Step Into The 1776 Battle of Brooklyn as Part of Battle Week at Green-Wood Cemetery




British troops firing a volley in Green-Wood’s Meadow. Commemorating The Battle of Brooklyn in 1776. Image credit: The Green-Wood Cemetery Historian Blog.

On Sunday, August 27th, from 11am to 3pm, visitors of all ages can step back to the revolutionary era through Green-Wood’s commemoration of the Battle of Brooklyn. The battle, which was the largest of the entire war, was fought in August, 1776 on land where The Green-Wood Cemetery now stands. This year’s family-friendly, immersive experience will shed light on the sacrifices, struggles, and triumphs of those who fought for freedom. This program is part of Battle Week organized by our partners, the Old Stone House.

American soldiers on Battle Hill. Commemorating The Battle of Brooklyn in 1776. Image credit: The Green-Wood Cemetery Historian Blog.

Throughout the day, visitors will be able to:

  • Walk into America’s “First Oval Office,” a handsewn, full-scale replica of George Washington’s tent, used as his field office during war and learn about it from costumed interpreters from Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia.
  • See more than 50 full-scale replicas of the makeshift flags that each of the American regiments created to participate in battle, design their own flags, and take part in a flag scavenger hunt.
  • Play like it’s 1776. The Wyckoff House Museum presents Dutch toys and games (brought over from the Netherlands).
  • Meet living historians representing the 1st Rhode Island Regiment, known for being the first military unit composed primarily of Black American and Native Americans soldiers.
  • Learn about one of the war’s only female soldiers, Deborah Sampson, from historian and expert, Judith Kalaora.
  • Learn from living historians of the New-York Historical Society about the wares of NYC merchants of 1776—and taste some eighteenth century treats.
  • Grab a seat under the oak tree and listen to acclaimed storyteller Jonathan Kruk tell tales of the era, accompanied by musician Linda Russell.
  • Make and wear your own tricorn hat with educators from the Center for Brooklyn History (CBH).
  • Learn about the battle through a replica of the legendary Ratzer Map (co-owned by Green-Wood and CBH), which was held by a British soldier who fought in the battle.
  • Grab a battle flag and march to Battle Hill, led by fife and drum, for a special ceremony commemorating the battle.
  • Be the first to download and experience the all-new Green-Wood Battle of Brooklyn app. Get immersed, via augmented reality, in the story, and see battle participants and key moments of the Revolutionary era.
The sign, at the base of Battle Hill, offers context for what happened there in 1776, and a detailed but easily readable map. Image courtesy Green-Wood Historian Blog

The Battle of Brooklyn, fought in August 1776, was the first battle of the American Revolution to occur after the signing of the Declaration of Independence. With 40,000 soldiers engaged in this conflict, which largely took place on land that is part of The Green-Wood Cemetery, it was also the largest confrontation of the entire war.

“This event is an incredible opportunity to consider what freedom means to us in 2023 and hear the stories of the many different people involved in the era of the American Revolution —the colonists, the British, the Dutch, nd the enslaved people of the era. We are incredibly proud to share our Revolutionary history with visitors,” said Rachel Walman, Green-Wood’s director of education.

Commemorating The Battle of Brooklyn in 1776. Image credit: The Green-Wood Cemetery.

This year, Green-Wood also is elevating the event by introducing an augmented reality experience that brings visitors into the peril and intensity of the Battle of Brooklyn. The Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation of Long Island has generously funded the app, called 1776AR, that will allow users to visualize British and American forces and the true complexity of this pivotal battle in American history. Users will hear from and see General George Washington, his enslaved valet William Lee, Colonel Samuel Atlee, the British General William Howe, and Margaret Corbin, the first woman believed to have fought in battle for the United States. They’ll also see, virtually, over 400 British ships in New York Harbor that threatened the American forces and had influenced the outcome of the battle.  This app is just one of many created for the sites on Long Island that played a role in the Revolutionary War.

Commemorating The Battle of Brooklyn in 1776. Image credit: The Green-Wood Cemetery.

The Battle of Brooklyn and The Meaning of Freedom is open to all. Registration is recommended, but not required. A water fill up station is available by the Gothic Arch and free bottled water will be provided near activity areas.  Reservations: click here. The event is free with a suggested donation of $5. The Event will take place on Sunday, August 27, 2023 from 11am to 3pm at The Green-Wood Cemetery, Main Entrance Meadow (Fifth Avenue and 25th Street) and Battle Hill.

About The Green-Wood Cemetery. Established in 1838, The Green-Wood Cemetery, a National Historic Landmark, is recognized as one of the world’s most beautiful cemeteries. As the permanent residence of over 570,000 individuals, Green-Wood’s magnificent grounds, grand architecture, and world-class statuary have made it a destination for half a million visitors annually, including national and international tourists, New Yorkers, and Brooklynites. At the same time, Green-Wood is also an outdoor museum, an arboretum, and a repository of history. Throughout the year, it offers innovative programs in arts and culture, nature and the environment, education, workforce development, restoration, and research. For more information, please visit Green-Wood Historian Blog.

Commemorating The Battle of Brooklyn in 1776. Image credit: The Green-Wood Cemetery.

About the Museum of the American Revolution. The Museum of the American Revolution uncovers and shares compelling stories about the diverse people and complex events that sparked America’s ongoing experiment in liberty, equality, and self-government.

About Center for Brooklyn History. The newly-formed Center for Brooklyn History is an exciting collaboration between Brooklyn Historical Society and Brooklyn Public Library, combining materials collected over the past 157 years with BPL’s Brooklyn Collection and becoming the most expansive catalogue of Brooklyn history in the world.

Commemorating The Battle of Brooklyn in 1776. Image credit: The Green-Wood Cemetery.

About the New York Historical Society. 400 years of history through groundbreaking exhibitions, outstanding collections, immersive films, and thought-provoking conversations among renowned historians and public figures at the New-York Historical Society, New York’s first museum. A great destination for history since 1804, the Museum and the Patricia D. Klingenstein Library convey the stories of the city and nation’s diverse populations, expanding our understanding of who we are as Americans and how we came to be.

About the Wyckoff House Museum. The Wyckoff House Museum’s primary mission is to preserve, interpret, and operate New York’s oldest building and the surrounding one-and-a-half acres of park. Through innovative educational and farm-based programs we build cultural and agricultural connections within our community, emphasizing immigration, family, food, and community.

About 360XR ~ Founded by tech experts who also happen to be history enthusiasts, 360XR has emerged as a leader in augmented reality (AR) experiences for historic sites across Long Island, contributing to the sustainability of these museums, parks, and historic houses. 360XR utilizes leading app development technologies to create spectacular AR experiences that spark interest—across all generations—in local and national history.