Category Archives: Chronology

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.

Siege of Minorca April to June 1756, 11 June to 20 June

June 11th. The Enemy threw a great number of Shells and Howitzers last night; their Howitzers were mostly directed to the Queen’s Redoubt, pitching between that and Kane’s lunette, some by the West lunette towards the Castle; they battered as tho day before and their fire was returned with equal spirit.  In the afternoon our fascine Battery was on fire, but was soon extinguished; the Enemy made a great fire upon us, while it was on fire. The French Fleet off the Harbour, saw 20 sail. The most constant of the Besiegers fire is from their ten, and from their six Gun Batteries; their five gun battery is exposed to a much superior fire from the Castle, the Queen’s Redoubt and the three 32 Prs which are now mounted on the Anstruther that they are rendered almost incapable of firing from it. The Anstruther and Argyle, Queen’s Redoubt, Kane’s lunette, West lunette, the outward and inward N. W. Ravelins, the W. Counter Guard, the N. W. Curtain with the N. and W. Bastions of the Castle, being at present the front of the attack are consequently the places that have suffered most by the Enemy’s fire.

June 12th. The Enemy’s fire and our return was as smart as the day before. Our new fascine battery set on fire twice, but extinguished without much loss. The Besiegers did not fire from their five Gun Battery after 9 o’clock this morning. They fire frequently from their Battery on the Phillipit side during the night, but from 110 other; several men killed and wounded.

June 13th. The Enemy’s fire to day somewhat abated, and they threw but few shells the first part of the night, but played pretty briskly with their Howitzers. They fired some shot from the other side the water, and some ricochet from Stanhope’s Tower. The French Fleet in sight to the West. A 13 Inch shell fell through the light hole into the Grand communication between the main ditch and Princes line, and burst in the midst of the Guards which paraded there, without hurting anybody; firing of Small Arms at each other all night. The besiegers began to Cannonade very early this morning, and fired very briskly from all their Batteries, except the 5 Gun Battery, from whence however they fire a gun now and then.

June 14th. A little before Day, a Deserter came in from the Enemy of the Regiment De Talaru, the only part of whose intelligence that can be credited, is, that two more Regiments were arrived from Franco since their last disembarkation. He says that near 2,500 of their Army are either killed or wounded; their fire not so violent as two Days ago; in the afternoon another Deserter was sent in from Marlborough Fort, who appeared to be out of his senses; our fire as warm as usual.

June 15th. The Enemy’s fire still less than usual, and few shells were thrown by them in the night; they however fired pretty smartly from their Howitzers, and threw pieces of shells out of their Mortars; we kept a very brisk fire on that part of the Town where they were heard at work, and where it is imagined they are constructing a Battery.  Lieut. Armstrong died this morning of his wounds. One face of the West Bastion, and N. W. Curtain of the Castle, are so battered by the Enemy’s six and ten Gun Batteries, that the Guns of them are drawn back, and the parapet thickened inwards; the same is likewise done to the N. W. face of the Queen’s Redoubt, and the direction of two of the Embrazures altered, in order to bear on the Enemy’s five Gun Battery.  The besiegers have removed three of their Mortars to the right of Stanhope’s Tower, from whence they frequently throw shells to the Marlborough, which returns upon them a smart fire from two 9 Prs that bear upon them; and upon their ricochet Battery near Stanhope’s Tower.

June 16th. The Enemy fired Howitzers and ricochet shot, but threw not many shells in the Night; our return was as warm as usual. Lieut. Francis of Cornwallis’s Regiment had his arm broke by the Splinter of a shell, while on Guard at St Stephens, and had it cut off; and Lieut. Young of the Fusiliers wounded in the Leg in the Castle square, while on Guard there.  The Enemy fire very little from their five Gun Battery, however they frequently work at it during the night; for several days past they have fired a great deal of Mitraille.

