On the next day the dictator, after he had come into the forum before day-light, names a master of the horse, Lucius Tarquitius, a man of patrician family, but one who, though he had served his campaigns among the foot by reason of his scanty means, was yet considered by many degrees the first in military skill among the Roman youth.
With his master of the horse he came into the assembly, proclaims a suspension of civil business, orders the shops to be closed throughout the city, and forbids any one to attend to any private affairs.
Then he commands that all, whoever were of [p. 192]
the military age, should attend under arms, in the Campus Martius, before sun-set, with dressed provisions for
five days and twelve palisades, and he commanded that whose age was too far advanced for military service, should dress their victuals for the soldiers in their vicinity, whilst the latter were preparing arms, and procuring the palisade.
Accordingly, the young men run in different directions to procure the palisades; they took them wherever they were nearest to them; no one was prevented, and they all attended punctually according to the dictator's order.
Then the troops being formed, not more fitted for the march than for an engagement, should the occasion require it, the dictator himself marches at the head of the legions, the master of the horse at the head of his cavalry.
In both bodies there were such exhortations as the juncture itself required; that “they should quicken their pace; that there was need of expedition, that they might reach the enemy by night; that the consul and the Romans were besieged; that they had been shut up now three days: that it was uncertain what each day or night might bring with it; that the issue of the most important affairs often depended on a moment of time.”
They, to please their leaders, exclaimed among themselves, “Standard-bearer, hasten on; follow, soldier.” At midnight they reach Algidum: and, as soon as they perceived that they were near the enemy, they halted.