The First Day - Saturday 17th August
During the night the Waldensians had crossed the lake in rowing boats and come ashore in their native duchy at the mouth of a small stream, the Mercube, which flows into Lake Geneva between Nernier and Yvoire.
Once ashore a group of Waldensians went off to search for a guide, and this lead to their first loss, since Pastor Cyrus Chion was taken prisoner, which left only two Pastors remaining. These were Jacob Moutoux and Henry Arnaud, whose nomme de guerre was "Monsieur de la Tour".
The first and main task that faced the participants was that of organising themselves, which they did by dividing into 20 companies. Thirteen were composed of Piemontese Waldensians divided as to birthplace, whlle six were formed of French Huguenots with one of them being reserved for refugees from Val Pragelato. The last was formed from the volunteers of other nationalities such as the Swiss. Each company had its own Captain. The Villar Pel-10
lice Company was, for example, commanded by Paul Pellenc.
There were nearly 250 Huguenots, mostly from the Dauphiné, and they certainly hoped that once they had reached the Waldensian Valleys they would be able to persuade their compatriots, who had been forcibly converted to Catholicism, to revolt. It was also the Huguenots who provided the military intelligence. Despite Janavel's admonitions, however, there was always tension between the Huguenots and the Waldensians, especially after the arrivai in the Waldensian Valleys.
Given that Bourgeois had not arrived in time, another leader was needed, and the choice fell on the Huguenot Turel, who was aided by a council of war composed of the company commanders. Turel seems to have proved a good commander. At any rate he al­ways managed to keep his men together, and to give his pursuers the slip. Henry Arnaud, whose important contribution to the success of the expedition was that of "ideologue", was certainly not yet the "colonel" of the Waldensians. It was only after the arrivai in the Waldensian Valleys that the military command passed more and more into his hands. Turel1s position as a "foreigner" in the Valleys seems to have eroded his authority, and this makes his "disertion" of 5th October 1689 ali the more understandable. He betook himself to the Dauphiné, perhaps indeed to raise more troops, but was captured by the French authorities and, after being tried, was executed.
The march from the shores of Lake Geneva began at 9 o'clock in the morning with a vanguard, the main body and a rearguard with the intention of crossing the four mountain provinces of Savoy as quickly as possible following the instructions of Joshua Janavel, whose age had made participation impossible. In his "Instructions", Janavel had laid down that the Waldensians should not make the locai population hostile to them by looting, but should honestly pay for their food and drink. Indeed, since the Waldensians had decided to carry nothing apart from their arms they were dependent on the locai population for provisions. The claim put forward that the Waldensians carried fifty kilos apiece seems ill founded. Indeed it was only due to their reputation for honesty that the Waldensians were able to effect their crossing of the Alps at ali. They were sometimes obliged to ask the ordi-nary people to serve as guides, while they took as hostages above ali the clergy and nobility who they made march ahead of them to garantee them a free passage. Some of these hostages were taken as far as the Valleys probably in the hope of exchanging them for their Pastors and their children. It was only in the rare cases of emergency, therefore, that it was found expedient to punish or to sack, and speed and discipline were the principal factors that lead to their success.
Meanwhile in the morning the inhabitants of Nernier and Yvoire gave the alarm, and panie spread throughout Chablais. The Mar­li quess of Coudré called the whole population to arms to hunt down the Waldensians and to occupy the passes and the bridges. There being no regular troops, this meant the townsfolk and above ali the peasants, who indeed often having no arms, saw little reason why they should leave their work and go off without pay to attack the Waldensians, who vere not disturbing their villages, and this attitude helped the whole course of the Recovery.
On the first day the Waldensians undertook a forced march, heading south through the hilly country of Bas-Chablais. A little beyond Filly at the village of Massongy, they struck left, going round Mount Boisy towards the small town of Bons. It was near Massongy that they took their first hostages, who were some of the locai nobility who had tried with the help of armed peasant bands to bar their way. Beyond Bons the Waldensians had their first pass to cross, which was the 970 metre high Col de Saxel over the wooded Mount Les Voirons, which divides the provinces of Chablais and Faucigny. This pass was guarded by 200 hastily gathered peasants, who presented little resistance, and here the Waldensians took a monk from the Dominican monastery as yet another hostage.
