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Retracing the historic locations of the Battle of Brooklyn

Commemorate the 240th anniversary of the battle by visiting these locations

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August 27 marks the 240th anniversary of the Battle of Brooklyn—rightfully known as the Battle of Long Island, being that Brooklyn was but a small town on the East River when British troops and Hessians descended on the land. Under the command of General George Washington, the Continental Army was dealt an embarrassing, gruesome defeat—British troops overwhelmed the American soldiers in both size and skill, and eventually Washington and whatever forces were left had to retreat under the cover of darkness (and fog) across the East River. But many reminders of the battle remain in modern-day Brooklyn; some are dedicated monuments, while others are tiny plaques in odd places. Green-Wood Cemetery will host an official commemoration on August 28, but in the meantime, this map will help you retrace where the battle was waged throughout the borough. Did we miss a crucial spot? Let us know in the comments.

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The Green-Wood Cemetery

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Within Green-Wood's 478 rolling acres is Battle Hill, the highest point within King's County at 220 feet and a strategic location of the war. Both British and American forces moved on the site in an attempt to seize it on August 27, 1776, resulting in one of the highest-casualty clashes of the war. [Image via MCNY.]

Governors Island

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Though it’s now a recreational oasis for New Yorkers, Governors Island originally functioned as a military base, beginning with the Revolutionary War. General Israel Putnam, who fought at the Battle of Bunker Hill, led Continental troops to claim the island as an American stronghold in early 1776, and it remained that way until the army was defeated during the Battle of Brooklyn. The troops who were stationed there were some of the last to be transported to Manhattan after the battle was over.

Old Stone House

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On August 27, 1776, 2,000 British soldiers descended on Colonial General Stirling who, with the help of a a much smaller group of soldiers known as the Maryland 400, would duke it out in front of the historic house. The Old Stone House that stands in Park Slope's Washington Park today is a 1934 recreation of the 1699 house that was present for the battle. Before the house was entered on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, it was home to the Brooklyn Dodgers (then the Brooklyn Superbas.)

Prospect Park

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Although it wasn't known as Prospect Park back then, the land on which the park now sits was pivotal in the battle. Hessians and British forces snuck up on American troops by coming over a different pass than American general Sullivan had anticipated. Unable to formulate a strategic retreat, fighting between the groups advanced to hand-to-hand combat. The only American troops that were able to escape were the Maryland 400, for whom there's a monument erected in the park today. [Image via ForgottenNY.]

American Legion Post 1636

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Pay close attention to this unassuming building on 9th Street in Gowanus: There's a plaque outside dedicated to the Maryland 400 here, too. The 400 soldiers were allegedly buried in a mass grave at the corner of 8th Street and Third Avenue in Brooklyn, a location that's now a gas station.

Union Street Bridge

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Although a mechanized lift bridge now crosses over the Gowanus Canal at Union Street, in the days of the Battle of Brooklyn it was the site of a wooden bridge atop Freeke's Pond. (Remember, this was before the Gowanus was dredged.) As American soldiers attempted to retreat to Brooklyn Heights, the wooden bridge caught fire, forcing the soldiers to wade through the river. Weighed down by their artillery and supplies, many of them drowned. [Image via theoldstonehouse.org]

Atlantic Avenue and Court Street

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Although General George Washington was in command of the Continental Army during the Battle of Brooklyn, he wasn’t on the ground for the major skirmishes. Instead, he watched the battle happen from a point closer to the East River: the present-day corner of Atlantic Avenue and Court Street, a.k.a. the site of the Brooklyn outpost of Trader Joe’s. The commander watched as the British quickly overwhelmed the Continental troops, and eventually made a hasty retreat to Brooklyn Heights and across the East River. Now, the corner’s place in history is marked with a plaque on the building, as well as a flagpole atop the grocery store—the highest point of which is about equal to the height of the hill that was there at the time. [Image via Wiki Commons/Saundi Wilson]

Fulton Ferry Landing

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As British force in the area grew stronger with troops coming forth from land and sea, General George Washington and his troops retreated from Brooklyn Heights. Washington's troops were removed from the area by rowboat with the help of Colonel John Glover's Marblehead Regiment, who ferried the 9,000-plus soldiers, their horses, and artillery across the East River. The British arrived the following day to an empty camp. [Image via theoldstonehouse.org]

Wallabout Bay

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Just off the Brooklyn Navy Yard is this small body of water, which became the site of one of the Revolutionary War’s greatest tragedies following the Battle of Brooklyn. British forces docked a fleet of prison ships in the bay; in the aftermath of the skirmish and Washington’s retreat, whatever Continental soldiers remained were packed into these vessels, and endured horrible conditions—freezing temperatures, starvation, and disease. The Jersey was the most infamous of these ships, and was often simply called “Hell.”

