Battle of Jarnac

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Battle of Jarnac

The Battle of Jarnac on 13 March 1569 was an encounter during the French Wars of Religion between the Catholic forces of Marshal Gaspard de Saulx, sieur de Tavannes, and the Huguenots, near the nadir of their fortunes, financed by Reinhold von Krockow (who was wounded in the battle) and led by Louis I de Bourbon, prince de Condé, who was killed after his surrender and his body paraded on an ass in Jarnac, to Catholic jeers. The forces met outside Jarnac between the right bank of the Charente River and the high road between Angoulême and Cognac.

Marshal Gaspard de Tavannes, superior in cavalry, crossed the Charente by the bridge at Châteauneuf and was successful in defeating the Huguenots due to his execution of surprise attacks, coming unexpectedly from the south. The Huguenots made a last stand at Triac and were ultimately defeated, with both their leaders captured in the fray and murdered in the aftermath. Under the leadership of Gaspard de Coligny, however, a significant portion of the Huguenot army managed to escape.

Minor participants on the Huguenot side were the English volunteer Walter Raleigh and Louis of Nassau.

On 25 June, the two armies met again at the Battle of La Roche-l’Abeille, resulting in a Protestant victory. The Battle of Moncontour in October of the same year would provide the Catholics with a more definitive victory.

A tapestry of the battle and the assassination of Louis I of Bourbon is in the collection of the Musée National de la Renaissance in Ecouen.

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