The War Of The Roses

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The Lancastrians deployed for battle on the morning of the 2nd and advanced against the Yorkist line about noon. After a fierce struggle the Earl of Wiltshire and Ormond succeeded in forcing Edward's right flank back across the road (see map), but at the same time Pembroke's 'main battle' was completely defeated by Edward. Ormond's 'battle' reformed and moved on to the center to support Pembroke but, finding him already defeated, for some inexplicable reason halted and sat down to await the outcome of the fighting on the other flank.

Owen Tudor's 'battle' was the last to become engaged, having swung right in an attempt to outflank the Yorkist position. In carrying out this maneuver the Lancastrians exposed their own left flank, and the waiting Yorkists promptly seized the opportunity to charge, cutting the Lancastrians in two and scattering them in all directions. A general retreat by the Lancastrians in the direction of Leominstcr followed, quickly transformed into a bloody rout by the Yorkists. Owen Tudor was captured and later executed.

After the battle of Wakefield the queen's army of borderers, Scots, Welsh and mercenaries had begun to march on London, pillaging as it went and leaving a 30-mile-wide swathe of ruin in its wake: Margaret, whose aim was now to rescue the king, was unable to pay her army and had promised them the whole of southern England to plunder in compensation. London was panic-stricken, and Warwick found himself faced with the problem of being unable to raise enough men either to stop the Lancastrian advance or to defend the city. Edward's victory at Mortimer's Cross solved this problem, for men flocked to Warwick's banner when news of the battle reached London on about 10 February; and on the 12th Warwick was able to leave London with a force large enough to attempt to halt the queen, sending word to Edward to join forces as soon as possible.

Warwick marched to St. Albans and began to prepare a defensive position there with a three-mile front barring the two roads to London which passed through Luton and Hitchin. Detachments were also placed in St. Albans and Sandridge to watch the flanks, and in Dunstable to guard the Watling Street approach to St. Albans.

The queen left York on 20 January, marching down Ermine Street towards London. At Royston she swung left and moved south-west as if to prevent a junction between Edward and Warwick. On 14 or 15 February the queen received details of Warwick's deployment from Lovelace, who had commanded the Yorkist artillery at Wakefield but who had been spared by the Lancastrians. Margaret allowed the borderers to continue ravaging the countryside due south from Hitchin to divert Warwick's attention, and took the rest other army on a hard march south and west past Luton to Dunstable, intending to follow this with another march against St. Albans from the west, so turning Warwick's defensive line.

The queen's army arrived at Dunstable late on the 16th, took the Yorkists detachment there by surprise, and killed or captured every man. After a brief halt the Lancastrians set out on a 12-mile night march to St. Albans, arriving on the south bank of the River Ver before dawn. After a short pause to rest and organize an attack, at about 6am on 17 February 1461 the 'vaward battle' crossed the river and entered the town. The Yorkists were again taken by surprise but, as the Lancastrians rushed up George Street towards the heart of the town, they were halted by a strong detachment of archers left in St. Albans by Warwick, and eventually were driven back to St Michael's church.

Shortly afterwards scouts reported an unguarded entrance through the defenses via Folly and Catherine Lanes, and at about loam the town fell to the Lancastrians. The king was found in a house in the town.

Warwick's defense line had been rendered useless and he was now faced with the task of re-aligning his army in the presence of the enemy. His 'rearward battle', stationed by Beech Bottom Ditch, was wheeled to face south, and Warwick then rode off to bring up the 'main' and 'vaward battles'.

The Lancastrian army now attacked the Yorkist 'rearward battle' which, after a long and brave struggle, finally broke and fled towards the rest of the army. Warwick was already on his way to reinforce them with the 'main battle', but this now broke up as the fugitives streamed past, joining in the general flight. Warwick rode off to bring up his 'vaward battle', but on reaching it he found that Lovelace's detachment had deserted to the enemy and the remainder was badly shaken. Somehow Warwick managed to form a new line and held off further Lancastrian attacks until dark, when he managed to extricate about 4,000 of his men and march westwards to join Edward.

Реферат опубликован: 16/05/2009