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the cavalry to embark at the other port and follow him. But, as these orders were executed but slowly, he himself about ten in the morning reached the coast of Britain, where he saw all the cliffs covered with the enemy's forces. The nature of the place was such that, the sea being bounded by steep mountains, the enemy might easily launch their javelins on us from above. Not thinking this, therefore, a convenient landing place, he resolved to lie by till three in the afternoon, and wait the arrival of the rest of his fleet. Meanwhile, having called the lieutenants and military tribunes together, he informed them of what he had learned from Volusenus, instructed them in the part they were to act, and particularly exhorted them to do everything with readiness, and at a signal given, agreeable to the rules of military discipline, which in sea affairs especially required expedition and dispatch, because of all others the most changeable and uncertain. Having dismissed them, and finding both the wind and tide favorable, he made the signal for weighing anchor, and after sailing about eight miles further, stopped over against a plain and open shore.
But the barbarians, perceiving our design, sent their cavalry and chariots before, which they frequently make use of in battle, and, following with the rest of their forces, endeavored to oppose our landing. And indeed we found the difficulty very great on many accounts; for our ships, being large, required a great depth of water; and the soldiers, who were wholly unacquainted with the places, and had their hands embarrassed and laden with a weight of armor, were at the same time to leap from the ships, stand breast-high amidst the waves, and encounter the enemy, while they, fighting on dry ground, or advancing only a little way into the water, having the free use of all their limbs, and in places which they perfectly knew, could boldly cast their darts and spur on their horses, well inured to that kind of service. All these circumstances serving to spread a terror among our men, who were wholly strangers to this way of fighting, they pushed not the enemy with the same vigor and spirit as was usual for them in combats on dry ground.
Cæsar, observing this, ordered some galleys - a kind of shipping less common with the barbarians, and more easily governed and put in motion — to advance a little from the transports towards the shore, in order to set on the enemy in flank, and, by means of their engines, slings, and arrows, drive them to some distance. This proved of considerable service to our men, for, what with the surprise occasioned by the make of our galleys, the motion of the oars, and the playing of the engines, the enemy were forced to halt, and in a little time began to give back. But our men still demurring to leap into the sea, chiefly because of the depth of the water in those parts, the standard bearer of the tenth legion, having first invoked the gods for success, cried out aloud : “Follow me, fellow-soldiers, unless you will betray the Roman eagle into the hands of the enemy: for my part, I am resolved to discharge my duty to Cæsar and the Commonwealth.” On this he jumped into the sea, and advanced with the eagle against the enemy; whereat, our men exhorting one another to prevent so signal a disgrace, all that were in the ship followed him; which being perceived by those in the nearest vessels, they also did the like, and boldly approached the enemy.
The battle was obstinate on both sides; but our men, as being neither able to keep their ranks, nor get firm footing, nor follow their respective standards, — because, leaping promiscuously from their ships, every one joined the first ensign he met, — were thereby thrown into great confusion. The enemy, on the other hand, being well acquainted with the shallows, when they saw our men advancing singly from the ships, spurred on their horses, and attacked them in that perplexity. In one place great numbers would gather round a handful of the Romans; others, falling on them in flank, galled them mightily with their darts, which Cæsar observing, ordered some small boats to be manned, and ply about with recruits. By this means the foremost ranks of our men, having got firm footing, were followed by all the rest, when, falling on the enemy briskly, they were soon put to the rout. But, as the cavalry were not yet arrived, we could not pursue or advance far into the island, which was the only thing wanting to render the victory complete.
The enemy, being thus vanquished in battle, no sooner got together after their defeat than they dispatched ambassadors to Cæsar to sue for peace, offering hostages, and an entire submission to his commands. Along with these ambassadors came Comius, the Atrebatian, whom Cæsar, as we have related above, had sent before him into Britain. The natives seized him as soon as he landed, and, though he was charged with a commission from Cæsar, threw him into irons. But on their late defeat they thought proper to send him back, throwing the blame of what had happened on the multitude, and begged of Cæsar to excuse a fault proceeding from ignorance. Cæsar, after some complaints of their behavior, in that, having of their own accord sent ambassadors to the continent to sue for peace, they had yet without any reason begun a war against him, told them at last he would forgive their fault, and ordered them to send a certain number of hostages. Part were sent immediately, and the rest, as living at some distance, they promised to deliver in a few days. Meantime they disbanded their troops, and the several chiefs came to Cæsar's camp, to manage their own concerns and those of the states to which they belonged.
