Our Living History: Green-Wood Celebrates the 242nd Anniversary of the Battle of Brooklyn

The American forces were ready for battle against the British redcoats on Sunday, August 26 as Green-Wood Cemetery commemorated the Battle of Brooklyn by staging a stunning reenactment of the events that took place upon Battle Hill.

Green-Wood Cemetery hosted an entire day of events and activities celebrating the heroes of the August, 1776 battle that raged across Brooklyn. It was the first battle of the American Revolution to be waged after the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

The yearly reenactment at Green-Wood pays tribute to the 2,000 brave American troops who fought a British army three times their size in the open field.

The greatest triumph of the Battle of Brooklyn, the Revolutionary War’s largest battle, took place on what is now Battle Hill in Green-Wood, where patriots pushed British forces off the summit and held it against two counter attacks despite being badly outnumbered.

“It is an honor to pay tribute to the heroic soldiers who fought here,” said Richard Moylan, president of Green-Wood. “We join with the greater Brooklyn and New York City communities today in remembrance of the sacrifices made for our freedom 242 years ago.”

Despite their valiant efforts, the patriots ultimately lost the battle, though a small regiment known as the Maryland 400 were able to distract the British as George Washington’s Continental Army made its escape and eventually went on to win the war.

Spectators at Green-Wood also witnessed living history programs, including military drills and a weapons demonstration featuring reenactments of battles with actors dressed as American and British soldiers meeting on the battlefield.

There were rifle and cannon demonstrations, along with reenactors intermingling in character with those in attendance while happily posing for photos.

The day’s events also included a trolley tour of Green-Wood’s notable Revolutionary War-related sites, led by Green-Wood historian Jeff Richman and independent historian and author Barnet Schecter.

The commemorative ceremony took place in front of the monument and Altar to Liberty, which was presented to the people of Brooklyn by donor Charles Higgins. The monument stands atop the highest point in Brooklyn where the battle was fought.

“It’s always a memorable and dramatic experience to attend Green-Wood Cemetery’s annual commemoration of the Battle of Brooklyn,” Ted General, first vice-president of the Society of Old Brooklynites, told this paper. “The re-enactors do a remarkable job making early American history come alive! It makes us all remember the sacrifices of our early patriots to secure freedom for this great nation.”

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