Both parties had now made all necessary preparations, both in word and act. The Athenians1
sailed at nightfall to Minoa, the island in front of Megara, with six hundred hoplites under the command of Hippocrates. They then took up their position not far from the Long Walls, in a pit out of which the bricks for the walls had been dug.
A second division of the Athenian army, consisting of lightarmed Plataeans and of a part of the force employed in guarding the frontier, under the command of Demosthenes the other general, lay in ambush at the temple of Ares, which is nearer still.
During the night no one knew what they were about, except the men who were immediately concerned. Just before daybreak the conspirators executed their plan. They had long ago provided that the gates should be open when required; for by the permission of the commander, who supposed them to be privateering, they had been in the habit of conveying a sculling-boat out of the town by night. This they placed upon a waggon, and carried it down to the sea through the trench; they then sailed out, and just before day broke the boat was brought back by them on the waggon and taken in at the gates;
their object being, as they pretended, to baffle the Athenian watch at Minoa, as no vessel would be seen in the harbour at all. The waggon had just arrived at the gates, which were opened for the boat to enter, when the Athenians, with whom the whole affair had been preconcerted, seeing this movement, rushed out of the ambuscade, wanting to get in before the gates were shut again and while the waggon was still in them, and prevented them from being closed. At the same instant their Megarian confederates cut down the guards stationed at the gates.
First of all the Plataeans and the frontier guard under Demosthenes rushed in where the trophy now stands. No sooner were they within the gates than the Peloponnesians who were nearest and saw what was going on hastened to the rescue; but they were overpowered by the Plataeans, who secured the gates for the entrance of the Athenian hoplites as they came running up.