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even destroyed some of their own comrades, who, pitying the deplorable and defenceless state of their late opponents, endeavoured in vain to curb or prevent the perpetration of such cruel and unnecessary murder.
The feelings of Caesar himself were outraged and distressed in witnessing this sad tragic scene, and he, too, used intreaties and commands to terminate a carnage so disgraceful to his army; but the fury of the legionaries could not be restrained, and no quarter was given to any of the vanquished suppliants. This victorious battle, which terminated in the discomfiture and almost total destruction of the whole army opposed to Caesar, is stated to have cost the conquerors only fifty men; a loss which exceeds the bounds of credibility, notwithstanding the unarmed, defenceless, and unresisting condition of the vanquished soon after the commencement of the action is taken into consideration. Caesar celebrated the victory by a grand sacrifice in front of his army, addressed high encomiums to his soldiers on their valour, and bestowed pecuniary rewards on the whole of his veteran troops, with increased bounties to those who had specially distinguished themselves in the conflict. The battle of Thapsus terminated the campaign in Africa; and, after the death or discomfiture of all his enemies in his passage through the country, Caesar arrived at Home, where his victorious career was celebrated with four triumphs: the first for his conquest of the Gauls; the second for his defeat of Ptolemseus in the Alexandrian war; the third for his victory over Pharnaces, at the battle of Zela, the trophies of which were distinguished by labels, on which were inscribed the words—" Veni, vidi, vici;" and the last by the overthrow of Juba. In these rejoicings no allusion was made to his brilliant achievements when opposed to the armies of his own countrymen, for the honour gained by the one party was counterbalanced by the want of success of similarly disciplined legions of the empire, and a triumph, if celebrated, would have been accompanied by the sighs and tears of many of the inhabitants of Rome.
Short respite was allowed for the active mind of Caesar to enjoy his well-merited honours; the flame of war was not quenched, embers still smouldered, a spark lit up the horizon, and, eventually, the fire raged again in Spain, where the republicans were in force under the two sons of Pompey. Caesar lost no time in preparing measures for the important crisis; ordered troops from Italy to strengthen those already near the seat of war, and himself reached Saguntum in twenty-seven days after his departure from Rome. It is not necessary to trace his progress from post to post, nor to notice the movements or skirmishes of his troops when in proximity to the enemy; we will, therefore, at once pass in review the decisive battle of Munda, which terminated the campaign, and was the last engagement of Caesar, whose courage and renown as a soldier and commander may well be held forth as an incentive to glorious deeds; and whoso military science, even in the present more advanced, and, in some instances, enlightened age, may well be brought under your notice, as an inducement to study your profession theoretically as well as practically; not dogmatically confining your ideas to the simple movement of placing your men in front of the enemy, and leaving them by their bravery and discipline to achieve a victory; but studying well the attributes and capabilities of the three arms of the service—artillery, cavalry, and infantry; acquiring a thorough knowledge of the roads, hills, rivers, &c, of the seat of warfare; and, being thus perfectly conversant with the strength of the bodily machine of war, and the place of action, so place, and so use each portion of the aggressive force, that every possible advantage may be gained by their different powers and movements; strategetically advancing or retiring; and when tactically facing the enemy, so manoeuvring, and so posting the troops, that profiting by the nature of the ground, and the proper adaptation of the different arms of the service, an army, even numerically far inferior to that of the enemy, may with confidence commence the action, in the full certainty of obtaining a glorious victory.
