Siege of Minorca, April to June 1756, 21 June to 29 June

June 21st. We cannot discover what work the Enemy are carrying on in Town, but we see them frequently pass and repass as if they were carrying Earth; they have moved some Guns from their ten Gun Battery; at night they fired Howitzers and ricochet shot; their Batteries are frequently on fire. The works done at the Argyle and Anstruther, again beat down, and the Battery silenced. Captain Hobby killed by a shell in the Castle.

June 22nd. The Enemy have not battered much this day or two, one of their Howitzer shells set fire to some of our 13 Inch shells on the N. West outward Ravelin, and 17 of them burst, but without hurting anybody; their fire and ours this night was as usual.  The Enemy worked hard last night, particularly behind the little parade in the Town; where it may very soon be expected that they will open a Battery. Our working parties employed again at the Argyle covered way, where the Embrazures are ordered to be masked, six Embrazures of the Enemy’s ten Gun Battery are now masked.

June 23rd. The Enemy seem to be very busy in Town, and preparing Batteries; they threw more shells in the night than usual; several Men killed and wounded in the night. The French Fleet in sight.  The besiegers are opening Embrazures in a work just in the front of the Tower by Major Innes’s House.  All the 32 Pounders that were on the Royal Battery are demolished except four, three of which are mounted in the covered way of Argyle, and one only of them remains at the Royal Battery.  The Guns are loaded with Grape shot during the night, and run out to the Embrazures, but drawn in again in the Morning, and the Embrazures masked.

June 24th. In the morning the Enemy began a very brisk and regular fire, which they continued all day from their Mortars and a prodigious number of shells were thrown into the works, particularly the Castle square; we very plainly saw three Batteries in the Town, with their Embrazures masked; which they opened about 12 o’clock, one by Water Tower of 4 Guns near Major Innes’s, another opposite Kane’s Fort, from whence they fired nine Guns successively, but the extent of their Battery and the number of its Embrazures does not yet appear; and the third near where Mr. Baker lived; from these they fired with great fury the whole Day as well as from their Howitzer and ricochet Battery’s; they Bombarded and Cannonaded so warmly, that we may conclude this Day’s firing to be the Hottest we had yet sustained. Our works were extremely battered, and the Enemy kept a constant fire with their Small Arms at our outworks and Embrazures. We threw many shells, but fired little with Cannon, Our Merlons being greatly destroyed. Three small parties of the Enemy came upon the Glacis in the night within 30 or 40 paces of the Palissadoes; and exchanged some Shot with out- Guards in the outward covered way, before the Queen’s Redoubt, Argyle and Anstruther.  The fire from the Enemy is now become so very heavy upon all the outworks in the front of the attack, that the Gunners are no longer able to stand to the few Guns still remaining; at least till the parapets and Merlons are repaired.

June 25th. The Enemy kept a very hot fire the whole Day with their Cannon, Mortars and Small Arms on the outworks, and have so destroyed our Embrazures and Merlons, that we could play but very few Cannon against them; except the N. E. Ravelin, which bears upon the besiegers three and four Gun Batteries at the Water Tower by Major Innes’s; bat we played them pretty warmly with shells.  In the night they fired but little from their Mortars, but threw a vast number of Howitzer shells, and ricochet shot.  The Besiegers are heard drawing Carnages down from their ten Gun Battery into the Town. They have fired lately with smaller Cannon than formerly from that Battery, from whence it is imagined they have removed their heaviest Cannon from that, to the last made Battery in the Town.

June 26th. The Enemy kept a very warm fire this morning and so fast with their small Arms that they very soon silenced the Guns on the outer works, through the badness of the Embrasures and Merlons, which were almost destroyed.  We threw a great number of shells. For about two or three nights past, the Enemy have crept upon the Glacis near to the Palissadoes, a few at a time; where they have exchanged some shot with the Guards in the covered way and then stole back again. A Council of War was held this day at which all the Field Officers assisted, to concert as was said further means for the defence of the place, and was summoned to sit again tomorrow. A breach having been made in the left face of the Anstruther, thought to be a practicable one.