June 17th. This morning the Enemy opened a battery of three Guns, at the same place where they had before shewn three Embrazures, that were destroyed by the heavy fire of the Argyle, namely a little to the right of their gabionade near Major Innes’s.  The Enemy fire again so warmly from their five Gun Battery, that the Gunners cannot stand upon the Argyle and Anstruther; firing of Small Arms from the Enemy all night; some fascines set on fire at the West lunette, at the extinguishing of which we had three or four men killed by the Enemy, who kept a constant fire on us from every part. It having been found that the quantity of Wine and aquadent provided for the Troops, was insufficient to answer the present allowance of a pint per Day of the former to each Man; and two drams per Day of the latter, to the Men on Duty. The allowance of Wine was reduced to half a pint, a Man, and a Dram only to the Gunners while on the Battery. The Enemy very busy pulling down houses in the Town, behind the little Parade, where it is supposed they will soon have a Battery. In consideration of the scarcity of Officers, which was become Greater, by sickness and accidents, a Subaltern was taken from the Queen’s redoubt. Within these last 24 Hours, we have had the misfortune to lose several Men by Small Arms.

June 18th.  We manned the Guns on the N. E. Ravelin, and silenced the Enemy’s 3 Gun Battery; they poured us in a great many shells and Howitzers in the night, which we returned as warmly. It appears that the besiegers during the night had carried on a single row of Gabions from the Left of their Gabionade, near their 3 Gun Battery, towards the water side.

June 19th We took away our Men from tho N. E. Ravelin, and mounted four 32 Prs on Argyle’s covered way, but the Enemy soon destroyed the Merlons of that work, and silenced the Guns; they gave us a great many Howitzers shells and ricochet shot in the night, for some time past they have fired small shot at the Embrazures, getting into Cellars and Houses were they are not easily seen, and firing through small holes at every one who shew their heads above the parapet.  The working party employed in repairing the Argyle and Anstruther. Yesterday the besiegers brought two Guns to fire upon the N. E. Ravelin; but to no effect.

June 20th. The Enemy’s fire from their Gun Batteries not so great as usual, they have been heard hard at work every night in the Town where we imagined they are about something of consequence; we have thrown them a great number of Shells in the night; and fired grape shot often on the Town to annoy them; they have given us few shells in the night, but fired smartly their Howitzers and ricochet shot.  The working party still employed at the Argyle and Anstruther. The besiegers for some days past have been straitened for want of Ammunition; it is imagined they are now landing a fresh supply; as several of their people are seen passing and repassing to the Cove on Capo Mola side with hand barrows.  Last night the Embrazures of the Argyle covered way were repaired, and this morning we fired about 12 or 14 Rounds from them; but were again obliged to desist from the same cause as the Day before.

Siege of Minorca April to June 1756, 1 June to 10 June

June 1st.  The besiegers were heard to be very busy all night.  We still continually heard the Carriages in Town, and fired several vollies of shells to annoy the Enemy, as likewise Carcasses to give light upon the Glacis; their fire in the Night was very moderate; in the morning we found they had carried on a work of Gabions from the fives Court to Stanhope’s Tower, at which we fired the whole Day; they have filled up all the Embrazures excepting two of their battery near the burying Ground and those two they make no use of. Last night two Grenadiers of the Royal Welch Fusiliers deserted, and made their escape as is imagined by the Royal Battery.  We mounted 4 twelve pounders on the new Fascine Battery by the N. W. outward Ravelin.  Some of the Enemy’s Fleet off the Harbour.

June 2nd. We fired our Mortars last night upon the Enemy by signals given at the West lunette, directing when and where; a person being advanced for that purpose upon the Glacis, who by listening attentively could discover where the Enemy were at work.  We received from them a greater number of Shells than we had for several Days before, from their batteries in Town, near the burying Ground, Major Innes’s, Turks Mount, and Cape Mola, they likewise fired very briskly from 3 o’clock in the afternoon till about 9 o’clock at night, and gave us some shot in the night from Turks Mount. We gave them a very warm fire all night.  The Enemy’s fleet to the Eastward of Cape Mola. The Enemy very busy all night at work, notwithstanding our incessant fire upon them.

June 3rd. The Enemy fired ricochet shot this morning from Stanhope’s Tower, as likewise from their Howitzers near the same place, and played smartly with their shells from all sides, particularly in the afternoon; we gave them an equal return from our lunettes and inner works; they worked sometime this morning near Stanhope’s tower, but being interrupted by our shells, thought proper to leave off. Their fleet off the Harbour. The Enemy very busy all night at their new work by Stanhope’s tower, in spite of our constant fire.

June 4th. The Enemy continued their work last night near Stanhope’s tower, and it appears to be a battery they are constructing between that tower and the fives Court. They threw a great number of shells in the Day time, especially in the afternoon, but their fire was very moderate in the night, as was likewise ours.  The French fleet off the Harbour.

