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Everything was now ready for the crossing, but the whole of the opposite bank was held by mounted and unmounted men prepared to dispute the passage.  In order to dislodge them Hannibal sent Hanno, the son of Bomilcar, with a division, consisting mainly of Spaniards, a day's march up the river.  He was to seize the first chance of crossing without being observed, and then lead his men by a circuitous route behind the enemy and at the right moment attack them in the rear.  The Gauls who were taken as guides informed Hanno that about 25 miles up-stream a small island divided the river in two, and the channel was of less depth in consequence. When they reached the spot they hastily cut down the timber and constructed rafts on which men and horses and other burdens could be ferried across.  The Spaniards had no trouble; they threw their clothes on to skins and placing their leather shields on the top they rested on these and so swam across.  The rest of the army was ferried over on rafts, and after making a camp near the river they took a day's rest after their labours of boat-making and the nocturnal passage, their general in the meantime waiting anxiously for an opportunity of putting his plan into execution.  The next day they set out on their march, and lighting a fire on some rising ground they signalled by the column of smoke that they had crossed the river and were not very far away. As soon as Hannibal received the signal he seized the occasion and at once gave the order to cross the river.  The infantry had prepared rafts and boats, the cavalry mostly barges on account of the horses. A line of large boats was moored across the river a short distance up-stream to break the force of the current, and consequently the men in the smaller boats crossed over in smooth water.  Most of the horses were towed astern and swam over, others were carried in barges, ready saddled and bridled so as to be available for the cavalry the moment they landed.
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