Many Americans associate the celebration of American independence with July 4th, but in Brooklyn, some festivities are reserved for August. That's the anniverssary of the decisive Battle of Brooklyn, in which troops led by General Washington fought the British. Ironically, the patriots lost this battle, but in so doing, helped win the war, thanks to the ferocity of their resistance, which enabled Washington to escape.
August in Brooklyn: Commemoration of a Key Revolutionary War Battle
The following are events of interest to Revolutionary War buffs. Some are open year-round, others commemorate the Battle of Brooklyn.
The exhibit area of the historic Old Stone House is open on weekends only, but don't miss it. There's a small, focused display that shows precisely where and how the Battle of Brooklyn occurred. During the August commemoration of the Battle of Brooklyn, the Old Stone House plays an important role in organizing special events.
Where: Washington Park, on 3rd St at 5th Ave, Park Slope Brooklyn (718) 768.3195
Visit any time. There's a Battle of Brooklyn Exhibit at Harbor Defense Museum showing arms and uniforms similar to those of soldiers who fought in the Battle of Brooklyn. Outside tours overlooking the Narrows where a contingent of British forces landed are available daily. Valid Photo ID is required. Museum Hours: Sat. 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Mon.-Fri. 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Where: Fort Hamilton Army Base, Fort Hamilton Parkway and 101st Street, Bay Ridge. (718) 630-4349. http:/www.harbordefensemuseum.com.
The Brooklyn Historical Society runs a robust program of exhibits and also has a full fledged research facility, with a wealth of information about the Revolutionary War in Brooklyn, NY.
Who fought the Battle of Brooklyn, anyway? Interestingly, the Maryland 400 play an important role in the story of this Revolutionary War saga. Join in the Revolutionary War's Battle of Brooklyn special events in late August, including a walk from an American Legion post in Park Slope to the historic Old Stone House.
Lovely Prospect Park, a second home to cyclists, runners, soccer players, thousands of children, concert-goers and many others, is also an important historic site dating back to the Battle of Brooklyn. Take a tour with the NY Urban Park Rangers to discover where battles were fought, and to locate historical markers in the park (they're easy to miss). This tour is held in late August as part of the Battle of Brooklyn educational events.
Brooklyn, today home to about 2.5 million people, consisted of mostly wooded areas and a few farms back in 1776. You can tour Evergreen Cemetery to learn about Battle of Brooklyn events that occurred here. Held during the Battle of Brooklyn anniversary week events in late August.
Today a Superfund site, and the butt of many a joke about dead bodies a'floatin', the Gowanus Canal played some role in the fateful and bloody Battle of Brooklyn. Today, if you arrive early, you can get a seat in a canoe for a guided tour of the Revolutionary War history of the always-colorful Gowanus canal. This history-oriented tour, organized by a local group named the Gowanus Dredgers, is held in conjunction with the week-long educational events commemorating the Battle of Brooklyn in August.
Located in the neighborhood of Fort Greene, Fort Greene Park's singular monument bears the grim-sounding name of Prison Ships Martyrs Memorial. And, indeed, the imposing Stanford White-designed memorial commemorates the terrible fate of those who had the ill fate to be imprisoned, in desperate conditions, on ships anchored off of the coast of Brooklyn. According to the NYC Parks Department historical signs, "over 11,500 men and women died of overcrowding, contaminated water, starvation, and disease aboard the ships, and their bodies were hastily buried along the shore."
Learn about the story behind this monument, historic Fort Putnam that once occupied some of this park land, and the role of the prisoners in the Revolutionary War during the week-long educational events marking the anniversary of the Battle of Brooklyn.