "fatter than usual" as Guy describes the blessed event - the letter also gives many eyewitness descriptions of Joan herself. She came out to meet the Laval brothers dressed in her armor, and told them that she'd recently sent a small ring to their grandmother in honor of her famous husband. "And the aforesaid Maiden very cordially welcomed my brother and myself", says the letter's author, adding that "it seemed a thing completely divine".19
He goes on to say that Joan left on June 6th, "armored in full plate, except her head, a little axe in her hand on a great black courser [i.e., war-horse], which put up a great fuss at the door to her lodging and wouldn't allow her to mount; and then she said 'Lead him to the cross', which was in front of the church nearby, on the road. And then she mounted without him budging, as if he were tied. Then she turned toward the door of the church, which was right nearby, and said in a very womanly voice: 'You, priests and men of the Church, form procession and make prayers to God.' And then she turned back to the road before her, saying "Forward, forward'..."20
The letter, which is rather lengthy [click here to read the full text] is a rare account written during the campaigns themselves by a soldier in her army, giving us a detailed and chatty glimpse of the moment: Guy mentions working on his last will and testament; says that he won a bet with the Duke of Alençon at a game of "paulme" [referring to an early variation of tennis played with the bare hands, as in modern handball]; and worries that, to his potential dishonor, his doting mother must have asked Georges de la Trémoille to keep him out of combat. He anxiously notes that his brother and the Duke of Alençon are telling him that anyone who remains behind would be disgraced. To show their dedication to the cause, the Laval brothers even went so far as to direct their mother to mortgage or sell their lands in order to raise funds for the army - a drastic step for nobles who generally found it unthinkable to sell their ancestral estates. The feeling seems to have been that this was the "big push", and now was the time for all good men to come to the aid of the party.

As Guy mentions above, Joan left Selles on June 6th and went to Remorantin, where the army was massing.
On June 9th she was back at Orléans, the last stop before setting out for the English positions on the 10th. With her was the Duke of Alençon with 600 "lances" (a total of about 1,800 troops), reinforced the following morning by a roughly equal number led by Dunois and d'Illiers.21 To these must be added an unknown number of lightly-armed "commons" who rallied to her army, perhaps several thousand in total.

The first target was Jargeau, ten miles to the southeast of Orléans on the south bank of the Loire. Lord Suffolk had several hundred men with him to defend the town,22 and as usual, the French commanders bickered over the wisdom of launching an attack against a position which some of the troops felt was impregnable. The Duke of Alençon says that the issue was settled when Joan spoke up and "...said that they had nothing to fear; that they shouldn't fear any number [of troops], nor make difficulties about attacking the English, because God was overseeing their work...[adding that] if she were not secure in the knowledge that God was overseeing this work, she would have preferred to watch over the sheep rather than expose herself to such perils."23 This won everyone over.

The outskirts of Jargeau were reached on June 11th, "about two hours after dinner" according to Perceval de Cagny, squire and chronicler for the Duke of Alençon.24 The common soldiers immediately launched an assault on their own without the support of the men-at-arms, apparently thinking that their great ardor would be sufficient to carry the day. They were retreating with equal ardor when the Maiden showed up: "Seeing this [i.e., the retreat], Joan, taking up her banner, went in to the battle, telling the troops to have courage". She got the soldiers turned around and encouraged them on to a new assault which forced the English to retire to their fortifications.25
That night, Cagny says, she told the English to "Surrender the place to the King of Heaven and the noble King Charles, and go away, or else disaster will befall you" ["Rendez la place au Roy du ciel and au gentilz roy Charles, et vous en alez, ou autrement il vous mescherra."]26 To provide an added inducement the artillery was put in place and began bombarding the walls; "The Journal..." says that a large cannon from Orléans called "La Bergère" ("The Shepherdess", presumably named in honor of Joan herself) succeeded in bringing down Jargeau's "largest tower" with only three shots.27 This cannon, which required a team of 36 horses to lug it overland and was so heavy that soldiers had to strengthen bridges over which it would cross,28 was apparently a large bombarde of the "mortar" variety (i.e., a chubby bombarde shaped like a large bucket or megaphone with a barrel almost as wide as its length) perhaps built along the lines of the famous "Pumhart von Steyr".29
The bombardment may have unnerved the English: Lord Suffolk tried to arrange a two-week truce, and was apparently negotiating independently with La Hire, much to the displeasure of the other commanders. La Hire was reeled in by Alençon and told to cease his efforts;30 Joan would later say that the lords in her army refused to grant Suffolk's request, and instead told him to pull out immediately or face an assault.31