Prison Ship Martyrs Monument

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The 149-foot-tall doric column that rises out of Fort Greene Park may look lovely, but marks something rather dark. It is the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument and stands at the site of a crypt for some of the 11,500 men and women who were buried in a mass grave near the Brooklyn Navy Yard. At the time of the Battle of Brooklyn, what is now Fort Greene Park was the site of Fort Putnam, which was abandoned when the Continental Army retreated to Manhattan. British soldiers held their captors on overcrowded, squalid ships in the East River. The captors were known as the Prison Ship Martyrs. [Image via Wikipedia.]

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The Green-Wood Cemetery

Within Green-Wood's 478 rolling acres is Battle Hill, the highest point within King's County at 220 feet and a strategic location of the war. Both British and American forces moved on the site in an attempt to seize it on August 27, 1776, resulting in one of the highest-casualty clashes of the war. [Image via MCNY.]

Governors Island

Though it’s now a recreational oasis for New Yorkers, Governors Island originally functioned as a military base, beginning with the Revolutionary War. General Israel Putnam, who fought at the Battle of Bunker Hill, led Continental troops to claim the island as an American stronghold in early 1776, and it remained that way until the army was defeated during the Battle of Brooklyn. The troops who were stationed there were some of the last to be transported to Manhattan after the battle was over.

Old Stone House

On August 27, 1776, 2,000 British soldiers descended on Colonial General Stirling who, with the help of a a much smaller group of soldiers known as the Maryland 400, would duke it out in front of the historic house. The Old Stone House that stands in Park Slope's Washington Park today is a 1934 recreation of the 1699 house that was present for the battle. Before the house was entered on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, it was home to the Brooklyn Dodgers (then the Brooklyn Superbas.)

Prospect Park

Although it wasn't known as Prospect Park back then, the land on which the park now sits was pivotal in the battle. Hessians and British forces snuck up on American troops by coming over a different pass than American general Sullivan had anticipated. Unable to formulate a strategic retreat, fighting between the groups advanced to hand-to-hand combat. The only American troops that were able to escape were the Maryland 400, for whom there's a monument erected in the park today. [Image via ForgottenNY.]

American Legion Post 1636

Pay close attention to this unassuming building on 9th Street in Gowanus: There's a plaque outside dedicated to the Maryland 400 here, too. The 400 soldiers were allegedly buried in a mass grave at the corner of 8th Street and Third Avenue in Brooklyn, a location that's now a gas station.

Union Street Bridge

Although a mechanized lift bridge now crosses over the Gowanus Canal at Union Street, in the days of the Battle of Brooklyn it was the site of a wooden bridge atop Freeke's Pond. (Remember, this was before the Gowanus was dredged.) As American soldiers attempted to retreat to Brooklyn Heights, the wooden bridge caught fire, forcing the soldiers to wade through the river. Weighed down by their artillery and supplies, many of them drowned. [Image via theoldstonehouse.org]

Atlantic Avenue and Court Street

Although General George Washington was in command of the Continental Army during the Battle of Brooklyn, he wasn’t on the ground for the major skirmishes. Instead, he watched the battle happen from a point closer to the East River: the present-day corner of Atlantic Avenue and Court Street, a.k.a. the site of the Brooklyn outpost of Trader Joe’s. The commander watched as the British quickly overwhelmed the Continental troops, and eventually made a hasty retreat to Brooklyn Heights and across the East River. Now, the corner’s place in history is marked with a plaque on the building, as well as a flagpole atop the grocery store—the highest point of which is about equal to the height of the hill that was there at the time. [Image via Wiki Commons/Saundi Wilson]

Fulton Ferry Landing

As British force in the area grew stronger with troops coming forth from land and sea, General George Washington and his troops retreated from Brooklyn Heights. Washington's troops were removed from the area by rowboat with the help of Colonel John Glover's Marblehead Regiment, who ferried the 9,000-plus soldiers, their horses, and artillery across the East River. The British arrived the following day to an empty camp. [Image via theoldstonehouse.org]

Wallabout Bay

Just off the Brooklyn Navy Yard is this small body of water, which became the site of one of the Revolutionary War’s greatest tragedies following the Battle of Brooklyn. British forces docked a fleet of prison ships in the bay; in the aftermath of the skirmish and Washington’s retreat, whatever Continental soldiers remained were packed into these vessels, and endured horrible conditions—freezing temperatures, starvation, and disease. The Jersey was the most infamous of these ships, and was often simply called “Hell.”

Prison Ship Martyrs Monument

The 149-foot-tall doric column that rises out of Fort Greene Park may look lovely, but marks something rather dark. It is the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument and stands at the site of a crypt for some of the 11,500 men and women who were buried in a mass grave near the Brooklyn Navy Yard. At the time of the Battle of Brooklyn, what is now Fort Greene Park was the site of Fort Putnam, which was abandoned when the Continental Army retreated to Manhattan. British soldiers held their captors on overcrowded, squalid ships in the East River. The captors were known as the Prison Ship Martyrs. [Image via Wikipedia.]