November 9th, 1429, with her forces’ weaponry and other supplies severely depleted following months of successful fighting, Joan of Arc dictated and signed the following letter to the population of Riom in the hope of rounding up replenishments in time for the Siege of La Charité. Approximately 17 years of age and illiterate, Jeanne was more determined than ever to assist Charles VII in his battle to rid France of the English, but ample reinforcements never arrived and this particular siege was abandoned. Luckily however, the most important, pivotal battle had already been won.
Tragically – less than two years later – young Jeanne was sold to the English, found guilty of heresy and then burnt at the stake.
Translated transcript follows, courtesy of Allen Williamson.
Dear and good friends, you well know how the town of Saint-Pierre-le-Moutier was taken by assault, and with God’s help I intend to clear out the other places which are against the King. But because so much gunpowder, projectiles, and other war materials had been expended before this town, and because myself and the lords who are at this town are so poorly supplied for laying siege to La Charité, where we will be going shortly, I pray you, upon whatever love you have for the well-being and honor of the King and also all the others here, that you will immediately send and donate for the siege gunpowder, saltpeter, sulfur, projectiles, arbalestes and other materials of war. And do well enough in this matter that the siege will not be prolonged for lack of gunpowder and other war materials, and that no one can say you were negligent or unwilling. Dear and good friends, may Our Lord protect you. Written at Moulins the ninth day of November.