regiment, was to approach that post in front, ready to attack at daybreak.
The whole expedition was under the command of Gen. E. W. Pierce
, a militia Brigadier from Massachusetts
had given precise orders and directed the use of ample precautions to avoid collision in tile darkness between the several portions of our own forces.
Yet, just before daybreak, at a junction of roads, some two miles from Little Bethel, the regiments of Col. Bendix
and Col. Townsend
neared each other;
and the former, mistaking the latter for enemies, opened fire with both artillery and musketry, whereby two of Col. Townsend
's men were killed, and eight or ten seriously, besides a large number slightly wounded.
The mistake was soon discovered; but not until the whole expedition had been thrown into confusion — those in advance, with reason, presuming that the Rebels
were assaulting their rear, and preparing for defense on this presumption.
The Rebels at Little Bethel were, of course, alarmed, a and made good their retreat.
sent back to Gen. Butler