In a sample chapter for the Winds of Winter, Theon overhears the following conversation from Stannis:

"Bolton has blundered," the king declared. "All he had to do was sit inside his castle whilst we starved. Instead he has sent some portion of his strength forth to give us battle.

From Theon's previous chapters in Dance, we know that everyone is on edge in Bolton's camp, even Roose himself:

Roose Bolton said nothing at all. But Theon Greyjoy saw a look in his pale eyes that he had never seen before-an uneasiness, even a hint of fear.

Given what we know today (prior to the release of TWOW), did Roose Bolton blunder in sending out a large portion of his forces, or was it a tactical necessity given the deteriorating situation of the men under his command?

closed as primarily opinion-based by HorusKol, Andres F., The Fallen, Ward, James Sheridan Feb 25 '14 at 8:49

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    I consider this unanswerable for now. There may be earlier chapters from TWoW that haven't been released yet but that contain an answer. – user8719 Feb 18 '14 at 19:18
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    @JohnO The question specifically asks "given what we know before the release of TWOW"; with that criteria in place the question is unanswerable. At this point the answers will all be speculation, which means they will be "primarily opinion based". – KutuluMike Feb 19 '14 at 0:02
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    @MichaelEdenfield Then answer it and make that your answer. – John O Feb 19 '14 at 0:09
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    Roose Bolton most likely did not want to be caught in a siege with fighting between Freys and Manderlys inside the walls. They are more use to him outside the walls at that point. I would not say it is a blunder, more like he cut his losses. – TLP Feb 19 '14 at 0:31
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    @JohnO - "At this point the answers will all be speculation, which means they will be 'primarily opinion based'" is not an answer, it's a close reason. – user8719 Feb 19 '14 at 23:45

Did he blunder? Perhaps, we don't know how his call-to-arms went until the next book. However, it is fairly easy to imagine how things could have gone indefinitely worse if they had simply remained where they are.

Morale has been dropping faster than kings, which is saying something. People are dying mysteriously left and right, the Freys and the Manderlys blame eachother and others claim winterfell is haunted after the slaughter that took place there. Everybody is on edge.

Secondly, Bolton can't risk himself getting caught in a siege. Despite the fact that he has the alliance of several Northern families, his grip on them is less than stunning. Most of them only do as they are told because their family is held hostage. If Stannis is allowed to set up a blockade, Bolton will have a difficult time getting supplies, where as Stannis will most likely gain the support from more northern tribes.

The first two points pretty much forced his hand, but then there's a third part and quite possibly the most important reason as to why Bolton decided to switch for an attack, he got overconfident. It had been snowing and storming for days on end and as several men pointed out, Stannis would likely be vulnerable, hungry, cold and disorientated, unable to see their enemy approaching. Bolton figured that rather than wait and risk morale dropping even further, he'd be able to go out and crush Stannis.

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