They then made their way to the town of Boege in the Valley of the Ménoge, which is a stream that further westwards flows into the Foron, a tributary of the Arve, and it was the valley of the Arve and its main tributary the Giffre that the Waldensians had now to traverse. Further on down the Arve Valley became Genevan territory, and it was the bridge over the Arve in Geneva that had seen the entry in 1687 of the pitiable Waldensian survivors of the Piemontese imprisonment. On the first evening, however, the expedition stopped short of the Arve halting at about eight at the village of Viuz-en-Sallaz, having crossed the chain of Mount Vouan and descended the Foron Valley. After this halt they turned east until they reached Saint-Jeoire in the Risse Valley, which they ascended until Cormand where they made their first night's camp. As they always did during the Recovery the Waldensians sought a safe refuge for the night high up in the mountains and safe from night attacks.
However, despite the fact that it was past midnight and they had already covered 40 kms, they only made a brief stop in order to keep well ahead of their pursuers. Perhaps they also thought that in the morning the rain would have stopped, but this proved a vain hope, and indeed it either rained or snowed almost without stopping throughout the succeeding march.


The Second Day - Sunday 18th August
During this day the Waldensians had to ascend the Arve Valley and effect a crossing of the river, and this presented some dangers. Furthermore in the meantime Count Grazio Provana had been alerted. He was President of the Savoyard Parliament and acting General Commanding Savoy in the absence in Turin of Gaspar de Rossillon, Count of Bernex. Given that the Waldensians had already succeeded in crossing Chablais, Provana set about organis-ing the defence of those provinces he thought they would have to pass through, which were Faucigny, Tarentaise and Maurienne. Provana also alerted Duke Victor Amadeus II in Turin and strongly advised that the commander of the Susa Valley and the Waldensian Valleys should be prepared for any eventuality. The Waldensians were therefore tactically correct to recommence their march very early on that Sunday morning.
                                                                                                              -e Giffre and crossed this river at Marignier without any problem, since to their surprise they found the bridge intact. After the bridge there opened out a plain surrounded by mountains and stretching until the Arve in the south. Leaving this plain the first really dangerous part began since here the valley of the Arve becomes a gorge ("eluse"), whose entrance was guarded by the small but well fortified town of Cluses. At the same time the Waldensians were being pursued from the rear, though stili at a certain distance. Although the forewarned population of Cluses had already locked their gates, the Waldensians had no alterna­tive but to pass through the town. A combination of threats and hostages enabled the Waldensians to force a passage, and they marched through the town of Cluses between the ranks of the armed citizenry. The chief of these hostages was the Knight of Malta, De Ride de la Charbonniere, who remained with them for 3 months.
Now they had ro pass through a gorge that was so narrow that according to one of the party only a few men on the rocks above could have blocked their way. "God, however, had blinded our enemies so that his people could cross the desert to arrive in our little Canaan and there to tear down the idols and so set up the Kingdom of God." This eye-witness was Paul Reinaudin, a native of Bobbio studying Theology in Switzerland, who has left us a lively description of his experiences with the Recovery.
At Magland the Waldensians allowed themselves a short breathing space, while they looked down on the extensive plain surrounding Sallanches, which constituted the second fortified town in their path. Hotly pursued as they were, the Waldensians could find themselves in difficulties here, and indeed a little before they reached Sallanches their problems began when they tried to cross the barricaded bridge of Saint-Martin over the Arve. Time was lost in threats and intimidation, but what finally worked was the taking as hostages rf two monks from the Capuchin monastery, who persuaded the population to desist. "The Waldensians were very impressed by the power these monks had over their coreligionists."
The Waldensians had escaped encirclement, but their morale had suffered. Here instead of taking the most rapid route of above Sallanches in the Arve Valley and then turning into the valley of the Montjoie in order to reach the Bonhomme Pass, the Waldensians chose in fact a more hazardous route. This was because with dusk falling they feared a pincer attack from the following militia and the citizens of Sallanches. This explains why the Waldensians as soon as they had passed Sallanches climbed up as far as the hamlet of Combloux, where for the moment they were safe. The pursuers halted at Sallanches, being ignorant of the Waldensians intentions.
