May 6 – Joan’s bravery in the face of confusion at Iles-aux-Toiles provokes an ill-fated English attack

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The day of the Ascension passes, and Joan is moving again. No longer fearing a counter-attack from Saint-Loup since its capture a couple of days ago, she marches to take the strategically placed Bastille on the island called Iles-aux-Toiles. Only here she discovers to her surprise that the English have already abandoned it and have withdrawn to re-group in the Bastille of the Augustinians. There, the English would have leverage to protect the ever-important Les Tourelles that sat on the waterway protecting the entrance to Orleans. This simple maneuver by the English now put Joan’s forces in great danger. The French had to retreat from the island. They were exposed.

We will let Jean D’Aulon, Joan’s personal guard, tell us what happened next:

“As soon as the French began to return to the Bastide of Saint-Jean-le-Blanc to enter the Iles, the Maid and La Hire (Captain) went to the other side of that island, with a horse and a boat each, and mounted their horses as soon as they had landed, each with a lance in hand. And when they had perceived that the enemy was coming out of the Bastide of the Augustinians to rush upon them, the Maid and La Hire, who were always in front of their men to protect them, immediately couched their lances and led the attack upon the enemy. Everyone followed them, and they began to strike the enemy in such a manner that they constrained them by sheer force to withdraw and to return to the Bastide of the Augustinians….Very bitterly and with great diligence, they assailed that Bastide from all directions so that they seized it and took it by assault quickly. The greater part of the enemy were killed or captured, and those who could save themselves withdrew to the Bastide of the Tourelles at the bridges foot. The Maid and her company won a great victory over the enemy that day. The great Bastide was taken, and the lords and their men remained before it all night, along with the Maid.” (Pernoud, “Joan of Arc: Her Story”, pp. 45-46.)

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For those who think that Joan of Arc might have just been “another pretty face” to inspire the army, having no real substance herself, you should read the account above again. Joan’s personal heroism is a consistent theme during her short military career. Here, on May 6, she personally protected the “backs” of her men who had been foiled and were attempting a dangerous retreat. That retreat provoked an attack by the enemy, which was then repelled with the Maid right in the thick of things. Her perseverance and bravery inspired her men to storm and take the Bastille of the Augustinians, the one rampart that stood between them and their deadly enemy Glasdale, who now waited furiously in the Tourelles.

Tomorrow – we have the final showdown between Joan of Arc and Glasdale. It will be a most bitter day for the latter. In fact, it will be the last day of his life. Joan will show more bravery by rushing headlong into the fighting using nothing to protect her but her banner flying in the wind. She will take an arrow and refuse to die. She will come again, wounded, to push Glasdale out of the Bastille to the point where he has no choice but to die.

Tomorrow, Joan of Arc will enter Orleans, not around, but through Les Tourelles.

StM

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