Baillodz' Defense of the Bridge of Theille
Translated to English by Brad Baillod from the website of C.F. Baillod
Jacques Baillodz is the common ancestor of all the Baillod family, a legendary figure, he is the trunk of our genealogical tree. He gained fame through exemplary courage at the Bridge of Thielle in 1476. Here is the account of his military feats:
"In March 1476, after his defeat by Grandson, the Duke of Bourgogne, Charles the Daring [Charles is the Duke], reassembled anew a great army, entered Switzerland through Orbe, marched on Morat, Bern and Fribourg. He gave command of his army to the Count of Romont who traveled with the advance guard and stopped at Estavayer, where he began to wage war against the Swiss. After having reassembled all his soldiers, he advanced by Cudrefin across the swamp, and by the valley of the Broie. He took the village of Anet by surprise. At the first signal from the sentinels which the Confederates had placed as guards, the villagers of both sexes appeared full of vigor, fortified with all types of arms. The people of Neuveville and of Neuchatel came running to help their neighbors."
"Already a considerable number of Savoyards had gone to make their passage over the defenseless Bridge of Thielle, when Jacques Baillod, banneret* of Neuchatel, a very tall man, rushed alone toward the enemy. Armed for war, equipped with a battleaxe and protected by his shield, he threw himself on the enemy crying: "For the children of the canton!" Jacques Baillod victoriously defended the Bridge of Thielle against the Count of Romont, his battleaxe spreading terror in the ranks of the Savoyards and giving death to all it reached. After long resistance and superhuman efforts, our hero, like Horatius Cocles did on the Bridge of Sublicius at Rome, put to flight that mob of warriors who, all well armed, had rushed like madmen at this courageous Neuchatelois. On seeing this, the Count of Romont, a part of whose company had just attempted a large check at Anet, where the women were fighting heroically, turned on his heel, too weak, he said, to resist such men; he rejoined the main part of the army of the Duke of Bourgogne and went to be cut to pieces before Morat."
* Banneret is an English word meaning "formerly, a magisterial officer of the second rank in some Swiss cantons," an urbanization of an earlier term referring to a knight of the second rank who rode in battle with a square flag.