2 July 1779: The Irish Brigade in the service of France landed on the Caribbean island of Grenada on this day. They were part of an expeditionary force of some 2,300 men tasked with seizing the island from the British garrison based there. France and Britain were at War over the status of the United States, with the French backing the attempts of the Americans to secure their Independence from Britain.
Colonel Arthur Dillon led the Irish soldiers and the overall command of the Expedition rested with Admiral Compte d’Estaing. As it so happened another Irishman, Lord McCartney, was in charge of the British troops on the island. He had only a small force of about 500 men to resist these invaders and decided to withdraw to the heights of the position known as the Morne de l'Hopital and try to hold out there. Though outnumbered his position was strong and with luck he might have repulsed the assault until help arrived. Besides the steep incline, there were several walls on the hillside placed to impede the progress of any attacker. Dillon was sent ahead with a small force to ascertain whether an assault was possible and concluded that it was.