Joan's career is surprisingly well documented, with several first person accounts of the war as well as the transcripts of the trials. There are two contemporary records of her success at the siege of Orléans.The notes from within Orléans (left) describe Joan as "proven by her deeds to be a Virgin and sent from God, Our Lord," and call the lifting of the siege a miracle. The report (right) from Paris, which belonged to the Burgundian faction, calls Joan only "une pucelle" - a maid - and says that she was reported to have held her banner between the forces.
Nine letters dictated by Joan still exist. They
include "letters of defiance" demanding in standard chivalric
terms the surrender of her opponents, and other communications about the
war. The letter shown in facsimile below was sent to the people of Riom;
it asks for supplies to be sent promptly: "powder, sulfur, transport,
strong arbalests, and other necessities of war." This is the earliest
of three letters which Joan signed - she was apparently illiterate when
she began her military career, but may have learned to read as well as
write her name.
There were, of course, other accounts of the course of the war. A register of the events in the city of Orleans, kept as they occurred, was organized around 1468 into the Journal du Siège d'Orléans. This account portrays Joan as a miraculous figure, and gives a clear picture of the public veneration she received. L'Histoire et Discours au Vray du Siege qui Fut Mis Devant la Ville d'Orléans (left) is a very early edition of the archival manuscript. Cousinot's account of Joan was written around 1470 (although shown here in a later collection of texts), and is based on a group of earlier accounts, including the Rehabilitation hearings. It was a primary source for the more religious of the later historians, but is now considered unreliable.