All this was done secretly. The land is so low in the vicinity of
Alexandria that boats or galleys are out of sight from it at a very
short distance from the shore. In fact, travelers say that, in coming
upon the coast, the illusion produced by the spherical form of the
surface of the water and the low and level character of the coast is
such that one seems actually to descend from the sea to the land. Caesar
might therefore have easily kept his expedition a secret, had it not
been that, in order to be provided with a supply of water for the
transports immediately on reaching them, he stopped at a solitary part
of the coast, at some distance from Alexandria, and sent a party a
little way into the interior in search for water. This party were
discovered by the country people, and were intercepted by a troop of
horse and made prisoners. From these prisoners the Egyptians learned
that Caesar himself was on the coast with a small squadron of galleys.
The tidings spread in all directions. The people flocked together from
every quarter. They hastily collected all the boats and vessels which
could be obtained at the villages in that region and from the various
branches of the Nile. In the mean time, Caesar had gone on to the
anchorage ground of the squadron, and had taken the transports in tow to
bring them to the city; for the galleys, being propelled by oars, were
in a measure independent of the wind. On his return, he found quite a
formidable naval armament assembled to dispute the passage.

[...]
begin
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