If it’s August, that means it’s time for the Battle of Brooklyn festivities. This month, a series of demonstrations, tours and talks are set to bring the history of the Revolutionary War to life.
Background of the Battle
The Battle of Brooklyn (also called the Battle of Long Island) was fought on August 27, 1776, and is considered one of America’s greatest losses during our war for independence. The carnage all happened one summer night: The British, who had amassed a large number of troops on Staten Island, stealthily attacked George Washington and his Continental Army at their camp in Brooklyn. Washington was greatly outnumbered and realized the only way to save his army was to flee to Manhattan.
While the rest of the troops escaped Brooklyn Heights across the river, Washington sent 400 boys from Baltimore, known as the Maryland 400, on a suicide mission: to distract the British and buy the rest of the troops time. And so a great battle was fought near the present day site of the Old Stone House. (The one standing in Park Slope today is a 1933 re-creation of the original.)
All 400 boys, the entire 1st Maryland Regiment, were killed — but the Continental Army was able to escape, and later won the war.
This Year’s Events
There are a lot of commemoration vents to choose from this year, including tours by foot, boat and bike. You can find the full list at the Old Stone Battle Week event page here. Below are a few highlights:
Battle of Brooklyn Neighborhood Walk
Tuesday, August 20, 6 to 9 p.m.
Stretch your legs on an evening walk through history with Old Stone House Board Member and Hunter College Archaeology Professor William J. Parry. The tour begins at Grand Army Plaza and ends at Old Stone House. Comfortable shoes are recommended. Tour tickets are $12 and advance purchase is recommended. For tickets and information visit the tour event page here.
Gowanus Dredgers Battle Paddle
Wednesday, August 21, 6 to 8 p.m.
Learn about the historic battle while exploring the water of the Gowanus Canal via canoe. Participants will get a loyalist red or continental blue life jacket to wear during the battle paddle. For more information visit their event page here.
Prison Ships Martyrs Memorial Ceremony
Saturday, August 24, 10 a.m.
The annual commemoration ceremony will include a ceremonial honor guard and special guests. The event is free of charge and is coordinated by the Society of Old Brooklynites, American Merchant Marine Association and Navy Armed Guard.
Battle of Brooklyn Commemoration at Green-Wood Cemetery
Sunday, August 25, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Green-wood hosts a full day of events including a trolley tour, a historic re-enactment, a parade and a commemoration ceremony. Except for the trolley tour, all of the events for the day are free. You can get more information and register here.
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