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Cavalry Engagement on the Ticinus

Next day both generals led their troops along the river
Skirmish of cavalry near the Ticinus, Nov. B. C. 219.
Padus, on the bank nearest the Alps, the Romans having the stream on their left, the Carthaginians on their right; and having ascertained on the second day, by means of scouts, that they were near each other, they both halted and remained encamped for that day: but on the next, both taking their cavalry, and Publius his sharp-shooters also, they hurried across the plain to reconnoitre each other's forces. As soon as they came within distance, and saw the dust rising from the side of their opponents, they drew up their lines for battle at once. Publius put his sharp-shooters and Gallic horsemen in front, and bringing the others into line, advanced at a slow pace. Hannibal placed his cavalry that rode with bridles, and was most to be depended on, in his front, and led them straight against the enemy; having put the Numidian cavalry on either wing to take the enemy on the flanks. The two generals and the cavalry were in such hot haste to engage, that they closed with each other before the sharp-shooters had an opportunity of discharging their javelins at all. Before they could do so, they left their ground, and retreated to the rear of their own cavalry, making their way between the squadrons, terrified at the approaching charge, and afraid of being trampled to death by the horses which were galloping down upon them. The cavalry charged each other front to front, and for a long time maintained an equal contest; and a great many men dismounting on the actual field, there was a mixed fight of horse and foot. The Numidian horse, however, having outflanked the Romans, charged them on the rear: and so the sharp-shooters, who had fled from the cavalry charge at the beginning, were now trampled to death by the numbers and furious onslaught of the Numidians; while the front ranks originally engaged with the Carthaginians, after losing many of their men and inflicting a still greater loss on the enemy, finding themselves charged on the rear by the Numidians, broke into flight: most of them scattering in every direction, while some of them kept closely massed round the Consul.

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