The Battle of Munda.—The opposing armies had been encamped about five miles in front of each other, and Caesar was preparing to leave his station, when intelligence arrived that the enemy had been under arms from the middle of the previous night, and were meditating an attack on his camp. This report was soon verified by the appearance of his antagonists on some elevated ground, but as they made no dispositions for their advance into the plain, (in the valley of the Guadalquiver), Caesar determined to move forward to the attack. In the army of Pompey were assembled many veterans of the Roman legions, many citizens reduced to despair, as well as the natives of Spain; and, warned by the cruel slaughter at Thapsus, they all well knew their sole reliance must be on their courage, and their swords, for that hopes of mercy from a victorious enemy would be vain. Thus, resolute and united, they waited firmly for the approach of Caesar's troops, boldly received their first onset, and, after a severe struggle, repulsed, and eventually put to flight their assailants. Profiting by the advantage thus gained, the Pompeians pressed severely on their opponents, and the fortune of the day was apparently turning rapidly against Caesar, who was threatened with immediate defeat and destruction. In this time of peril the heart of Caesar quailed not, the intrepid commander became a private soldier; and, seizing a sword and shield, he rushed to the encounter, in the ranks of the legionaries, exclaiming, "That they were delivering him over to boys, and that this should be the last day of his life, and their services." Thus appealed to, and thus led on, the conflict for victory, and life itself, became more desperate between the combatants; Caesar, exhibiting all the bravery of a private soldier, fought hand to hand with his enemies. In the words of our immortal Shakespeare may we not imagine Caesar exclaiming—
"Cowards die many times before their deaths;
His officers endeavoured to protect him, and the legionaries, animated by the splendid example of their commander, with renewed valour and determination fiercely assaulted every opponent. The scales of victory were again equally balanced, when an accidental event occurred that at once decided the victory. An African squadron of horse having attempted to penetrate into Pompey's camp, Labienus, with a body of men, quitted his post in the field to cover the camp. The troops, who had until then bravely contested the battle, not only holding their own ground, but also attacking the best of Caesar's forces, were paralyzed, and disheartened at this unexpected movement; and, fearing that Labienus had deserted them, they began to waver, became disunited, and timorous, and finally broke, and fled in utter confusion. The murderous slaughter of flying and unresisting men then commenced, and the bloody page of history records that thirty thousand fell on the field of battle, of whom three thousand were citizens of high families; seventeen officers of superior rank were taken prisoners, and thirteen eagles or legionary standards were captured. Caesar's Iosb is stated to have been one thousand men killed, and five hundred wounded. This decisive and well-contested battle, in which Caesar acknowledged he had to fight for life itself, in contradistinction to his preceding actions in which he fought for victory, will terminate my record of the renowned Roman commander's campaigns—this battle having been his last. After the perusal of the extraordinary career of Caesar, need we be surprised at the jealous feelings of Cassius, thus expressed to Brutus in "Julius Caesar":—
"Why man he doth bestride the narrow world Like a Colossus, and we petty men Walk under his huge legs, and peep about To find ourselves dishonourable graves."
You will not, I trust, consider I have lingered too long in my exposition of the scenes of warfare during the important and extensive campaigns of Caesar; these campaigns contain in themselves a mine of military science; many readers from their schoolboy days do but view the surface of the ground, and in after-life remember but little beyond Caesar's announcement of a victory, "Veni, vidi, vici." Did they reflect, and had they attentively studied the strategetical and tactical operations of Rome's great commander, they would know that "veni, vidi, vici" might most appropriately be applied to all the military operations of Caesar—veni, implying the personal presence in, and personal knowledge of, the seat of war; vidi, the scientific observation of his own forces and those of the enemy, and the most appropriate modes of attack and defence; and thus possessed of the military attributes contained in the true meaning of the words veni, vidi, the result was almost unavoidable; and, having done all to merit and ensure victory, well might vici terminate the recital of the noble and glorious actions of Caesar.
You are all, I doubt not, thoroughly conversant with the events connected with the tragic death of Caesar; and who can forget the heartrending exclamation he uttered before he calmly submitted to his fate— "Et tu Brute!" Caesar fell, but fell not alone; the flames of discord and destruction burst forth, and the death of Caesar was awfully avenged by that of many of the conspirators, their followers, and thousands of their countrymen. To the full extent was verified the prophecy of Antony, over the dead body of Caesar:—
"Oh! pardon me thou piece of bleeding earth,
Woe to the hand that shed this costly blood!
The relation of the warfare of the Eomans has extended to so great a length that I must pass over unnoticed all the minor military operations of the opposing parties, the assassins, and the avengers of Caesar; as these actions, and the events preceding and subsequent to them, until the Battle of Philippi, do not afford matter of sufficient importance in a scientific point of view for our present consideration. We will therefore, at once, give our attention to the final scene of the tragedy of Caesar.
