General Bouët committed 2,500 French and Vietnamese soldiers to the attack. The French force consisted of three marine infantry battalions (chefs de bataillon Chevallier, Lafont and Roux), three marine artillery batteries (Captains Isoir, Dupont and Roussel), four companies of Cochinchinese riflemen and around 450 Yellow Flag auxiliaries. The attackers advanced in three separate columns. The left column, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Révillon, consisted of a marine infantry battalion, a supporting company of Cochinchinese riflemen and two artillery sections. It was accompanied by the Yellow Flag auxiliary battalion. The centre column, under the command of Bouët's chief of staff, chef de bataillon Paul Coronnat, consisted of a marine infantry battalion with a supporting company of Cochinchinese riflemen and a marine artillery battery. The right column, under the command of Colonel Bichot, also included a marine infantry battalion, a supporting Cochinchinese rifle company and a marine artillery battery. Bichot's column, whose right flank lay on the Red River, was supported by six French gunboats (Pluvier, Léopard, Fanfare, Éclair, Mousqueton and Trombe) from the Tonkin Flotilla, under the command of capitaine de vaisseau Morel-Beaulieu. Bouët himself marched behind Révillon's column with a small general reserve.
The Black Flag Army seems to have fielded around 3,000 men. Although Liu Yongfu's forces did not substantially outnumber the French, they had built two lines of field fortifications to block the road to Son Tay. The first, outpost, line ran from the village of Cau Giay near Paper Bridge, the scene of Rivière's defeat and death on 19 May, to the Pagoda of the Four Columns (Quatre Colonnes) on the Red River. The main line of defence ran behind it, taking in the villages of Phu Hoai, Noi and Hong.
Read more about this topic: Battle Of Phủ Hoài
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