Then the Carthaginian generals directly after the battle, making no indifferent use of their success, barely allowed their soldiers necessary rest, and rushed their column with all speed in the direction of Hasdrubal, the son of Hamilcar, with the certain hope that, when they should unite with him, the war could be finished.
Upon their arrival there was great congratulation between the armies and generals rejoicing in the recent victory, since so great a general and his entire army had been destroyed, and they were looking for just such another victory as beyond question.
As for the Romans, not yet indeed had a report of the great disaster reached them, but there was a gloomy silence and an unexpressed foreboding, [p. 473]
such as is usually the forecast of impending1
misfortune when men already have presentiments.
The general himself, in addition to the knowledge that he had been deserted by his allies and that the enemy's forces had been so greatly increased, was more inclined by logical inference to suspect that a disaster had occurred than to entertain any good hope.
For how, he thought, could Hasdrubal and Mago, unless they had quite finished their own war, have been able to bring up their army without an engagement?
And how had his brother failed to confront them or to follow in their rear, so that, if unable to prevent the generals and armies of the enemy from uniting, he might himself at least combine his forces with those of his brother?
Troubled by these anxieties, he believed that the one safe course at present was to retreat as faraway as possible. Then in one night, while the enemy were unaware of it and hence made no move, he marched a considerable distance.
In the morning the enemy, on discovering that they had gone, sent the Numidians in advance and began to follow them in a column at its utmost speed. Before night the Numidians had overtaken them, and charging now in the rear, now on the flanks, compelled them to halt and defend their column.
Scipio kept encouraging them to fight and advance at the same time, so far, that is, as they could do so with safety, before the infantry forces should overtake them.