Joan of Arc (c. 1412 – May 30, 1431), nicknamed “The Maid of Orléans” (French: La Pucelle d’Orléans), is considered a heroine of France and a Roman Catholic saint.
She arrived at the besieged city of Orléans on April 29, 1429, but Jean d’Orléans, the acting head of the ducal family of Orléans on behalf of his captive half-brother, initially excluded her from war councils and failed to inform her when the army engaged the enemy. However, his exclusions did not prevent her presence at most councils and battles.
Joan of Arc’s appearance at Orléans coincided with a sudden change in the pattern of the siege. During the five months before her arrival the defenders had attempted only one offensive assault, which had ended in defeat. On 4 May, however, the Armagnacs attacked and captured the outlying fortress of Saint Loup (bastille de Saint-Loup), followed on 5 May by a march to a second fortress called Saint-Jean-le-Blanc, which was found deserted. When English troops came out to oppose the advance, a rapid cavalry charge drove them back into their fortresses, apparently without a fight. The Armagnacs then attacked and captured an English fortress built around a monastery called Les Augustins. Armagnac troops maintained positions on the south bank of the river before attacking the main English stronghold called “les Tourelles” on the morning of May 7. Contemporaries acknowledged Joan as the heroine of the engagement. She was wounded by an arrow between the neck and shoulder while holding her banner in the trench outside Les Tourelles, but later returned to encourage a final assault which succeeded in taking the fortress. The English retreated from Orléans the next day, and the siege was over.
At Chinon and Poitiers Joan had declared that she would provide a sign at Orléans. The lifting of the siege was interpreted by many people to be that sign, and it gained her the support of prominent clergy such as the Archbishop of Embrun and the theologian Jean Gerson, both of whom wrote supportive treatises immediately following this event.