Siege of Bourges, 19-31 August 1562

The siege of Bourges (to 31 August 1562) was an early Catholic successes during the First War of Religion, and saw them seize one of the most important Huguenot strongholds in central France.

Bourges was captured by the Huguenots in May, early in the war, and provided a link between their forces in Orleans and in the Midi.

In July 1562 the Royal army left Paris and marched south under the command of Antoine de Bourbon, king of Navarre, father of the more famous Henry of Navarre (although Duke François of Guise probably held the real command). A detachment under Marshal Saint André captured Poitiers, before in mid-August the army reunited outside Bourges. The city was defended by a garrison of somewhere between a few hundred and 3,500 men, who found themselves facing a Royal army of around 15,000 infantry and 3,000 cavalry, with 20-25 heavy cannon.

A heavy artillery bombardment began, with 640 shots counted on one day of the siege, created a breach in the walls, but the defenders were able to repair it at night. They were also aided by Coligny, who led a raid from Orleans that captured a supply convoy, seizing and destroying six cannon and forty wagons of powder.

The siege was ended by negotiation. D'Ivoy, commander of the garrison, agreed to surrender the city on terms on 31 August. The citizens were promised 'life, liberty and liberty of conscience' in return for their surrender and an indemnity of 50,000 livres. The Royal army then moved on to besiege Rouen.  

The French Religious Wars 1562-1598, Robert Jean Knecht. A useful guide to the complex series of nine French Wars of Religion, including an examination of who the wars began and the main players on both sides, narrative accounts of the wars, overviews of the most important battles and sieges. Also looks at the impact of the wars on France’s neighbours, many of whom got dragged into the conflict, and on a selection of soldiers and civilians. Supported by a series of maps that help show how complex the conflict was
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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (14 January 2011), Siege of Bourges, 19-31 August 1562 , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/siege_bourges_1562.html

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