Mark the 242nd Anniversary of the Battle of Brooklyn this August


It’s time to break out the tricorn hats and commemorate the Battle of Brooklyn. Once again August is filled with demonstrations, tours and talks bringing to life the history of the Revolutionary War fight.

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.

battle of brooklyn old stone house commemoration events

Old Stone House. Photo by Susan De Vries

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’s a weeks worth of events and below are just a few:

Gowanus Dredgers
Learn about the historic battle while exploring the water of the Gowanus Canal with a paddle tour on Wednesday, August 22 from 6 to 8 p.m. Participants are encouraged to wear loyalist red or continental blue for the battle voyage. The event is in partnership with Old Stone House and you can learn more about how to participate here.

Old Stone House
The original Old Stone House was right in the center of the action during the battle and will be marking the anniversary with a host of events. You can check out their new exhibit, ‘For Which it Stands’, which features reinterpretations of flag symbolism by contemporary artists. The exhibit kicks off with an opening event on Thursday, August 23 from 7 to 9 p.m.

If you want to stretch your legs while learning more about the battleground, join a neighborhood walk on Saturday, August 25. There’s also a chance to take in a theatrical experience with Concrete Timbre: 1776 (Future Style) on August 24 and 25. For the full schedule of Old Stone events and information on ticket prices, visit their Battle of Brooklyn event page here.

Green-Wood Cemetery
Green-Wood’s celebration takes place on Sunday, August 26 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The day begins with a 10 a.m. trolley tour with historians, followed by a historic re-enactment at 11 a.m., where soldiers, horses and “famous colonial Americans” will demonstrate life on the battlefield. Next up is the Battle of Brooklyn Parade at 12:30 p.m. and the Commemorative Ceremony at 1 p.m. All these activities (with the exception of the trolley tour) are free with registration. Tickets for the trolley tour are $25 for members of BHS/Green-Wood and $30 for non-members. You can get more information and register here.

Prospect Park Monuments Tour
Learn more about the Revolutionary War Monuments in Prospect Park with a guided tour through the park. The tour will begin at the Lefferts Historic House and travel down East Drive, using the recollections of Femmetie Lefferts to bring the monuments to life. The tour will take place on Sun, August 26 from 11 a.m. to noon. Tickets are $10 and are available for purchase here.

For more commemorative events taking place during the week, visit the Old Stone House’s Battle of Brooklyn event page here.

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