Night Battle near Lunga Point
On 4 September, Little and Gregory brought a detachment of marine raiders to Savo Island on an unfounded rumor that enemy forces had occupied it. The troops were returned to Lunga Point, Guadalcanal. After dropping off the marines it was decided to patrol off Lunga Point rather than attempt to negotiate Tulagi Harbor with no visible landmarks. About 0100 5 September, Little observed gun flashes to the east which were believed to be an enemy submarine. Moments later a Navy Catalina flying over Savo Sound released a string of flares to illuminate what he thought to also be a submarine. The flares illuminated the APDs instead. A surprised Japanese surface force, source of the flashes presumed to have come from a submarine, shifted their guns toward the APDs, and searchlights stabbed through the darkness. Though outgunned, Little opened fire on the three enemy destroyers, but took direct hits from salvos which left her helpless and ablaze by 0115. Gregory had suffered the same fate. The Japanese, to assure their kill steamed between the two stricken ships firing shells and strafing survivors. Gregory sank stern first about 0140. Little went down on an even keel about 2 hours later.