Brutus and Cassius had taken up their position at Philippi, on the declivity of the mountains, their camps being about a mile asunder, on two separate eminences, Philippi on their right, covered by the mountains, an impassable marsh reaching to the sea on their left; the country in their front from Philippi westward to Amphipolis was flat, and subject to fluvial inundations. The fleet was in harbour at Neapolis, near the junction of the marsh, which covered the left of Cassius's camp, with the sea. The double camp was connected with a long line of rampart, and the hollow between the two hills was blocked up and fortified, to prevent direct communication with the east. Brutus was posted on the right, Cassius on the left eminence. Their legions were nineteen in number, and, though not raised to their full complement, furnished a total of not less than eighty thousand combatants. The strength of the cavalry was about twenty thousand, and masses of oriental auxiliaries occupied the rear and flanks of their positions.
Antony and Octavius had during the winter transported their forces into Macedonia, and the army advanced by rapid marches until it reached Amphipolis, which town was selected by Antony as a place of security for his heavy baggage and stores. From thence he moved forward upon the flat country, and, after some days, arrived in sight of Philippi, and pitched his camp within a mile of his enemies' stations.here he was joined by Octavius, who had been left at Dryrrachium, ■ho, anticipating an immediate action, though not recovered from ickness, joined the legions encamped between Amphipolis and Philippi.
ombined armies outnumbered the forces of the republic,
only amounted to thirteen thousand. The position up on a plain, subject to inundation from the river
Nestus, was disadvantageous, and might become untenable, but the boldness and confidence manifested by their occupying such a position and challenging their enemy, raised the ardour of their own troops, while it dispirited their opponents. "Well might the Eoman historians consider the battle of Philippi the most memorable conflict in their military annals. Eighty thousand legionaries with oriental auxiliaries opposed to about one hundred and twenty thousand legionaries, being altogether just three times as many legionaries as fought at Pharsalia. High credit is deservedly due to the commanders of these multitudinous forces for their strategetical movements, for their success in procuring the necessary supplies of provisions, &c, on their march, and for the state of organisation and discipline of all the component parts of their armies.
The time had, however, now arrived when a blow must be struck, as the three armies of the triumvirs, assembled in their camps at Amphipolis, being destitute of magazines, and having no communication with the sea, had no alternative left them but to engage at once. The most prudent course for Brutus and Cassius would probably have been to retire from their position, but Brutus insisted on giving battle, and the eagerness of his soldiers, stimulated by a lavish gratuity, could not be restrained; and, in anticipation of the expected word of command, they simultaneously rushed with irresistible force on the legions under the command of Octavius; these speedily gave way, bearing with them their leader still feeble from illness, and, following up his advantage, Brutus stormed the enemy's camp, and destroyed three legions.
During this assault, Antonius, having observed that Cassius had exposed his front to an attack, instantly availed himself of the favourable opportunity, and, boldly moving his legions up the height in the face of the enemy, closed with them; and, bearing down all opposition, drove them before him into their camp, which was forcibly entered and pillaged. The results of these two engagements were similarly advantageous, and destructive to each of the parties; while Brutus and Antonius were exulting in their success, Octavius and Cassius were mourning over their respective defeats. It was late in the day when these actions terminated, and, owing to the clouds of dust and the dusky state of the atmosphere, neither party knew the full extent of their gain or loss; those in command of the right wings of the armies, having defeated their opponents, considered the victory was theirs; but Brutus and Antonius, having each learnt the discomfiture of their left wings and subsequent capture of the camps, were unwilling to continue the combat, neither of them venturing to attempt to profit by the advantage they had gained. They, therefore, hastily returned to their original respective stations, passing each other on the plain without renewing the contest.
The avenger's hand was, however, at work; though the result of the battle was nearly equally balanced for both parties, further misfortunes awaited the conspirators and assassins of Caesar. Cassius, after the entire defeat of his division, having in precipitate despair ordered a slave to terminate his existence; and Titinius having killed himself upon the body of his general, on account of his neglect in not having made known, by signal, that he was surrounded by the soldiers of Brutus, instead of by his enemies. Soon after this tragedy, Brutu8