After this, the Carthaginian generals, who were not slow in following up their victory, immediately after the battle, scarcely giving their soldiers necessary rest, hurry their army to Hasdrubal, son of Hamilcar; confidently hoping, that after uniting their forces with his, the war might be brought to a conclusion.
On their arrival, the warmest congratulations passed between the troops and their generals, who were delighted with their recent victory; for they had not only de- [p. 1006]
stroyed one distinguished general and all his men, but looked forward to another victory of equal magnitude as a matter of certainty.
The intelligence of this great disaster had not yet reached the Romans; but there prevailed a kind of melancholy silence and mute foreboding, such as is usually found in minds which have a presentiment of impending calamity.
The general himself, besides feeling that he was deserted by his allies, and that the forces of the enemy were so much augmented, was disposed from conjecture and reasoning rather to a suspicion that some defeat had been sustained, than to any favourable hopes.
“For how could Hasdrubal and Mago bring up their troops without opposition, unless they had terminated their part of the war?
How was it that his brother had not opposed his progress or followed on his rear? in order that, if he could not prevent the armies and generals of the enemy from forming a junction, he might himself join his forces with his brother's.” Disturbed with these cares, he believed that the only safe policy for the present was to retire as far as possible;
and, accordingly, he marched a considerable distance thence in one night, the enemy not being aware of it, and on that account continuing quiet.
At dawn, perceiving that their enemy had decamped, they sent the Numidians in advance, and began to pursue them as rapidly as possible. The Numidians overtook them before night, and charged, sometimes their rear, at other times their flanks.
They then began to halt and defend themselves as well as they could; but Scipio exhorted them at once to fight so as not to expose themselves, and march at the same time, lest the infantry should overtake them.