Battle of the Fords
|Battle of the Fords|
|Conflict||War of the Five Kings|
|Place||Red Fork of the Trident|
Lord Tywin Lannister was attempting to return to the Westerlands to defeat King Robb Stark there. In order to do so, he had to cross the Red Fork of the Trident. Ser Edmure Tully learned of Lord Tywin's advance and called his banners to prevent Lord Tywin from crossing the river.
Ser Edmure organized his forces so that every crossing both north and south of Riverrun was defended by a strong force. Lord Jason Mallister was commanded with the defense of four fords, while Lord Karyl Vance commanded the defense of fords to the north of Riverrun. The west bank of the Red Fork is higher than the east and wooded. The defenders used those trees to hide archers and placed scorpions as support. Ser Edmure kept his best knights as a reserve, to ride where they were needed most.
Initially Lord Tywin probed the defenses, attempting to find an unguarded ford. Ser Flement Brax was sent south to attempt a breach there, and there was also fighting to the north of Riverrun. After two days of skirmishing, Lord Tywin launched a number of heavier assaults. Edmure believed the main attack was directed at the Stone Mill, under the command of Ser Gregor Clegane. Ser Gregor and his men managed to gain the west bank with terrible losses, but Ser Edmure smashed him with his reserve. Elsewhere, Ser Addam Marbrand was thrown back three times, Lord Leo Lefford drowned and Ser Lyle Crakehall was taken captive. At the end of the day, Lord Tywin's army was seen to be marching south-east.
The three day delay at the Fords allowed Lord Tywin to learn of Stannis Baratheon's attack on King's Landing and he hurried his army south-east in time to take Stannis's army in the rear. Robb Stark later claimed the actions of Ser Edmure destroyed his plan of forcing Tywin to return to the west, where he would have been unable to save King's Landing from Stannis.
|“||I mean, that you owe His Grace your thanks for his forbearance. He played out that mummer’s farce in the Great Hall so as not to shame you before your own people. Had it been me I would have flayed you for your stupidity rather than praising this folly of the fords. ||”|
|“||Edmure: I held Riverrun, and I bloodied Lord Tywin’s nose-
Robb: So you did, but a bloody nose won’t win the war, will it? Did you ever think to ask yourself why we remained in the west so long after Oxcross? You knew I did not have enough men to threaten Lannisport or Casterly Rock.
Edmure: Why ... there were other castles ... gold, cattle...
Robb: You think we stayed for plunder? Uncle, I wanted Lord Tywin to come west. 
|“||We were all horsed, The Lannister host was mainly foot. We planned to run Lord Tywin a merry chase up and down the coast, then slip behind him to take up a strong defensive position athwart the gold road, at a place my scouts had found where the ground would have been greatly in our favor. If he had come at us there, he would have paid a grievous price. But if he did not attack, he would have been trapped in the west, a thousand leagues from where he needed to be. All the while we would have lived off his land, instead of him living off ours. ||”|
|“||Robb: Lord Stannis was about to fall upon King’s Landing, He might have rid us of Joffrey, the queen, and the Imp in one red stroke. Then we might have been able to make a peace.
Edmure: You never told me.
Robb: I told you to hold Riverrun, What part of that command did you fail to comprehend? 
|“||I never meant ... never, Robb, you must let me make amends. I will lead the van in the next battle! ||”|
References and Notes