Greenwood Heights

Battle of Brooklyn celebration closes with Green-Wood ceremony

August 31, 2015 By Rob Abruzzese Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The week-long 239th anniversary commemoration of the Battle of Brooklyn came to a close on Sunday as Brooklynites were treated to a re-enactment of the largest battle of the American Revolutionary War and a ceremony to mark the occasion. Eagle photos by Rob Abruzzese.

A week-long celebration of the 239th anniversary of the Battle of Brooklyn came to a close on Sunday with crowds of people on hand at the Green-Wood Cemetery to watch a reenactment before they paraded to the top of Battle Hill for a memorial ceremony.

“Today we are here to honor the heroes of the Battle of Brooklyn where 239 years ago, the United States of America fought its first battle as a new nation,” said Eric Kramer of the Battle of Brooklyn Memorial Society. “The Declaration of Independence had been signed, the British had been chased out of Boston a little bit early, but right in late August things didn’t look good for the new republic.”

The Battle of Brooklyn was the largest battle of the American Revolutionary War. The patriots ultimately lost the battle, but the Maryland 400 was able to hold off the British troops long enough at the Old Stone House so that George Washington could escape and live to fight another day.

“The American’s fought bravely and with skill early in the day,” Kramer said. “The British were more experienced. They did a maneuver to encircle the Americans so they could attack from the front and the back. This is where the Maryland 400 came into play at the Old Stone House.

“The British attacked the Old Stone House at least six times,” Kramer continued. “Of the 400 people, more than 260 of them were casualties in this brave effort, but what they did was they prevented the British from closing this Pincer action upon the Americans and allowed the majority of the American army to escape to Brooklyn Heights.”

As part of the festivities, the Irish-American Parade Committee and the Commodore Barry Club honored the Maryland 400 by reading a citation from Maryland’s Gov. Larry Hogan and laid a wreath in remembrance of the victims of 9/11 and Washington’s generals and soldiers who died during the Battle of Brooklyn.

“If it hadn’t been for the Maryland 400, all of us would have British accents,” said retired Lt. Col. Cecil Philips. “The United States is the United States because of the Maryland 400.”

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Because of all the unpleasant weather, the ceremony started and finished early and New York State Sen. Jesse Hamilton did not make it in time before it wrapped up. Green-Wood Cemetery issued the following statement following the event:

“Due to the extreme heat and humidity on Sunday, the Parade of Flags and commemorative ceremony began early. Senator Hamilton arrived looking forward to his opportunity to address the crowd, but unfortunately the accelerated program had already concluded. We are grateful for his support of Green-Wood and for coming to commemorate this important moment in our nation’s history. We look forward to having him at future events.”

Without Hamilton, Kimberly Maier, the executive director of the Old Stone House in Park Slope, gave some brief remarks.

“The commemoration at Green-Wood is really an opportunity to have this very living history experience,” Maier said. “One of the great things about Green-Wood is that you can see how close we are to the water and you get a feel for what it was like to actually try to go through Brooklyn, to be up and down the hills, and get a feel for what the soldiers went through.”

For more photos, please visit BrooklynArchive.com

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