Despite the delays the Waldensians had covered 32 Kms on this second day. They were in a sorry state however, since the incessant rain had left them "as if they had bathed in a river," and at Combloux they had little chance to get dry and warm.


The Third Day - Monday August 19th
It is certain that the unlikely route taken by the Waldensians after Sallanches confused their pursuers and those defending the provinces ahead of them, even if on the other hand the Waldensians lost precious time and especially physical resilience. Moreover throughout this third day they had to suffer rain and snow.
In the morning the Waldensians climbed from Combloux up to Megeve, where one would have expected them to descend into the valley of the Arly in order to reach the valley of the Isere as quickly as possible. However, they decided instead to continue climbing until the Véry Pass(2000 mts). This was probably because they wanted to avoid being caught in the narrow and risky valley of the Arly. From the Véry Pass they then made for the Bonhomme Pass, though this made touching on the Beaufortain inevitable. The Waldensians arrived on the upland fields along the Dorinet Valley and, often scrambling and sliding under the snow and rain, continued their ascent towards the Fenétre Pass, which is the quickest route for the Bonhomme Pass. Members of the party later complained that here they were led astray by their locai guides, and they probably therefore descended lower into the valley of the Dorinet than was strictly necessary. However, finally the Fenétre Pass (2263 mts) was crossed, and the Waldensians could descend into the Montjoie Valley heading for the Bonhomme Pass.
With night falling the little army bivouaced in the strategie position of the high Alpine pastures of Pian de Jovet at a height of 2000 mts. They had covered 28 Kms and there were only a few shepherds1 bothies to offer shelter. Reinaudin, who often compared the Recovery with the Israelites crossing of the desert to reach the Promised Land, found this piace "a real desert".
The bad weather conditions that the Waldensians encountered were not freakish, since during the seventeenth century the Alps underwent a mini ice age with shorter and colder summers and much more extensive glaciers than at present.


The Fourth Day - Tuesday 29th August
Even though they had succeeded in shaking off the enemy, the Waldensians would not have awoken in too cairn a frame of mind sirice now they had to force a crossing of the Pass of the Bonhomme, which connects the Faucigny with the Tarentaise and on which they knew the Duke of Savoy had built trenches and posted a guard. This was perhaps the reason for the desertion during the morning of a Huguenot captain. However, everything happened differently from what they had expected. The vanguard found the trenches empty, and so the Waldensians could freely negotiate the Pass (2330 mts). Provana was unpleasantly surprised that the Waldensians had been able to pass the guard post "where thirty men could not only have halted, but could have destroyed them". In a resigned mood Provana wrote to the Court at Turin that he had no confidence in either the locai powers or the militia, who having heard that the Waldensians bore no animus against them, were disposed to give them free passage.
Provana1s diagnosis proved correct. Even though the Chapieux Valley that they had to descend to enter the broad valley of the Isere was particularly narrow, the Waldensians met with no difficulties. It was only when they carne to the last bridge that they encountered any problems for the people of Bourg-St-Maurice and of Séez barricaded it. However after receiving garantees as to their safety they let the Waldensians through. Sigismond de Duyn Mareschal, Count of the Isere Valley, and responsible for the defence of the Tarentaise, retreated rapidly into his castle at Séez for fear of being taken hostage. The Waldensians, who had covered 20 Kms, now climbed up a little outside Séez to make their camp for the night.
It was only on this fourth day that counter measures on a vast scale began to be undertaken by Turin. The Count de Bernex was sent with extensive orders to Savoy, while precautions began to be set on foot in the Waldensian Valleys. Up to now the Walden­sians had had the advantage through their rapidity of movement.
