Friday, June 10, 2011


Early in the morning of 15 February preparations for the come battle began in both camps. The center of the Beaufort forces were under the personal command of the Duke of Somerset, the right flank was under commanded of Somerset’s heir Henry Beaufort, and the left flank was put under the command of Oxford. Across the field on the Yorkist army were divided in two, the Nevilles on the left and Richard III on the right. The Neville force was further divided with Warwick commanding the left flank that included all the men who had fought at Nottingham, Salisbury commanding the center, and Fauconberg commanding the right flank. The King’s force was also divided into three segments with Richard III commanding of the center with Cobham leading the left flank and Devon the right. Frost was still on the ground as the commanders assembled their ranks and peered across the fields outside Bosworth to the other side, save Warwick and the Neville left that seemed to be slow to take their position.

The Battle of Bosworth began when Oxford led the Beaufort left against the far right flank of the Yorkist host lead by Devon, but then Warwick and his men appeared behind the Beaufort army. In a risky maneuver, Warwick and his men had risen and assembled early before circling around their opponents’ right flank in a forced march that positioned them in-between center and right flank of the Beaufort army. The surprise rear assault caused mass confusion in the Beaufort army that Salisbury and Fauconberg quickly took advantage of as they attacked the isolated right flank of the Beaufort army. Richard III ordered Cobham to engage Somerset’s center before leading the center of his army to cut off the attacking left flank of the Beauforts. The confused and cut off Beaufort right flank quickly collapsed in the face of the Neville brothers’ assault and the fleeing troops escaped in the only direction they could find, right towards the center of Beaufort army. The Beaufort center had already engaged Cobham’s attack while fending off Warwick in the rear when their fleeing comrades raced into their ranks with Salisbury and Fauconberg’s men chasing after them. Somerset ordered a retreat and attempted to move whatever he could closer to Oxford’s forces, he found his way suddenly blocked by Richard III and his men not having yet engaged the attacking Oxford. The Beaufort army completely disintegrated as men ran for their lives or surrendered wholesale. Henry Beaufort had been killed when his men collapsed in face of the assault of Salisbury & Fauconberg while the Duke of Somerset was injured as he attempted to escape and was captured by Warwick himself. Oxford, having done the best he could, retreated towards Stamford.

By early in the afternoon the Battle of Bosworth was a complete Yorkist victory as the Beaufort forces were either dead, fled, or captured. Warwick presented the wounded Somerset, under heavy guard, to Richard III. The King ordered his rival to be put in chains and his wound given attention so that he could not escape justice for the crime of treason. Richard III then pardoned all the commoners that had fought for Somerset and commanded that the decree should be read in every church so that none should fear for his life then allowed those captured to return home, but with the warning that if they committed any crimes on their return home their lives would be forfeit for committing treason. As for the knights and nobles that had been taken captive, Richard III kept them prisoner so that they could be judged after his coronation. The King then allowed his army the right to take booty from the Beaufort camp. After the formalities of victory, Richard III retired to his tent with his commanders and ate a celebratory meal.

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