The appearance of affairs among the Romans was by no means the same. There was confusion both on land and sea; the mariners struck their tents, and hastily conveyed on board the provisions which had been sent on shore; the soldiers in a panic rushed into the boats, and even into the water.
Some of the seamen, in fear lest their vessels should be overcrowded, opposed the entrance of the multitude, while others pushed off from the shore into the deep.
Hence arose a dispute, and in a short time a fight, accompanied by wounds and loss of lives, both of soldiers and seamen; until by order of the consul, the fleet was removed to a distance from the shore.
He next set about separating the armed from the unarmed; out of so large a number, there were scarcely found [p. 1923]
twelve hundred who had preserved their arms; very few horsemen who had brought their horses with them; while the rest were an ill-looking throng, like servants and sutlers, and would certainly have fallen a prey, if the enemy had not neglected the war.
At length an express was despatched to call in the third legion and the out-post of the Gauls; and at the same time the troops began to march back from all parts in order to retake the camp, and wipe off their disgrace.
The military tribunes of the third legion ordered their men to throw away the forage and wood, and commanded the centurions to mount two elderly soldiers on horses from which the loads were thrown down, and each of the cavalry to take a young foot soldier with him on his horse.
He told them, “it would be a great honour to their legion, if they should recover, by bravery, the camp which had been lost by the cowardice of the second; and that this might be easily effected, if the barbarians were surprised while busied in plundering. In like manner as they had taken it, so might it be retaken.”
His exhortation was received by the army with the utmost alacrity; they eagerly bear on the standards, nor do the soldiers delay the standard-bearers. However the consul, and the troops which were led back from the shore, reached the rampart first.
Lucius Atius, first tribune of the second legion, not only urged on his men, but informed them also, that “if the Istrians meant to retain the camp, which they had taken, by the same arms by which they took it, they would, in the first place, have pursued their enemy driven from his camp to the sea; and, in the next place, they would certainly have stationed guards outside the rampart;
and that it was very likely that they were lying in sleep, or drowned in wine.”