This August marks the 242nd anniversary of the Battle of Brooklyn

It’s time to break out your tricorn hats and remember the Battle of Brooklyn. August is again full of demonstrations, tours and talks that bring the story of the War of Independence to life.

Background of the battle

The Battle of Brooklyn (also known as the Battle of Long Island) was fought on August 27, 1776 and is considered one of America’s greatest losses during our War of Independence. The carnage all happened on a summer night: the British, who had amassed large numbers of troops on Staten Island, secretly attacked George Washington and his Continental Army at their Brooklyn camp. Outnumbered, Washington realized that the only way to save its army was to flee to Manhattan.

Old stone house. Photo by Susan De Vries

While the rest of the troops fled 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 time for the rest of the troops. And so a great battle was fought near where the old stone house is today. (The one in Park Slope today is a replica of the original from 1933.)

All 400 boys, the entire 1st Maryland Regiment, were killed – but the Continental Army escaped and later won the war.

This year’s events

There are weeks worth of events and the following are just a few:

Gowanus excavator
Learn about the historic battle as you paddle around the waters of the Gowanus Canal on Wednesday, August 22, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Participants are encouraged to wear loyalist red or continental blue for the battle voyage. The event takes place in collaboration with Old Stone House. Further information on participation can be found here.

Old stone house
The original old stone house was the focus of the action during the battle and will mark the anniversary with a variety of events. You can check out their new exhibition, “For Which it Stands”, which features reinterpretations of flag symbolism by contemporary artists. The exhibition begins 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 battlefield, you can take a walking tour of the neighborhood on Saturday, August 25th. Also get a theatrical experience on August 24-25 with Concrete Timbre: 1776 (Future Style) For the full schedule of Old Stone events and information on ticket prices, please visit the Battle of Brooklyn Events page here.

Green-Wood Cemetery
The Green-Wood celebration takes place on Sunday, August 26th, from 11am to 2pm. The day begins with a trolley tour with historians at 10 am, followed by a historical re-enactment at 11 am 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 memorial service at 1:00 p.m. All of these activities (with the exception of the trolley tour) are free upon registration. Tickets for the trolley tour are $ 25 for BHS / Green-Wood members and $ 30 for non-members. Here you can get more information and register.

Prospect Park Monuments Tour
Learn about the War of Independence monuments in Prospect Park on a guided tour of the park. The tour begins at the Lefferts Historic House and continues down East Drive, using the memories of Femmetie Lefferts to bring the monuments to life. The tour runs on Sunday, August 26th from 11am to 12pm. Tickets are $ 10 and can be purchased here.

For more memorial services taking place during the week, please visit the Battle of Brooklyn Events page at the Old Stone House here.

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