By Joan and Arch
After the victory at Orleans, the French forces pursued the English down the Loire river and defeated them repeatedly, Jeanne’s aggressive drive at this time is reminiscent of General George Patton during the Second World War when he drove the Germans back so definitively in 1944. (He also passed through Orleans, which was damaged severely from the war.)
After returning to Orleans, the French forces, under Jeanne’s insistence, continued their pursuit of the English forces to Patay, a village some 15 kilometers away across flat, fertile farm land. Jeanne’s value at this time as a talisman was understood by the captains of the French forces. Much to her rage, she was relegated to the rearguard.
The English were in disarray when the confrontation took place. They were routed with little loss of life to the French but the English foot soldiers were slaughtered. Jeanne was very upset by the bloodbath and at one point, held the head of a dying English soldier in her arms, hearing his last confession.
Patay today is a tiny, sleepy village with four wonderful patisseries around the village square. We bought a baguette and had a coffee in the local cafe along with several laborers enjoying their morning flavored wine and a few laughs.
When we asked where the Joan of Arc battle had taken place, they seemed mystified. There was no memorial, museum, signage to the battlefield or mention of the battle anywhere we could find in Patay.
we concluded that a minor battle 600 or so years ago wasn’t the first thing on their minds. Jeanne did stay here for several days, once again stalled by the dauphin’s indecisiveness.
The defeat at Patay was devastating for the English who retreated to their base in Janville only to find the gates shut and the people manning the walls against them. They lost their supplies and military arsenal and were forced to retreat further toward Paris. Jeanne’s determination to pursue the English paid off and continued to lift the morale of the French army.
Map of the Troop Movements at the Battle of Patay