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JOHN LORD DE JOINVILLE Memoirs of Louis IX, King of France

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JOHN LORD DE JOINVILLE
Memoirs of Louis IX, King of France
page 201



perish and also another passage,' How often hare the most numerous armies been destroyed by a handful of soldiers !' God protects the just; and we have no doubt of his protection, nor that he will confound your arrogant designs." The French disembarked on the Saturday, on the same shore where Fakreddin had made his encampment, and pitched a red tent for their king. Îh e Mussulmen made some movements to prevent their landing; and the emirs Nedjm-Eddin and Sarimeddin were slain in these skirmishes. A t the beginning of the night the emir Fakreddin decamped with his whole army, and crossed the bridge which leads to the eastern shore of the Nile, whereon Damietta is situated. He took the road to Aohmoum-Tanah, and by this march the French were left masters of the western bank of that river. It is impossible to paint the despair of the inhabitants of Damietta when they saw the emir Fakreddin march away from their town, and abandon them to the fury of the Christians. They were afraid to wait for the enemy, and quitted their town precipitately during the night. This conduot of the Mussulman general was so much the less excusable as the garrison was composed of the bravest of the tribe of Beni-Kénané, and as Damietta was in a better state of resistance than when it was besieged by the Franks during the reign of the sultan Elmelikul-Kamil ; for, although plague and famine afflicted the town, the Franks could not conquer it until after sixteen months' siege. On the Monday morning (6th June, 1249), the French came before the town; but, astonished to see no one, they were afraid of a surprise. They were soon informed of the flight of its inhabitants, and, without striking a blow, took possession of this important place, and all the ammunition When the news of the capture of Damietta reached Cairo, the consternation was generai. They considered how greatly this success would augment the courage and hopes of the French ; for they had seen an army of Mussulmen timorously fly before them, and were in possession of an innumerable quantity of arms of all sorts, with plenty of ammunition and provision. The disorder of the sultan, which daily grew worse, and hindered him from acting in this critical state of


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