The Chevauchées of Jeanne d'Arc

Statue by Jules Rolleau (Chinon).
This page summarizes the five journies/expeditions of Jeanne d'Arc. Her second expedition, while noted here as the "Liberation of Orléans (Apr-May 1429)" is the subject of a separate webpage on the 1428-29 Siege of Orléans, a link to which is at the end of this page. Also at the end of this page are other important links to put this page in context. These are pages that explain the Hundred Years' War and story of Jeanne d'Arc.

General Comment
Vaucouleurs to Chinon (Feb 1429)
Liberation of Orléans (Apr-May 1429)
To Reims (July 1429)
To the walls of Paris (Summer 1429)
The 'Final Journey' (May 1430-May 1431)

Jeanne d'Arc was born c.1409-12 in the village of Domrémy, in the duchy of Bar, that borders the larger duchies of Champagne and Lorraine. This area was under the influence of the powerful duchy of Burgundy which was allied to the English and supported the Treaty of Troyes since 1422. However, many villages in the region remained loyal to the Dauphin Charles. Domrémy was one of them, and suffered the assault of many Burgundian raids. Not far from Domrémy was the fortified village of Vaucluleurs, commanded by Robert de Baudricourt, who was loyal to the Valois cause and had withstood sporatic Burgundian sieges.
In the course of the Hundred Years' War, the northeastern frontier of France was a 'no-man's-land' for warfare, and remote from most of the main campaigns. However, the people were aware of some of the dramatic military events taking place elsewhere. There was particular emotional interest in the English forceful, but unsuccessful, siege of Mont Saint Michel (on the west coast of Normandy) in 1423-1425, and in the siege of Orléans that began in October 1428. These events seem to correspond to when Jeanne d'Arc received her first specific instructions from 'voices' that she had been hearing since from about 1423. Her 'voices' informed her in 1425 to go forth and to assit Charles VII in his claim to the crown of France. There is some debate if her initial charge were specifically to have Charles VII crowned at Reims, the traditional location for the sacrement. It appears that the specific objectives of her 'instructions' changed over time, though they remained constantly centred on obtaining victory for Charles VII's claim to the French throne. These 'instructions' are what launched and initially guided her remarkable expeditions, or chevauchées.

The following legend applies to the maps that are shown on this page.


Vaucouleurs to Chinon (Feb 1429)


1423? voices began to inform Jeanne of her mission.
1425, first informed by her 'voices' to specifically go to Charles VII.

May, Jeanne's 'uncle' [husband of her cousin], Durand Laxart, escorted Jeanne to Vaucouleurs, where she announced her mission to Robert de Baudricourt, the captain of the local pro-Valois garrison. At their first meeting, Baudricourt rebuffed Jeanne's request for assistance to go to Charles VII.

January, Baudricourt refused Jeanne again upon a second meeting.
Early February, Jeanne was given safe-conduct to visit duc Charles II de Lorraine at Nancy. Though Charles was in the pro-Brugundian camp, he was interested in her possible healing powers, which she denied having.
Mid February (probably on the date of the Battle of the Herrings, 12 Feb).
At a third meeting with Baudricourt, her journey to see Charles VII at Chinon was approved. Jeanne was provided an escort of six men- at-arms (Jean Metz and his servant, Jean de Honnecourt; Bertrand de Poulegny and his servant, Julien; Colet de Vienne, the royal courier; and Richard the archer). She cut her hair, doned male attire, and traveled mostly at night across the largely Burgundian controlled lands.
Departure of Jeanne d'Arc at the Port de France at Vaucoulurs (1429).
Detail of painting by Scherrer (c.1865), held by Hotel de Ville, Vaucoulurs.

22 Feb, departed Vaucouleurs, traveled to Saint- Urbains.
23 Feb, Saint-Urbain to Clairvaux.
24 Feb, Clairvaux to Pothières.
25 Feb, Pothières to Auxerre.
26 Feb, Auxerre to Mezilles.
27 Feb, Mezilles to Viglain.
28 Feb, Viglain to La Ferté.
1 Mar, La Ferté to Saint-Aignan.
2 Mar, Saint-Aignan to Sainte-Catherine-de-Firebois
[where she has a letter written to the king asking to be received].
3 Mar, Sainte- Catherine-de-Firebois to I'lle-Bouchard.
4 Mar, I'lle-Bouchard to Chinon.
6 March, met Charles VII.
7 March, met Alençon.
10 March, interrogated at Chinon.
11 March, terrogated at Poitiers.
22 March, sent letter from Poitiers to the king of England
[letter went to earl of Suffolk].
24 March, departed Poitiers for Chinon.
2 April, messenger sent to Sainte-Catherine-de-Firebois to find a sword.
5 April, Jeanne departed Chinon for Tours,
where her armor, standard and penon were produced.
21 April, departed Tours for Blois,
where she joined a large relieving army under Jean, duc d'Alençon.


Liberation of Orléans (Apr-May 1429)
The "Liberation of Orléans (Apr-May 1429)" is the subject of it a separate page: The siege of Orléans and the Loire Valley Campaign (1429).


