The Siege of Orléans
Episode #4 of the course “Battles of All Time”
Date: 1428 – 1429
England has been the subject of epic battles for an untold number of years, and these battles often give rise to some of the most well-known leaders. Joan of Arc, a French peasant, is one example. When the English attacked the French city of Orleans, Joan of Arc helped regain the city.
The Siege of Orleans was an epic battle and a part of the Hundred Years’ War between England and France. When Joan of Arc joined the battle, Orleans was already besieged with English troops. Joan was only 16 when she began to hear what she believed were the voices of Christian saints telling her to help remove the English from French territory. She went to Vaucouleurs and explained her visions to the captain, but he did not believe her and sent her home.
She returned about six months later, and the captain, who was impressed by her determination, allowed her to go to the dauphin at Chinon. She dressed in men’s clothing for the journey and was granted an audience with Charles, the French dauphin (heir to the throne).
Joan informed Charles of her divine mission. Charles had her questioned by theologians at Poitiers, and they recommended that he use the girl in some way. He decided to allow her the use of a small army, and she set out for Orleans in April of 1429 (Joan was still either 16 or 17). Joan used a small group of people to distract the English on the west side of Orleans while Joan herself entered the city undefended on the eastern side. She brought supplies to the French and inspired them to rise up and defend themselves vigorously. She led several battles over a period of about ten days and was struck by an arrow on May 7. She dressed her wound and immediately returned to the battlefield.
The English retreated from Orleans on May 8.
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