Battle boats: It’s the 240th anniversary of Washington fleeing by ship

Battle boats: It’s the 240th anniversary of Washington fleeing by ship
Photo by Paul Martinka

Watch Washington run away!

Kings County will echo with musket fire next weekend for the 240th anniversary of the Revolutionary War’s Battle of Brooklyn — a devastating fight on Aug. 27, 1776, when the British forces gained control of the city, and General George Washington took his army and slipped away to fight another day.

This year’s festivities will include a recreation of that famous flight on Aug. 27 in Brooklyn Bridge Park, along with a re-enactment of the battle itself on Aug. 28 in Green-Wood Cemetery. The chief organizer of Battle Week, a widely-flung series of anniversary events, says they are designed to draw in audiences in and teach them about history.

“It’s really about offering a number of different avenues to enter into the story of the battle,” said Kim Maier, director of Old Stone House, which stands near the culmination point of the fight.

Old Stone House will co-host “The Great Escape” in Brooklyn Bridge Park on Aug. 27, near the spot where Washington’s army retreated across the river to Manhattan. Battle buffs can join the re-enactors of Glover’s Marblehead Regiment, paddling in a rowboat to recreate the escape, or learning how to fire a musket, said Maier. The activities will give a glimpse into life during the Revolutionary War, she said.

“You can get conscripted into the American Army and see what it was like,” said Maier.

There is more shoreline activity on the other side of the Brooklyn. In Bay Ridge on Aug. 17, re-enactors dressed as British redcoats will touch down on the shores of Gravesend Bay at Denyse Wharf, the original landing site for the Empire’s forces.

A milestone: This painting depicts Washington’s retreat after the Battle of Brooklyn. Costumed history buffs will recreate the 240-year-old retreat at events around Brooklyn.

History buffs can also catch a re-enactment of the clash between British and Revolutionary forces at Green-wood Cemetery on Aug. 28. More than 3,000 people turned out last year to watch the big fight, which includes cannons, horses, and swords, according to Maier, and this year’s crowd is in for an equally thrilling battle — despite the disappointing outcome.

“It’s a real sense of bringing history to life,” she said. “It’s quite an exciting look at battle during the Revolutionary War.”

The day will begin with a trolley tour of the cemetery by a Green-Wood historian and then boast cannon fire, games, and food from re-enactors.

“The Great Escape” at Brooklyn Bridge Park Pebble Beach (Plymouth Street at Main Street in Dumbo). Aug. 27, 10 am–2 pm. Free.

“Rediscover Denyse Wharf” at Denyse Wharf (access via Belt Parkway and Fourth Avenue Overpass in Bay Ridge). Aug. 27, 11 am–4 pm. Free.

“Battle of Brooklyn Commemoration” at Green-wood Cemetery (500 25th St. at Fifth Avenue in Greenwood Heights, www.green-wood.com). Aug. 28, 10 am–2 pm. Free.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at lgill@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill
Making history: Re-enactors will show people how to fire a musket or make a great escape in a paddle boat in Brooklyn Bridge Park as part of the festivities.
Photo by Georgine Benvenuto