The Fifth Day - Wednesday 21st August
The part of the Valley of the Isere where they had spent the night was a fairly busy thoroughfare, with the road from Séez leading up to the Little Saint Bernard Pass, which connects Savoy with the Valley of Aosta. The Waldensians did not take this route, but continued on up the Valley of the Isere itself towards the Iseran Pass. Against possible pursuers the rear guard was reinforced, but the vanguard too had to stay at maximum alert. After Ste-Foy-Tarentaise the valley became very narrow, the path truly adventurous, and the Waldensians feared that the bridges might have been destroyed. This, however, had not occured, and there was no sign either of the armed peasantry. At Tignes - now sunk beneath the artificial lake - the Waldensians were able briefly to catch their breath where the valley opens out into a wide basin. Above Tignes there was another narrow and very dangerous gorge which leads into another basin called Lavai, which is an abbreviation for "La Val sur Tignes" (the present village Val d'Isere). In this mountain village they spent the night. They had covered 28 Kms, and were able to refresh themselves a bit. For the first time since Promenthoux Henry Arnaud slept in a bed.


The Sixth Day - Thursday 22nd August
On this day the Waldensians had before them the Iseran Pass, which connects the Tarentaise with the Maurienne and which at 2770 mts represented the highest point of the Recovery. Before reaching the pass the Waldensians formed order of battle fearing, mistakenly as it turned out that, the pass to be guarded. Some shepherds informed them that the Ducal troops were waiting for them only at Lanslevillard at the foot of the Mont Cenis Pass. The Waldensians were therefore able to cross the Iseran Pass and crossing the Lenta Valley they entered their last Savoyard province, the Maurienne, which consists of the upper valley of the river Are.
The Waldensians reached the river at Bonneval-sur-Arc, where the inhabitants proved very friendly, unlike those 7 kms further on at Bessans, whom Paul Reinaudin described as "the worst who exist under the sun". The Waldensians revenged themselves on them by sacking the town and taking the parish priestas hostage, who only managed to return to Bessans in November "covered in fleas".
Stili further down the valley at the strategie position of the Col de la Madelaine the Waldensians pitched camp in an abandoned village, having covered about 23 Kms that day.


The Seventh Day - Friday 23rd August
During the morning the Waldensians continued to follow the path along the right bank of the Are until Lanslevillard, where contrary to what the shepherds had told them, there were no soldiers. Bere again the rapidity of the Waldensians had proved decisive. Provana and the Count de Bernex had certainly ordered regular troops to the Maurienne, but these were stili far off, and the militia proved as untrustworthy here as elsewhere. Con-sequently the last attempt to halt the Waldensians in Savoy pro-per had failed.
At Lanslevillard the Waldensians crossed the bridge over the Are and took the parish priest as hostage here too, though they were obliged to release him immediately since his corpulence would not have enabled him to make the ascent up to the Mount Cenis Pass (2081 mts), which begins by crossing the steep "Chemin de la Ramasse". Once the principal route between Lyon and Lom-bardy, the Mount Cenis had ceded importance to the Simplon in the sixteenth century, but it stili remained the connecting link in the Savoyard State, uniting as it did Savoy with Piemont.
Having reached the pass the Waldensians sent a party to requisition the horses from the posting station, thus making sure that news of their presence did not reach Susa too quickly. While they were returning to the main body this party carne across a loaded mule train, which they intended to carry off with them despite the protestations of the muleteers. Having ascertained that the baggage belonged to Cardinal Ranuzzi (1626-1689), the Papal Nuncio to France, Turel, foreseeing loss of time and disciplinary problems with the booty, ordered the release of mules and mule­teers. As a result of this occurence, rumour (unfounded) had it that the Waldensians had captured an important correspondence of Ranuzzi's, which then fell into the hands of the Piemontese and thence to the French Court, and ali of which led, it was sup-posed, to the premature death in the same year of the Cardinal.
From the Mount Cenis Pass the Waldensians followed a different route from that usually taken by travellers, who would cross the high plain of Mount Cenis now lying beneath an artificial lake, and then descend to Novalesa and from there down to Susa. This was one of the most strongly fortified cities in the Duchy with the scope of defending Piemont from the French present in the Upper Susa Valley. The Waldensians were right to avoid the descent via Novalesa since, having been alerted by Turin, the Count Francesco Losa, Governor of Susa, had camped his men at Novalesa to await them.
