Today’s Brooklyn doesn’t look anything like it did during the American Revolution; where brownstones and a modern city now stand was once a battlefield.
This August, festivities will once again take place commemorating the Battle of Brooklyn (also called the Battle of Long Island) and honoring Washington’s brave soldiers.
Background of the Battle
The Battle of Brooklyn 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
Below is a Brownstoner selection of battle week events, commemorating the 241st anniversary of the largest battle of the Revolutionary War:
Prospect Park Monuments Tour
It’s Prospect Park’s 150th anniversary, and Prospect Park Alliance is hosting a tour of Revolutionary War monuments. 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 Sunday, August 20 at 12 p.m. Tickets are $10 and are available for purchase here.
Green-Wood Cemetery’s Battle of Brooklyn Commemoration
Green-Wood’s celebration takes place Sunday, August 27. The day begins with a 10 a.m. trolley tour, followed by a historic re-enactment at 11 a.m., where “soldiers and 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 1:15 p.m. All these activities (with the exception of the trolley tour) are free with registration here. Tickets for the trolley tour can be purchased here – they’re $25 for members of BHS/Green-Wood and $30 for non-members.
- Visiting Brooklyn’s Revolutionary War Sites: Old Stone House, Fort Greene Park, and More
- Walkabout: Lord Stirling’s War
- The Birth, Life and Death of Bushwick’s 200-Year-Old Suydam House