The besiegers fired incessantly the whole night from all their different Batteries of Cannon, Mortars, and Howitzers, and chiefly directed their fire at the N. W. Curtain and W. Bastion of the Castle, and at the W. Counter Guard, N. E. Ravelin, and the Anstruther; all which are very much buttered.

June 27th. The Enemy fired a great many Howitzers and ricochet Shot, and continual firing of Small Arms on the outward covered way, and the lunettes; the same was returned from the Garrison, with now and then a Cannon from the W. lunette, and other batteries; though in general they are almost silenced, and about Day break fired extremely fast from their Mortars, which they continued to do the whole Day; their Gun Batteries played very warmly, and they kept a Constant fire with their Small Arms on the Embrazures of the outworks. Major Godfrey of Cornwallis’s wounded in the Castle square by some stones thrown by the fall of a shell.  About 9 o’clock at night, the time our Guards marched into the covered way, they Cannonaded and Bombarded with great fury ; which they continued to do for above an hour; between 10 and 11 after having ceased firing for about an hour, they made a general Assault from all the Salient Angles of the Covered way with great intrepidity, as far as the S. W. lunette; the signal for which was 15 Guns fired on board their Fleet and four shells, two thrown from the Turks Mount, and two from the signal house into the sea, at the same time; and during most part of the night, a noise was heard in Town like the tinkling upon some Mortars. Our numbers not being sufficient to defend the outward covered way, the Guards agreeable to their Orders retired after having given them a few rounds, into the lunettes, &c. They attempted with boats armed and provided with scaling Ladders, to enter the harbour and St Stephen’s Cove, in order to storm Charles Fort and St Stephen’s Guard; and to second the attack of the Marlborough by attempting it at the Gorge, but they were repulsed; upon which those that had attacked Marlborough Fort retired likewise; they were also repulsed at the West, and Carolina’s lunette; but not before they had cut down several ranges of Palissadoes, and nailed up some Guns on the new Batteries near that work; they entered tho Queen’s Redoubt by scaling and at the Gorge, where they took Colonel Jefferys Prisoner; Lieut. Whitehead of Colonel Rich’s Regiment was killed defending the breach at the Queen’s Redoubt, which they mounted by the Ladders they had made use of to get into the Ditch. They possessed themselves of the Anstruther and Argyle upon the retreat of the Guards there, having landed a great many men in boats at the Royal Battery; We sprang a Mine at the Argyle with great success; for by it they lost the greatest part of two Companies of Grenadiers, and one of Volunteers, with their Officers, by their own confession. We threw a great many shells, as well as Carcasses to give light to our Troops. Our Guns were silent on most of the inner works, the Merlons and platforms being near totally destroyed; from the N. E. Ravelin, we fired grape pretty smartly upon them and with success, although it was dark. We sprang a Mine likewise at the Redoubt with some success.  The Council of War met again this day at 4 o’clock.

June 28th. About Day break the Enemy beat a Parly to bury their dead, and draw off their wounded, which stopped our fire. At that time we could plainly see their Troops (excepting those in possession of the Anstruther, Argyle, and Queen’s Redoubt) running away; their Officers using all their endeavours to make them advance, and our men made a furious fire upon them; during this parly they secured themselves, and augmented their numbers in the Queen’s Redoubt and Argyle fort, as well as in the subterraneans, as far as the Kane; they lost about a thousand men in this attack, and a great many Officers.  The parly continued this day, and at night both parties were allowed to work; which they did.  t must not be forgot that the sick and wounded men at Charles Fort, turned out for the defence of that place upon its being attacked, and some fired that had only the use of one Arm, during this cessation a Capitulation was proposed, and terms were sent to the Duke of Richelieu.

June 29th. The Enemy advanced their Lodgments on the Argyle and Queen’s Redoubt, and had now more men in the places they were in possession of, than we had in our whole inner works; they had also a Battery in Town completed with 12 Guns. This Day till 12 o’clock we expected an answer to the Terms of Capitulation; when there was an extraordinary Council of War called, at which were present all the Captains off Duty; the Question being put whether they thought the fortifications and Troops were in a condition to stand a second assault, it was the opinion of almost the whole, that they were not; and that honourable Terms of Capitulation should be desired.  About 6 o’clock the Capitulation was signed by both sides, and about 7 the Enemy took possession of the barriers and outworks.

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