The Waldensians, however, turned sharp right after the Mount Cenis Pass in the direction of the Little Mount Cenis Pass, where they met with but little resistance from the few militia posted there, and were able to continue on the track that leads towards the Clapier Pass. Meanwhile it had also started to snow again. Having reached the Clapier Pass (2477 mts), they descended the Clarea Valley into Val Susa. This road had once been much used, but by the seventeenth century it Kad been long out of use, and the Waldensians could well see why. It was not "a road but a precipice". More sliding than running they finally reached San Giacomo, a little village perched where the valley became a little more pleasant. Here the Waldensians pitched camp for the night having struggled over 25 exhausting kilometres.

The Memorable Eighth Day - Saturday 24th August
On awaking in San Giacomo the Waldensians found themselves in a delicate situation. They had intended to descend the Clarea Valley down towards Chaumont by means of the Combe of Giaglione, but in this way they would have been helpless against attack from the heights above, and what is more, the Combe of Giaglione forming as it did the frontier between France and Savoy, was an espe-cially risky piace to be. This explains why the Waldensians first sent forward only the vanguard, who were to reconnoitre the possibility of descending the Clarea Valley unseen by either Savoyard or French troops. These hoped quickly to reach the valley bottoni, cross the Dora at the bridge near Chaumont and then immediately scale the other side up to the Assietta Pass, which connects the Valley of Susa with that of Pragelato, from where they would be able to find passes into the Waldensian Valleys. This stretch would all have been across French territory.
The Piemontese, however, put paid to this pian. The Waldensi­ans had succeeded in avoiding an engagement with Francesco Losa's troops the day before by going via the Clapier Pass, but during that evening and night Losa had withdrawn his men to the heights above Susa, and had also come to an accord with the French commander of the fortress of Exilles, which would allow either of them to cross each other borders if that were to be necessary in seeking and destroying the "Luzernois". The Waldensian vanguard was therefore discovered by the Piemontese above the Combe of Giaglione. Without success the Waldensians tried to gain a passage by bargaining hostages. The Piemontese arrested the Walden­sian negotiators, among whom was the Captain Paul Pellenc, and began to hurl rocks down on the vanguard, who withdrew at breakneck speed. In all the Piemontese had taken 40 prisoners. When the vanguard returned to the main body, the Waldensians were left with but one choice only with the descent of the Clarea Val­ley blocked and the re-ascent to Col Clapier made too dangerous by the pursuers from Maurienne, and that was to clamber up the Clarea Valley making west on a track that leads high up on the short and steep Valley of Tiraculo to the Grange Thullie. They thus passed, however, immediately into French territory.
Hotly pursued by both the French and the Piemontese up the steep climb, the Waldensians lost important men such as their two doctors. Fortunately most of these fell prisoners to the Piemontese and were released in 1690, but those taken by the French served out life sentences in the galleys.
From Grange Thullie a track lead to a pass called characteristically Quattro Denti - the Four Teeth - (2106 mts), and this of-fered the Waldensians a new chance of descending into the Valley of Susa. However, at the summit of the Quattro Denti they encoun-tered the French troops and treated without result with the officer to gain a free passage. These troops carne from Exilles, the French fortress facing Susa. This meant that the Waldensians had to abandon hopes of descent into the valley for the present. They were forced to follow the mountain slopes above Exilles in the direction of Salbertrand. Only here would it be possible to descend and cross the Dora. With the French and Piemontese troops hot behind them the Waldensians continued on their way along the slopes of Mount Cima del Vallone, and then descended until the shepherds1 bothies of Clot di Brun. From here their path now led them to Grange della Valle, which lies in the valley of the moun­tain torrent called the Galambra, and from there they moved on to Eclause. Dusk was falling when they met a peasant who gave them to understand by way of a song that a magnificent dinner was waiting for them at Salbertrand.
In fact when the Waldensians arrived at Moncellier, a hamlet above Salbertrand, they saw the fires of the French militia camp burning below them on the field of Chenevieres on the other side of the bridge over the Dora. The bridge had been barricaded only in the late afternoon under the orders of Louis de Lenet, Marquess de Larray, the Commander of the Dauphiné since 1688, who had been called to the aid of the Commandant of Exilles. The Mar­quess had only a few professional troops under his command, and the majority of his men were hastily armed peasants.
With the risk of being surrounded the prospects for the Reco­very began to look bleak. It was obvious that the troops at the bridge were waiting for them, and indeed before they reached the bridge they ran into an ambush. The greater part of the Walden­sians prepared to assault the bridge, while a rearguard covered them against the closely pressing pursuers.
