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History of Rome (Ab Urbe Condita) by Livy
Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book XXVII Chapter 47: Hasdrubal withdraws his army[207 BC]
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The enemy were already standing in front of their camp, in battle order. But there was a pause. Hasdrubal had ridden to the front with a handful of cavalry, when he noticed in the hostile ranks some well-worn shields which he had not seen before, and some unusually lean horses; the numbers, too, seemed greater than usual. Suspecting the truth he hastily withdrew his troops into camp and sent men down to the river from which the Romans obtained water, to catch if they could some of the watering parties and see whether they were especially sunburnt, as is generally the case after a long march. He ordered, at the same time, mounted patrols to ride round the consul's {Note 1] camp and observe whether the lines had been extended in any direction and to notice at the same time whether the bugle-call was sounded once or twice in the camp. They reported that both the camps camp and that of Lucius Porcius were just as they had been, no addition had been made, and this misled him. But they also informed him that the bugle-call was sounded once in the praetor's camp and twice in the consul 's, and this perturbed the veteran commander, familiar as he was with the habits of the Romans. He concluded that both the consuls were there and was anxiously wondering how the one consul had got away from Hannibal. Least of all could he suspect what had actually occurred, namely that Hannibal had been so completely outwitted that he did not know the whereabouts of the commander and the army whose camp had been so close to his own. As his brother had not ventured to follow the consul, he felt quite certain that he had sustained a serious defeat, and he felt the gravest apprehensions lest he should have come too late to save a desperate situation, and lest the Romans should enjoy the same good fortune in Italy which they had met with in Spain. Then again he was convinced that his letter had never reached Hannibal, but had been intercepted by the consul who then hastened to crush him. Amidst these gloomy forebodings he ordered the camp fires to be extinguished, and gave the signal at the first watch for all the baggage to be collected in silence. The army then left the camp. In the hurry and confusion of the night march the guides, who had not been kept under very close observation, slipped away; one hid himself in a place selected beforehand, the other swam across the Metaurus at a spot well known to him. The column deprived of its guides marched on aimlessly across country, and many, worn out by sleeplessness flung themselves down to rest, those who remained with the standards becoming fewer and fewer. Until daylight showed him his route, Hasdrubal ordered the head of the column to advance cautiously, but finding that owing to the bends and turns of the river he had made little progress, he made arrangements for crossing it as soon as daybreak should show him a convenient place. But he was unable to find one, for the further he marched from the sea, the higher were the banks which confined the stream, and by thus wasting the day he gave his enemy time to follow him.

Note 1: consul = Marcus Livius

Battle of Metaurus, 207 BC

Event: Battle of Metaurus, 207 BC