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Timeline Event

Grimbold retreats in the 2nd Battle of the Fords of Isen

Event Type: Military/Strategic

Age: 3rd Age - Ring War

Date: March 2, 3019

The final event in the 2nd Battle of the Fords of Isen; see that entry for an overview:

At last then [Grimbold] determined to carry out ... the plan that he had already made, if be should find himself in just such a desperate position. He had ... understood that ... any man that could break out and escape southwards would be more useful....

Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 5, The Battles of the Fords of Isen

The night had been overcast and dark, but now the waxing moon began to glimmer through drifting cloud. ... Grimbold was aware suddenly that most of the torches had been extinguished and the fury of the assault had abated. He therefore at once mounted those riders for whom horses were available, not many more than half an éored, and placed them under the command of Dúnhere. The shieldwall was opened on the east side and the Riders passed through, driving back their assailants on that side; then dividing and wheeling round they charged the enemy to the north and south of the camp. The sudden manoeuvre was for a space successful. The enemy was confused and dismayed; many thought at first that a large force of Riders had come from the east. Grimbold himself remained on foot with a rearguard of picked men, already chosen, and covered for the moment by these and the Riders under Dúnhere the remainder retreated with what speed they could. But Saruman's commander soon perceived that the shieldwall was broken and the defenders in flight. Fortunately the moon was overtaken by cloud ... and he was in haste. He did not allow his troops to press the pursuit of the fugitives far into the darkness, now that the Fords were captured. He gathered his force ... and made for the road southward. So it was that the greater part of Grimbold's men survived. They were scattered in the night, but, as he had ordered, they made their ways away from the Road, east of the great turn where it bent west towards the Isen. They were relieved but amazed to encounter no enemies, not knowing that a large army had already some hours before passed southward and that Isengard was now guarded by little but its own strength....

Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 5, The Battles of the Fords of Isen

It seems that Grimbold's valiant defence had not been altogether unavailing. It had been unexpected, and Saruman's commander was late: he had been delayed for some hours, whereas it was intended that he should sweep over the Fords, scatter the weak defences, and without waiting to pursue them hasten to the road and proceed then south to join in the assault on the Deeping. He was now in doubt. He awaited, maybe, some signal from the other army that had been sent down the east side of the Isen. [Authors note.]

Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 5, The Battles of the Fords of Isen: Notes, Note 12

Elena Tiriel 9Feb05

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