A little after ten o`clock, and by the light of the moon, the Waldensians attacked. First of ali it was the bad quality of the French troops which explains why the Waldensians were able to take the bridge and put the French to flight against superior numbers in a strong defensive position. But this was not the only reason. An eye witness who has left us a sober and dispassionate account of the Recovery wrote that "it was necessary to win or to die. Men holding beloved and just convictions and united by faith and interest must prevaii".
After the battle the bridge was destroyed to delay their pursuers, and the captured munitions and supplies burnt. This done the Waldensians began to climb Mount Genevris in the direction of the Pass of Costa Piana. Halfway up, the Waldensians halted to sleep and regroup in the hamlet of Monfol. In the battle the Wal­densians lost only 20 men, but in the pursuit some of the main group fell into the hands of the French so that total losses of this eighth day were 150 men, and in the confusion many of their hostages managed to escape. In the morning the Waldensians con­tinued to gather their dispersed companions with trumpet calls.
The 17 Kms covered this day had been worth twice that distance covered.


The Ninth Day - Sunday 25th August
The Waldensians were again on the march before sunrise with every reason to suppose that the French would not take their defeat lying down, and there was stili a long tract of French territory to traverse. The sun rose as they were crossing the Pass of Costa Piana and they sent up a prayer of thanksgiving not only for the previous night's victory but also for the prospect before them now of the peaks of the mountains of their native valleys.
They then descended into the Valley of Pomerol and reached Traverses in the Valley of Pragelato by way of the little villages of Rif and Allevé. Before 1685 this valley had been the only part of France to be exclusively Protestant, and therefore there had always existed close ties with the Waldensian Valleys. An Edict of Louis XIV in May 1685 had forced many of the inhabitants to flee, and many others had been forcibly converted to Catholicism. For fear of reprisals the Waldensians were treated with caution by the inhabitants of the Pragelato Valley, but some of the young men did not hesitate to join them. The Bailiff of the valley, a fanatical Catholic called Bertrand, sent the locai militia against them, but an engagement was avoided. In the mean-time their French pursuers had reached the Valley of Pragelato via the Pass of Sestriere.
After Traverses the Waldensians reclimbed the Pragelato Valley and they pitched camp in the upland village of Joussaud, from which point the track goes up towards the Colle (Pass) del Pis (2613 mts), which was their next day's objective.


The Tenth Day - Monday 26th August
After the privations of the eighth day, and also a soaking from a downpour during the night, the Waldensians were late getting on the move. This day there were again faced with a difficult pass to surmount, which was the Colle del Pis. This pass joins the Valley of Pragelato to the Valley of Massello, which is a lateral valley of the Germanasca Valley, and so this pass was the last obstacle to surmount before entering the Waldensian Valleys. At the same time this pass was the frontier beween France and Savoy, and it was therefore to be expected that it would be guarded. The Waldensians formed order of battle to attack the pass, but it was taken with more ease than they had anticipated as the 50 Piemontese soldiers guarding the pass offered little resistance and fled in disorder. Nature was also kind to the Waldensians as the area was enveloped in fog.
The French were enraged by the ease with which the Waldensians
had been able to force the pass, and it confirmed their lack of confidence in the Piemontese Generai, Carlo Emilie San Martino, Marquess di Parella, who had been sent by the Duke to the Waldensian Valleys after he had received the alarming reports of the Waldensians progress in Savoy. Parella, who in 1686 had directed the attacks on the Waldensians, was always suspected by the French of influencing the Duke against them. However, in this case French suspicions were unfounded. The General had only arrived in the Germanasca Valley the day before, and following his information to hand, had posted his men further east on the passes above Perrero and Pomaretto.
The responsible for the light defence of the pass was the Marquess de Marolles, because only a detachment of his men had ventured high up onto the pass while the rest stayed out of the snow on the Alpe del Pis, the high plain at the end of the Valley of Massello, and they had fled, falling prey to the panie of their retreating companions. The Marquess had only entered Massello on that Monday morning, and soon learnt what had happened from his men fleeing past him. These he regrouped, but he decided not to make a stand, and retreated out of the Valley of Massello until Prali, and then over the Giulian Pass into the Pellice Valley, leaving the Catholic population of Prali, who had been newly settled on Protestant lands, belonging in many cases to members of the Recovery, in a state of panie.