June 5th. The Enemy opened a battery of 10 Guns between Stanhope’s tower and the fives Court; from which they played with great fury, as they did from their other batteries the whole day; the heat of this fire was directed against the North Bastion of the Castle, the N. W. Curtain, the W. Counter Guard, and the Queen’s Redoubt; In the night they threw above 100 shells, several ricochet shot, and Howitzer Shells, by which they wounded some of the Piquet. We blew up some of their Ammunition at Stanhope’s tower, by a shell from the West lunette; they have thrown several shells at a ship we had rigged ready for sailing in St Stephen’s Cove, but to no effect. They renewed their fire from the Battery by the burying Ground with 6 Guns. Lieut. Armstrong of Lord Effingham’s much wounded on the top of the Castle from the New Battery; the Enemy’s fire very smart to Day.

June 6th. The Enemy began at Day break to Cannonade as smartly as yesterday, but did not continue it so long; they poured in among us a prodigious quantity of shells yesterday and today, one of which set fire to some of our own shells on the West Counter guard, which burst without wounding anybody but the Sentry, who was hurt by the shell that occasioned the accident; a third of their shot from their new Battery have gone over the Castle into the sea. We have abated our fire, making use only of our Mortars against their new Battery; and reserving our Guns against their nearer approach. Their Fleet off the Harbour. The Besiegers discontinued cannonading all night, and were employed in repairing their works which had suffered in the Day; several parties of the Besiegers were seen from the Marlborough, in and about the place called the King’s gardens, or Barranco.

June 7th. The Enemy were pulling down houses all night in the town, we fired Small Arms at them the whole time from the covered way; in the morning they opened a Battery below Mr. Boyd’s of five Guns against Anstruther and Argyle Fort, in that part of the Town opposite the salient Angle of the Queen’s Redoubt, and bearing upon the Argyle and Anstruther fort; from which Battery they have already disabled two of the 32 Prs and one 9 Pr at the Anstruther; we played them well with shells, and prepared some other Batteries against them; They fired the whole day from Stanhope’s Tower at the North Bastion, and Curtain of the Castle.  Our new Fascine Battery was opened this morning, but soon silenced by the fire of the Enemy’s ten Gun Battery, and a shell shot burst upon it, which disabled the Gun there; several men killed and wounded upon this Battery, for about an hour in the night, the Enemy fired small Arms as fast as they could, but for what reason we could not guess. The works a good deal damaged by the Enemy’s continual fire.

June 8th. Their Fleet off the Harbour the whole Day. The Enemy are observed to be at work in a large Cornfield, near Quarrantine Island on the Phillipit Shore. This morning we fired upon the besiegers five Gun Battery with 3 thirty two Pounders from the Argyle, two 18 Prs from the Queen’s Redoubt, and four Guns upon the top of the Castle; but two of the 32 Prs were soon silenced. We did this battery so much damage, that they could not fire from it the whole Day; several of our men killed and wounded, particularly four Sailors who were all wounded by a blind shell. The Enemy began in the morning to batter as before, but by noon we silenced four Guns of their last Battery; they continued firing from their other Batteries the whole Day, they threw but few shells in the fir.st part of the night, but fired continually from the houses near their battery with Small Arms; which fire our Guards in the covered way returned very smartly. There was a frequent discharge of Small Anus after the Guards took their posts in the covered way for several hours, at some single soldiers who kept firing at the sentrys from Windows, and from Corners of Streets.

June 9th.  The Enemy began as usual in the Morning to batter the Castle, and other works, and to fire ricochet Shot from Stanhope’s Tower. We discovered a Battery of eight Embrazures in a Corn field on the brow of the hill of Phillipit; they poured us in, a great number of shells, both in the day and night. The battery on the covered way of Argyle is silenced, and the Enemy’s fire from their five Gun Battery below Mr. Boyd’s, is so superior to ours that the Gunners cannot stand on the Battery.

June 10th. The Enemy opened a battery of 8 Guns in the Cornfield above Phillipit, and fired at the North face of the Queens’s redoubt, and works adjacent; they likewise battered the Castle and Argyle fort from their other batteries; they have lately fired small Arms at the Embrazures of the out works, while the Gunners are loading. A shell blew up the Ammunition Chest, on the South Counter Guard, the explosion of which shook the Castle like a small Earthquake. Their Fleet off.  The five Gun Battery below Mr. Boyd’s was silent to day. This morning the three Guns on the S.W. inner Ravelin were again fired, after having been silent for some time, that the platforms might be repaired.

