Siege of Minorca April to June 1756: 1 May to 10 May 1756

May 1st. A Drummer came in from the Enemy to the Governor, with a Letter, contents not known, and was sent back in an hour or two; supposed to be to demand a French Criminal which had been carried away by Captain Noel.  Mr. Boyd went out with the Drummer, and took that opportunity to walk up to the ground where two Windmills had been pulled down, but could not discover any works begun on that side; nor does it appear that they have begun any Batteries, or brought up any Cannon as yet.  An alarm was purposely given to try the readiness of the Troops, when they all appeared at their posts; the piquet ordered to mount at sunset, to continue at their posts all night; and hold themselves in readiness till sunset next Day, till relieved by the New piquet. The French Fleet off the harbour. Three Spanish Boats went off from the Western part of the Island, to the Enemy’s Fleet; and continued amongst them till evening.

May 2d. General Blakeney sent a Drummer to the Marshall, the message not known. About Evening a large party of the Enemy’s Pioneers and Spaniards marched round to Cape Mola. We fired from the Queen’s Redoubt at a Ship coming out of a Creek, by Quarentine Island, we imagined she had carried Stores to the N. E. side of the harbour, where from the number of people frequently seen there, it is conjectured that the French are carrying on some work; but Night coming on and the Vessel getting behind the Island, we were prevented from having any more than three shot at her. The French Fleet in sight.

May 3rd. We fired some Cannon Shot at the Enemy’s Partys passing to and from Cape Mola, and threw some Shells which seemed to put them in great confusion. Mr. Chissel was sent over to Capo Mola to make what discoveries he could, who brought us word the Enemy were at work where we judged them to be. A French Soldier came towards the principal Barrier, and by his gestures seemed inclined to desert; he was encouraged so to do, and some went over the Palissadoes to conduct him in, but he then turned back and made off, upon which the Sentrys were ordered to fire upon him, and he was killed. The Enemy’s Fleet to leeward, a great distance off, Several Guns were fired from the Queen’s Redoubt at a very considerable party of the Enemy who were marching along the Hills on the N. E. side of the harbour, many of them appeared to be Pioneers. A very strong party were seen this Morning at Cape Mola signal House, where they were relieving their Guard. A considerable body of the Enemy were collected on the neck of Land adjoining to Cape Mola, where, it being imagined that they were busied in forming some Battery, several Shots were fired at them, and some Shells thrown, one of which upon its bursting made them disperse, and quit the place.

May 4th. We fired from the Queen’s Redoubt at the Enemy’s Parties passing May «h. the Neck of Land to Cape Mola. The Enemy’s Fleet in sight off the harbour’s mouth. The Duty being very hard upon the Subalterns, on application to Lieut. Colonel Jefferys the Adjutants were ordered to mount their Guards; and for their further ease, one Sub: was taken from the Carolina, and one from Kane. It having been found inconvenient to do Duty by the Long Roll; it was therefore changed; for in case of an alarm when the Regiments are out, Officers may be wanting to some, it is thought necessary to alter the method of mounting Guards, and their Duties, and to do them by Roster, by which means a more equal Number of Officers of each Regiment are off Duty.  We fired Cannon, and threw several Shells, to the other side of the harbour; the Enemy carrying on a work on Cape Mola. This day the Islanders ceased bringing Vegetables and other refreshments to the Garrison, it being forbid by the Enemy.

May 5th. The French Fleet to the West. We fired shot and three Shells at the Enemy, who were bringing Fascines over the Top of the Hill at Cape Mola. This night Carcasses were thrown to Cape Mola, as we had been informed the besiegers had broke ground there, the third instant.

May 6th. This morning we discovered a work the Enemy had carryed on, on the brow of the hill of Cape Mola; higher than, or above, the level of the top of the Castle; it appears like a Battery, and joins the old Wall near to the Sea: we also perceived another work of Fascines, we fired several Shot at these works. Last night two Men were sent out to reconnoiter, who went up the Line Wall, and through the Streets of St Philips, from Water Tower to Stanhope’s Tower; but discovered nothing of the Enemy’s proceedings.

May 7th. We discovered for certain that the Enemy’s work by the old Wall on Cape Mola, was a Battery of five Embrazures with sand bags in them, we fired at it continually from the East Counter Guard, as we did at the other work from Charles’s Fort; we discontinued firing in afternoon, but gave them about 70 shot and some Shells in the Night.  Their Fleet off the Harbour every day. An 8 inch Mortar burst, and an 18 Pounder flawed so, as to be condemned; A Serjeant and a Private Soldier were sent out to reconnoitre, but they did not return any more. The masonry of our works gives way by the explosion of our own Guns. All works in the Garrison are now carried on during the Night.

May 8th. At break of Day the Enemy opened two Batteries, one by the old Wall on Cape Mola, where they had 5 Guns of different natures, the highest of which seemed to be 26 Pounders, the other a Fascine Battery of 4 Mortars, their largest 13 Inch; from which they played very smart on the Castle, and Queen’s Redoubt; it was returned from the top of the Castle, from most of the works on that side, and from two Guns at the Queens Redoubt; in about two hours their fire slackened, only one or two of their Guns playing, and those chiefly against the center of the Castle.  At night we fired both Cannon arid Small Arms on a party of the Enemy heard at work by the burying Ground in the Town, they returned some small shot. A Shot of the Enemy’s fired one of our Guns, which went into the harbour. They dismounted a Gun on St Stephen’s Battery, and one at S. W. Lunette.  Two Soldiers of Lord Effingham’s Regiment were killed by one of our own Guns not being sufficiently Sponged; this day there was an order not to fire the same Gun above once an hour; there being many bad Guns, and the Embrazures slight.

May 9th. In the Evening a party of the Enemy approached towards the Glacis of Marlborough Fort, they were fired at with Small Arms, which they returned and retired behind the wall on the top of the Hill; keeping an irregular fire for near two hours; we sent them a few Shot from Carolina’s lunette, the new Tenaille, and Hospital Battery; from tho Marlborough several Cohorn Shells were directed up the Hill at them, some shells were also thrown to the Town near tho old burying ground, where we heard the Enemy at work, as were some Carcasses to give light.  Some of the Enemy’s fleet in sight.

May 10th. We cannonaded each other across the harbour, and the Enemy threw a great many Shells into our works from their Mortar Battery on Cape Mola; we likewise poured a great number of Cohorn shells into the Town to annoy the Enemies Workmen; It is apprehended that the Enemy are forming a Battery near where tho two Windmills were destroyed.  This day an order was given that none of the Batteries should fire without orders from the Field Officer of the Day, but the inconveniency of this being discovered, the order was revoked; and the time for firing left to the direction of the Officers commanding the Guards. The Enemy’s fleet in sight from the Westward.

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