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When information reached Scipio as to the serious state of affairs at Locri and Hannibal's approach, he feared for the garrison, which would be in great danger owing to the difficulty of withdrawal.  Leaving his brother Lucius in command of a detachment at Messana, he set sail as soon as the tide turned and allowed a favourable voyage.  Hannibal had reached the river Bulotus, at a point not far from Locri, and had sent instructions from there to Hamilcar, ordering him to commence a violent attack on the Romans and Locrians, whilst he himself would deliver an assault on the opposite side of the city, which would be left unguarded as everyone's attention would be devoted to the attack which Hamilcar was making.  He arrived before the city at daybreak and found the fighting already begun, but he would not confine himself in the citadel where his men, crowded together, would hamper one another's movements, and he had not brought scaling ladders for an attempt on the walls.  After giving orders for the baggage to be piled, he displayed his army in battle formation with the view of intimidating the enemy. Whilst ladders were being got ready and preparations made for an assault he rode round the walls with his Numidians to see where an approach could best be made.  As he was advancing towards the wall, one of those who happened to be close to him was struck by a missile from a scorpion, and, alarmed at the danger to which his men were exposed, he ordered the retreat to be sounded and entrenched himself in a position far beyond the range of any missiles.  The Roman fleet arrived from Messana sufficiently early in the day to allow of the whole force disembarking and entering the city before sunset.  The next day the Carthaginians began the fighting from the citadel, whilst Hannibal advanced to the walls with the scaling ladders and all other apparatus in readiness for the assault. Suddenly a gate was flung open, and the Romans sallied out against him-the last thing he was expecting.  In their sudden charge they killed as many as 200, and Hannibal, finding that the consul was commanding in person, retired the rest of his force to his camp. He sent word to those in the citadel that they must provide for their own safety.  During the night he broke up his camp and departed, and the men in the citadel, after setting their quarters on fire in order to delay any pursuit by the confusion thus created, followed and overtook their main body with a speed which looked very much like flight.
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