The assault apparently came around the ninth hour on the 12th of June;32 Alençon says he thought the timing was premature, but she encouraged him forward, reminding him that she had promised his wife that he would be brought back safely.33 He adds that she saved his life during an event which is also described by two other sources: she pointed out a weapon (a veuglaire it seems) on the fortifications and told the Duke that it would kill him unless he moved from his current position. He had scarcely moved a few yards when the veuglaire fired and hit a certain "Seigneur de Lude" from the Anjou region, who had made the mistake of moving into the spot which the Duke had just vacated. The projectile decapitated him with the force of the impact.34 Joan herself was hit with a large stone thrown down by an English soldier on the ramparts: the stone tore through her banner and broke apart on her helmet, knocking her to the ground but otherwise doing no damage. She immediately got back up and shouted to the soldiers: "Friends, friends, up! Up! Our Lord has doomed the English. ["Amys, amys, sus! Sus! Nostre Sire a condempne les Angloys"] This moment they are ours; have courage."35 The French surged up and over the walls and then pursued the enemy across the bridge.36
Here the remaining English troops met disaster. The Earl of Suffolk was forced to surrender to a soldier named Guillaume Regnault (after first knighting him, as it would be disgraceful for the Earl to surrender to anyone below equestrian rank).37 Some early sources repeat a rumor that Suffolk had instead submitted to Joan herself by his express demand to surrender only to, quote, "the most courageous woman in the world ... who will defeat us all".38 His brother John de la Pole was also captured; his other brother Alexander was killed.39 Estimates of English casualties ranged from 300 - 1100 dead and 40 - 300 captured.40

This victory achieved, Joan returned to Orléans on the 13th, where she received an honor granted in the name of the city's duke: an entry in the city's financial accounts for the following day records a commission to make "[cloth] nettle leaves for the Maiden's robes",41 referring to two items of clothing which are described in detail in a later letter (dated September 30) sent by the Duke of Orléans himself. Nettle leaves were a symbol of his family which were often worn by the municipal troops and anyone whom he wished to honor, and the woman who saved his city was now to be accorded such an honor.
The circumstances of this letter are worth noting. At some point, news of the liberation of his city reached the miserable Armagnac leader at Peterborough in England, where he was being held as a "guest" of his English cousins.42 While battles were being fought for his lands, the captive Charles' only battlefield now was his cherished chessboard, well-worn by many hundreds of matches against his guards. The rest of his time was largely spent writing page after page of the poetry for which he is now best known, frequently in the form of melancholy love ballads believed to have been addressed to the wife whom he would never see again.43 The news of Joan's campaigns must have been the first good tidings he had heard in years, and he repaid her in the traditional fashion - in this case, by confirming his council's gift of a rich robe made with "fine Brussels vermilion cloth" bordered with cloth nettle leaves in two shades of green and lined with silk and white satin; and a knee-length tunic or surcoat ("huque") made with dark green cloth and likewise bordered with nettle leaves. The letter also gives the amount of cloth purchased for each garment, thereby allowing us to estimate the saint's maximum possible height. It begins: "Charles, Duke of Orléans and of Valois, Count of Blois and of Beaumont and Lord of Coucy; to Our esteemed and loyal friends the men of Our accounts, greetings and affection", and eventually goes on to say that the clothing was granted in recognition of the "good and agreeable services which the aforesaid Maiden has rendered for Us against the English, long-standing enemies of my lord the King and of Ourselves." [Click here to read the full text]. It can only be assumed that she must have treasured this gift from a duke whom she admired, but whom she would never meet.

She didn't stay in Orléans long, however: on the night of the 14th she told Alençon to have the troops ready to move out by the next day "after dinner" in order to "go see those of Meung".44

This was done, and the army moved southwest along the Loire. Rather than launch a full assault against Meung, the decision was made to merely take the town's fortified bridge and garrison it with troops, thereby preventing any unpleasant surprises as the army continued farther south to Beaugency. The bridge was taken speedily enough so that the effort barely held up the army's progress to the main target, which was reached on the following day.45

