Duc de Sully's Memoirs: Ivry

The royal squadron, to which I belong, had to hold out against the Count d'Egmont, who attacked us with his own squadron, and another of between 1,000 and 1,200 mounted German mercenaries. It is true that the mercenaries, who were of the same religious conviction as our soldiers, mostly fired in the air; but, as Count d'Egmont was concerned, one must admit that the went at it like a man out to win. He charged us with such fury, despite the defection of his mercenaries, that after a terrible fusillade and a struggle of a full quarter of an hour which left the field covered with dead, the left flank of our squadron fled and the right was pierced and gave way. At the first attack my horse, which was wounded by a shot in the nostrils and a second in the neck which came out just above the saddle, was finally felled by a third which took away two feet of his skin and a piece of flesh out of my own leg. I received still another shot in the hand. A pistol shot gave me a third and worse wound: the ball pierced my thigh and came out through the lower abdomen. I would certainly have perished, had my groom not rushed to my help and led up another horse upon which I mounted, although with great difficulty; this act of loyalty drew several shots down on poor Maignan and almost cost him his life.

During a second charge I again had a horse killed, and at the same moment I received a pistol wound in the thigh and a sword wound in the head. I remained on the ground, unconscious, and lost the thread of the battle, in which Count d'Egmont's successful action augured no good for us; and certainly the king would have been defeated if all the rest of the enemy army had fought as well as Egmont. All I know is that, on coming back to my senses after a rather long interval, I saw near me neither enemies nor any of my own household, who had scattered out of fear or confusion, and I took this as a most unfavorable sign.

I started to get away without my helmet and almost without armor; mine had been knocked into pieces. In this condition I saw an enemy horseman riding toward me with designs on my life. Luckily, I found myself next to a pear tree, under which I dragged myself; with the little movement of which I was capable, I made such good use of the branches, which were extremely low, that I avoided the thrusts of my adversary, and prevented him from touching me; tired of turning around the tree, he finally left me. Feurquières did not have the same luck; at this moment I saw him killed under my eyes. La Rocheforet, who has since become one of my men, happened to pass at that minute and I asked him for the little pony that he was leading, for which I immediately gave him thirty écus. I have always believed that in such circumstances it is a good idea to have a little money on one.

Mounted in this fashion, I tried to discover some news of the battle, which I believed to have been lost, when I saw approaching me seven of the enemy, one of whom carried the white ensign of the Duc de Mayenne -- a new danger which, this time, I thought I could never escape. When they called out, "Who goes there?" I gave my name, ready to surrender. What was my surprise when I realized that, instead of attacking me, three of these men were asking me to take them as my prisoners and to save their lives; they gathered around me, seemingly delighted to have run into me. I did as they wished. It seemed so strange to me that four healthy and well-armed men wanted to surrender to an unarmed man, covered with blood, hardly able to hold himself on a wretched nag, that I was quite ready to take it all for illusion or the result of my wounds. I was soon enlightened. My prisoners, since that is what they wanted to be, gave their names as Messieurs de la Châtaignerie, de Chanteloup, and d'Auffreville. They told me that the Duc de Mayenne had lost the battle, that at that moment the king was pursuing the losers, and that this was what led them to surrender for fear of falling into worse hands, their horses being in no condition to get them away from danger. At the same time Sigogne handed over to me the white ensign as a sign of surrender. Three others of this group, who were the Duc de Nemours, the Chevalier d'Aumale, and Trémont, had no intention of surrending. I tried to convince them with good reasons that they should do so, but could not persuade them. After recommending their four comrades to me, on seeing a large group of the day's victors approaching us, they said farewell, and showed that their horses were still good enough to remove them from reach of their enemies.

I advanced with my prisoners toward a battalion of Swiss; meeting one of the head pages of the king, I turned the ensign over to him, as it was too heavy a load for me. I then saw more clearly the evidence of our victory: the countryside full of Leaguers and Spaniards in flight, with the king's victorious army pursuing and scattering the remants of the larger groups which dispersed and regathered. When the Swiss of the two armies found themselves face to face, they stared at one another disdainfully, their pikes lowered, without striking a single blow or making the slightest movement.

The sight of the white ensign sown with black fleur-de-lis, which everybody recognized at that of the Guises, which carried such memories as well as horror of the Saint Batholomew's day massacre, drew all eyes, as to a rich and honorable prey. The cloaks of my prisoners, in black velvet covered with silver crosses, glittered in the open air. The first who came forward to seize them were Messieurs de Chambrai, de Larchant, Du Rolet, De Crèvecoeur, De Falcheus, and De Brasseuse, and they were joined by the Count de Thorigny. I advanced toward them, and, not expecting them to recognize my face, disfigured as it was by dust and blood, I called out my name. The Count de Thorigny quickly recognized La Châtaignerie, who was a relative of his, and, judging that in my present state I wouldn't be able to preserve my prisoners from abuse, he asked me to turn them over to his care, and said he would be responsible to me for them. I granted his request wiht pleasure, but saw him leave me with regret. What Thorigny did out of friendship later on had a dire result for the unfortuante Châtaignerie: he was seen a few minutes later by three men of the company who had been guards of King Henry III. No sooner had these three men recognized him than they fired at him from a few feet away; he fell over dead and they shouted at him: "A! 'sdeath! traitor to your prince, you rejoiced in your king's death and wore the green scarf as his mourning." I could have made the Count de Thorigny pay me the value of the ransom of this prisoner, and many friends advised me to do so; but I did not want to add this new grief to that for the death of a man whom I myself had known particularly well.

Before long I found a number of people gathered around me; every one of whom envied me my good fortune. D'Andelot arrived after the others, and, coming through the crowd, he saw Sigogne and the page who was carrying the ensign. He was preparing to seize it, thinking that destiny has reserved this booty for him, when a rumor spread that the enemy were re-forming, which obliged him to leave posthaste. I never had the time to correct his mistake, for, immediately after telling the page to keep the ensign for him, he darted off. The rumor turned out to be false.

Having got rid of the throng around me, and needing help, especially because of the wound in my hip from which I was losing much blood, I got with my captive to the head of the regiment of De Vignolles, which ad been much admired during the fighting. There, with no more fear of surprises, I had a surgeon come to bandage my wounds, and I asked for wine to award off a fainting spell which I felt coming on. After gathering a little strength, I got as far as Anet, where the concierge gave me a room and where I had the first dressing put on my wounds in the presence of Marshal de Biron, who passed by a few minutes after my arrival and had food brought in so that he could eat a light lunch in my room. He was leading the rear-guard, of which he was the commander, to join the king who, without stopping after his victory, had crossed the river Eure in pursuit of the enemy, finally taking, as I was told, the road to Rosny, where he slept that night.

-from Julian Coudy's The Huguenot Wars

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