Nicias observing how they were employed, and seeing that the strength of the enemy and the helplessness of the Athenians was daily1
increasing, sent to Athens a full report of his circumstances, as he had often done before, but never in such detail. He now thought the situation so critical that, if the Athenians did not at once recall them or send another considerable army to their help, the expedition was lost.
Fearing lest his messengers, either from inability to speak or2
from want of intelligence3
, or because they desired to please the people, might not tell the whole truth, he wrote a letter, that the Athenians might receive his own opinion of their affairs unimpaired in the transmission, and so be better able to judge of the real facts of the case.
The messengers departed carrying his letter and taking verbal instructions. He was now careful to keep his army on the defensive, and to run no risks which he could avoid.