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The Attack On Carthagena Begun

Next morning he stationed ships supplied with missiles
The assault.
of every sort, all along the seaboard, under the command of Gaius Laelius; and having told off two thousand of his strongest men to accompany the ladder-carriers, he begun the assault about the third hour. The commandant of the town, Mago, divided his garrison of a thousand men into two companies; half he left upon the citadel, and the rest he stationed upon the eastern hill. Of the other inhabitants he accoutred about two thousand of the strongest men with such arms as there were in the city, and stationed them at the gate leading to the isthmus and the enemy's camp: the rest he ordered to assist to the best of their power at all points in the wall.
A sally of the defenders repulsed.
As soon as the bugles of Publius sounded the moment of the assault, Mago caused those whom he had armed to sally from the gate, feeling confident that he should create a panic among the assailants and entirely baffle their design. These men vigorously attacked those of the Roman army who were drawn up opposite the isthmus, and a sharp engagement took place accompanied by loud cries of encouragement on both sides: the Romans in the camp cheering on their men, and the people in the city theirs. But the contest was an unequal one in the respect of the facility of bringing up reserves. The Carthaginians had all to come out by one gate, and had nearly two stades to march before they got on the ground; whereas the Romans had their supports close at hand and able to come out over a wide area; for Publius had purposely stationed his men close to the camp in order to induce the enemy to come out as far as possible: being quite aware that if he succeeded in destroying these, who were so to speak the sharp edge of the urban population, universal consternation would be the result, and no more of those in the town would have the courage to come out of the gate. The contest however for a certain time was undecided, for it was between picked men on both sides; but finally the Carthaginians were overpowered by the superior weight of their opponents, owing to the constant reinforcements from the camp, and turned to flight. A large number of them fell in the actual engagement, and during the retreat; but the greater number were trampled to death by each other as they crowded through the gate. The city people were thrown into such a panic by these events, that even those who were guarding the walls fled. The Romans very nearly succeeded in forcing their way in through the gates with the fugitives; and of course fixed their scaling-ladders against the wall in perfect security.

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