When the fleet was ready, Gylippus, under cover of night, led forth the whole land-army,1
intending to attack in person the forts on Plemmyrium. Meanwhile the triremes of the Syracusans, at a concerted signal, sailed forth, thirty-five from the greater harbour and forty-five from the lesser, where they had their arsenal. These latter sailed round into the Great Harbour, intending to form a junction with the other ships inside and make a combined attack on Plemmyrium, that the Athenians, assailed both by sea and land, might be disconcerted.
The Athenians however quickly manned sixty ships; and with twenty-five of them engaged the thirty-five of the Syracusans which were in the Great Harbour: with the remainder they encountered those which were sailing round from the arsenal. These two squadrons met at once before the mouth of the Great Harbour: the struggle was long and obstinate, the Syracusans striving to force an entrance, the Athenians to prevent them.