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.

Chronology of Events for May 1756

May 1, 1756: The First Treaty of Versailles is signed. France and Austria form a military alliance.

May 2, 1756: Admiral Byng’s squadron, after having encountered much bad weather, arrived at Gibraltar, where Byng learnt the strength of the French squadron; and that it had already escorted a large body of troops to Minorca, and obtained possession of the whole island, with the exception of Fort St. Philip.

May 8, 1756: Sir Edward Hawke, with part of his squadron, arrived at Spithead.

May 8, 1756: On the 8th of May the British squadron sailed from Gibraltar and on the 16th reached Majorca, where intelligence was received, fully confirming that which had been obtained at Gibraltar.

May 11, 1756: A message was sent by his Majesty to both Houses of Parliament, signifying, “That his Majesty being desirous to be prepared against all attempts and designs whatsoever that may be formed by his enemies, in the present critical juncture, and considering that sudden emergencies may arise, which may be of the utmost importance, and be attended with the most pernicious consequences, if proper means should not be immediately applied to prevent or defeat them; his Majesty hoped, that he should be enabled by his parliament, to concert and take such measures, as should be necessary to disappoint or defeat any enterprises or designs of his enemies, and as the exigency of affairs may require.” For which message both Houses voted l loyal and dutiful address to his Majesty.

May 11, 1756: The new commander of New France, Marquis Louis Joseph de Montcalm, arrives in North America along with much needed reinforcements.

May 15, 1756: The Queenborough man of war with forty-five sail of transports will the Hessian troops on board, consisting о 5500 foot, and 800 horse, arrived at Southampton.

May 16, 1756: “Amsterdam, May 16. We have advice, that 16 men of war belonging to Sweden and Denmark, and some frigates, have joined near Elseneur, and that the admirals of the two nations have received orders from their respective courts to draw lots, when they come to a certain latitude, which shall command in chief the combined fleet. It is reported, that these ships are all double manned. Their destination is variously talked of.  Some pretend that they are designed to hinder the transporting of any Russian troops to Great-Britain. Others day, that this squadron is only intended to protect the navigation of the two crowns.”

May 17, 1756: His Majesty in council was pleased to order, that a commission should be prepared, to authorize and empower the lords of the Admiralty to grant letters of marque or commission to privateers.

May 17, 1756: Early in the morning, the 50-gun ship Colchester, and 20-gun ship Lyme, Captains Lucius O’Brien and Edward Vernon, being off the Isle of Oleron, chased two sail. At 5h. P.M., the Colchester arrived up with the sternmost, which was the 50-gun ship Aquilon, and engaged her very closely; while the Lyme brought to action her consort, the 32-gun frigate Fidelle. After an action of six hours’ duration, the French ships made off, leaving the Colchester and Lyme much damaged in hull and rigging, with the loss of a great many men.

May 18, 1756: War was declared against the French king, and notice was given at the post office, that no mail would go between these kingdoms and France.

May 19, 1756: [Off Minorca] At daybreak, having had a fine wind during the preceding night, the fleet comprising 15 ships of the line and 3 sloops arrived in sight of Minorca, and the admiral dispatched the Phoenix to reconnoiter Port Mahon, and ascertain the possibility of throwing supplies into Fort St. Philip, as also with a letter to General Blakeney, the commandant of the garrison. In the meanwhile the squadron made every effort to get inshore, but the appearance of the French fleet quickly changed the nature of the British admiral’s movements. His first object was to strengthen his weakest-manned ships from the crews of the smaller vessels, and he converted the Phoenix into a fire-ship.  Towards night, the French squadron of Admiral de la Galissonière had neared the British squadron within a few miles, when they tacked, to obtain the weather gage, but Byng possessing at that time this advantage, tacked also. The two fleets therefore continued working to windward all night, with light variable airs of wind, and at daybreak on the 20th, they were not visible to each other.