Beaugency was at the southern limit of the English positions which had been clustered around Orléans. The town was dominated by a 12th century tower whose sturdy block form still looks imposing today even in its partially ruined state; the English had set aside about 500 soldiers to hold this tower, supplemented by a smaller garrison delegated for the bridge.46 Upon sighting the French army the defenders withdrew into these fortified positions, leaving only a small number of men concealed in some of the houses in the town's outlying area. These troops emerged to ambush the French as they moved in, and a sharp skirmish ensued in which "many were killed or wounded on both sides".47 After driving off these attackers, the French proceeded to pummel the tower with artillery48 in what seems to have been a sustained bombardment: to feed the hungry cannons, the financial accounts for the city of Orléans mention that a man named Robin le Boçant was sent by Joan to obtain more gunpowder.49
Meanwhile, two new armies were approaching: Sir John Fastolf was working his way south with a few thousand men50 to reinforce the English at Beaugency; and Count Arthur de Richemont was moving northeast to aid the French with his "400 lances and 800 archers"51 plus their auxiliaries. Both of these posed a dilemma for the French commanders, since Richemont was at that time held in disgrace by the Royal court for having led a revolt against Georges de la Trémoille.
Arthur de Richemont exemplified the situation of many nobles who found themselves painfully caught, both politically and personally, between the various factions in France at that time. He was a younger son of a family which was originally rooted in central and northeastern France but had inherited the far-flung domains of Brittany in the northwest, Limoges in the south-central, and the still more distant County of Richmond in northern England. The latter title was granted as Arthur's share by his elder brother, Duke Jean V of Brittany, who sought to retain a measure of independent control over his duchy and therefore routinely lurched back and forth between both sides. To make matters more tangled, Richemont's mother was the widow of King Henry IV of England, and yet, possibly due to his friendship with Louis de Valois (elder brother of the Dauphin Charles) Arthur had fought against the English at Aginçourt. Wounded and captured, he was brought to England with the other prisoners and was thereby able to see his mother again, although he was said to have been unable to recognize her. The Anglo-Burgundians tried to tie him down to their faction by arranging his marriage to Burgundy's eldest sister Margaret in 1423; but when Bedford refused to grant him field command of an army he threw his lot in with the Armagnacs and was rewarded with the title "Connétable" (chief commander of Royal forces). Dismayed by the vicious infighting among members of the Dauphin's Court, he soon became a victim of it himself: the political schemes of Georges de la Trémoille (himself a former Burgundian with a very checkered and sometimes murderous career) led to a major rift, open warfare, and Richemont's exile from the Court. He was now marching toward Beaugency with the intent of rejoining the Royal army whether he was welcome or not.52 The chroniclers are divided on the latter question: it seems that Joan, the Duke of Alençon, and several others were opposed to his arrival (in fact the Duke says that he was planning to leave if Richemont showed up),53 while perhaps some of the mercenary captains of the La Hire variety wanted to welcome him.54 It would be interesting to know Dunois' opinion: in 1424 when Dunois himself had been out of favor with the Court (as many of the commanders were at one point or another), the person sent to arrest him had been none other than Richemont himself. Richemont's enthusiastic chronicler and squire, Guillaume Gruel, claims that it was primarily the Maiden who opposed him, prompting some of the commanders to allegedly retort that they "esteemed him and his contingent better than all the maidens in the Kingdom of France".55

Whatever the facts may be, the commanders at Beaugency had to weigh the issue against the military realities of the situation: although Alençon was able to negotiate a surrender of the English garrison on June 17th, allowing the latter to leave on the condition that they would not retake the field for a period of ten days,56 the French still had to deal with the army which was fast approaching from the north. Richemont was ultimately allowed to join the group, on assurances that he would remain loyal,57 possibly because his troops were needed to fight Fastolf. Gruel claims that Joan approached the Count warmly and prostrated herself before him to embrace his legs.58 mn3 Alençon quotes her as making the more restrained statement: "Oh, noble Connétable, you did not come on my behalf ["de par moy"]; but as you have come, you will be welcome."59

Margin Note 2:
One editor of Gruel's chronicle, Achille le Vavasseur, notes that this description seems "rather fantastic". See
footnote 56, above.

With the retreat of Beaugency's garrison, the only remaining English troops to contend with were those at Meung, reinforced by the army under Sir John Fastolf. One of Fastolf's soldiers at that time was a Burgundian mercenary named Jean de Wavrin du Forestel, whose personal recollections written down after the war provide us with a vivid eyewitness account of the events that followed.
On the 17th the rival armies came into view of each other, the French placing themselves on a small hill and the English arranged behind their usual protective screen of stakes to impede any cavalry charge sent against them. Heralds were sent to offer a challenge to the French, who were said to have sent back the reply: "Go place yourselves in camp for now, as it is fairly late; but tomorrow, at the pleasure of God and Our Lady, we will see you at closer range".60 Battles were often still arranged by mutual agreement, in the leisured manner of the "gentlemanly" style of aristocratic warfare.
On the following day the two armies faced each other again; when the jittery French asked Joan what they should do, she replied: "En nom Dieu, il les fault combatre. S'ilz estoient pendus aux nues nous les arons" ("In God's name, we must fight them. If they were hanging in the skies we would [still] get them"),61 adding that they would need "good spurs" to chase after the enemy.62
She was correct: the English decided to fall back to the northwards, riding toward the town of Patay with the French in close pursuit.63 The running battle which would soon erupt would become one of those rare occurrences when French cavalry won a major open-field victory against English archers.

