There was a strong fortress situated at the head of the pier or mole
leading to the island of Pharos, which was without Caesar's lines, and
still in the hands of the Egyptian authorities. The Egyptians thus
commanded the entrance to the mole. The island itself, also, with the
fortress at the other end of the pier, was still in the possession of
the Egyptian authorities, who seemed disposed to hold it for Achillas.
The mole was very long, as the island was nearly a mile from the shore.
There was quite a little town upon the island itself, besides the
fortress or castle built there to defend the place. The garrison of this
castle was strong, and the inhabitants of the town, too, constituted a
somewhat formidable population, as they consisted of fishermen, sailors,
wreckers, and such other desperate characters, as usually congregate
about such a spot. Cleopatra and Caesar, from the windows of their palace
within the city, looked out upon this island, with the tall light house
rising in the center of it and the castle at its base, and upon the long
and narrow isthmus connecting it with the main land, and concluded that
it was very essential that they should get possession of the post,
commanding, as it did, the entrance to the harbor.

[...]
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