‘Battle Week’ kicks off with commemoration of heroic Maryland 400 • Brooklyn Paper

‘Battle Week’ kicks off with commemoration of heroic Maryland 400

Gun salute: American Legion members Mike Slavin and Don Hellmers stood strong at an Aug. 18 ceremony commemorating the Maryland patriots known as the "Maryland 400," who fought in the Battle of Brooklyn 237 years ago.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

The borough kicked off Battle Week on Sunday to commemorate the American war heroes who died in the first real battle of the Revolutionary War.

The ceremony marked the 237th anniversary of the bloody Battle of Brooklyn — fought on Aug. 27, 1776, by Maryland patriots, known as the Maryland 400, who sacrificed themselves to allow the colonial army led by Gen. George Washington to escape from the attacking British.

Dozens of Brooklynites showed up to the annual tribute event put on by the Brooklyn Irish-American Parade Committee and Gowanus’ Michael A. Rawley Jr. American Legion Post 1636. The service and march started at the headquarters of the Ninth Street veteran’s organization, and ended at the historical site of Park Slope’s Old Stone House.

“We owe a lot to the Marylanders for the American Revolution,” said Kathleen McDonagh, the coordinator of the parade committee, who said that the remembrance ceremony has taken place every year since 1976.

“The Maryland 400 came here from Maryland to help George Washington in the battle and they were the ones that protected Washington to let him escape,” she said. “He would have been captured and killed.”

At the start of the commemoration there was a reading of the names of the Maryland martyrs who defended the cause. Then, attendees led by the tunes of a lone bagpiper marched through the streets, passing by where the Maryland soldiers are suspected to be buried.

Marchers then made their way to the battlegrounds surrounding the Old Stone House — a replica of an old farmhouse where most of the violent action occurred, which sits in J.J. Byrne Playground on Third Street between Fourth and Fifth avenues.

Though the massive British army defeated the Patriots during the bloody engagement, the Marylanders succeeded in buying the American soldiers enough time to retreat to Brooklyn Heights, where Washington and thousands of troops then safely made it to Manhattan. The majority of the defending 400 Maryland soldiers died in front of the Old Stone House.

Events will be taking place through Aug. 25 to commemorate the Battle of Brooklyn, including a neighborhood walking tour of the Battle of Brooklyn on Aug. 23, a Revolutionary War food event on Aug. 24, a Battle of Brooklyn family scavenger hunt at the Brooklyn Navy Yard also on Aug. 24, and a commemoration ceremony of the battle at Green-Wood Cemetery on Aug. 25.

Battle of Brooklyn Neighborhood Walk [meet at the Grand Army Plaza entrance to Prospect Park, at Union Street and Eastern Parkway in Park Slope, (718) 768–3195, www.oldstonehouse.org]. On Aug. 23, 5–7 pm, $12, tickets at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/437037.

Revolutionary Fare at Old Stone House [336 Third St. between Fourth and Fifth avenues in J.J. Byrne Playground, (718) 768–3195, www.oldstonehouse.org]. On Aug. 24, 5 –9 pm, $12 online, $15 at the door.

Battle of Brooklyn Family Scavenger Hunt at BLDG 92 Brooklyn Navy Yard Center [63 Flushing Ave. near Cumberland Street in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, (718) 907–5900, www.brooklynnavyyard.org]. On Aug. 24, 1 pm. Free.

Battle of Brooklyn Commemoration at Green-Wood Cemetery [500 25th St. at Fifth Avenue in Greenwood Heights, (718) 768–7300, www.green-wood.com]. On Aug. 25, 11 am.

Reach reporter Natalie Musumeci at nmusumeci@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow her at twitter.com/souleddout.

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