The Waldensians were thus able to descend undisturbed into the first of their valleys; that of Massello, where between 1670 and 1674 the same Henry Arnaud had been Pastor. "The little Israel" had successfully crossed the "the desert" and reached "the little Canaan". Their numbers had diminished, however, from 950 to 600 men.
From now on their tactics would have to change. Rapidity was no longer of supreme importance, and they had to apply tougher methods; those of "recleaning" their native valleys. In fact they passed down the valley gathering up soldiers, militiamen and new colonists settled in their bothies and pastures. The Piemontese soldiers and militiamen taken prisoner on this and succeeding days were given time for a last prayer, and then shot. Only the Council of War could, however, have taken this decision for Turel wished at ali costs to maintain discipline. This merciless conduct was not only due to the military rationale that keeping soldiers prisoner would have been too risky, but also due to a policy of intimidation since the militiamen especially would have deserted if they knew they were facing certain death, if taken. Probably the Waldensians when they had to deal with ex-Waldensians converted to Catholicism, followed the advice of Joshua Janavel, and let them be. Indeed many of these converted Waldensians had in fact been interned by the authorities for fear that they might aid those of the Recovery. Things however went
hard for the colonists - mostly mountain people from the Tarentaise and the Maurienne - who had been settled on the depopulated Protestant valleys by Victor Amadeus II.
On their descent the Waldensians carne across a large flock of sheep, and so when they camped out of the rain for the night at the bothies of Ortiare, they were able to have roast lamb. On this day they had covered only 10 kms, which was not much, but from now on they would have to advance much more slowly due to their change of tactics. The Recovery was accomplished; there remained the re-conquest of the valleys.


The Eleventh Day - Tuesday 27th August
On this day the Waldensians covered only 3 kms. In the morning they reached Balsiglia which is perched at the foot of a rock called the "Castell". Joshua Janavel had advised the planners of the Recovery that this was a superb naturai fortress. Now the Waldensians marched past Balsiglia, but in the winter and spring of 1689-90 it was to serve as their last refuge. At Balsiglia a group of unsuspecting militiamen fell into the Waldensians hands, which was yet another sign of how inadequate their enemies lines of communication were. The Council of War decided to behead these militiamen, who were ali peasants from Cavour, beside the torrent where their bodies were thrown. Writing his memoirs many years later, Daniel Robert makes use of the excuse that the Waldensians taken prisoner by the French were either hung or sent to the gal-leys for life, and they expected little different from the Piemontese. The Waldensians continued to descend the Valley of Mas­sello until they reached Campo la Salza, where they camped for the night.


The Twelfth Day or the Day of Deliverance Wednesday 28th August
From their camp at Salza the Waldensians did not continue their descent of the Valley of Massello - probably for fear of the garrison stationed at Ferrerò at the mouth of the valley, but they rescaled the Valley of Salza, then turning towards the Fontane Pass. Here they divided into two groups in order to reach Villa di Prali by two separate roads.
The first group took the more difficult route across the Serrevecchio Pass, and then descended into the Valley of Rodoretto. Here they killed some colonists from the Maurienne. They then climbed up to the Galmonnt Pass, which dominates the plain of Frali. Here they relived the memory of the end of Pierre Leydet, the Pastor of Ghigo di Prali, who had been found hiding in the rocks because he was singing the Psalms aloud, and who in contrast with the other nine Pastors taken prisoner was hung at Luserna in July 1686. The other group reached Villa di Prali descending directly across the Fontane Pass into the Germanasca Valley. At Villa the recently constructed Catholic church was burnt down.
Then the Waldensians reached the village of Ghigo di Prali. To their great surprise the old Waldensian Temple, in which Pierre Leydet had once preached, had not been destroyed but had been cpnverted into a Catholic church full of images of the saints. The Huguenot Francois Huc, the most gruffly military of the eye witnesses, wrote laconically that "we preferred to throw the images out of the window rather than the door because it was easier". Henry Arnaud held a service on the threshold of the church which was too small for ali the company. The Waldensians passed the night at Ghigo.


