On Saturday, June 14, 1884, some 300 troops disembarked onto Phnom Penh’s pier. From the gunnels of the gunboats Alouette, Sagaie and Escopette, soldiers called up from the Mytho and Vinh-long garrisons emerged; more than 120 French marines and 150 Vietnamese tirailleurs carried their bags and guns to a couple of warehouses, situated at a hundred yards from the Protectorate offices. Joined by resident French and Vietnamese soldiers, they set up a temporary camp inside. It is unlikely that they knew the reasons for their deployment, nor when or whom they would be asked to fight. Cambodia was at peace, and Phnom Penh was as quiet as on any normal day. Two days passed, and nothing happened. The soldiers played cards, smoked, talked, cleaned their guns, and awaited orders, which finally came at midnight on the third day.1