The War Of The Roses

Страница: 3/12

Pausing only to establish a siege force round the Tower, Warwick led his army northwards, arriving between Towcester and Northampton on the 9th. Early the next morning - 10 July 1460 – he deployed for battle, but first attempted to negotiate a settlement. At 2pm, no agreement having proved possible, Warwick gave the order to advance, with the three 'battles' in 'line astern'.

It was raining hard as the Yorkists arrived and Edward's 'battle', consisting entirely of men-at-arms, made slow progress over the sodden ground. As they came within bow range they were met by a fierce barrage of arrows and this, together with a ditch and stakes, prevented the Yorkists from getting to close quarters. At this critical moment Lord Grey suddenly displayed Warwick's ragged staff badge and ordered his men to lay down their weapons. Indeed, the men of Grey's command actually assisted their enemies over the defenses and, once established within the defenses in sufficient numbers, Edward and Warwick led their men-at-arms behind the king's archers in the center to strike Buckingham in flank and rear. Unable to maneuver within the narrow confines of the defenses, the Lancastrians soon broke and fled, many being drowned in the shallow but wide river at their backs. The Duke of Buckingham, Earl of Shrewbury, Thomas Percy, Lord Beaumont and Lord Egremont were among the Lancastrian dead. The king was captured again, taken to London, and compelled to sanction a Yorkist government.

York arrived from Ireland in mid-September and in October put forward a claim to the throne. The peers rejected his claim (while Henry lived) but made him Protector in view of the king's periods of insanity.

The queen and her son, who had remained at Coventry, fled to north Wales, then to the North, where she began to gather a new army. With these forces she overran Yorkshire, and a large number of Lancastrian supporters from the West Country began to march across the Midlands to join her. York sent his son Edward, Earl of March, to the Welsh borders to recruit an army and to handle the minor local troubles stirred up by the Earl of Pembroke. He left Warwick in London to ensure the capital's support and guard the king; and on 9 December he led the Yorkist army northwards to deal with the queen. He took with him his younger son Edmund and all the artillery then available at the Tower of London.

On the 16th York's 'vaward battle' clashed with the West Countrymen, suffered heavy losses, and was unable to prevent the Lancastrians from moving on to join the queen. Learning that Margaret's main force was at Pontefract Castle, York marched to his castle at Sandal, two miles south of Wakefield and only nine from Pontefract. He arrived at Sandal Castle on the 21st and, learning that the queen's army was now almost four times as numerous as his own, remained in the castle to await reinforcements under Edward. The Lancastrian forces closed round the castle to prevent foraging.

On 30 December 1460 half the Lancastrian army advanced against Sandal Castle as if to make an assault, but under cover of this movement the 'vaward battle', commanded by the Earl of Wiltshire, and the cavalry under Lord Roos, unobtrusively took up positions in the woods flanking the open fields.

York, believing the entire Lancastrian army to be before him, and much smaller than he had been told, deployed for open battle, and led his troops straight down the slope from the castle to launch an attack on Somerset's line. The Lancastrians fell back before the advance, drawing the Yorkists into the trap, finally halting to receive the charge.

The Yorkist charge almost shattered Somerset's line and the Lancastrian reserve under Clifford had to be committed to stem the advance. But then Wiltshire and Roos charged from the flanks, and the battle was over. York, his son Edmund, his two uncles Sir John and Sir Hugh Mortimer, Sir Thomas Neville (son of Salisbury), Harington, Bourchier and Hastings were among those killed. The Earl of Salisbury was captured, and subsequently beheaded by the Percies because of their feud with the Nevilles.

The death of Richard of York was a severe blow to the Yorkists; but Warwick in London and Edward, now Duke of York, in the Welsh Marches, were both raising new armies. In the Welsh Marches, in particular, men flocked to Edward's banner to avenge Richard and their own lords who had died with him, and by the end of January 1461 Edward had a fair-sized army gathered round Hereford.

From here he set out to unite with Warwick, probably at Warwick Castle, in order to halt the queen's march on the capital. However, shortly after starting out he learned that the Earls of Pembroke and Wiltshire were moving towards Worcester from the west with a large force and, in order to avoid being caught between two Lancastrian armies, Edward moved northwards 17 miles to Mortimer's Cross, not far from Ludlow and only three and a half miles from his own castle at Wigmore, ancestral home of the Mortimers. Here the River Lugg, flowing south to join the Wye, was bridged for the main road from central Wales and the Roman road from Hereford, the two roads meeting close by the bridge. Edward deployed his army at this important crossroads and river crossing early on the morning of 2 February 1461.

Реферат опубликован: 16/05/2009