Siege of Minorca April to June 1756: 20 May to 31 May 1756

May 21st. Two Deserters came in from the Enemy, one of the Royal Regiment, the other of the Royal Italians; one of them was drunk and would not own himself to be any more than a prisoner; the other informed us they had been lately reinforced, and were under Arms the day our Fleet appeared off; this night they threw many shells; their Fleet to the East.  These Deserters informed us that the Enemy are in search of our mines, but differ with regard to the spot where they are countermining; they likewise informed us, that there had been an engagement between the two Fleets, and that ours had been worsted; that the French Army now consists of near eighteen thousand. The Guards changed their hour of Mounting to three o’clock in the morning, in order that a greater number of Men, might be under Arms at the time when it is apprehended we are most liable to be attacked.

May 22nd. About sun set the Enemy fired a Feu de joye, and at the end of each fire gave us a general discharge from their Batteries of both Guns and Mortars; their small shot came into the works but did no harm; they threw very few shells at night. The Feu de joye was on account of the engagement between the French and English Fleets, the latter of which through the ill conduct of the Admiral was obliged to retreat and go back to Gibraltar; a very few of the English Ships were engaged, but they behaved extremely well.  The Enemy’s fleet in sight all day close at the back of Cape Mola, most of them with their boats astern.

May 23rd. The Enemy began to Bombard early in the Morning, fired smartly about daybreak, and continued the rest of the day as usual, they opened two more Embrazures at their Battery by the burying Ground to play on the Queen’s Redoubt, this Battery has now six Embrazures. The Enemy’s fleet in sight and very close in shore; the Enemy seen all this afternoon driving beasts into St Philips loaded with Fascines.

May 24th. The Enemy fire very moderate to day; their fleet before the harbour. They Cannonaded the Queens Redoubt with two Guns from the Battery near the Burying ground.

May 25th. The Enemy threw few shells in the Night, we fired a Carcass to their Battery, by the old burying ground, and gave them many shells; about day break they fired both their Cannon and Mortars, but not with great violence; in the Evening their Fleet stood to the Northward behind Cape Mola.  The Enemy’s Carriages heard between the Town Guard and burying ground, they are repairing and increasing that Battery.

May 26th. The Enemy threw a great many shells today, most of which burst in the Castle square; their fleet behind Cape Mola; we imagine the Enemy are carrying on a Battery behind a mount commonly called Turk’s Mount, a little above Marlborough fort towards the sea, by which we think they intend to oppose the entrance of any Ships into the harbour. They have added a great Quantity of Earth to their Battery near the burying Ground, they have five Guns at the burying Ground battery but fire very little from them, two of them bear upon the West face of the Queen’s Redoubt and have impaired it greatly.

May 27th. The Enemy threw but few shells in the night; we fired as usual, particularly on the Town. The Enemy’s fleet to the Eastward of Cape Mola.  For several days past the Enemy has given us very little annoyance, nor does it yet appear that they have made any great progress towards the acquisition of the place, or have proceeded with the vigour that might be apprehended from so formidable an Army, as we are informed they have invested the place with.

May 28th. The Enemy fired little in the night, and we kept a smart fire as usual; their Fleet appeared off the harbour, and we counted 27 Sail, but no addition of Men of War; several of the Ships parted from the Fleet in the afternoon, and went to the Eastward; it is imagined these Vessels have brought them either more Troops, or Stores. The Lieut. Governor had a dish of fish at his Table, killed by the explosion of a shell in the Water at St Stephen’s Cove.

May 29th. The Enemy were very quiet in the night, not firing at all and but little the whole day. In the morning their Fleet was so near the harbour, that several of their ships were in danger of being ashore near Turks Mount, it being almost calm, but they were towed off again. They fired several shot last night at a Vessel passing the Harbour’s mouth, which hoisted French Colours, but struck them upon their firing. They have now seven Mortars at their Battery by Major Innes’s; about seven o’clock this Evening they fired upon us from a ricochet battery of three Guns, and two Mortars which lie concealed behind a rocky part, a little to the right of Turks Mount, most of their shot went clean over the Castle. It does not appear they have much repaired their Battery near the burying ground.

May 30th. The Enemy threw very few shells last night, and fired in the morning Cannon from Turks Mount; we directed a Carcass and fire balls to their Battery, and gave them many shells and Cannon Shot; their smartest fire was in the morning, being pretty moderate the rest of the day; one of their shells set fire to half a barrel of Powder on Argyle fort, by which accident 40 Cohorn shells fired, and burst on the Battery, but hurt nobody. They fire very little from their Gun Battery by the burying Ground, four Embrazures of which are now filled up and the whole Battery very much damaged by our constant fire of Shot & Shells upon it.

May 31st. The Enemy fired little last night, but we heard a great many Carriages passing the back of the Town towards Stanhope’s Tower; we made a smart fire upon all parts of the Town; theirs was moderate today; some of our Shells, and a Carcass, being too near the Mortar, took fire on the top of the Castle, but nobody was hurt; their Fleet off the Harbour. The Genoese Vessel ordered to be lilted for sea.  It is discovered that the Enemy have collected a great Quantity of Earth, at the back of the fives Court near Stanhope’s Tower.

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