The Thirteenth Day - Thursday, 29th August
The Waldensians had no intention of staying in the Germanasca Valley, but wished to push on into the Valley of the Pellice, and therefore they began the ascent up to the Giulian Pass (2451 mts), which connects these two valleys. During the climb they had the good fortune to capture a sergeant who had been sent to receive orders from Parella from the garrison guarding the pass. In this way the Waldensians carne to know that about 100 men were encamped in three bastions to defend the pass. These they attacked in full order of battle under the cover of thick cloud. The Piemontese here offered more resistance than had their colleagues on the Colle del Pis, but they were put to flight here too, and sought safety in various military outposts in the Valley of the Pellice. One group managed to reach Serre Cruel, a naturai fortress above Bobbio, where the Marquess de Marolles was en­camped with his men, while another group made for the fortified convent at Villar Pellice. The last group made for the fort of Mirabouc near Villanova, which had been constructed to defend Piemont against the French.
The Waldensians followed up their attack quickly, and were able to capture abandoned arms, clothing and food. Then they began a slow descent in the direction of Bobbio. With night falling, and seeking a piace secure from surprise attack, they there­fore halted at the foot of Mount Gran Guglia in the Valley of the Cruel, which in the months to come was to serve them as a naturai fortress.


The Fourteenth Day - Friday 30th August
Finally a day of good weather! The Waldensians descended in order of battle in the direction of Bobbio, and near Serre Cruel they ran into about 600 Piemontese soldiers and militia under the command of the Marquess de Marolles. Bere too the Piemontese offered little resistance, retiring towards Bobbio and Villar Pellice. The Waldensians now occupied the strategie positions of Serre Cruel and Sarsenà which would serve - as Janavel had ad-vised - as starting off points for their attacks in the coming weeks. These positions had already been used back in 1686 as guerrilla bases by the so-called "Invincibles" against the Piemontese troops, and many of these were now among the returning Waldensians.


The Fifteenth Day - Saturday 31st August
From Serre Cruel the Waldensians, now divided into two groups, descended along the slopes until Bobbio. The defenders of Bobbio were forced ever more back until they were obliged to abandon the village, and fly, as the civilian population had already done, in the direction of Villar Pellice. The Waldensians were thus in possession of Bobbio.
Now, however, ali the fear, bitterness and pent up rage boiled over and the officers, pastors and the commander lost control over the men. Reinaudin recorded: "To our shame it has to be said that instead of pursuing the enemy we lost time in sacking the village, where the cellars were found to be stili full of cheeses". The whole enterprise thus risked failure as was to happen 10 days later when Bourgeois in his attempt at another Recovery lost control of his men, who gave themselves up to looting. Towards evening the Waldensians returned to their secure positions above Bobbio.


The Sixteenth Day - Sunday Ist September
On this day the officers and pastors managed to regain con­trol over the men, and in achieving this, much was due to the sermon preached in the morning by Jacob Moutoux on a field above Bobbio called Sibaud. After the service ali those present took the socalled Oath of Sibaud. With hands raised towards heaven they undertook to follow the ordinance read aloud by Arnaud, which reaffirmed the norms of behaviour laid down by Janavel in his "Instructions", and these would avoid violent behaviour such as had occured on the previous day.
The soldiers promised to hand over both prisoners and booty to their officers. The officers promised to decide collectively on what was to happen to the booty. The ordinance established that only those specifically charged would be able to visit the enemy wounded and view the dead. Officers and men mutually un­dertook to abide by these rules because only in this way would it be possible to preserve essential unity and discipline with the enterprise entering on its decisive phase. In the words that end the oath both officers and men promised "to Jesus Christ, our Lord and our Redeemer, to pluck those of our brothers left behind from the terrible Babylon so as to thus reestablish together with them the kingdom of Christ and to uphold it until death".
To this end they had undertaken this adventurous Recovery of more than 250 Kms across enemy territory, and would now have to fight a cruel guerrilla war not only against the Piemontese troops but also against France, the veritable "terrible Babylon".