By the time of the siege of Orléans, the French cause seemed doomed. Routed at Agincourt (1415), Burgundy and Brittany now recognized the infant Henry VI of England as king of France. English forces and their allies occupied northern France, including Paris. If Orléans fell, there seemed little to prevent the conquest of France. By October 1428, Orléans was surrounded and, on the 12th, an assault captured Les Tourelles, the gatehouse guarding the south bank of the Loire. The English and their allies built a line of redoubts ringing the city, aiming to starve it into submission. Then, on 29 April 1429, Joan of Arc, the 18-year-old visionary who inspired and galvanized the French army, arrived. She rode at the head of a convoy of French troops, dispatched by the French prince, Charles. Despite the scepticism of John of Dunois, the garrison commander, her presence had an inspirational effect. Successive sallies captured St Loup and Les Tourelles, lifting the siege.
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