March to Reims
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|March to Reims|
|Part of the Hundred Years' War|
Coronation of Charles VII in Reims (miniature from the Vigiles du roi Charles VII de Martial d'Auvergne, Paris, BnF, département of Manuscrits).
|Kingdom of France||
Kingdom of England |
Duchy of Burgundy
|Commanders and leaders|
Charles VII of France
|12,000 to 77,000|
After the lifting of the siege of Orléans and the decisive French victory at the Battle of Patay, the Anglo-Burgundian threat was ended. Joan of Arc convinced the Dauphin Charles to go to be crowned at Reims. The march though the heart of territory controlled by the hostile Burgundians was successful and would give the throne of the French monarchy to Charles VII, who had been ousted therefrom by the Treaty of Troyes.
Since the Treaty of Troyes in 1420, the dauphin had been disinherited in favour of Henry V of England following the assassination of John the Fearless. The former married the daughter of King Charles VI of France, and his son Henry VI was to be his successor on the thrones of France and England. But Henry V died in 1422 and his son was not yet one year old; the regency was entrusted to John of Lancaster, Duke of Bedford. The intervention of Joan of Arc with the Dauphin Charles would be seen as miraculous, even more so after the lifting of the Siege of Orleans and the Battle of Patay.
The march to Reims
For the first time in the history of France, the king did not let the crown pass to his eldest son. Charles VI of France disinherited his son, leaving the kingdom of France to Henry VI of England, who was the son of his daughter Catherine. After Charles VI died, his son challenged his disinheritance and claimed the throne. Despite the French victory in the Battle of Patay on June 18, which caused the decline of the English in Paris, the dauphin Charles VII refused to continue to Reims, which was in the hands of the Burgundians, remaining in Sully-sur-Loire and withdrew his army to Orleans to be crowned there as was Louis VI; Nevertheless, a coronation in Reims would have a much greater impact because it would be seen as a new miracle, attesting to his divine legitimacy. After initially meeting the Dauphin on May 23, 1429 at the Royal City of Loches, Joan of Arc next met him again on June 21 at four o'clock in the Fleury Abbey to persuade him to go to Reims. The next day, the dauphin's council met in Chateauneuf-sur-Loire and ordered the army to gather at Gien.
On June 24, preceded by her page, Louis de Coutes, who held her banner emblazoned "Jhesus Maria," Joan of Arc — arriving at Gien with her armor forged in Tours, her armor and sword of Fierbois — found Charles VII. The next day, 12,000 men of the king's army gathered in Gien, increasing to 33,000 men fighting on horseback and 40,000 on foot. The French army took Bonny-sur-Loire and Saint-Fargeau. Joan of Arc broke her sword on the back of a prostitute who followed the army, and two days later the Dauphin finally ordered the march to the city of the coronation: the march began at Gien on June 29, 1429. The ease of the march showed both the fragility of the Anglo-Burgundian rule and the restoration of confidence in the cause of Charles VII of France. According to Jean de Dunois the bluff was the only tactic that opened the gates of the city. The Marshal of France, Gilles de Rais, rode to Reims, hoping to use this victorious march to retrieve a ransom of land taken from "collaborators." Joan of Arc was escorted from Gien by her captains: Tugdual Kermoysan, La Hire, André of Lohéac, Pierre Rieux, Jean V de Bueil, Pierre Bessonneau, Jacques de Chabannes, Jacques Dinan, and Jean Poton de Xaintrailles. On the road to Reims, the Constable de Richemont sent Pierre Rostrenen to ask leave of the dauphin to serve at his coronation. Rostrenen accompanied the constable to Parthenay. During the march, the Burgundian garrison located in Auxerre refused to open its gates. Georges de la Trémoille was given two thousand gold écus by the minister of the city, for the city to remained neutral and allow the French army to resupply itself and to camp outside its walls (on July 1 and 2). The army of the Dauphin left again; Saint-Florentin submitted immediately, as did Brienon l’Archevêque — on July 4, the army reached Troyes, five to six percent of whose occupants were Burgundians, who refused to open the gates.
After 4 days of siege, the majority of the dauphin's council wanted to lift the siege and continue on the road without entering the city. On the 5th day of the siege, July 9, Troyes capitulated (for fear of attack), but only Charles VII and the captains were able to enter. The soldiers spent the night in Saint-Phal, under the command of Ambroise de Loré. Gilles de Rais was one of the leaders of the army who reduced Troyes to obedience.
Fewer than 2000 English soldiers of the captain of Paris, John of Lancaster occupied Paris, which had as its provost Simon Morhier, and as Governor Jean de La Baume. Philip the Good of Burgundy opted to leave Laon for Paris, where he arrived on July 10, appointed the Master of the Louvre Jean de Villiers de L'Isle-Adam governor, and committed to him the safety of Paris in the absence of Lancaster. Philip sent ambassadors to the Dauphin Charles VII to sue for peace.
On July 11, the Dauphin's army left Troyes for the first time to head to Chalons-en-Champagne, which opened its gates on July 14 to let him spend the night.
On Saturday, July 16, in the morning, Philip the Good left Paris to return to Laon, while the Archbishop of Reims, Renault Chartres left Reims in the hands of William, Lord of Châtillon-sur-Marne and of the Sire de Saveuses; the dauphin arrived at the castle of the Archbishop of Reims in Sept-Saulx (located 21 km from Reims). The Dauphin summoned the people of Reims to open their gates, despite their vow to resist him for six weeks until the arrival of relief by Lancaster and Philip the Good. After negotiations and dinner, Charles VII entered and slept in Reims. That same day, René of Anjou brought the homage of Lorraine and Barrois to the Dauphin.
On Sunday, July 17, 1429, Charles VII was crowned King of France in Reims: he received the Holy Ampulla from the hands of the Archbishop Renault Chartres. "Noble King, now is executed the pleasure of God who wished I lift the siege of Orleans, and I bring you into this city of Rheims to receive your holy coronation to show you are the true king, and the one to whom the kingdom of France must belong," declared Joan of Arc, paying tribute to her king. The coronation ceremony, given the circumstances, took place in simplicity, because the crown, the scepter, and the globe, were still in Saint-Denis, which was controlled by the English; among the peers, only three of the spiritual peers attended the ceremony: the Archbishop of Reims Renault Chartres, the Bishop of Laon William of Champeaux, the bishop of Chalons Jean Saarbrücken. But the essential rite was performed: the eighth sacrament (anointing of the king), which makes kings and which marks the sacred sign of legitimate power, was then given to Charles VII, making him the rightful monarch, representing the House of Valois, authentically appointed by God, against John of Lancaster, whom enemy arms had imposed, and against the irresponsible signature of a mad king.
For the fifth centennial of the campaign, and in the context of the canonization of Joan of Arc, a series of plaques was mounted on the route that Joan followed to retake Reims and crown the king.
- d’après d’autre source il semble ne pas avoir participé http://jean-claude.colrat.pagesperso-orange.fr/1lafayette.htm