To Reims (July 1429)

The July 1429 march of the royal French army from the Loire river to the cornation of Charles VII at Reims is remarkable in that it was through territories largely patrolled by, and considered to be within the realm of the enemry's occupation. The initiative should have been easily confront by a military action. However, the English anticipated that the French army would next launch an attack directly upon Paris. Capture of Paris was even considered by many of the French war leaders as the next best move. However, Jeanne d'Arc prevailed in her emphasis that 'the Dauphin' [as she addressed Charles VII at this time] had to receive the sacrement of coronation at Reims. This chevauchée obviously caught the English and Burgundians unprepared to seriously resist what became a crucial -- and probably the most dramatic -- political act of the war.
27 June, Jeanne and the army departed Gien.
29 June, Charles VII joined the royal army march before Mezilles.
There was no money in the royal treasury to pay the knights and men-at-arms, who voluntered to participate.
30 June, army arrived in front of Auxerre.
Auxerre contained a small Brugundian garrison. However, the French decided not to force a submission, but negotiated for three days to receive provisions from the city.
4 July, army camped between Saint-Florentin and Saint-Paul (not shown on map).
From St-Paul, Joan and Charles VII wrote to inhabitants of Troyes, which had sworn allegiance to the English claimant. The king promised amnesty if there were no resistance to the army entering the town.
5 July, army arrived before Troyes.
The French army was in critical need of supplies and lacked a siege train. However, it deployed in front of the city walls as if preparing for siege operations. After a series of meetings -- one between Jeanne and a 'Friar Richard'. On 9 July, the city of Troyes agreed to receive the French king.
10 July, Jeanne and Charles VII entered Troyes.
It was a ceremonious entry, as a Burgundian garrison remained unmolested and looked on passively from their compound in the center of the town.
12 July, army marched from Troyes to Arcy-sur-Aube.
13 July, army marched from Arcy-sur-Aube to Châlons-sur-Marne.
Châlons submitted quickly to the royal expedition. Jeanne met some villagers from Domrémy.
15 July, army marched from Châlons-sur-Marne to Sept-Saulx (not shown on map).
Sept-Saulx was a castle near Reims. Here Charles VII received the a formal offer of 'obedience' from the civilian leaders of Reims.
16 July, Charles VII and Jeanne made a formal entery in to Reims.
17 July, Charles VII was anoited with oil from the Holy Vial in cathedral of Reims.


To the walls of Paris and Retreat
(Summer 1429)

Paris was now given priority as a military objective of the Royal army, but by this time the walled city had been considerably reinforced by English and Burgundian forces.
21 July, Jeanne, Charles VII and the army departed Reims for Corbeny.
23 July, Soissons.
27 July, Château-Thierry.
31 July, Charles VII granted immunity from taxation to the inhabitants of Domrémy and Greux.
1 Aug, Montmirail.
6 Aug, Provins.
7 Aug, Coulommiers.
10 Aug, La Ferté-Milon.
11 Aug, Crépy-en-Valois.
12-13 Aug, Lagny le-Sec -- Dammartin -- Crépy.
The army marched southwest from Crépy a short distance to Lagny le-Sec [not shown on map]. It passed through another small village further southwest, Dammartin [not shown on map], on 13 Aug. The French attempt to move on Paris directly from the east was stopped when confronted with more English and Burgundian forces than anticipated. The French army returned to Crépy-en-Valois.
14 Aug.
Bedford had managed to gather an army of English and Burgundians northeast of Paris. From Senlis, he sent Charles VII a dare to meet for battle at Montépilloy [east of Senlis, northeast of Paris]. The French departed Crépy as if to take up the challenge.
15 Aug, Montépilloy.
The English deployed at, or near, Montépilloy in the traditional manner, archers posted and behind stakes, awaiting a French charge. However, only 'heavy skirmishing' between Bedford's forces and the French was reported. Eventually the English withdrew toward Paris. Bedford went to Rouen in response to reports of uprisings in that region. He left the defense of Paris in the hands of the Burgundians.
17 Aug-18 Aug, Royal army at Compiègne.
The town of Compiègne opened its gates to the royal army. However, secret negotiations (which had begun soon after Reims) between representatives of Charles VII and the duc de Bourgogne began to have their effect. Charles VII, hoping for a diplomatic victory, gave less than passive support to the military operations being undertaken by Jeanne and the French commanders.
23 Aug, army and Jeanne departed Compiègne.
26 Aug, Jeanne and Alençon arrived at Saint-Denis.
The French Siege of Paris developed into a series of skirmishes.
7 Sep, Charles VII arrived at Saint-Denis.
8 Sep, French launched a strong attack on Paris' Saint-Honré Gate
Jeanne was very active in the attack and was wounded [her third] by a crossbow bolt in her leg. The attack failed, though not all the French forces available participated.
9 Sep, Jeanne returned to Saint-Denis.
Jeanne d'Arc at Siege of Paris (September 1429). From Vigiles de Charles VII, executed c.1484, BNF. Fifteenth-century images usually showed her in femine-like dress over her armor, as male attire would have been considered indecent at the time.
10 Sep, Charles VII ordered the siege on Paris to be abandoned.
Charles VII had agreed to a temporary truce with the Burgundians, who led Charles to believe that Paris might be turned over peacefully at a later date.
11 Sep, French army departed from Paris region.
12 Sep, French army began march back to the Loire valley.
13 Sep, Jeanne left a suit of armor at the Basilica of Saint-Denis.
This votive offering was believed traditional for a man-at-arms who recovers from a battle wound. It is not certain that the 'white armor' was hers. The sword she left had been taken from a prisoner captured during the failed siege.
14-21 Sep, army passed through Provins, Courtenay, Châteaurenard, and Montargis.
21 Sep, Dissolution of the army at Gien.

