Invasion of Minorca

Work soon began on gun emplacements to besiege St. Philip's Castle, the most important being at La Mola, on the opposite side of the harbor mouth, and at Binisaida, near Georgetown.

The British did not make this easy; they directed their own guns at the work sites, and also occasionally sent troops out of the fort. The most notable of these sallies took place on 11 October, when between 400 and (as the Spanish newspapers had it) 700 soldiers crossed the harbor to La Mola, and captured eighty soldiers with eight officers. Spanish troops were sent in pursuit, but too late; the officers were later freed after giving their word of honor that they would not enter combat again unless exchanged for captured British officers. Three British soldiers were killed in the action. Although this action was a success for the British, relations between Murray and his deputy, Lieutenant General Sir William Draper, were becoming strained by this time, due to arguments over their respective areas of authority and would later deteriorate much further.

Even before this, there was considerable discontent among de Crillon's troops, comparisons being made with the futile Spanish attack on the city of Argel (Algiers) in 1775. Reinforcements had therefore been ordered, and by coincidence, the first boatload arrived at Fornells from Marseilles the day after the British attack. By 23 October, two brigades (one French and one German) totaling 3,886 men had been added to the 10,411 already on the island. Also at this time, de Crillon was requested by the Spanish government to attempt an alternative strategy. Among the rather confused reports which filtered through to Britain from Minorca, delayed by several months, were two letters published in the London papers at the end of January 1782. One is from Murray to de Crillon, dated 16 October 1781, sharply reminding him that the Murray family tree is as noble as the Duc's, and that when a former Duc de Crillon was asked by his King to betray his honor, he refused. The other is de Crillon's reply, indicating that he personally is happy to accept Murray's criticism. The source of this exchange was an offer to the governor of 500,000 pesos (then worth just over £100,000 — but inflated in some sources to £1,000,000) plus a guaranteed rank in the Spanish or French army, in return for surrender.