May 20, 1756: [Off Minorca] The Defiance, a little after daybreak, captured a tartan containing a reinforcement of men from Minorca for the French fleet, and shortly afterwards the latter was discovered to leeward, but at so great a distance that it was 2 P.M. before Byng considered it necessary to form his order of attack. The signal was then made for the British squadron in two lines to bear away two points, and engage the enemy. Rear-Admiral West, whose division was leading, misinterpreting the signal, bore up seven points; and at 2:45 P.M. the Defiance, in the most spirited manner, engaged the van ship of the enemy. The other ships of Rear-Admiral West’s division engaged with equal gallantry, and the action soon became general with the British van, and the French van and centre. The French ships were under topsails only, with their main-topsails to the mast. Byng, with his division, shortly afterwards bore up to the support of his rear-admiral; but the Intrepid, the last ship of the leading division, had not been long in action ere her foretopmast was shot away, and, in a manner wholly unaccountable, threw the centre division astern of her into confusion. The loss of a foretopmast to a ship sailing with the wind on her quarter ought not to have been attended with any material consequences, and the only effect it would have had upon experienced seamen would have been, that the ships astern would have passed the disabled ship to leeward, and have continued to close the enemy. It is impossible to justify the proceedings of Admiral Byng, and the ships of his division. The Intrepid rounded to, and threw all a-back, but not before she was in such a position as to engage the ship opposed to her in the line with effect. The Revenge, the ship next astern, luffed up, in order to pass the Intrepid to windward, but did not in fact pass her at all, as she remained upon the Intrepid’s weather quarter. The Princess Louisa and Trident were also brought to by the same cause, as well as the Ramillies, bearing the admiral’s flag. The latter ship did not get into action at all, although her crew wasted much ammunition by firing when out of gun-shot;  neither did the Revenge, Trident, Culloden, or Kingston. The division of Rear-Admiral West, which led, suffered most; and had the French not filled, and made sail after about three hours’ cannonading, his ships must inevitably have fallen into their hands. The four 74-gun ships of the French fleet mounted 42-pounders on the lower deck, and the 64-gun ships, 36-pounders. The conduct of M. De Galissioniere, therefore, was surprising; for, with such ships, he ought to have captured every ship of the British fleet. But this does not exonerate the British admiral, whose indecision is softened only by the severity of the penalty he paid. Byng quitted Minorca and returned to Gibraltar, where he was soon afterwards superseded by Sir Edward Hawke.
May 20, 1756: Nineteen transports, having on board 9000 Hanoverians, arrived at Chatham.

May 25, 1756: The States General came to a resolution, to observe exact neutrality in respect to the war in America, between Great-Britain and France.

May 27, 1756: “A very bold action was performed on the 27th of last month by capt. Cockburne, in the Hunter-cutter, a little thing with only forty men, and a few swivels. He kept loitering about Brest all day, and at night went in, in his boat, with only five men; when, after having rowed round all the men of war, and taken a particular account of them, he cut the cables of a French snow, boarded her, and carried her away from among the men of war. She was loaded with wine, which hath been distributed to all the fleet. We have got eighteen hogsheads ; and yesterday, after having taken every thing out of her, sunk her.”

May 29, 1756: Commodore Spry took a French dogger with provisions and stores of all kinds for the garrison of Louisbourg.

May 31, 1756: “Extract of a Letter from Philadelphia, dated May 31. ‘Pursuant to agreement some months ago, the four governments of New-England, in conjunction with New-York, (which last furnished 1,300) have new assembled 8,000 men for the attack of Crown-Point, at Albany, 150 miles N. of New-York, and about 130 from Crown-Point, under general Winslow; and as men continually join them, there will soon be 9,000. We are well assured by fishermen that a French fleet with soldiers on hoard crossed the banks of Newfoundland 20 days ago, bound for Canada; hence, as these troops may get to Crown-Point, and reinforce the forts before our army will go up thither, you may judge the bad consequences of this delay.  The 44th, 48th, 50th, and 51st regiments of Great-Britain, with three independent companies, and the Jersey Provincials, are destined for the campaign on the great lake Ontario, and mostly marched for Oswego, thence to be carried over in 200 whale boats, which are now at the lake, and were built last winter at Schenectady on Mohawks river, and are Jong, round, and light, for the batteaus being flat-bottomed and small would not answer the navigation of the lake, were the waves are often very high: They are to attack Fort Frontenac and the other French forts on the lake. Upwards of 2000 batteau men are employed to navigate the batteaus, each a ton burthen, loaded with provisions and stores from Albany, up the Mohawks river, then through Oncyda lake and river, down to Oswego. There are 300 sailors hired and gone up from New-York to Oswego, to navigate the four armed ships on the lake, built there last year for the king’s service, which are about 150 tons each, and two others are now building, smiths, carpenters, and other artificers having arrived there some weeks ago. The troops already mentioned for this service are about 3600 men, besides officers.  In this province, 1500 men are new raised, and yet we act only on the defensive, owing to party disputes and our own inexperience 400 of them are going to build a good fort at Shamakin, up the Susquehanna in the Allegheny mountains, a noted pass about 150 miles N. W. of this city. Besides the 60,000l. currency, given this this province last winter, 40,000l. more is just voted by a land-tax on lands and estates, etc. Maryland likewise has voted 40,000l. and Virginia 45,000l.”