In late September (1429), Jeanne prepared to accompany an expedition against Saint-Pierre-le-Moûtier and La Charité-sur-Loire, towns held by a captain loyal to the duc de Bourgogne. Neither Alençon nor Dunois were any longer with her. They had been deployed on other missions, and she was not allowed to accompany them.
October, Jeanne departed for Saint-Pierre-le-Moûtier.
4 Nov, Saint-Pierre-le-Moûtier surrendered to the royal army.
Late November, the army marched toward La Charité.
24 Nov, siege of La Charité began.
The French force was known to be understrength and poorly equipped with artillery. Promised reinforcements never came, and after a month-long struggle in bad weather, the siege was abandoned.
25 Dec, Jeanne returned to Jargeau.

January, Jeanne traveled to Meung-sur-Yèvre and Bourges.
19 Jan, Jeanne returned to Orléans.
February, Jeanne went to Sully-sur-Loire.


The 'Final Journey'
(May 1430-May 1431)

As part of his secret agreement with the duc de Bourgogne, Charles VII was to allow the town of Compiègne to be returned to the Burgundians. However, the town's citizens refused and prepared to resist. They made a plea for help to the French king, who did not directly respond. In March, 1430, Jeanne d'Arc departed from Sully-s-Loire with a modest-sized band of troops. Charles VII must have allowed her departure, but she went without any endorsement. She no longer had a military-leader's 'household' of pages or any symbol of leading a royal army on the king's mission.
Prior to 22 Apr, Jeanne arrived at Melun, waited for reinforcements from Charles VII.
24 April, Senlis.
25 Apr- 6 May, Crépy-en-Valois.
6 May, Compiègne.
11-12 May, Soissons.
15-16 May, Compiègne.
17-18 May, Crépy-en-Valois.
21-19 May, Jeanne still waited for reinforcements.
22 May, Jeanne returned to Compiègne.
23 May, Jeanne captured before Compiègne.
Jeanne accompanied a sortie from Compiègne in a raid on the Burgundian camp at Margny. The enemy was reinforced by Burgundian and English troops and drove the French back to the walls of Compiègne. She participated in a rearguard action on the far side of the drawbridge across moat to the town's entrance. Fearing that the enemy would slip into the town with the last of the French troops, the commander of the town ordered the drawbridge raised, leaving Jeanne and her companions at the mercy of the Burgundians.

24 May, taken to the fortress at Clairoix.
This is located a short distance northeast of Compiègne, and is where she was held as a prisoner of the comte de Luxembourg, a vassel of Philippe, duc de Bourgogne.
27 and 28 May, held at Beaulieu-lès-Fontaines.
Interviewed by duc Philippe. Early June, she attempted to escape.
10 Jul, taken from Beaulieu.
Aug to early Nov, Jeanne held at castle of Beaurevoir.
Jeanne was befriended by the noble ladies in the house of her captor, Jean de Luxembourg. His aunt, Jeanne de Luxembourg had stood as godmother to Charles VII in 1403, and she appears to have stalled Jean selling his prisoner to the English. However, Jeanne de Luxembourg died 18 September, and the sale was negotiated soon after. Jeanne d'Arc made a second desperate attempt to escape, jumping from a high window.
24 Oct, French marshal Boussac drove off the Burgundian siege of Compiègne.
2 Nov, Jeanne was taken to Arras.
Mid-Nov, Jeanne taken to Le Crotoy.
20 Dec, taken from Le Crotoy.
23 Dec, arrived at Rouen.

9 Jan, first day of Jeanne's trial.
21 Feb, Jeanne was present at first public session.
24 May, she submitted to wear women's clothes.
28 May, she resumed men's clothes and was charged as a 'relapsed heretic'.
30 May she was burned in the Old Market place at Rouen.


One can find some evidence of the remarkable campaigns all along the routes. The two below are just a sampling.
On 16 June 1429, the French besieged Beaugency, forcing the English to retreat to the citadel. Alençon negotiated the surrender and allowed the garrison to depart the next day on condition not to fight for 10 days. The photo of the citadel on the left was taken in July 2000
The photo on the right was taken July 2000, and are the remains of a fortification that reportedly was at Montépilloy, which was almost the site of a decisive battle (15 August 1429). Bedford challenged the French to such a contest. The French came out from Crépy-en-Valois and waited for the English army at Montpilloy. Bedford took his army east of Senlis, but then decided better of the situtaton, and withdrew back into Paris.


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