Thursday, August 11, 2011

Remember the Battle of Brooklyn!

The 235th anniversary of the Battle of Brooklyn (Aug. 27, 1776) is fast approaching. If you’re fuzzy on the battle’s details, roughly speaking, it went down like this: After ominously amassing in New York Harbor in the weeks following the signing of the Declaration of Independence, British forces came ashore in Brooklyn near present day Fort Hamilton under the command of General William Howe and streamed along Brooklyn’s rugged roadways, or “passes,” toward the Continental Army’s network of forts surrounding Brooklyn Heights, engaging in a number of skirmishes along the way.

The most northern of these routes and the least direct — Jamaica Pass — was sorely undermanned, the British learned, and so Howe sent through thousands of British soldiers augmented by Hessian mercenaries in what military historians like to call a “brilliant flanking maneuver.” The battle climaxed at the Vechte-Cortelyou house, today a museum and cultural center known as the Old Stone House at present day Fifth Avenue and Third Street in Park Slope.

There, the rebels’ General William Alexander (aka Lord Stirling) led his heavily outnumbered Maryland soldiers against the British, delaying them from reaching the Heights, so that Washington and the rest of the troops could escape to Manhattan and live to fight another day.

The Eagle just published a calendar with a whole week's worth of events commemorating the battle.

For more information on the battle itself, the Old Stone House has this great map and concise timeline of events on its website.