Chronology of Events for April 1756

April, 1756: The Dutch, it seems, were so much under the influence of France, that they absolutely refused to send over the 6000 men they were by treaty obliged to furnish to England, in case of its being in under of any domestic insurrection or foreign invasion, though they were not only demanded, but transports sent to Holland for bringing them over; and likewise they refused a passage either for the Hessians or for the Hanoverians; for which reason both these bodies of auxiliaries embarked at Stade upon the Elbe for England.

April, 1756: A Dutch pirate of 60 guns cruizing off of Virginia, took several English vessels and murdered their crews.

April 1, 1756: “The following; noblemen and gentlemen presented to his majesty the addresses of the lords and commons for bringing over a body of Hanoverian troops, viz. the lord steward and lord chamberlain of the household, Mr. Fox secretary of state, the chancellor of the Exchequer, comptroller of the household, and the secretary at war. To which his majesty made the following answer:  ‘I am always very glad to do anything that is agreeable to my parliament and for the benefit and security of my people, and as both houses desire that a body of my German troops should be brought over hither to assist in the defence of this kingdom in the present critical conjuncture, I will give immediate orders for that purpose.’”

April 7, 1756: Commodore Keppel sailed with the Torbay, Essex, Unicorn, and Gibraltar, on a cruize. Admirals Byng and West sailed from St. Helen’s with a strong fleet.

April 14, 1756: “The governor of Philadelphia issued a proclamation on the 14th of April, declaring the Delaware Indians, and those concerned with them, to be traitors and rebels to his majesty, offering the following rewards for taking or killing any of the said Indians, viz. 150 dollars for a male prisoner above twelve years of age; and 130 dollars for the scalp of a male above twelve years of age; 130 dollars for a female prisoner; and 50 dollars for the scalp of a female above twelve years; and 150 dollars for an English prisoner retaken from the enemy. [It is thus necessity obliges Christians to descend to cruel measures.]”

April 16, 1756: Admiral Holborne with a squadron, and his convoy, the transports with the forces for North America, sailed from Plymouth.

April 16, 1756: His Majesty’s ship the Orford arrived at Plymouth, being sent in by Sir Edward Hawke with two French ships taken off cape Ortegal, one of them of 14 guns and 57 men, and also had 183 soldiers on board, bound to Cape Breton; the other a schooner, bound to Quebec, with wine, musket balls and flour.

April 18, 1756: The French fleet arrived at the island of Minorca, and landed the troops commanded by the duke de Richelieu, without opposition, before Ciudadella, which the English garrison had evacuated, the garrison was very well supplied with provisions; and to strengthen it, commodore Edgcumbe had put ashore all his marines, and 150 seamen, under the command of captain Scroope; the Commodore sailed on the 20th instant, for Gibraltar, with his Majesty’s ships Deptford and Portland, and the Princesa Louisa and Chesterfield followed the next day.

