The Athenians rushed upon the first garrison and cut them down, half asleep as they were1
and just snatching up their arms. Their landing had been unobserved, the enemy supposing that the ships were only gone to keep the customary watch for the night. When the dawn appeared, the rest of the army began to disembark.
They were the crews of rather more than seventy ships, including all but the lowest rank of rowers, variously equipped. There were also archers to the number of eight hundred, and as many targeteers, besides the Messenian auxiliaries and all who were on duty about Pylos, except the guards who could not be spared from the walls of the fortress.
Demosthenes divided them into parties of two hundred more or less, who seized the highest points of the island in order that the enemy, being completely surrounded and distracted by the number of their opponents, might not know whom they should face first, but might be exposed to missiles on every side. For if they attacked those who were in front, they would be assailed by those behind; and if those on one flank, by those posted on the other;
and whichever way they moved, the light-armed troops of the enemy were sure to be in their rear. These were their most embarrassing opponents, because they were armed with bows and javelins and slings and stones, which could be used with effect at a distance. Even to approach them was impossible, for they conquered in their very flight, and when an enemy retreated, pressed close at his heels. Such was the plan of the descent which Demosthenes had in his mind, and which he now carried into execution.