Page 1406


past, the Crusaders proceeded against Damietta, there to repeat in almost every particular

the blundering disasters of the fifth expedition.

The force with which the French king set

out from Cyprus was one of the most formidable ever seen in the East. The fleet contained

eighteen hundred vessels, and the army numbered two thousand eight hundred Knights,

seven thousand men-at-arms, and about seventy-five thousand infantry. But never was

an expedition attended with worse fortune.

The squadron was caught in a storm and scattered. On arriving before Damietta the king

was accompanied by only seven hundred

of his Knights, and his other forces were

correspondingly reduced. On the shore the sultan had gathered an immense army to oppose the landing

of his enemies. Such was the array and such the warlike braying of the trumpets of Islam that the leaders admonished Louis not to attempt debarkation until his strength should be increased by the

arrival of his dispersed ships. But he was by no means to be deterred from his purpose. With a courage that would have done credit to the Lion Heart he ordered his vessels to approach the shore, sprang into the

waters with the banner of France above his head, waded with his resolute Knights through the surf, and attacked the Egyptian army. Such was the heroism of the onset that the Moslems gave way in dismay before the incredible charge and fled, first to and then from Damietta. That city, which since its previous capture by the Christians had been converted into a stronghold, was taken without serious resistance, but the Infidels, before retreating, set fire to the

Enter your footer here