Siege of Orléans - Lifting The Siege - Assault On The Augustines

Assault On The Augustines

The next day, May 5, was Ascension Day, and Joan urged an attack on the largest English outwork, the bastille of St. Laurent to the west. But the French captains, knowing its strength and that their men needed rest, prevailed on her to allow them to honor the feast-day in peace. Overnight, in a war council, it was decided that the best course of action was to clear the English bastions on the south bank, where the English were weakest.

The operation began in the early morning of May 6. The citizens of Orléans, inspired by Joan of Arc, raised urban militias on her behalf and showed up at the gates, much to the distress of the professional commanders. Nonetheless, Joan prevailed upon them to allow them to join. The French crossed the river from Orléans on boats and barges and landed on the island of St. Aignan, crossing over to the south bank via a makeshift pontoon bridge, landing on the stretch between the bridge complex and the bastille of St. Jean-le-Blanc. That plan had been to cut off and take St. Jean-le-Blanc from the west, but the English garrison commander, William Glasdale, sensing the intent of the French operation, had already hurriedly destroyed the St. Jean-le-Blanc outwork, and concentrated his troops in the central Boulevart-Tourelles-Augustines complex.

Before the French had properly disembarked on the south bank, Joan of Arc reportedly launched a precipitous attack on the strongpoint of the Boulevart. This nearly turned into a disaster, as the assault was exposed on the flanks to English fire from the Augustines. The assault broke off when there were cries that the English garrison of the bastille of St. Privé (further west) was rushing upriver to reinforce Glasdale and cut them off. Panic set in, and the French assaulters retreated from the Boulevart back to the landing grounds, dragging the bewildered Joan back with them. Seeing the "witch" on the run and the "spell" broken, Glasdale's garrison burst out to give chase, but according to legend, Joan turned around on them alone, raised her holy standard and cried out "Ou Nom De" ("In the name of God"), which reportedly was sufficient to impress the English to halt their pursuit and return to the Boulevart. The fleeing French troops turned around and rallied to her.

Watching the turn of events, Gilles de Rais persuaded Joan to immediately resume the assault, but to direct the French soldiers not on the Boulevart, but rather on the detached bastille of the Augustins. After heavy fighting that lasted the entire day, the Augustins was finally taken just before nightfall.

With the Augustins in French hands, Glasdale's garrison was blockaded in the Boulevart-Tourelles complex. That same night, what remained of the English garrison at St. Privé evacuated their outwork and went north of the river to join their comrades in St. Laurent. Glasdale was isolated, but counted on a strong and well-esconsed English garrison of 700-800 troops.

Read more about this topic:  Siege Of Orléans, Lifting The Siege

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