Joan of Arc: Famous Battles and Events

Introduction

Joan of Arc was a French maiden who is considered a heroine of France for her role during the Lancastrian phase of the Hundred Year’s War. She was posthumously canonized as a Roman Catholic Saint. Below are the top ten battles and events of her life.

Divine Visions and Voices

According to Joan, she began to hear divine voices from the age of 13-years-old. She claimed that the voices she heard were those of angels and saints. She identified the voices as belonging to Saint Michael, Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret, all of whom she had studied in detail while growing up under the strong influence of the Church.

She later also confessed to seeing certain visuals with each voice. She claimed to have seen Saint Michael, who appeared before her as a good-looking gentleman. These visions foretold her that she would lead the English armies to a victory and help secure the coronation of Charles at Rheims.

Journey to Chinon

The visions Joan of Arc saw told her that she would help Charles VII ascent the throne. She decided to meet Charles, who was the crown prince at the time. To this end, she journeyed from her village to Vaucouleurs and then towards Chinon.

Chinon was at a considerable distance and most of the lands in the way were under the control of the English. However, Joan dressed up as a boy and cropped her hair. Then she made an 11-day journey with a small band of followers all the way to the prince’s palace.

Meeting with Charles

Joan of Arc met with the crown prince and asked him to give her an army so that she could attack the English who had laid siege to the city of Orleans at the time.

Charles was reluctant but in a private audience, Joan of Arc somehow convinced him that she truly had divine visions of his coronation. The prince finally relented and granted her an army against the advice of his generals.

According to historical sources, Joan of Arc practiced for battle and became adept at riding a horse before she and her army headed to Orelans.

Relief of Orleans

The city of Orleans was of vital strategic important in the ongoing war between the English and the French at the time. The English had laid siege to the city and hoped to gain control of it. Modern historians believe that had Orleans fallen to the English, the English forces would have conquered all of France.

However, Joan of Arc and her army arrived in time to relive the city.

Joan of Arc rode at the head of the army wearing white armor and riding a white horse. The news of her arrival cheered up the people in Orleans and gave them courage. Once Joan and her army reached the city, they attacked the English army laying siege to it. In the ensuing fighting, Joan fought valiantly and inspired the French soldiers. The English were forced to retreat and the city was made safe.

The Battle of Patay

The culminating engagement at the end of the Loire Campaign of the Hundred Years’ War, it was a decisive victory for the French, with the English side suffering heavy losses. The victory is mostly credited to Joan of Arc, even though most of the fighting was done by the vanguard of the French army as the English army fled.

After abandoning the Siege of Orleans, the English survivors gathered at the garrison along the Loire. Under the command of the Duke of Alencon, the French army set out to recapture these positions, alongside the garrisons of Beaugency. The garrison surrendered on June 18.

Crowning of King Charles

After the victory at Orleans and Patay, Joan of Arc continued her journey towards Rheims, clearing the path of any opposition to Charles. Once the path was cleared, Charles arrived at Rheims, in accordance with the vision Joan of Arc had seen. Once at Rheims, Charles was crowned the King of France, effectively beginning his reign. In this way, Joan of Arc played a vital role in the coronation of Charles as the king.

Battle at Compiegne

The Siege of Compiegne was one of the finest military acts displayed by Joan of Arc. While the French had defeated the English earlier in 1428, the Duke of Burgundy intended to lay siege to the city of Compiegne.

Upon hearing about this, Joan of Arc started preparing for the defense of the city. She gathered a group of volunteers comprising of around 300 to 400 men. This group then attacked the Burgundians outside the city walls.

However, Joan of Arc fell from her horse during the attack. She was mistakenly left outside city walls when the city gates were closed to prevent enemies from entering. The enemy found and captured her. She was later sold to the English.

Trial and Execution

Upon being brought to the English, charges of heresy were brought up against Joan of Arc. The English despised her for having brought defeat upon them. So they wanted to make an example of her.

After a quick and unfair trial, Joan of Arc was sentenced to death by burning at stake.

In addition to the charges of heresy, she was also charged with cross-dressing. In her defense, Joan of Arc continued to present her visions as divine and cross-dressing as a way to avoid assault by other men.

On May 30, 1941, she was tied to a tall pillar while holding a cross in front of her. After she died, the English raked back the coals from her charred body so no one could falsely claim that she was still alive.

Summary

  • Joan of Arc was a heroine of the Hundred Years’ War who helped the French to secure important victories.
  • Joan of Arc made an 11-day journey to Chinon to meet the crown prince.
  • She was given soldiers by the crown prince Charles. With these soldiers, she played a vital role in lifting the siege of Orleans and securing the city.
  • At the Battle of Patay, she played a role in securing a decisive victory for the French.
  • During the Battle of Compiegne in 1430, Joan of Arc was captured by the English. She was subsequently tried and executed over charges of heresy.

 

 

 

 

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