| American History Stories, Volume IV|
|by Mara L. Pratt|
|Stories of the great conflict from the time Lincoln became president and the southern states seceded, through the battles of Bull Run, Shiloh, Antietam, Vicksburg, Gettysburg, Chickamauga, until the close of the war. Includes poems, songs, and illustrations commemorating the events. Ages 8-12 |
"BIG BETHEL" AND "LITTLE BETHEL."
 With Butler at Fortress Munroe, was young Theodore
Winthrop, who, when his regiment was no longer needed
at Washington, had offered to join Butler's regiment and
go to Fortress Munroe.
From one of these Contrabands, Winthrop had learned
that about two thousand Confederates had encamped at
two churches called "Little Bethel" and "Big Bethel."
Butler and Winthrop at once began to plan an attack upon
these Confederates. Their plan was this; the troops were
to be divided into two bodies and fall upon the Rebels at
Little Bethel, close around them, and prevent their getting
to their companions at Big Bethel.
The two lines marched out quietly in the darkness, and
came upon Little Bethel as they had planned. But here a
terrible mistake took place. Just as these two lines met
near the church they fired into each other's ranks, each
thinking the other line the enemy. A scene of confusion
followed and before orders could be given, the soldiers at
Little Bethel had fled to those at Big Bethel, and together
they were ready to rain down their hot fire upon the Union
ranks. A quick hard fight, followed; and Winthrop himself,
while mounted on a log to cheer his men, was shot dead.
Again there was mourning throughout the North that so
promising a young officer should have fallen. The names
 of Ellsworth and Winthrop have always been held in
respect; and for many a day were household words; until
the time came when officers and men fell so thick and fast
they could hardly be named or numbered, and their losses
were known only in the hearts of their own friends, and
in their own homes.
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