Poincaré's discovery of homoclinic points grew out of a extremely serious mistake he made in his original submission for a prize essay contest sponsored by Acta Mathematica in 1888. His original 200 page manuscript, on the restricted three-body problem, was evaluated by Weierstrass, Mittag-Leffler, and Phragmén, who had great difficulty following his arguments. Poincaré responded with a dozen further explanations, totaling 100 pages. After many further exchanges, the editors finally decided to accept the manuscript (this was, after all, Poincaré, and he must know what he's doing) and awarded him the prize.
But around the time of publication, Phragmén was still puzzled by some points and Mittag-Leffler wrote to Poincaré. They received back a telegram from Poincaré asking that publication be stopped immediately! Poincaré realized that his belief that the stable and unstable manifolds could not intersect transversally was wrong, and that such intersection points, which he later called homoclinic points, immediately forced very complicated dynamically behavior, invalidating much of his work. He wrote to Mittag-Leffler:
"I have written this morning to Mr. Phragmén to tell him about an
error which I have committed and he has undoubtedly informed you of my
letter. But the consequences of this error are more serious than I
first thought. It is not true that the asymptotic surfaces are closed,
at least not in the sense that I meant before. What is true, is that
if one considers the two parts of that surface (which I yesterday
still believed coincided with each other) they intersect along
infinitely many asymptotic trajectories and furthermore their distance
is an infinitesimal of higher order than μp however big p is.
I don't conceal from you the trouble this discovery gives me."
Mittag-Leffler immediately halted the presses and recalled all copies of this issue he could get, destroying them all (except for a few, one of which remains in the library of the Mittag-Leffler Institute). They asked Poincare to pay for the suppression of this issue, which he did.
Poincare then wrote a new essay, incorporating many of the added notes from the original, and this was the version that Acta Mathematica published (with no mention of the earlier one). Eventually Poincaré used this as the basis of his three volume classic Les méthodes nouvelles de la mécanique céleste.
A riveting account of this story is contained in Poincaré's discovery of homoclinic points by K. G. Anderson, Archive History of Exact Sciences, 48(2) (1994), 133–147.