There were Roman works, as has been said before, in three places facing the Pyrrheum, all of which the Aetolians attacked at once, but not with the same equipment or violence:
some advanced with flaming torches, others carrying tow and pitch and firebrands, the whole battle-line gleaming with flames.
They cut down many of the guards at the first attack; then, when the shouting and the din were heard in the camp and the signal was given by the consul, the Romans seized their arms and from all the gates hastened to the rescue.
The battle raged with steel and fire; in two places the Aetolians retired without accomplishing anything, after trying rather than actually beginning an engagement; the severe fighting had concentrated in one place. There in different quarters the two captains Eupolemus and Nicodamus were urging on the fighters and encouraging them with the almost certain hope that Nicander would soon be there according to agreement and would take the enemy in the rear.
This assurance kept up for a considerable time the spirits of the fighters;
but when they received no signal from their comrades according to the agreement and they perceived that the number of the enemy was increasing, being thus left unsupported, they pressed on less vigorously;
finally, abandoning their effort, their retreat being by now scarcely safe, they were driven back into the city [p. 21]
in flight, after they had burned part of the siege-works1
and killed a considerably larger number of the enemy than they had themselves lost.2
But if the plan had been carried out according to the agreement there was no doubt that in one place at least the works could have been taken with heavy loss to the enemy.
The Ambraciots and the Aetolians who were inside the city not only gave up their attempt for that night, but for the future too, feeling that they had been deserted by their friends, they were more reluctant to face dangers.
Henceforth no one took part in sallies, as before, against the outguards of the enemy, but posting themselves along the walls and towers they fought in safety.