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38. During a great part of the day the two fleets continued advancing and retreating and skirmishing1 with one another. Neither was able to gain any considerable advantage, only the Syracusans sank one or two ships of the Athenians; so they parted, and at the same time the infantry retired from the walls. [2] On the following day the Syracusans remained quiet and gave no sign of what they meant to do next. Seeing how close the conflict had been, Nicias expected another attack; he therefore compelled the trierarchs to repair their ships wherever they were injured, and anchored merchant-vessels in front of the palisades which the Athenians had driven into the sea so as to form a kind of dock for the protection of their own ships; [3] these he placed at a distance of about two hundred feet from one another, in order that any ship which was hard pressed might have a safe retreat and an opportunity of going out again at leisure. These preparations occupied the Athenians for a whole day from morning to night.

1 Slight result of the first day's fighting. Nicias repairs his ships and places merchant-vessels so as to protect them if defeated.

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