THE KING OF FRANCE SENDS DIFFERENT CAPTAINS WITH TROOPS TO HARRASS THE ARMAGNACS ON THE FRONTIERS.—THE DEFEAT OF THE COUNT DE LA MARCHE.
MANY of the nobles and captains were now sent by the king to the countries of such as were confederates with the duke of Orleans and his party. In the number, the count de la Marche was ordered into the Orleanois, to subject it to the king's obedience, in company with the lord de Hambre.
Aymé de Vitry, Fierbourd, and others were sent against the duke of Bourbon, who had done much mischief to the country of Charolois; and having a large force with them, they despoiled the Bourbonois and Beaujolois. They advanced with displayed banners before the town of Villefranche, in which was the duke of Bourbon and his bastard-brother, sir Hector, a very valiant knight and renowned in war. There was with them a large company of knights and esquires, vassals to the duke, who, seeing the enemy thus boldly advancing, drew up in handsome array and sallied forth to meet them, and the duke himself joined them in their intent to offer battle. A severe skirmish ensued, in which many gallant deeds were done on each side. The bastard of Bourbon distinguished himself much in the command of the light troops, and fought most chivalrously. He was, however, so far intermixed with the enemy that the duke was fearful of his being slain or taken, and, sticking spurs into his horse, cried out to his people, 'Push forward! for my brother will be made prisoner unless speedily succoured.' Great part of his battalion followed him on the gallop toward the enemy, and the battle was renewed with more energy: many men at arms were unhorsed, wounded and slain: at length, the van of the Burgundians, under the command of Aymé de Vitry, was forced to fall back on the main army, which was at a short distance off. The bastard, who had been struck down, was remounted, and returned to the duke. Before that day, no one person had ever heard the duke call him brother.
About forty were slain on both sides, but very many were wounded.
When the skirmish was ended, each party retreated without attempting more,—the duke and his men into Villefranche, and the others toward the country of Charolois, destroying every thing on their march.
Other parties were sent to Languedoc, Acquitaine and Poitou, to despoil the countries of the duke of Berry, the count d'Armagnac, and the lord d'Albreth. Sir Guichard Daulphin, master of the king's household, commanded one division; and the two others were under the lord de Heilly, marshal of Acquitaine, and Enguerrand de Bournouville.
They did infinite damage to the lands of the aforesaid lords; but one day, as the lord de Heilly was lodged in a large village called Linieres, he was attacked at day-break by a party of the duke of Berry, who defeated and plundered great part of his men of their horses and baggage: a few were killed and taken,—but he and the majority of his army saved themselves by retreating within the castle, which held out for the king.
I must say something of the count de la Marche and the lord de Hambre, who, as I have said, were ordered into the Orleanois. It is true, they might have under their command from five to six thousand combatants, whom they conducted, destroying all the country on their line of march, as far as Yeure-la-Ville and Yeure-le-Chastel. The count de la Marche was quartered in the village of Puchet, and the lord de Hambre in another town.
The moment their arrival at Yeure-la-Ville was known in Orleans, where were considerable numbers of men at arms for the guard of the country, about six hundred of them were assembled under the command of Barbasan de Gaucourt, sir Galliet de Gaulles, and a knight from Lombardy, together with three hundred archers. They marched all night as secretly as they could to Yeure-la-Ville, to the amount of about a thousand men, under the guidance of such as knew the country well, and where the count was lodged. The count was, however, somehow informed of their intentions, and, having armed his men, posted the greater part of them in and about his lodgings: the others he ordered to keep in a body, and sent to the lord de Hambre to acquaint him with the intelligence he had received, that he might be prepared to come to his assistance, should there be any necessity for it. The count and his men were under arms, waiting for the enemy, the whole of the night; but when day appeared, and no news or the enemy arrived, he was advised to repose himself, and to order his men to their quarters.
Soon after sun-rise, one of the adversary's scouts rode into the town, and, seeing that no watch was kept, hastened back to inform his friends, whom he met near the place, of this neglect. They instantly entered the town, shouting, 'Vive le roi!' but soon after, crying out 'Vive Orleans!' made a general attack on the houses. The greater part hastened to the lodgings of the count, who was preparing to hear mass,—and the tumult became very great, for the count and his people fought gallantly: nevertheless, he was conquered and made prisoner. The whole quarter was carried, and all taken or slain. After this defeat, the count and his men were conducted hastily to Orleans.
In the mean time, as the lord de Hambre was coming to their assistance, he was misled by a man whom he had chosen for his guide, and, on his arrival, found the whole town destroyed, and the count with his men carried off. Notwithstanding his grief for this event, he pursued the enemy with all speed, and, by his activity, overtook the rear, upon which he fell manfully, and defeated part of it. He rescued some of the prisoners,—but the count, with about four score (as it was told him), were sent forward as fast as horses could carry them, and were to be confined in the prisons of Orleans. The lord de Hambre was much troubled that he could not rescue him. There were slain in these two affairs from three to four hundred men on both sides, but the greater part were Armagnacs. Among others of the party of the count de Vendôme that were mortally wounded was Guoit le Gois, eldest son to Thomas le Gois, a capital citizen of Paris, which caused great sorrow to the Parisians.
After this affair, the lord de Hambre assembled, by the king's orders, a larger force than before, and made a very severe war on the duchy of Orleans and all attached to that party, which caused the country to suffer greatly.
King Louis of Sicily arrived at this time at Paris from Provence, attended by three hundred men at arms well equipped, and was lodged in his own hôtel of Anjou. He was grandly received by the king, the duke of Acquitaine and the other princes, and united himself with the king and the duke of Burgundy, promising to join their party against the family of Orleans and their adherents.
The duchess of Burgundy and her daughter came, nearly at the same time, from Burgundy to the Bois de Vincennes, where the queen and the duchess of Acquitaine resided, who received her with much pleasure. Thence they went to visit the dukes of Acquitaine and Burgundy,—and very gay and magnificent feasts were made on their arrival. They remained for a long time with the queen, living at the expense of the king.
At this period, the king of France sent the lord de Dampierre, admiral of France, with other lords, to Boulogne-sur-mer, to meet the english ambassadors who were arrived at Calais. They went together to Leulinghen, where they agreed on a truce between the two crowns for one year,—after which the admiral and his companions returned to the king at Paris, where he was holding a grand assembly of prelates and ecclesiastics for the general reformation of the church. The particular object of this assembly was to select proper delegates to send to the holy father the pope, to request that a convenient place might be appointed for the holding of a general council. But in truth very little was done, for they could not agree on one single point: another meeting was therefore fixed upon, when a greater number of churchmen should be summoned to attend it.
The Parisians, having loyally served the king and the duke of Acquitaine in the late wars, obtained, through the means of the duke of Burgundy, that the power of the shrievalty, with all its franchises, of which the city of Paris had been deprived by royal authority in the month of January, in the year 1382, should be restored to it fully and freely by letters patent from the king. This created very great rejoicings, and much increased the popularity of the duke of Burgundy.