Scipio, taking 300 horsemen that he had with him and as many more as he could hastily collect, divided them into two bodies and led them, with many charges, against the enemy, discharging darts at them and retreating by turns, then straightway coming back at them and again retreating, for he had given orders that one-half of them should advance by turns continually, discharge their javelins, and retire, as though they were attacking on all sides. This movement being constantly repeated without any intermission, the Africans, thus assailed, turned against Scipio and pressed less heavily on those who were crossing. The latter hurried across the stream and after them came Scipio with his men under a shower of darts and with great difficulty. At the beginning of this fight four Roman cohorts were cut off from the stream by the enemy and took refuge on a hill. These Hasdrubal surrounded, and the Romans did not miss them until they came to a halt. When they learned the facts they were in a quandary. Some thought they ought to continue their retreat and not to endanger the whole army for the sake of a few, but Scipio maintained that while deliberation was proper when you were laying out your plans, yet in an emergency, when so many men and their standards were in danger, nothing but reckless daring was of any use. Then, selecting some companies of horse, he said that he would either rescue them or willingly perish with them. Taking two days' rations, he set out at once, the army being in great fear lest he should never return. When he came to the hill where the men were besieged he took possession of another eminence hard by and separated from the former by a narrow ravine. The Africans pressed the siege vigorously, making signals to each other and thinking that Scipio would not be able to relieve his friends on account of the excessive fatigue of his march. But Scipio, seeing that the bases of the two hills curved around the ravine, lost no time but dashed around them and secured a position above the enemy. They, finding themselves surrounded, fled in disorder. Scipio did not pursue them, as they were much superior in numbers.
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THE PUNIC WARS
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