By nine o’clock Chatham and Rochester had become a gigantic seething whirlpool of disaster and defeat. Every street was choked by hordes of disbanded and undisciplined soldiers. All discipline was completely at an end. To the insane lust of battle there succeeded a mad rage for drink and food. With haggard faces, staring, bloodshot eyes, and uniforms covered with blood and dirt, they invaded public-houses and provision shops and took everything within reach. Casks of beers and spirits were dragged up from cellars and broached, whilst hundreds of famished men fought for the contents. Raw spirit was swallowed by the tumberful and soon produced the most frightful results. Thousands of soldiers were maddened by drink and hewed their way through the crowd, using their bayonets and rifles with savage ferocity. Others fell down in heaps outside public-houses, overcome by fatigue. More fugitives poured into the congested streets every moment, and had to fight their way over the bodies of the sleeping drunkards. Weapons, which ought to have been used against the Germans, were turned against compatriots in this bestial downfall.