The army was divided into the traditional three segments, with the vanguard entrusted to La Hire (much to the saint's displeasure, according to Louis de Coutes, who noted that she "greatly wanted to have the burden of the vanguard" herself).64

The lead elements of the French army stopped for a rest at St-Sigismond around noon, then continued along the road towards Lignorolles with 60 - 80 cavalry serving as advance scouts.65
The English, remembered Jean de Wavrin, soon became aware that they were being followed by cavalry "riding at great speed", and so: " was ordered by our commanders that those of the vanguard, the merchants, provisions, and artillery should go on ahead to take up positions all along the hedgerows near Patay", while the main division found an advantageous position farther south. At the extreme southern end, Lord Talbot placed himself with 500 of his best archers in the area between two hedgerows, calculating that the narrow passage could be held long enough for the rest of the army to pull itself together.66 He miscalculated, and an unexpected occurrence would seal his army's fate.
Near St-Peravy-la-Colombe the French scouts frightened a stag in the nearby woods, and the animal ran headlong into soldiers of the English rearguard. The latter, unaware that enemy scouts were so close, sent up a loud shout and thereby unwittingly revealed their position. After venturing closer to confirm that the uproar was caused by English troops, the scouts went pounding back to report the news to La Hire.67
The veteran mercenary wasted little time bringing up his cavalry, which promptly charged Talbot's lines.68 Normally, English archers would have flung back such a charge with several volleys of arrows fired from behind a protective line of stakes, but on this occasion the results were markedly different. The cavalry reached their target with few or no casualties and slammed into the English line at full gallop. The archers broke and ran.69

During an era in which warfare had been slowly transformed, first by the longbow and crossbow and then by the increased use of gunpowder weapons - all disturbingly wielded by commoners - the battle of Patay was a rare moment in which the shock tactics of heavy cavalry were effective and the mounted armored aristocrat again reigned supreme. One can imagine the feelings of the French nobles, a number of whom had lost fathers, grandfathers, or great-grandfathers in far less successful charges against English longbowmen over the last 90 years. Prior to the series of wars against England, the French nobility had been considered the best cavalry troops in Europe, and it took a long time for them to forget this glorious legacy: despite so many battlefield losses, many remained determined to fight "nobly" (hand-to-hand, preferably on horseback) and tended to regard archers as cowards for killing only at a safe distance. It was an ethical, albeit obsolete, view of warfare; but Patay was one instance in which they may have felt vindicated.mn3
The archers, caught in a maelstrom of horsemen, were cut down by the hundreds as they tried to get away. Talbot himself was taken prisoner.70
Meanwhile, Fastolf pushed his men onward in an attempt to join up with the English vanguard. The latter, seeing Fastolf's troops in such a hurry, mistakenly thought that a rout was underway. As a result they started a real one: as the vanguard panicked and abandoned the field, Fastolf's contingent realized the battle was now hopeless and decided to follow suit.71
The French cavalry tore into the disorganized elements of the army as it fled north, chasing them all the way to the English garrison town of Janville fourteen miles northeast of Patay. As a final blow, the citizens of this town forced the garrison commander to capitulate and then promptly shut their gates against Fastolf's survivors.72 Jean de Wavrin wrote that he himself and the "very small company" grouped around Fastolf had to press onward to Etampes, the exhausted troops reaching it only at midnight.73

Margin Note 3:
The demise of chivalric warfare would ultimately produce the doctrine of "total war", in which there are no rules save the law of efficient victory.

A small anecdote has survived to give us a glimpse into the saint's possible role in these events: Louis de Coutes recalled seeing her, likely on this day, comfort an English prisoner who had been beaten nearly to death by one of his captors. "Joan, seeing this, dismounted her horse and had this Englishman make [final] confession, holding his head and comforting him as much as possible," remembered Louis.74
A more fortunate English prisoner was shortly brought before the Duke of Alençon, Lord Richemont, and Joan when they returned to camp at Patay. The "guest" was Lord Talbot, to whom Alençon helpfully remarked: "This morning, I hadn't thought that things would happen the way they did"; to which Talbot stoically replied: "It is the fortune of war."75

The "fortune of war" had dealt another blow to English morale. Most of their commanders present at the battle - not only Talbot, but also Lord Scales, Lord Thomas Rampston, Lord Walter Hungerford, and others - had been captured.76 Fastolf was disgraced by his retreat. Losses among the rank-and-file were catastrophic: the official casualty figure given by English heralds was around 2,200 men dead or captured (nearly half their total strength), compared to "not even three" Frenchmen and less than twenty Scots77 - the reverse of so many previous battles. Strategically, control of the region was lost when several English garrisons abandoned their posts, terrified and discouraged by word of the disaster.78
The effect on the occupation government in Normandy was similar. Monstrelet notes that Duke John of Bedford was "very much disturbed" when he heard the news, and some among his group "wept in the council".79

They would soon face larger concerns: the way was now open for the march toward Rheims for the coronation of the man who would be known to posterity as Charles VII.


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