Park Slope

239th anniversary of Battle of Brooklyn to be celebrated in borough this weekend

August 20, 2015 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Jeanie Prall Wing, Norman Goben and Barbara Skinner dressed up and adorned flags for last year’s ceremony at the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument in Fort Greene Park. This year’s event will take place Saturday, Aug. 22 at 10 a.m. Eagle file photos by Matthew Taub
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Old Stone House in Park Slope will celebrate America’s path to independence during the week-long commemoration of the 239th anniversary of the Battle of Brooklyn — the largest battle of the Revolutionary War — beginning Saturday, Aug. 22 and continuing through Sunday, Aug. 30.

Festivities kick off on Aug. 22 with an extensive exhibit of Colonial-era flags at Green-Wood Cemetery. While there will be events throughout the city during the course of the week, visitors to Old Stone House can memorialize William Smallwood’s Marylander Regiment and William Alexander (Lord Stirling), the heroes of the Battle of Brooklyn; experience an exhibit focused on contemporary issues around income inequality and take a neighborhood walking tour of the battle. The celebration culminates on Aug. 30 at Green-Wood Cemetery, where visitors can experience a musket and canon-firing skirmish reminiscent of the battle. Events at Old Stone House are free and take place at Washington Park/JJ Bryne Playground at Fourth Avenue in Park Slope. For more information, visit www.theoldstonehouse.org. 

“It is the memory of the sacrifices of the Battle of Brooklyn that make the site of the Old Stone House and Washington Park hallowed ground,” said Kimberly Maier, Old Stone House executive director. “The events that culminated around the Old Stone House played an important role in the outcome of that battle and its legacy stands as a testament to the bravery of those who lost so much to grant us our freedom.” 

On Aug. 27, 1776, William Alexander (Lord Stirling) led a regiment of 400 Maryland soldiers against the British at the Vechte-Cortelyou House — a stone farmhouse built by Dutch immigrant Claes Arentson Vechte — during the decisive engagement of the Battle of Brooklyn. The Marylanders lost more than two hundreds soldiers that day, but their bravery enabled Gen. George Washington to gather the bulk of his nascent army at Fulton Ferry, where during the night of Aug. 29, the Marblehead Regiment rowed 8,000 troops, horses and armament across the East River. The next morning, when the British commander Gen. William Howe, arrived to accept Washington’s surrender, he found the Americans gone — a classic example of losing the battle to win the war. 

Today’s Old Stone House is a reconstruction of the Vechte-Cortelyou House. Though the house was reconstructed in 1934 following a fire, some unearthed original materials were used in the reconstruction, and the current structure sits adjacent to the site of the original house. 

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The full schedule for Battle of Brooklyn Week is as follows: 

Through Oct. 10 
In Search of One City: Sensing (In)equality 
At Old Stone House, Fourth Avenue and Third Street, Park Slope 
In Search of One City” explores artists’ roles in investigating, navigating and mitigating income inequality. From suffering politely to a new guide to community art-making, the interactive, multi-media exhibition includes both artists who expose and critique the systems that perpetuate income inequality and artists and arts groups working to develop new models and services for a more equitable city. 


Aug. 22 – 30
Display of 85 Revolutionary War Flags 
A vibrant display of 85 Revolutionary War flags will be on view and visitors can learn about their history at the Green-Wood Cemetery (Fifth Avenue at 25th Street).

Saturday, Aug. 22, 10 a.m. 
Prison Ships Martyrs Memorial Ceremony 
The Society of Old Brooklynites, American Merchant Marine Association and Navy Armed Guard will coordinate a special ceremony at the Prison Ships Martyrs Monument in Fort Greene Park.

Saturday, Aug. 22, 1 to 4p.m. 
Scavenger Battle!
Friends and family can team up for a day of trivia, gaming and historical fun at the Brooklyn Navy Yard Center at BLDG 92, 63 Flushing Ave. (at Carlton Avenue). 


Sunday, Aug. 23, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 pm
Evergreens Cemetery Walking Tour 
Evergreens Cemetery will present a walking tour of its revolutionary war-related sites. Participants will meet at Evergreens Cemetery Main Gate, Bushwick Avenue and Conway Street.  

Tuesday, Aug. 25, 6 p.m. and Saturday, Aug. 28, 4 p.m.
Battle of Brooklyn Neighborhood Walk 
Led by Old Stone House board member and Hunter College Archaeology Professor William J. Parry, participants will meet at the Grand Army Plaza entrance to Prospect Park on the northwest corner. Tickets are $12 per person or $10 OSH members and include light refreshments.


Wednesday, Aug. 26, 6 p.m.
Gowanus Dredgers Estuary Tour 
Canoe the Gowanus Canal and learn about the history of this infamous escape route for American soldiers during the Battle of Brooklyn. Second Street between Bond Street and the Gowanus Canal.   

Saturday, Aug. 29, noon to 2 p.m.
Maryland 400 Remembrance Ceremony
Music, color guard and salute and a reading of the names at the Old Stone House and Washington Park. 

Saturday, Aug. 29. 1 to 5 p.m. 
Dramatic Reading of the Declaration of Independence 
Hear the Declaration of Independence read the 18th century way and learn about how it was written and the role it played during the Battle of Brooklyn at the Vander Ende-Onderdonk House, home of the Greater Ridgewood Historical Society. Admission is $5 suggested donation and free for GRHS members.   

Sunday, Aug. 30 
Battle of Brooklyn Commemoration at the Green-Wood Cemetery 
Fifth Avenue at 25th Street, Brooklyn

10 a.m. to noon, RESERVATIONS NECESSARY 
Greenwood historian Jeff Richman and author Barnet Schecter conduct a trolley tour of the cemetery. 

11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Living history programming with drills, weapon firing, games and historic personalities, with colonial music by Sampawams Creek. 

12:30 – 1:15 p.m.

Re-enactment inside the Main Gate at the Green-Wood Cemetery 

1:30 p.m.
Parade to the top of Battle Hill

2 p.m.

Memorial Ceremony at Battle Hill 


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