The plan for the attack on the Medway was orchestrated by Johan de Witt, Grand Pensionary of Holland who had made plans for such an attack to have taken place the previous year following the Four Days Battle but had been prevented from carrying them out by the later St James’s Day Battle.
On the 4 June 1667 a fleet of 62 frigates (ships of the line) and twelve fireships sailed from Holland under the command of Lieutenant Admiral Michiel de Ruyter. Johann de Witt sent his brother, Cornelis de Witt with the fleet to supervise execution of the plan.
De Ruyter arrived off the Thames Estuary on the 6 June and the following day Cornelis de Witt revealed the secret instructions from the States General, to the fleets commanders. The Dutch fleet was organised into three squadrons, the first led by De Ruyter, the second by Lt Admiral Aert Jansse van Ness and a third under the command of Lt Admiral Van Ghent. It was this latter squadron, that was to undertake the attack on the Dockyard and the English fleet lying in the Medway. Van Ghent, a former commander of the Dutch Marine Corps was accompanied by the current head of the Marine Corps, an Englishman, Colonel Thomas Dolman, and a force of a thousand marines.