Battle of Kisogawa-Gōtogawa
Date: 8/21 of Keichō 5 (1600)
Location: Border areas between Owari and Mino provinces
Synopsis: There was an assortment of clashes between members of the Eastern and Western armies preceding the decisive main Battle of Sekigahara. In this instance, after traversing the Kiso River from Owari Province into Mino Province, and the Gōto River in Mino, several divisions of the Eastern Army led by Fukushima Masanori and Ikeda Terumasa clashed with members of the Western Army. These events occurred in the days preceding a siege of Gifu Castle to force the surrender of Oda Hidenobu.
The Battle of Kisogawa-Gōtogawa occurred on 8/21 of Keichō 5 (1600). The battle was waged between Fukushima Masanori and Ikeda Terumasa of the Eastern Army and Oda Nobuhide of the Western Army. This was one of many clashes in various locations occurring between members of the Eastern and Western armies in the prelude to the main Battle of Sekigahara on 9/15.
On 8/18 of Keichō 3 (1598), Toyotomi Hideyoshi died after which Tokugawa Ieyasu, a member of the gotairō, or Council of Five Elders, with landholdings of 2,500,000 koku in the Kantō rose to prominence as the next supreme leader of Japan. Meanwhile, Ishida Mitsunari, a member of the gobugyō, or Five Commissioners, of the Toyotomi administration backed Toyotomi Hideyori as the successor to Hideyoshi, leading to conflict between the two factions. In the summer of 1600, while Ieyasu was leading the Conquest of Aizu with the objective of subduing Uesugi Kagekatsu, the situation reached a boiling point.
Mitsunari took advantage of Ieyasu’s absence as an opportunity to raise arms in the Kinai where Ieyasu had less influence and occupied Ōsaka Castle. He then set about to capture assorted castles aligned with the Tokugawa located in the capital of Kyōto in addition to sites in various provinces including Tango, Ōmi, and Ise.
On 7/24 of Keichō 5 (1600), Ieyasu learned that Mitsunari had raised arms in an urgent message from Torri Mototada who was defending Fushimi Castle. At the time, Ieyasu was staying in Oyama in Shimotsuke Province en route to Aizu with his army. Ieyasu then held a war council known as the Oyama Deliberation to decide whether to continue to march toward Aizu to subdue Uesugi Kagekatsu or whether to turn back to confront Mitsunari. Ieyasu decided with his commanders to head west, leaving behind Yūki Hideyasu and other forces to contain Kagekatsu. On 8/10, Fukushima Masanori entered Kiyosu Castle in Owari Province and, by 8/14, assembled at Kiyosu many of the generals to form the Eastern Army.
Oda Hidenobu, the lord of Gifu Castle in Mino, joined the Western Army. To topple his base, the Eastern Army first had to traverse two rivers, the Kiso River separating Owari and Mino provinces and the Gōto River in Mino.
(Traversing the Kiso River)
On 8/21, coming from the Nakashima District in Owari, Fukushima Masanori and the members of his division attempted to traverse the Kiso River but encountered stiff resistance from the Western Army so was compelled to head south downstream, crossing the river from Higashi-kaganoi, and, after passing by the old Kaganoi Castle, heading north to surround Takegahana Castle.
Taking advantage of their numerical superiority, the Fukushima and Ikeda divisions overcame the defensive efforts of the Western Army and continued on their march toward Gifu Castle.
(Traversing the Gōto River)
Ieyasu blocked the arrival of reinforcements for the Western Army from the direction of Ōgaki Castle in Mino Province so he had Kuroda Nagamasa and a division led by Tōdō Takatora and Tanaka Yoshimasa advance to the Gōto River. A battalion of the Western Army led by Mai Hyōgo (Maeno Tadayasu) was at the river, but after a raid led by the Kuroda army, was soon defeated. The Kuroda forces then crossed the Gōto River and occupied Akasaka located approximately four kilometers northwest of Ōgaki Castle in Mino.
(After entering Mino)
The lord of the Takegahana Castle, Sugiura Shigekatsu, attempted to resist but Mōri Hiromori (the lord of Hikami Castle) upon whom he was depending for reinforcements surrendered to Masanori so Shigekatsu also capitulated, resulting to the fall of Takegahana Castle. This is known as the Siege of Takegahana Castle of Keichō 5.
Oda Hidenobu holed-up in Gifu Castle and resisted, but the combined forces of the Fukushima and Ikeda mounted a ferocious assault. In addition, the besieging forces had an advantage because Ikeda Terumasa was a former lord of Gifu Castle and familiar with the terrain. On 8/23, Hidenobu surrendered. This known as the Siege of Gifu Castle.
On 8/24, the forces that toppled Gifu Castle assembled at Ōgaki Castle under Kuroda Nagamasa.
Around the time of this battle, commanders in the Western Army were headed toward assorted battles, including Mōri Hidemoto and Kikkawa Hiroie for the Invasion of Ise, Onogi Shigekatsu for the Invasion of Tango, and Ōtani Yoshitsugu for the Invasion of Echizen and Kaga. As a result, Ishida Mitsunari could not send reinforcements to Oda Hidenobu. Moreover, the western advance of the Eastern Army occurred faster than anticipated while, owing to the Siege of Fushimi Castle, the Western Army lost precious time until 8/1. Assorted miscalculations impacted the Western Army and, although this battle was limited in scale, it ended with a loss for the Western Army.
Thereafter, the Eastern Army awaited the arrival of Ieyasu’s main division and, on 9/15, finally defeated the Western Army at the decisive Battle of Sekigahara.