In the harbor, which was on the south side of the mole, and,
consequently, on the side opposite to that from which Achillas was
advancing toward the city, there were lying a large number of Egyptian
vessels, some dismantled, and others manned and armed more or less
effectively. These vessels had not yet come into Achillas's hands, but
it would be certain that he would take possession of them as soon as he
should gain admittance to those parts of the city which Caesar had
abandoned. This it was extremely important to prevent; for, if Achillas
held this fleet, especially if he continued to command the island of
Pharos, he would be perfect master of all the approaches to the city on
the side of the sea. He could then not only receive re-enforcements and
supplies himself from that quarter, but he could also effectually cut
off the Roman army from all possibility of receiving any. It became,
therefore, as Caesar thought, imperiously necessary that he should
protect himself from this danger. This he did by sending out an
expedition to burn all the shipping in the harbor, and, at the same
time, to take possession of a certain fort upon the island of Pharos
which commanded the entrance to the port. This undertaking was
abundantly successful. The troops burned the shipping, took the fort,
expelled the Egyptian soldiers from it, and put a Roman garrison into it
instead, and then returned in safety within Caesar's lines. Cleopatra
witnessed these exploits from her palace windows with feelings of the
highest admiration for the energy and valor which her Roman protectors
displayed.

[...]
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