A peace being thus concluded four days after Cæsar's arrival in Britain, the eighteen transports appointed to carry the cavalry, of whom we have spoken above, put to sea with a gentle gale. But when they had so near approached the coast as to be even within view of the camp, so violent a storm all on a sudden arose, that, being unable to hold on their course, some were obliged to return to the port whence they set out, and others driven to the lower end of the island, westward, not without great danger. There they cast anchor ; but, the waves rising very high, so as to fill the ships with water, they were again in the night obliged to stand out to sea, and make for the continent of Gaul. That very night it happened to be full moon, when the tides on the seacoast always rise highest — a thing at that time wholly unknown to the Romans. Thus at one and the same time the galleys which Cæsar made use of to transport his men, and which he had ordered to be drawn up on the strand, were filled with the tide, and the tempest fell furiously on the transports that lay at anchor in the road ; nor was it possible for our men to attempt anything for their preservation. Many of the ships being dashed to pieces, and the rest having lost their anchors, tackle, and rigging, which rendered them altogether unfit for sailing, a general consternation spread itself through the camp; for there were no other ships to carry back the troops, nor any materials to repair those that had been disabled by the tempest. And, as it had been all along Cæsar's design to winter in Gaul, he was wholly without corn to subsist the troops in those parts.
All this being known to the British chiefs who after the battle had repaired to Cæsar's camp, to perform the conditions of the treaty, they began to hold conferences among themselves; and as they plainly saw that the Romans were destitute both of cavalry, shipping, and corn, and easily judged, from the smallness of the camp, that the number of their troops was but inconsiderable in which notion they were the more confirmed because Cæsar, having brought over the legions without baggage, had occasion to inclose but a small spot of ground they thought this a convenient opportunity for taking up arms, and, by intercepting the Roman convoys, to protract the affair till winter; being confidently persuaded that by defeating these troops, or cutting off their return, they should effectually put a stop to all future attempts on Britain. Having therefore entered into a joint confederacy, they by degrees left the camp, and began to draw the islanders together ; but Cæsar, though he was not yet apprised of their design, yet guessing in part at their intentions, by the disaster which had befallen his fleet, and the delays formed in relation to the hostages, determined to provide against all events. He therefore had corn daily brought into his camp, and ordered the timber of the ships that had been most damaged to be made use of in repairing the rest, sending to Gaul for what other materials he wanted. As the soldiers were indefatigable in their service, his fleet was soon in a condition to sail, having lost only twelve ships.
During these transactions, the seventh legion being sent out to forage, according to custom, as part were employed in cutting down the corn, and part in carrying it to the camp, without suspicion of attack, news was brought to Cæsar that a greater cloud of dust than ordinary was seen on that side where the legion was. Cæsar, suspecting how matters went, marched with the cohorts that were on guard, ordering two others to succeed in their room, and all the soldiers in the camp to arm and follow him as soon as possible. When he was advanced a little way from the camp, he saw his men overpowered by the enemy, and with great difficulty able to sustain the fight, being driven into a small compass, and exposed on every side to the darts of their adversaries. For, as the harvest was gathered in everywhere else, and one only field left, the enemy, suspecting that our men would come thither to forage, had hid themselves during the night in the woods, and waiting till our men had quitted their arms, and dispersed themselves to fall a reaping, they suddenly attacked them, killed some, put the rest into disorder, and began to surround them with their horses and chariots.
Their way of fighting with their chariots is this : First they drive their chariots on all sides, and throw their darts, insomuch that, by the very terror of the horses and noise of the wheels, they often break the ranks of the enemy. When they have forced their way into the midst of the cavalry, they quit their chariots, and fight on foot: meantime the drivers retire a little from the combat, and place themselves in such a manner as to favor the retreat of their countrymen, should they be overpowered by the enemy. Thus in action they perform the part both of nimble horsemen and stable infantry; and by continual exercise and use have arrived at that expertness, that in the most steep and difficult places they can stop their horses on a full stretch, turn them which way they please, run along the pole, rest on the harness, and throw themselves back into their chariots with incredible dexterity.
Our men being astonished and confounded with this new way of fighting, Cæsar came very timely to their relief; for on his approach the enemy made a stand, and the Romans began to recover from their fear. This satisfied Cæsar for the present, who, not thinking it a proper season to provoke the enemy and bring on a general engagement, stood facing them for some time, and then led back the legions to the camp. The continual rains that followed for some days after, both kept the Romans within their intrenchments, and withheld the enemy from attacking us. Meantime the Britons dispatched messengers into all parts, to make known to their countrymen the small number of the Roman troops, and the favorable opportunity they had of making immense spoils, and freeing their country forever from all future invasions, by storming the enemy's camp. Having by this means got together a great body of infantry and cavalry, they drew towards our intrenchments.
Cæsar, though he foresaw that the enemy, if beaten, would in the same manner as before escape the danger by flight, yet, having got about thirty horse, whom Comius, the Atrebatian, had brought over with him from Gaul, he drew up the legions in order of battle before the camp, and falling on the Britons, who were not able to sustain the shock of our men, soon put them to flight. The Romans, pursuing them as long as their strength would permit, made a terrible slaughter, and, setting