His rebus cognitis exploratores centurionesque praemittit, qui locum idoneum castris deligant. Cum ex dediticiis Belgis reliquisque Gallis complures Caesarem secuti una iter facerent, quidam ex his, ut postea ex captivis cognitum est, eorum dierum consuetudine itineris nostri exercitus perspecta, nocte ad Nervios pervenerunt atque his demonstrarunt inter singulas legiones impedimentorum magnam numerum intercedere, neque esse quidquam negoti, cum prima legio in castra venisset reliquaeque legiones magnum spatium abessent, hanc sub sarcinis adoriri; qua pulsa impedimentisque direptis, futurum ut reliquae contra consistere non auderent. Adiuvabat etiam eorum consilium, qui rem deferebant, quod Nervii antiquitus, cum equitatu nihil possent (neque enim ad hoc tempus ei rei student, sed, quidquid possunt, pedestribus valent copiis), quo facilius finitimorum equitatum, si praedandi causa ad eos venissent, impedirent, teneris arboribus incisis atque inflexis crebisque in latitudinem ramis enatis et rubis sentibusque interiectis effecerant, ut instar muri hae saepes munimenta praeberent, quo non modo non intrari, sed ne perspici quidem posset. His rebus cum iter agminis nostri impediretur, non omittendum sibi consilium Nervii existimaverunt.
Upon this information Caesar sent forward scouts and centurions to choose a fit place for the camp. Now a considerable number of the surrendered Belgae and of the other Gauls were in the train of Caesar and marched with him; and certain of these, as was afterwards learnt from prisoners, having remarked the usual order of our army's march during those days, came by night to the Nervii and showed to them that between legion and legion a great quantity of baggage was interposed, and that it was an easy matter, when the first legion had reached camp and the rest were a great space away, to attack it while it was in heavy marching order; if it were driven back, and the baggage plundered, the rest would not dare to withstand. The plan proposed by those who brought the information was further assisted by an ancient practice of the Nervii. Having no strength in cavalry (for even to this day they care naught for that service, but all their power lies in the strength of their infantry), the easier to hamper the cavalry of their neighbours, whenever these made a raid on them, they cut into young saplings and bent them over, and thus by the thick horizontal growth of boughs, and by the intertwining with them brambles and thorns, they contrived that these wall-like hedges should serve them as fortifications which not only could not penetrated, but not even seen through. As the route of our column was hampered by these abatis, the Nervii considered that the proposed plan should be tried.
Translation and notes by H.J. Edwards
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