April 18, 1756: “Admiralty-Office, May 8. By a letter from the Hon. Augustus Hervey, captain of his majesty’s ship the Phœnix, dated from Villa-Franca, April the 18th, there is advice, that he was sent from Mahon by commodore Edgcumbe to Leghorn, to take in stores, and proceeded to Villa Franca, in order to receive any letters he should find there from England for the commodore ; that finding the French fleet had sailed from Toulon on the 13th for the island of Minorca, he intended sailing that evening, and endeavour to get into the harbour of Mahon ; or if it should he blocked up by the French so as to make it impossible for his ship to get in, he should try in some other manner to convey to Mr. Edgcumbe the news of a fleet being actually failed from England for their assistance and relies, and endeavour to get the commodore’s orders for his farther proceedings: That if he should not be able to receive those orders, he would then go away for Gibraltar, and cruize in the Gutt, in hopes of meeting the English fleet. He sends also the following lilt of the French fleet, viz. Line of Battle Ships: Le Foudroyant 80; Le Triton 64; La Couronne 74; Le Lion 64; Le Redoutable 74; Le Content 64; L’Hercule 64; Le Satre 64; L’Achilla 64; L’Aldon 50; Frigates: La Pomone 36; La Gracieuse 24; Le Zephrir 30; La Nymphe 20; La Rose 30. About 180 transports, 90 of which are Tartans and Settees. They have a Majorca xebecque, which is said to serve as a pilot for the craft. He adds, that the whole number of troops, labourers, etc. shut up in the castle of St. Philip’s, amounted to 5000 men; that the French army doth not exceed 11,000; so that he thinks the attack upon the castle of St. Philip’s will scarce be effectual before the fleet, under admiral Byng, will probably arrive; and that all necessary precautions were taking when he left Mahon, for the defence of Fort St. Philip’s, and the best disposition made for that of the harbour.”

April 18, 1756: “By the way of Holland we have had the following accounts from Minorca, dated April 21, viz. The French troops which landed the 18th instant, took possession of Ciudadella, upon the English garrison retiring from thence. The marshal duke de Richelieu and count Galissonière, accompanied by the principal officers of the army, received the compliments of the magistracy on their entrance into this city. At the same time the marshal told them, “We are not come to attack you. The king my master has no other reason for sending me hither, than to obtain satisfaction for the insults and injuries done him by the English. You may depend on my protection, and be assured of my care, that the troops under my command shall behave well, committing no kind of violence of any sort, and pay for what they buy. But beware of carrying on any correspondence with the enemy; in case of your so doing be assured of being treated with the utmost severity.” Upon the marshals taking possession of this city, Te Deum was sung in the great church, and a triple discharge of cannon on board the feet, and from the garrison at the same time ; aster which the duke gave a grand entertainment to the government, &c. On the 19th, the marshal took possession of a small fort, abandoned by the English, which served to cover Fornelle, a small port, situated on the eastern side of the island, at the point of a small bay, near a cape of the same name.  On the 20th, the marquis de Mesnil, and the marquis de Monteynard, two lieutenant generals, were detached from the army with 24 companies of grenadiers, and a royal brigade, to encamp at Mercadel, from whence they were to advance towards Mahon, in order to block up that port on the eastern side of the bay, whilst the main body of the army is to invest fort St. Philip, in which Gen. Blakeney has gathered the chief body of his troops, to the amount of 1500 men, as some say, or 3000, according to the report of others. This day the heavy artillery destined for the siege began its march. The fleet commanded by count de la Galissonière is preparing to block up the entrance of the bay of Port-Mahon, in expectation of the arrival of admiral Byng, and with orders to sight him. The islanders seem pleased with the arrival of the French, and gave them all possible assistance in landing then troops and artillery, and supplying them with all manner of provisions.”

April 22, 1756: The Dutch refuse to send over the force to help England, which they were bound to do by treaty.

April 23, 1756: “A prohibition is laid on the exportation of gunpowder, stores, ammunition, and all warlike materials, to foreign parts, and even coastwise in Great-Britain, except what is for the service of the government, by way of precaution against the designs of France, &c.”

Chronology of Events for March 1756

March, 1756: “Thirty French prizes have been carried into Jamaica by his majesty’s ships upon that station. Many have also been carried into Barbados by the ships of commodore Frankland’s squadron.”

March, 1756: “Boston in New-England has voted 3000 men, and the province of New-York 1000, to be raised for the expedition against Crown-point. Governor Morris has drawn a line, upwards of 400 miles in length, on the back of Philadelphia, and fortified it is such a manner as to secure the inhabitants from the attempts of the enemy on that side.”

