Today In History
On March 14, 1590, Huguenot forces led by King Henry IV of France defeated the Catholic League led by Duc de Mayenne at the Battle of Ivry during the French Wars of Religion.
Henry had moved to occupy the League-occupied city of Dreux, but the forces of Mayenne — bolstered by Swiss infantry and Flemish pikemen — gave chase, intending to break a siege. Henry deployed his army — outnumbered badly, with the Catholic League having 12,000 foot soldiers to 8,000 Huguenots — on the plain of Saint André near Ivry.
Henry gave a pre-game pep talk:
“Companions! If you today run at risk with me, I will also run at risk with you; I will be victorious or die. God is with us. Look at his and our enemies. Look at your king. Hold your ranks, I beg of you; and if the heat of battle makes you leave them, think also of rallying back: therein lies the key to victory. You will find it among those three trees that you can see over there on your right side. If you lose your ensigns, cornets or flags, do never lose sight of my panache; you will always find it on the road to honour and victory.”
And then with volleys from six royal cannon, the battle was joined.
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