Our friends accordingly found the road open for them as far as Doue. After their junction with Stofflet, their army amounted to about 7,500 men; and at Done they were to meet M. Bonchamps and M. de Lescure, who, it was supposed, would bring with them as many more. They marched out of Vihiers early on the Tuesday morning, having remained there only about a couple of hours, and before nightfall they saw the spire of Doue church. They then rested, intending to force their way into the town early on the following morning; but they had barely commenced their preparations for the evening, when a party of royalists came out to them from the town, inviting them in. M. de Lescure and M. Bonchamps were already there. The republican soldiers had been attacked and utterly routed; most of them were now prisoners in the town; those who had escaped had retreated to Saumur, and even they had left their arms behind them.
All this good fortune greatly inspirited the Vendeans. The men talked with the utmost certainty of what they would do when they were masters of Saumur. Cathelineau had brought with him the celebrated cannon of St. Florent, ‘Marie Jeanne,’ and she now stood in the market place of Done, covered with ribbons and flowers. Many of the men had never hitherto seen this wonderful piece of artillery, and they hastened to look at it. ‘Marie Jeanne’ that night was patted, kissed, and caressed by thousands. Cathelineau was equally the object of their admiration; every peasant who had not yet seen him, hurried to gaze on him; and after his arrival in Doue, he was two hours employed in a military operation, hitherto undertaken, I believe, by no other general: he was endeavouring to shake hands with every man in the army. Chapeau here was again of great use, for he stood at Cathelineau’s elbow, and hurried the men away as soon as they touched his hand. But for this precaution, the work could never have been done; and as it was, some of the men were discontented, and declared their intention of returning home, for Cathelineau was called away before he had completed his task: he was obliged to go the Town Hall to attend a council that was held there of the different Vendean chiefs.
The arms which they had taken in Vihiers and Doue, were of the greatest use to them; in both places they had found a cannon; they had taken nine or ten from Fontenay, and others from Thouars. Most of the men among them now had muskets, and they were able to take to Saumur with them twenty-four pieces of heavy artillery. What could the infamous blues expect to do against a force so numerous, so well armed, and so well officered!