March, 1756: “About the beginning of last month a squadron of French men of war, with a number of transports, under the command of M. Perrier de Salvert sailed from Brest, having a number of troops on board, and great quantities of arms and ammunition; but whither bound is as yet a secretAll we know is that two English merchant ships have been taken by them in their passage, one of which was sent into Morlaix in France, and the other, which was taken 100 leagues to the westward of Cape Finisterre, has been sent into Cadiz in Spain.  Ever since the middle of February we have had accounts, by every mail from France, of great preparations making at Toulon, for some naval expedition, in which a strong squadron, and a great number of troops, were to be employed, and it was generally said to be designed against the island of Minorca, which was looked on as a French gasconade, as no squadron was sent from England for preventing it. But by the last mails we have an account that this squadron, with a body of 17 or 18,000 land forces, and all materials necessary for a siege, actually sailed the 9th inst, but were obliged by contrary winds to come to an anchor off the islands of Hieres, from whence they sailed again the nth, and were out of sight when the last letters came from thence. This makes some people apprehend that important island to be in danger, at our squadron tinder admiral Byng did not sail from Plymouth till the 6th inst, so that the French troops may be landed, and the fort invested several days before he can reach the island.”

March 1, 1756: “His royal highness the duke of Cumberland arrived at Chatham, and examined the fortifications carrying on at that place: At five in the afternoon he entered Canterbury, and reviewed the three regiments quartered there. The next day, between one and two in the afternoon, he reviewed lord Robert Bertie’s regiment at Dover-castle, and there lodged. The next day he visited Folkstone, Hythe, Dymchurch, New Romney, Lydd, and Rye. On Sunday night, the 7th, he returned from his tour to St. James’s.”

March 3, 1756: Orders were sent to the commissioners of the customs, to lay an embargo on all the shipping in the ports of England and Ireland, and at night there was the hottest press for seamen, on the river Thames, that has been known for many years. An embargo was also laid on the ships in the ports of Scotland. [This embargo was, in part, taken off again before the 20th.]

March 11, 1756: The Chev. d’Aubigny in the Prudent of 74 guns, together with the frigates Atalanta M. de Chaffault, and Zephyr M. le Touche de Treville, took the Warwick of 60 Guns Captain Shouldham, near Martinico.

March 11, 1756: Sir Edward Hawke with ten ships of the line, and under his convoy three East Indiamen sails from St. Helens westward.

March 13, 1756: “The preceding week, there was a very smart press for seamen and land men, in all the ports of the kingdom, as well as this city and suburbs, as also for soldiers; to which purpose the peace officers searched all the publick houses, and secured every idle person that could give no good account of themselves ; the roads into Essex, Surrey, Hertfordshire, &c. were guarded by marines, who took all those that were thought capable of serving his majesty either by land or sea. Orders were likewise dispatched from the privy council to the lord’s lieutenants of the several counties, to enjoin the justices and deputy lieutenants to exert themselves in causing all the straggling seamen to be taken up, for his majesty’s service. Many noblemen gave bounties in their respective counties, to those who enlisted in the new regiments, over and above the usual entrance money; by which those corps were speedily completed.”

March 23, 1756: “The King sent a message to the two Houses of Parliament, wherein his Majesty informed them, that he had received repeated advices, that a design had been formed by the French court to invade Great Britain or Ireland; and that the great preparations of land forces, ships, artillery, and warlike stores, now making in the ports of France, left little room to doubt of the reality of such a design: that his Majesty had therefore judged it necessary to acquaint them with intelligence of such high importance to the safety of these nations, and to inform them, that he had taken proper measures for putting his kingdom in a posture of defence against so unjust and desperate an enterprise, projected in revenge for those just and necessary measures which had been taken for maintaining his rights and possessions in North America; and that, in order further to strengthen himself, his Majesty had made a requisition of a body of Hessian troops to be forthwith brought over hither and that, trusting in the Divine protection, and in the good affection, zeal, and fidelity of his people, which he had so often experienced, his Majesty was determined to exert all the force God had put into his hands, to repel so daring an attempt; and doubted not of their support and concurrence.”

March 27, 1756: Attack on Fort Bull, North America. This English fort at the “Oneida carry” in New York is taken by storm by a 362-man body of French troops commanded by Lt. Chaussegros De Lery.  The fort, after it was taken, blew up by accident, with its magazine of Powder, (of 40,000 pound weight) bombs, bullets, grenades, other utensils of war, and a considerable quantity of provision.  This threatens the supply line to Fort Oswego on the shore of Lake Ontario.