Was Henry V's Victory a Miracle? Essay

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We few, we happy few, we band of brothers.

For he today that sheds his blood with me

Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,

This day shall gentle his condition.

And gentlemen in England now abed

Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,

And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks

That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day."


These words, spoken by Henry V in Shakespeare's play of the same name, reflected the pride the English took in the memory of a glorious victory and, by connecting the Battle of Agincourt with a holy day, helped reinforce the popular belief that Providence played a role in England's fortunes during that historic battle. The ensuing bloody
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After a hard rain the previous night, the morning of 25th October, 1415, dawned wet and cold. Both the English and French took up positions in a clearing between the woods of Tremecourt and Agincourt--a gap that spanned about three-quarters of a mile at its widest point. Both armies were in a miserable state. Henry's small force had marched 270 miles since arriving in France, averaging about 20 miles a day, and had already nearly exhausted itself in attacking and capturing the town of Harfleur. Food was running low and a number of men were sick with dysentery. It had rained almost continuously throughout their march.

As for the French, they were trying to cope, none too successfully, with the soggy fields between the two woods. Mud covered everything, and most of the soldiers had gotten little sleep the night before as they laboured to keep their armour clean and dry. Military discipline began to break down even before the battle had begun, and by 11.00 the army was completely disorganized.

The French had come to Agincourt with an overdose of confidence, sure of their ability to crush the small English army. Poor leadership, however, completely negated their advantage in numbers and morale. When things began to go bad, French leaders were more concerned with avoiding responsibility than with restoring order.

Henry noticed the confusion in the French ranks and decided to

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