The Dictator, after riding round and reconnoitring as well as he could in the night the position and shape of the camp, commanded the military tribunes to give orders for the baggage to be collected together and the soldiers with their arms and palisades to resume their places in the ranks.
His orders were carried out. Then, keeping the formation in which they had marched, the whole army, in one long column, surrounded the enemies' lines. At a given signal all were ordered to raise a shout; after raising the shout each man was to dig a trench in front of him and fix his palisade.
As soon as the order reached the men, the signal followed. The men obeyed the order, and the shout rolled round the enemies' line and over them into the consul's camp. In the one it created panic, in the other rejoicing.
The Romans recognised their fellow-citizens' shout, and congratulated one another on help being at hand. They even made sorties from their outposts against the enemy and so increased their alarm.
The consul said there must be no delay, that shout meant that their friends had not only arrived but were engaged; he should be surprised if the outside of the enemies' lines was not already attacked. He ordered his men to seize their arms and follow him. A nocturnal battle began.
They notified the Dictator's legions by their shouts that on their side too the action had commenced.
The Aequi were already making preparations to prevent themselves from being surrounded when the enclosed enemy began the battle; to prevent their lines from being broken through, they turned from those who were investing them to fight the enemy within, and so left the night free for the Dictator to complete his work. The fighting with the consul went on till dawn.
By this time they were completely invested by the Dictator, and were hardly able to keep up the fight against one army. Then their lines were attacked by Quinctius' army, who had completed the circumvallation and resumed their arms. They had now to maintain a fresh conflict, the previous one was in no way slackened.
Under the stress of the double attack they turned from fighting to supplication, and implored the Dictator on the one side and the consul on the other not to make their extermination the price of victory, but to allow them to surrender their arms and depart. The consul referred them to the Dictator, and he, in his anger, determined to humiliate his defeated enemy.
He ordered Gracchus Cloelius and others of their principal men to be brought to him in chains, and the town of Corbio to be evacuated. He told the Aequi he did not require their blood, they were at liberty to depart; but, as an open admission of the defeat and subjugation of their nation, they would have to pass under the yoke.
This was made of three spears, two fixed upright in the ground, and the third tied to them across the top. Under this yoke the Dictator sent the Aequi.