June 24, 2011

Around the Corner: The Battle of Brooklyn

Battle of Long Island, Brooklyn (Alonzo Chappel 1828-1887)
In anticipation of the 4th of July and the time honored tradition of walking historical battlefields, you shouldn't miss the scene of the Battle of Brooklyn, the first and largest battle of the American Revolution, which almost put an end to George Washington and the Continental Army. Nestled between Staples and the Alexander William Middle School, two blocks away from the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Store, you'll find the Old Stone House. It was here that the Marylanders held off the Hessians and the British allowing the Continental Army to retreat.

House and Tree Necklace, JDavis Studio

Imagine a hot and humid day on August 22, 1776: The farmers of Brooklyn, population 250, are witnessing an armada of British frigates sailing up the Narrows to unload 20,000 British soldiers and Hessian Mercenaries on the beaches of Gravesend intent on ending the uprising of Washington's rag tag army of 12,000 once and for all.
"The whole bay was full of shipping as it could be. I...thought all London afloat."
Pisces Ship, Tomato9Studio

Five days later, at 9:00 a.m. General Howe's cannons signaled the attack. Within hours Washington's army was overwhelmed and retreating. The 400 Marylanders under the leadership of General Stirling charged Cornwallis 2000 British and Hessian troops who had entrenched themselves around the Old Stone House. The Marylanders charged the British forces six times to give the militia time to retreat. In the end only 9 of the Marylanders managed to retreat safely. 256 lay dead in front of the Old Stone House and more than 100 were wounded and/or captured.

4th of July Coasters and Wine Sack, Rose Interiors
To truly experience how astounding this history is you'll have to stop by the Old Stone House yourself. For a self-guided walking tour, take a look at Marion Palm's article in the Brooklyn Eagle.



Metalicious said...

Fantastic article Simone!

Karina said...

I love NYC history. Thanks for sharing this interesting tidbit about Brooklyn!