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Meanwhile, the Britons who had hitherto kept their post on the hills, began to quit their station. Descending slowly, they hoped, by wheeling round the field of battle, to attack the victors in the rear. To counteract their design, Agricola ordered four squadrons of horse, which he had kept as a body of reserve, to advance to the charge. The Britons poured down with impetuosity, and retired with equal precipitation. At the same time, the cavalry, by the directions of the general, wheeled round from the wings, and fell with great slaughter on the rear of the enemy, who now perceived that their own stratagem was turned against themselves. The field presented a dreadful spectacle of carnage and destruction. The Britons fled; the Romans pursued; they wounded, gashed, and mangled the runaways; they seized their prisoners, and to be ready for others, butchered them on the spot. Swords and bucklers, mangled limbs and dead bodies, covered the plain. The field was red with blood. The vanquished Britons had their moments of returning courage, and gave proofs of virtue and of brave despair. They fled to the woods, and rallying their scattered numbers, surrounded such of the Romans as pursued with too much eagerness. Agricola was everywhere present. He saw the danger, and if he had not in the instant taken due precaution, the victorious army would have had reason to repent of too much confidence in success. Night coming on, the Romans weary of slaughter, desisted from the pursuit. Ten thousand of the Caledonians fell in this engagement; on the part of the Romans, the number of slain did not exceed three hundred and forty.
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