GREENWOOD — It was an awe-inspiring living history lesson on Sunday, Aug. 25 as the hills of Green-Wood Cemetery were overrun by American and British soldiers to commemorate the Battle of Brooklyn in a stunning re-enactment of the events that took place 243 years ago.
Green-Wood Cemetery hosted an entire day of events and activities celebrating the heroes of the August, 1776 battle that raged across Brooklyn, including on land that is now part of the cemetery. It was the first battle of the American Revolution to be waged after the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
Thousands of visitors had the opportunity to witness life on the battlefield, and meet soldiers, their horses and famous colonial Americans, as the historic re-enactors demonstrated revolutionary weapons and tactics.
The yearly re-enactment 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 counterattacks despite being badly outnumbered.
Despite their valiant efforts, the patriots ultimately lost the battle, though a small regiment known as the Maryland 400 was able to distract the British as George Washington’s Continental Army made its escape and eventually went on to win the war.
“The re-enactment at Green-Wood this year was particularly exciting. We had a larger group of re-enactors than we’ve had in the past, including a terrific equestrian tactical event,” Kim Maier, executive director of the Old Stone House, told this paper. “We also had an increased number of visitors from the state of Maryland including the 175th Infantry Regiment, the Dandy Fifth, creating this great connection between our two states based on our shared history.”
Spectators at Green-Wood also witnessed living history programs, including military drills and a weapons demonstration featuring re-enactments of battles with actors dressed as American and British soldiers meeting on the battlefield.
There were rifle and cannon demonstrations, along with re-enactors 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.
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, on the spot where the battle was fought.
“It is an honor to, once again, pay tribute to the strength and sacrifice of the gallant soldiers who fought and died on these grounds 243 years ago,” said Richard Moylan, president of Green-Wood. “Today, we join as a community to remember the events that made our freedom possible.”